Renting Space In Your Mind

A friend heard a man on a bus today say Don’t let anyone rent space in your mind and challenged me to explain what it means to rent space in your mind.

I immediately thought of ideas from figures like Buddha, Socrates, Jesus or Muhammad renting space in my mind either because I admire such ideas, or because I fear and loathe them.

I was informed that I am wrong. Renting space in your mind means harboring anger or resentment regarding something that someone has done to you, or not done for you. If you cannot let go, forgive, forget and move on, then that injustice or affront occupies your mind, renting space, for days or weeks or years or, as Walt Whitman might say, for “stretching cycles of years.”

I suspect I might also be correct in my interpretation of renting space. Certainly Buddha, Socrates, Jesus and Muhammad are life-long tenants in the minds of Thich Nhat Hahn, Will Durant, Joseph Ratzinger, and Osama bin Laden, respectively.

Rabbi Harold Kushner gave some great advice against being a slum landlord in any grudge ghetto

He once advised a woman to “forgive” (i.e. forget) her husband’s abandoning of her family, since if she continues for years to be possessed by anger and resentment, then she allows her ex-husband a form of victory over her. Kushner likens this to anger over the Holocaust, in the sense that if one permits the feeling to dominate one’s life for years, then one allows the Nazis to be in some sense victorious.

Thought is the living room for ideas, and desire is the bedroom for emotions, in the lofts and tenements which our mind leases out. We can see the vivid truth in this by examining the very words themselves. Living Room separates the living from the room, as logic separates life from the space in which it is lived, where as emotion passionately joins bed and room to an indistinguishable one.

Is Ego or Selfishness the root cause of all evils?

Think about absolute peace. Is there desire in that state of absolute peace. Every religion proclaims “peace” (even the most violent or religions). There is an important verse in the Psalms “Seek peace, and pursue it”. Jeru-salem means “City of Peace”. The name Solomon, is a
form of Shalom, which means peace. Jesus spoke of a “peace which passes all understanding”.

It is good that we have added peace to our equation.

“The meek shall inherit the earth” are the words of Jesus in the New Testament. The ancient Chinese had a concept of “Wu-Wei”, action through non-action. I think there is also a verse in the Gita with speaks of
this. In the “Tao” of Lao-Tse, we read “He who knows does not say. He who says does not know.” All these notions touch on the same problem, that desire itself is an impediment. It is the “self” which yearns for the
fruits of actions.

All religions’ goal is the same, though the paths and means are different. One human lifetime is far too short for attainment. This is why many rebirths are necessary, embracing many religious and philosophical paths.

Can thought, which is material, a chemical process, a thing, which has created all this structure, can that very thought solve all our problems?

One must very carefully, very diligently, find out what are the limitations of thought. And can thought itself realize its limitation and therefore not spill over into the realm which thought can never touch? Thought has created the technological world, and thought has also created the division between “you” and “me”.

Thought has created the image of you and the “me”, and these images separate each one of us.

Thought can only function in duality, in opposites and therefore all reaction is a divisive process, a separating process. And thought has created divisions between human beings, nationalities, religious beliefs, dogmas, political differences, opinions, conclusions, all that is the result of thought.

Thought has created this whole structure of social behavior, which is essentially based on tradition, which is mechanical. Thought has also created the religious world, the Christian, the Buddhist, the Hindu, the
Muslim, with all the divisions, all the practices, all the innumerable gurus that are springing up like mushrooms. And thought has created what it considers is love. Is compassion the result of “love”, the result of thought?
That is our problem, those are all our problems.

The Highest Dharma (or righteousness) is Ahimsa (non-violence). The greatest miracle is to love and forgive ones enemy. Anger, vengeance, retribution and torture are not divine but devilish and demonic.

Derrida, father of postmodernism, writes, “Forgiveness, if it ever happens at all, happens in the faces of the unforgivable, such as Hiroshima or the Nazi death camps”

The saint can see saintliness in even the worst sinner, but a sinner sees sinfulness even in the holiest saint. When a pick-pocket meets a saint, all he sees are pockets.

Once, in the Mahabharat, a question was posed to Duryodhana on what he thinks about the people of the world. His reply was that the world was rotten and that everyone in it was a Dushta (rogues). He doesn’t find even
a single noble person. The same question was posed to Yudhishtira. His reply was that it was a beautiful world with only Sajjanas (noble people) in that. He does not find even a single Dushta. So, the moral is: How you
perceive the world reflects on what you are inside. Why can’t people take in only the good and leave the bad?

