Introduction

‘Philokalia’ itself means love of the beautiful, the exalted, the excellent, understood as the transcendent source of life and the revelation of Truth. It is through such love that, as the subtitle of the original edition puts it, ‘the intellect is purified, illuminated and made perfect’. The texts were collected with a view to this perfection, illumination and perfection. They show the way to awaken and develop attention and consciousness, to attain that state of watchfulness which is the hallmark of sanctity. They describe the conditions most effective for learning what their authors call the art of arts and the science of sciences, a learning which is not a matter of information or agility of mind but of radical change of will and heart leading man towards the highest of possibilities open to him, shaping and nourishing the unseen part of his being, and helping him to spiritual fulfillment and union with God. — b,p13 (m)

In response to the question “Should the counsels contained in the Philokalia only be applied in a monastic environment?: Many hesychast writers affirm that this is not the case, and St Nikodimos himself, in his introduction to the original Philokalia, goes out of his way to stress that ‘unceasing prayer’ may or, rather, should be practiced by all. — y,p15 (b)

It should be remembered that, however much the external appearances and conditions of the world may change, such changes can never unroot the fundamental potentialities of the human state and of man’s relationship with God; and as it is with these latter that the teaching and method of the Philokalia are concerned, the counsels it enshrines are as valid and effective today as they were at the times at which they were written. — b,p17 (m)

The Philokalia

This blog has mostly been random thoughts without much direction so I decided that I would use this space to share some of my //work//. Over the past 2 years I’ve been going over The Philokalia which is a wonderful work that I recommend to everyone who is interested in the spiritual path.

Unfortunately it is very long and wordy, inaccessible to most people who don’t have to time to read the entire thing. Keeping this in mind, I have developed a note taking/bookmarking process with the intent of allowing me to review the key statements and points in a text which may be very long, without having to find it each time. I think that by sharing these sections of text, it will allow the more casual explorer to find the essential meaning from the text, a cliff-notes if you will.

So here it is, I am going to post in sections with the first being the introduction. If you are interested in the actual text you can find it on Amazon. I am using The Philokalia The Complete Text compiled by St Nikodimos of the Holy Mountain and St Markios of Corinth.

I hope that you find this useful.

Site Redesign!

Did a complete site redesign including new hosting and a new theme. Working with a blog site hosted on WordPress.com was a pain in the butt and it was costing way more than it should. In order to go from the ”personal” to the next plan up would be something like $150/year up-front and that would be to just get the basic WordPress functionality. You cannot even load plugins in the personal plan!

Anyways, the new hosting is done as a droplet on Digital Ocean which is a great VPS provider that I have been using for years. Everything is much faster and easier to manage using their hosting. They also have a wonderful knowledge-base with walk-throughs on most everything you would want to do.

On the personal side, things have been crazy so hopefully I get back to posting here. Working on my back-end notes and currently reading the Shrimad Bhagavatam and the Narada-Bhakti-Sutra which I am really enjoying. If I can, I will try and post insights gained here soon!

<3 <3 <3 Peace, Love, Joy!

‘5 of Wands’ under ‘The Tower’

Under The Tower I seem to be getting a lot of this card, the Five of Wands telling me that this is a time of strife and struggle. There is also something to be said about “playing the game” rather than “playing to win”.

In the past, I’ve always been of the mind that it is “all or nothing”. If I don’t see a way to win, I attempt to negate the game itself. All games are a “sham” in a way, but it is not good to abandon the game all together just because you see/feel that there is no way to win. Only a poor loser tries to flip the entire table if he/she is losing. The right way to get through a loss is to congratulate the winner and prepare for the next round, the next battle. If you lose a battle and then flip the table, you will never win.

Even if you are sure to lose, there is no need to simply “give up”. Play the game with detachment from winning and focus on learning and growth. Focus on the things you can’t lose which are more important than winning itself; like experience. There is never a real win or loss. Don’t fool yourself and think that a loss is somehow fatal. You always have a good chance to play again and eventually you are sure to find success. In-fact, the longer it takes, the more powerful the “win” will be.

