The Sanga

By Scott Shaw

         In the Buddhist tradition it is taught that the Sanga or Spiritual Community is one of the primary elements that one should take into consideration as they walk upon the Spiritual Path. To put this understanding into a more usable definition, the Sanga refers to the fact that, “You can know a person by the company that they keep.” Worldly people associate with worldly people and spiritual people associate with spiritual people.

         Throughout all spiritual traditions a person is told that they should let go of worldly friends and only associate with spiritually, like-minded people. On the surface, this sounds like a pretty good idea.

         Think about it… For the most part a spiritually inclined person is probably not going to get you into too much trouble as they probably don’t drink, do drugs, womanize (or manize), don’t party, and don’t do worldly activities that may have the tendency to lead you down the road to demise. Thus, you will probably remain fairly safe.

         But, at this juncture, the questions have to be raised, “What exactly is spiritual?” And, “Who is truly a spiritual person?”

         This is the point where the novice on the Spiritual Path oftentimes becomes confused. For what appears to be spiritual is not always the truest representation of spirituality. And, those who appear to be holy are not necessarily that.

         Here in the west, the obvious examples of this are the priests who mess with young children. On all levels that is just wrong. There is no excuse and no justification for that type of action.

         Though these inappropriate actions have been at the forefront of the news over the past couple of decades, these actions have gone on literally forever. And, they have spanned all cultures and religious traditions.

         In fact, it is so common that a person in a position of religious authority takes advantage of a person, that is it almost universally unfathomable. But, it happens everyday.

         Add to this that these people are supposed representatives of god (or what ever figure a particular religions places as its most holy). From this, these people are provided with a license to do pretty much whatever they want and claim it as an act of god. Here lies one of the primary problems with the concept of Sanga.

At its heart, the Sanga ideology if fine. But, then add to it, the desirous mind of the human personality, and the concept and all of the good it may provide is completely lost.

         Watch the news when a priest or other religious figure is accused of inappropriate behavior and you will always see people stepping up to their defense. Then, when the accusations are proven to be true, the statements arrive, “I can’t believe it. He seemed like such a good man.” And so on…

         On the other side of the issue, as this type of behavior has become so prevalent, there are people who falsely claim that a person did something inappropriate to them, when, in fact, they did not. An individual does this simply to either take control over a person’s life or to make that person seem less to the masses. This may be based in anger, jealously, or an untold number of other emotions. But, at the end of the day it creates the same Life-Problem attributed to that of the wayward priest; namely, the actions of another destroy and forever alter the life of a person.

         Is this true spirituality?

At the heart of the Sanga is people. People by their very nature, their very design, are flawed.

The human race is based upon desire. People desire THINGS. These things may be physical; they may be spiritual. But, desire is the root cause of all things both good and bad in this place we call life.

         Some people desire objects. Some people desire love. Some people desire lust. Some people desire fulfillment. Some people desire enlightenment. But, no matter what the title, desire is desire.

         Though it is commonly understood that a Sanga is made up of specified group of people who desire the same thing. But, do they?

         Each person comes to the Sanga with their own unique set of life experiences. Each person comes to the Sanga with his or her own personality. Each person comes to the Sanga with his or her own set of desires. And though they may each be seeking a similar end-goal—though they each may desire a similar communal experience, each person is a unique and different entity. As such, they each add a particular set of variables to the overall equation.

         A Sanga is measured by the overall output of its amassed energy. Add one faulty person to a Sanga and that energy is damaged and altered forever.

         Each and every action we take not only affects ourselves and the overall evolution of our life but it also affects any of those we have interaction with.

What you do today equals the choices you will be presented with tomorrow.

Who you encounter today, leads you to the people you will interact with tomorrow.

As each person is their own unique entity, you can never judge and never assume what actions they will make from moment to moment. As such, though they may present themselves as a spiritual or as a worldly person, that image they present can never truly define who they are because that is simply a projection of how they want to be viewed by the world. It is not necessarily who they truly are.

The Sanga, in its concept, is an idealize image of a perfect community and support group. Though it sounds nice and no doubt can provide a positive learning experience, you must always keep your guard up, as you can never know what actions another person may take.

Ultimately, true spiritually is never defined by how a person appears to the world. True spiritually is only known internally. It is only defined by the True Inner Self.

Find it in you. Not outside of you.

Copyright © 2012—All Rights Reserved

Karma Consciousness or the Consciousness of Karma

By Scott Shaw

You have done something that has hurt someone but instead of understanding the pain you have inflicted you think about yourself.

You have taken something from someone but instead of understanding the loss you have created in the life of that other person you think about yourself.

You have lied to someone but instead of understanding the confusion and chaos your expressed falsehood has created in the life of that other person you only think about yourself.

You have spread rumors behind the back of someone but instead of caring about the damage you have done to the reputation of that person you only think about yourself.