No one is perfect.

You see only what you chose to see, so you must thank yourself.

You want freedom the bitter fruits of desire, not from desire itself and this is a very important thing to understand.

If you could strip desire of pain, of suffering, of struggle, of all the anxieties and fears that go with it, so that only the pleasure remained, would you then want to be free of desire ?

What is important is not to throttle desire , but to understand energy and the utilization of energy in the right direction

The desire to become – to become a great man, a great saint, a great this or that – has no end and therefore no fulfillment; its demand is ever for the “more” and such desire brings agony, misery, wars—

Every desire is fraught with evil, whether the desire itself is for the good or evil Sorrow is the shadow of desire.

That which is actuated by desire is the sole source of sorrow and becomes insipid in an instant, It is sought after by the ignorant.

What did Martin Luther of the German Reformation say, in the 16th century, as he nailed his 95 Thesis on the doors of the cathedral? ‘Here I stand, I can do no other’.

Sitaram says, “I, too, have nailed my thesis on the virtual doors of the world’s cathedral doors and say to the world: Here I stand, I can do no other.”

Everyone is driven by something and towards something. Some are driven by silence and non-involvement.

Socrates had an overwhelming need to talk, and no visible source of income. Yet the world would be slightly more impoverished today had he kept silent. Talking a lot is not necessarily a bad thing. Fancy talk on important subjects is called Dialogue. The process is called Dialectic.

Do not look back in anger, nor forward in fear, but around in awareness

Two good books to read are:

“If you meet the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him” by Sheldon Kopp

“When Everything you ever wanted isn’t enough” – Rabbi Harold Kushner

What is our life? Is it the food we eat or the conversations we have or the differential equations we solve? Or is there some deeper purpose, and ,if
there is, how do we touch this deeper level? All of us are looking for some sign that life is not just a random series of days, telescoping into each other.

Curiosity is never satisfied. It’s satisfaction is a form of death. Desires are never satisfied. Our greatest gift and our greatest curse is that we can imagine a perfection greater than anything that could possibly exist.

Perhaps the most important single work of Carl Jung is a small monograph of 100 pages entitled “On the Nature of the Psyche”.

Basically, Jung is saying that there is a “psychoid” aspect of matter, which strives towards, or evolves consciousness. Conversely, there is a “material” aspect of consciousness or psyche, which is perhaps Freud’s
“death instinct”, a weariness of consciousness and a desire to return to the inanimate.

Jung says “If the day comes that mankind fires a missile at Mars and damages Mars, it will be accurate to say that it is the psychoid aspect of matter which did the damage (since the big bang evolved the galaxies,
which evolved suns and planets, which evolved life, which evolved the consciousness that invented and built and fired that missile.”

Scriptures record only two negative actions of Jesus. He drives the money changers out of the temple with an upraised arm (but does not strike them).

He sees a fig tree which gives all the symptoms of being ripe with fruit (green leaves, etc.) but finds that it has no fruit. So He says “Be thou withered.” (in Greek, Xerantheesete). It is the next day that the apostles
notice the tree dead and withered (notice, the destruction is not
immediate).

There is only one mention of Jesus ever writing anything. When Jesus tells the accusers of the adulteress “let he who is without sin cast the first stone”, Jesus stoops down and begins to write with His finger in the sand.
One by one, people leave, until only the accused woman is left. We are not told that the people who leave read what is written in the sand, or that what is written causes them to leave. Some ancient theologians speculate
that the Theanthropos God-man, the Knower of Hearts, was writing things known only to each individual, which convicted them in their hearts, … perhaps the names of their lovers…

A priest once asked a crusty old Irish cynic “What is your religion.” He replied, “My religion is the oldest religion in the world. I try to be a nice guy.”

One day, I decided to visit a reform Jewish Synagogue. I
arrived one hour early, so the janitor let me in. The place was empty so, I go up to the front pew and I’m sitting there, looking at the sanctuary, the Torah scrolls (inside), When suddenly, in my mind, comes three very
strong loud thoughts, one right after another, almost like it wasn’t my own thoughts; you know, an inner monologue; a stream of consciousness.

The first thought : “A thought or memory in the mind of God… must certainly have more , greater “reality” than any sensible , palpable , physical thing.”