If an argument or challenge comes your way do not rashly fall into the game. Sit back for a second and find the best path for both parties involved. That often requires that you have fortitude in your own strength and a firm grasp/understanding of the rules. Know your place in the battle and you may just find the key without even fighting.

Two of Wands

Today I received the “Two of Wands” under “The Tower”. Just before getting “The Tower” I received this card on 8/11 which was my wife’s birthday. It was also the day that Jupiter goes direct in Sagittarius as well as Uranus going retrograde. Right now, there is a serious need for looking out on our future and what we need to do to get there. “The Tower” is a card I’ve been getting lately and it tells me to “be careful” as well as that “the mighty have fallen”. The mighty may be in the external world but in a very real and more important way it is the ego inside of me.

Basically, “keep your eyes on the ball” and “don’t block yourself”. It is amazing to realize just how much we sabotage ourselves out of fear. Often we never even get a chance to start because we have convinced ourselves that it is “too hard” or impossible.

In the past, I often thought that if I started to be happy, I would die. Like me having a happy life was somehow fatal. Now, I understand what I thought was not from me but was, in a very big way, put into me by my family. There are many, many people across the world who are ‘trapped’ in their ‘local’. I should write more on ‘localization’ but it is basically having a narrow view. The “Two of Wands” is about the “bigger view” that may remove you from the stuck position you may think you are in.

There is a great secret: Every maze is navigable no matter how complicated or “impossible” it may seem through a single method. Touch one hand to the wall and follow the wall all the way without stopping. Then you will find the exit (or the entrance) without even having to think about it. Heck you could do it with your eyes closed! That is the secret of the left/right hand paths.

Om Namah Shivaya!

The Tower

This is not my favorite card, but it is one that is very powerful and honestly it is at times very needed. In the most simplistic of terms it is “release”. The release of what?

When a spring is pushed down on, it stores a certain amount of energy within it as tension. When the “weight” is removed, the pent up energy is released and the tension is removed. At the same time, the spring, because of its built up energy, is able to jump and fly around the room possibly causing havoc. Just like a spring, it is not always the case that it will result in havoc, especially if you understand the amount of pressure that has been built up.

“The Tower” is the natural change that cannot be stopped. The crown is the ego who thought it was above the laws of nature. False ego and pride are the wrong perceptive that must be toppled. The ego, because of its miss-perception creates disaster by its misuse of natural energy for its own ends. It creates the havoc by resistance of the inevitable. The Tower shows people falling from a lofty place. The false position. Instead of grasping onto a false security and sense of pride, it is far better to simply work with the universe and submit to its correct and incorruptible will.

In a way, The Tower is the removal of the ego from its “throne”. It is the victory of time over all, even the demi-gods. If done right, it is an opportunity for great insight and revelation.

Back From Hiatus

Well, I have not written here on this blog for quite some time and I figured it would be a good idea to at least write a post so this thing doesn’t just float away and disappear. There has been a whole lot of change and experience gained over the past year or so, mainly on the personal growth front but also professionally and spiritually.

Of late I have been doing lots of fun and exciting things including things that I have always wanted to do but never really got around to doing. First and foremost is playing guitar. I have always wanted to play the guitar and a long time back I even had a Fender Stratocaster I picked up but never really learned to play. Over the years it has always been in the back of my mind and about a year ago now I inherited (or borrowed) a cheap Epiphone from my brother in law which got me playing and practicing most everyday.

The thing that really got me to play this time around is my dreams. I have, over the years, had many many many dreams of me playing awesome grooves on the guitar in a fashion that was almost magically natural. After waking from a specifically vivid dream of me playing a particularly tasty lick I figured this was a sign that I needed to get out of my box and PLAY! At that point I made a resolve to try and play the guitar every single day, to practice until I can play like I do in my dreams.