If you ask anyone why they have done what they have done that has hurt or altered the life of another person they will always provide you with a reason for what they have done. But, is that reason the truth? Though it may the truth that projects from their own mind, their mind only thinks about themselves. Their mind is only concerned with themselves. Ask the person who was affected in a negative manner by what another person has done and they will have a completely different perspective. Whose perspective is the correct perspective and based in the absolute truth?

There are always two sides to any interpersonal equation. There is the person who is the instigator/the doer and there is the person who is on the receiving end. The moment that doer sets a course of events into motion that hurts another person in any manner they become the criminal but how many people think of themselves as a criminal. They may think of themselves as the victor. They may think of themselves as the winner. They may think of themselves as the controller. But, they never think of the other person as anything more than the adversary, the diminished, or the one they have conquered.

People raise themselves into life defined by a desire to become. People raise themselves into life defined by a desire to have. Ask yourself, what is becoming? What is having? What is any accomplishment or win in life defined by if that personally defined achievement takes from the life of someone else? But, who thinks about this? Who thinks about their impact? Who cares about their impact? Who cares about anything or anybody as long as they have gotten what they want?

Have you ever observed a person who is at the top of their game? Have you ever watched a person who is at the top of their profession? Have you ever watched a person who is flush with cash? What do you observe? Is the person caring or giving? Is the person extremely conscious of those they have climbed over to get to the top? Is the person cognizant of what they have done to get where they are? Or, do they only relish in their own power and become very angry when someone challenges that power? And, if someone does, what does that person do to that person? Do they care about them? Do they understand them? Do they give to them? Or, do they find a way to attempt to diminish that individual?

Observe a person who has done something that has hurt someone else. Now, observe that same person when something is done to them. Who do they think about? Do they think about the person or people they have hurt? Or, does all focus shift only to themselves as they blame the person who has counter attacked?

People never think about the pain that they caused other people. People never think abut the karma they are creating. People are selfish. Why do you think there is so much chaos in the world? Why do you think there is so much pain in the world? Why do you think there is so much conflict in the world? The answer, people only care about themselves. Thus, giving birth to a never-ending stream of karma.

If you want to know who a person truly is, observe how they think about, talk about, and treat other people. If you want to know who you truly are, observe how you think about, talk about, and treat other people. Who are they? Who are you? And, do they/do you treat people the way they should be treated?

If you want to see where your life will end up. Study the way you interact with other people. Observe they way you speak about, think about, and treat other people. You define them as they will ultimately define you. You set your own destiny into motion. Be the source of caring.

Copyright © 2019—All Rights Reserved

I Know More Than You

Here is a previously published article that I penned in 1995. 

By Scott Shaw

This place we call LIFE is a curious phenomena. In association with all of the unwanted events we have to deal with; be they natural catastrophes, lying politician, or just the generalized reality of the unwelcome things that happen that we don’t want to happen—we must also deal with other people. And, this is where LIFE gets really interesting.

How many times have we each encountered someone who defines themselves as better or more than us simply because they believe the life they are living is somehow more accomplished, more worthy, or simply superior?

“I am better than you because I don’t eat meat, I don’t drink coffee, I don’t drink alcohol, and I do yoga!”

Or, “You are a sissy because you don’t eat meat, don’t drink, don’t take drugs!”

These individual rationales continue:

“I know more than you and because I went to a better university than you!”

“I live in a better neighbor than you do.”

“My race is better than yours!”

On the spiritual path this style of nonsense occurs, as well.

“I can meditate longer than you.”

“My religion is the only true religion of God!”

“My teacher is more holy than your teacher!”

“You practice cowboy Zen. I am a practitioner of REAL Zen!”

“Jesus is the only true way!”

And, the martial arts, (oh my god), it is saturated with ‘Better than you’ judgments.

“Your style sucks! My style is superior!”

“Your techniques are terrible. My techniques are so much better!”

“I know the real history of the martial arts, you don’t!”

“I can kick your butt! Let’s fight!”

Who of us has not encountered this style of, “Better Than You Judgment?”

Now, it is NOT simply that these people are out there and we happen to meet them. In many cases, we invite these, “I’m Better Than You” people into our lives. For example, people who practice psychology are some of the worst proponents of judgment ideology. What’s worse is that they are provided with the license to do just that.

The problem is that even though people who study psychology may be doing what they are doing from a perceived perception of service, they are basing their assessments upon their own set of reality—not upon what is the TRUTH. They judge a person by what they’ve been taught or have come to believe is the TRUTH—delineated by what they perceive they have come to know about a specific individual. But, the reality is, no one can ever truly know another person. They are simply being provided with a distilled set of experiences.

The fact is, even in psychological settings, people only reveal what they want to be known about themselves. Even if the patient is telling a psychologist the truth about themselves, as they believe it, this truth is dominated by personal ideologies, emotions, and gained understandings. Thus, it is not the TRUTH, as any relayed experiences are dominated by the individual’s perceptions and understanding about a specific set of circumstances and about the other people who inhabited that set of LIFE circumstance. This is why psychology is a very flawed science.