The second thought: “Who amongst us would ever be forgotten in “The Mind of God” Then, the third thought, “You will be remembered after the fashion which you have cast yourself by your own free-will actions… if
bitter angry wretches, you shall be remembered as a wretch; if humble, grateful, patient, cheerful personality, then you shall be remembered as cheerful; AND THEREIN LIES HEAVEN AND HELL.”

What were those “three strong loud thoughts” which seemed to come from nowhere? Who can say?

Hobbes on the first page of his book “Leviathan” writes, “If men were angels, there would be no need for Government.”

When all self is OTHER we have sanctity, holiness. But when all other is SELF, when all self is selfish and self-centered, we have sin, evil.

Someone wisely commented to me recently that the original meaning of “sacrifice” is sacri + ficere ( in Latin, to MAKE HOLY). So when we offer up and sacrifice our SELF on the sacrificial alter, then man becomes God,
and self disappears.

Aristotle wrote, “A friend is another ‘I’ (another self).”

“Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself, and Love thy God with all Thy Heart Mind and Soul”, upon this hangs all the Law.

But then the 51st (or in the Greek Septuagint, 50th) Psalm is the exact summary of all this, in a way.

“Whole burnt offerings are not pleasing to Thee. A heart that is broken, and humbled and contrite is a pleasing sacrifice unto the Lord (i.e. the sacrifice of Self/Ego).”

What does the word salvation really mean, not to us today, but to the original writers of the Bible, the Old Testament? Today we are led to believe that its meaning is some sort of secret happening, a rite of
initiation possibly, or enlightenment, or a grace of forgiveness which we have not earned.

For Jews in the Torah (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deut.), it almost seemed to mean simply, peace from war, food (fruitfulness of land), and reproduction (fertility, survival of offspring, and future generations), and perhaps, at end of Pentateuch, a national identity
(promised land). Sheol or hell does not seem to necessarily be a place of eternal punishment. Nor does anyone praise God, or do anything else, after death. In Historical and prophetic books which come after Torah, and
psalms, deliverance seems to be from the sinful nature which keeps one from observing that law (mitzvahs) which will provide for all the above mentioned (peace, food, progeny).

Only after the Babylonian Captivity of Jews (which put them in contact with Zoroastrians who have a distinct notion of the GOOD God Ahura Mazda, eternally pitted against the evil satan figure of Angra Mainu). And
this God-Satan conflict becomes very dramatic in Revelation (and also St. Paul’s Invisible warfare against wickedness in high places, angels of light assuming the guise of false Christs, false teachers).

It is in those books which come after that Babylonian Captivity that we begin to see the notion of resurrection such as Ezekiel’s vision of the dead bones rising and becoming all of Israel.

Finally, in New Testament, the clear cut concept of salvation as entering heaven (the gate is narrow, the way difficult, few find it , in Luke).

In comparison to another term; being reborn, the idea is another vague and secretive idea. It, like the term salvation, is taught in such a way as to lead us to believe there is some elite club where only a few are
allowed, and that membership to that club is the highest goal in life

But, in eastern religions, Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, Sikh, etc.. being born again is ALSO necessary to “salvation” or moksha, but not simply ONCE with water and spirit, but literally COUNTLESS times, literally reborn… and the notion is that one is delivered FROM ONES OWN DESIRES… for as long as there is some remnant of desire, the soul is attracted back to birth in the world again and again, until those desires are fulfilled… and Siddhartha Gautama (Buddha) said , “We suffer PRECISELY because we desire things we do not have (like sports cars or a beautiful spouse) and we HAVE things we do not desire (like having cancer, or a prison sentence).

Especially in Theravadin Buddhism, your GOOD BUDDHA nature is already within you, and NO ONE but yourself can perfect yourself… there is no outer grace or magic or rite or ritual, or even transfer of merit (as in
Mahayana Buddhism)

In Buddhist and Hindu sects (not all denominations but many) there is no evil Satan figure. “Evil” is the suffering built into the karmic side effects of thoughts and actions, like Newton’s 3rd law, for every action, and equal
reaction (though to say opposite does not fit metaphor)…. cast you good bread upon the waters,…. and it shall return to you (karmicly)….
cast your evil bread upon the waters and that too shall return to you (though again to say seven-fold might not fit the analogy in the case of Karma).