Finally, after many hours of playing and jamming in my garage it was apparent that I needed a better, more reliable and well built guitar so I have been on the hunt for a Les Paul style guitar for the past week. During the discovery process I am learning so much about guitars and the differences between quality and function. It has really gotten me tapped into the guitar seen on the Internet (specifically Youtube) and this has helped me to hone in on which guitar (style, brand, price-point) I should purchase.

I have also been studying Vedic literature, which I have found to be most illuminating. I am currently reading copies of the Shrimad Bagavatam and the Bhagavad-gita, investigating the form of Vishnu as Gauranga (Krishna). Meditation is, of course, still very prevalent in my life. I try to do a “round” everyday and have done many other devotional pass-times to connect myself with the divine Mahatma.

On the work front things have been busy and somewhat stressful. At the start of 2017 I started my MSP and I have been working hard to get more clients and iron out all my business kinks. The learning experience is really coming through as I attempt to setup a company and the internal structure for ticketing, scheduling, automation, etc. I recently (a few months ago) purchased Connectwise Manage and that has been working out well. More possibly on that (in-depth review, work-throughs) in the future if I can find the time. I am finding the value of getting the right people to fit in the right places and the main lesson is that no one can do everything by themselves. Those who have experience know this to be true!

Overall, lots is going on and there are many things changing at such a rapid pace it is hard to get it all down here in this brief post. I am planning on writing more here including more spiritual things as well as tech related articles. If all goes well this will be more active in the near future!

Peace, Love and Light to everyone! Om Hari Om!

Song to the Ishvara

OM! Oh lord of all, to which all things are the effect. The ruler of all that is, has been and will ever be. The keeper of the steady thought and sustainer of all. To which the sun bows, to which the moon bows. To which the stars sing praises. To which the clouds carry, from which the rains fall. Blessed above all. Keeper of the steady thought. To that I sing praises. To that I feel bliss. Oh Lord to which the breath of life is granted. Out of which all winds blow. The keeper of light. The dweller of darkness. To the one who knows no direction. To the one who from which comes all direction. May you be known in all those directions. Out of which came from you! May ignorance be taken from the eyes of the world. May the light of your steady thought illuminate the hearts of this world. In your steady thought, grant us the path to illumination. Grant us access to your chambers. If our hearts and thoughts are right. If not, pull us in your direction.

OM! Slowly, slowly we make progress toward union with you. Slowly, slowly we come to know you. Guide us in the right path. Show us the answers to our questions. remove the stumbling blocks from our path. Remove our hands from our eyes. Let us know your infinite glory.

OM! Let us speak your divine name. May it be imprinted upon our minds. May it be imprinted upon our hearts! Let fear not overcome us. Let us not know any other path. Let us see the truth among the lies. Grant us the vision to see things as they really are. Reality hides within you and only you. Make our days moderately bright. Our nights moderately dark. Illuminate the inside and the outside in equal measure. Let us not be hot or cold. But let us dwell always in you. Oh holder of the steady thought. Allow us to shine your light into this world. Let us follow your example always. Do not allow us to fall victim to the false. Let us forever know out place in the light of truth. Let us not know too much this way or that way. But let us find balance and harmony. Within and without all things, let us find your balance and harmony. To the one who dwells in all things I sent my praises. Let me keep a constant and steady watch to you. May my mind not falter. May my body be strong. May my eyes and heart know you. May my mouths and my heart know you. May my smell and hearing know you in my heart. May I return to you. To your everlasting abode. Let me know my place among men. Let me know myself as I am. I am not this, I am all things. I am not this world, I am all worlds. I am not this body, I am all bodies. I am not this life. I am certainly all lives. Praise be to that!

Holding yourself back

Today’s card: Eight of Swords

For the chariot card, I mentioned that the energy was all about not being afraid to move forward, well this card is all about confronting that fear. The first thing that comes to mind is a quote by the Butthole Surfers: “It is better to regret something you did, than something you didn’t do.” Basically, if you think of things the right way, it is always better to take action and move while you are learning and progressing, rather than standing in one place and retarding your growth. Movement through life is key, otherwise you are wasting your here on this earth.