So the argument of salvation is really about freeing mankind from this force to open up the doors for a truly enlightened society. Faith is the way we can overcome the lies, smear campaign and etc, and keep hope for
the future. Works are inspired by faith and just as necessary for the successful attempt at freedom which we have not realized in 10,000 years.

Why is there a Universe, and why am I personally in that universe, experiencing it, and my experiencing my sense of self?

Of the few things we can count on as our “birth right”, certainly death is one. We are certain that we shall die. Some are cheated of pleasures, wealth, happiness, family, education, power, fame; but no one is ever cheated out of death.

But what is the purpose of it all?

Is it all the doing of some petty God whose sole concern is that we believe and worship in one particular language, in one particular fashion, even though that God disdains to manifest even to the greatest prophet?

Is the whole purpose of this human life to die and spend eternity glutting ourselves on physical pleasures and delights, rivers of wine and honey, virgins, (if we were good enough to believe in that invisible angry God), or
to spend eternity agonizing in a ghoulish torture chamber?

Sometimes, questions themselves have greater worth and value than any answer which might possibly be provided.

One person writes to me concerning suffering in the world, and how they can help) You have asked,

“Why is there evil and suffering in world, and sickness for children?”

… and also…

“I have met many young people who have been abused in childhood, how can I help them? What can I say?”

These are excellent questions.

Each of us must help ourselves. Only the SELF can help the self. In the Gita, Krishna says “The self is both the greatest friend and the greatest enemy.” You have seen the truth of this I am sure with other young
children and teenagers. Everyone can tell them certain things and give them advice. But it does no good until they themselves learn something through direct experience and decide to take the advice. But at
that point, they are GIVING THE ADVICE TO THEMSELVES. That is why many re-births are necessary, for soul to gain direct experience. SALVATION by an outside power is not sufficient.

There is only guidance, there is no salvation, at least not in the “magic wand” sense. And to be saved from WHAT? Consciousness always exists. The mind always exists. Even religions which assume one birth, and then
the Judgment, and an eternity in the torment of hell or the pleasures of paradise; even such religions admit that there is MIND and CONSCIOUSNESS in those hells and heavens. Even the Prophet Isaiah
acknowledges the Mind of God, when he writes “As high as the heaven is from the earth; so far are My ways from your ways, My mind (thoughts) from your minds and thoughts.”

You see, when you ask, “What can I say to them to comfort or help them?”, you are asking for words to give them. But so many words have been given and revealed in the scriptures of the worlds religions. So if words could be sufficient, the right words would have been revealed or given long ago. But it is the direct experience, through
suffering, that transforms the soul, through many rebirths, not hearing words alone. In fact, if mere words were sufficient to save a soul, and if salvation were the purpose of creation, then the birth of so many billions into the world, born to one life, and then the judgment, would be unnecessary. For then, the proper words would have been given or revealed to our ancestors, our forefathers such as Abraham and Sarah. THEIR SOULS would have been saved by those words, and their WOMBS would have been sealed up, infertile and barren. Once EXISTING souls have been saved, for all eternity, what point or purpose is there to create MORE SOULS, in need of salvation, which may possibly or likely become DAMNED.

At each moment in time, each of us is exactly as we should be. We are doing and experiencing what is necessary for us to experience and confront, based on past thoughts and actions of this life, or some previous
life. Otherwise, how could we understand one baby born to wealth and health, and another baby to poverty and sickness. The Question of God’s unfairness arises only when we assume just one birth.

Therefore, people like Mother Theresa, Gandhi, the Dalai Lama, Pope John Paul, each of those holy people was doing what they were supposed to be doing, experiencing, dealing with, at that point in time. But so also all the
drug dealers, and prostitutes, and even serial killers; they also were doing and experiencing EXACTLY what what was necessary FOR THEM at that point in time. In the Gita, Krishna says in so many words, “Even though you try not to follow your dharma, and resist it, yet you will be
irresistibly drawn to follow it and actualize it.”

If knowledge of sin brings about a mood of repentance and regret, well surely the sin must have been necessary for one to know what it means to be SORRY, or even to realize one’s own imperfection. If the Highest of Saints are the martyrs who have been slaughtered and killed by unbelievers who persecute them; the murderous unbelievers are certainly necessary to persecute and kill the Martyred Saints. Even Jesus said of Judas Iscariot who betrayed him, “It is NECESSARY that this happen, but woe unto him (Judas); better that he had NEVER BEEN BORN.”

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