In the past I have been guilty many times of not moving; I was scared to put myself out there. I always thought of it through the analogy of floating down a river:

I am going down the river in a raft and I can hear around the river bend what sounds like a waterfall. I am afraid to go any farther, and out of fear I grab onto a branch on the side of the river and hold on. The current is moving fast and it takes a lot of effort to hold on and not get swept away by the current. Other people are floating by, and some of them I yell out to, warning them of the danger of going down the river. There are some who are also scared and they join me in holding onto a branch or whatever they can get a hold of on the side of the river. I am able to hold on for a very ling time, but eventually I start to grow tired so I have to let go. After I do, the river takes me around the dreaded bend and I come to find out there was no waterfall but simply a small rapids that I easily navigate. Farther down the river I discover that the water and surrounding landscape is calm and serene. There was more to fear about just sitting there, more danger holding on then there was in just letting go.

It does not seem like it when you are holding on, but it is harder to hold on and resist the current, to stay in one place, than it is to just face the fear and go with the flow. When you get stuck in once place, whether it is voluntary or by circumstances seemingly beyond your control, it can make you feel overwhelmed and unsure about yourself and your abilities. This, in turn will affect everything that you do. It makes everything feel like a chore, a burden to escape from. This is because all of your energy is being spent just trying to hold on. Once you let go, there is no need to feel that way anymore because all of your energy becomes available to you once again. The burden of holding on and fighting the current lifts from you and you are able to act without feeling like there is something constantly holding you back.

Events start to unfold and present opportunities to you. Using the power of discernment we are able to figure out the right path down the river. You are able to do the work to navigate the river of life without the burden of holding yourself back. Once you are moving all things become possible for you. There are many ways to hold on: Drugs, drinking, dead end jobs, through supposed friends, lovers who are not right but to which you cling. There are many ways to hold on, but the catalyst for all inaction is always the same: FEAR. Put the fear away and stop holding yourself back! Quickly you will discover that the river current is your friend and not an enemy.

Concentration

Here we are again with the beloved chariot! Out of all the card, I think that The Chariot is the most expressive of this year so far. For me, it has been all about control and balance. About not getting caught up in moments and about movement through the power of will.

Will-power is the force created by conquering the impulse of desire. As with all things that can be conquered, this too will put up a fight. Any time you push against something, it’s natural tendency is to push back. But the more force you are able to apply through will power and determination, the more you are able to control and the more you are able to move.

The Chariot represents the conglomeration of all the forces that are available to us, brought under control and used as one would use an instrument to play music. The stronger and more powerful the rider of the chariot, the stronger the chariot itself. The weaker the rider, the more dangerous the chariot. Keeping control of the body, the mind, and the resulting sensory world is the key to successfully navigating this life. This control is achieved through the practice of intense concentration.

This intense concentration is known as meditation, similar to the word mediation. The power that comes from this meditation is the tool that builds the chariot and that is discrimination. Discrimination is the ability to tell the right from the wrong. This produced duality apparent, and is not the reality but simply a tool for correct action to be done. Correct action (dharma) is the reason the world exists. Nothing more. For reality is one, but appears to be dial in order, or as a result of, motion. “In order” is dharma, “as a result of” is karma.

Through the realization of one the other vanishes. Eventually they both disappear. The chariot of our bodies is the action temple. Tools created over millions of years on this planet in order that intelligence and consciousness can peek into this world. That is a great secret. We are ll the bodies of the lord manifesting through our instruments the music of bliss. Everything else is an illusion.

By intense concentration this all came into being. Remember? For you are the concentrator of all of this! Know this and gain control over your creation. Bring light, love and happiness into this world. May we all come closer to the realization of the ultimate truth… That all is one and we are all the same One viewed from different angles. Do not forget this. Keep my mind steady on this, and everything will flow as it is supposed to. Bliss.