Many psychologists are schooled to believe that they have some key to other people that the rest of us do not possess. But, a psychologist only possesses a very limited amount of information about the true psyche of any specific individual. They only know what they are told. And this, in most cases, leads to more problems than it solves. Nonetheless, by being awarded a degree, a psychologist is provided with a basis for “Accomplishment Superiority.”

“What happened in your childhood to make you feel like that?”

“You’re experiences are based in insecurity”

“Maybe you need to change your life?”

But, this is all memorized psychobabble rhetoric. And thus, their options, though based in qualitative statistics and appropriate schooling, are no more valid than the individual who claims superiority based in a completely animalistic sense of SELF.

Spiritual Judgment

Spiritual Judgment holds its own unique set of criteria and is perhaps more damning than any other. I mean as soon spirituality or religion is involved than God comes in to play. And, when God is active, then all of the promises or curses of Heaven and Hell are in motion. And, due to the childhood programming instilled in most of us born into the western culture, mess with God or his servants and we are screwed.

How many times have those who hold the power in spiritual circles told people to do something and those people then believed it simply because they were told the speaking individual was a vessel of God and what they spoke was the words of God? To hear this, you may say, “Come on. I would never believe that kind of nonsense!” But, look around you. How many people that you know go to church, belong to a religious study group, have become Buddhist, Muslims, Born Again Christians, whatever… Simply because they were seeking a more fulfilled life and a connection to God or the Buddha?

The fact is, people are lost. They seek interpersonal interaction with others. And when the promises of religion come knocking at the door, they jump at the promises.

Many of these people become a part of the religious society for a time and then fall away. Others become deeply involved and become Priests, Swamis, Nuns, Monks, Yogis, or just generalized members of a cult.

Now there is nothing wrong with any of these things. This is your life and you can do whatever you want with it. Society may tell you a cult is bad. But, if it makes you happy, who is really to say that what you are doing anything wrong?

It is simply that at this level of personal interaction, “A Member” begins to hand their life over to the person or persons in control. And, by doing that, one relinquishes control and thereby removes them self away from the path to true inner self-knowledge. This is the case, even though most religious group detail that one must TOTALLY give themselves over to the leader if they wish to truly interact with God and the divine aspects of this universe.

But, isn’t any leader of a group simply dominate by the “I am more than you mentality?”

I AM MORE!

At the heart of unconscious human existence is the need to be more, excel, overpower, criticize others, and teach. Somehow in modern society the BIGGER are always defined as the BETTER.

Many will say, “Well that is the way of the world.” And, they are right. One would think that by being spiritual, however, there would be a way to step back from the controlling worldly-hands of power, control, judgment, and the need to be MORE. And, to a certain degree there is—one can go deeply into their mind, withdraw from other people, and completely remove themselves from this material world. In fact, this is why yogis have gone off to caves since the beginning of time; to remove themselves from the ways of the world.

This escapist ideology has always presented a problem, however. Because by escaping you may, in fact, come to control your personal mind. But, life is designed as an Interactive Sport. And, this is particularly the case for those who walk the spiritual path.

What this means is that not only must you find a way to come into harmony with the spiritual energies of the universe and nature, but also with man. (And, I use, “Man,” as a generic term). The problem is, with people there is judgment and conflict and the ideologies that MORE is always better.

Individual Creatures

We each are very individual creatures. We each have grown up in unique environments with unique personality traits, born form a individual set of experienced experiences. From this is born individual opinions, desires, and the way we each view and define the world.

Again, one may claim that simply by moving into a world of spirituality you can remove yourself from the controlling hands of the world to the degree that one can overcome these defining elements of life. But, can you?

You Are Who You Are

You are who you are! Just as each fingerprint or DNA is unique, so too is the essence of energy that emulates from you. Though spiritual and psychological reprogramming we can each redefine ourselves and how we interact with the world. But, at the root of humanity is personality. And, from personality comes conflict. No matter how spiritual you are.

Is this good or bad? I don’t know. Because as I have long detail, good or bad is simply how you define it. “If you love Hell it becomes Heaven.”

So, what do you do when the controlling hands of other people’s desire for power, greed, and domination over you extend themselves? Well, you can go and get in a fight. Somebody comes at you, and you can argue your point until you’re blue in the face. Or, you can go and kick their ass. There are a lot of problems with this, however, most notably the legal consequences.

Ultimately, personal interaction is based on conflict. It is defined by who can win the battle.

How is a battle won? It is won by the person who refuses to stop until they have overpowered the other person, either by words or by fists.

This is how Cults drag people in. We all have things that we feel that are missing from our lives. That is just a by-product of human nature. The person involved in a Cult (and I use the word Cult in most wide spanning definition, including accepted religious organizations) learns to talk to a person, ask the right questions, find what the person is missing, and then promise them an antidote.

Is this right? I don’t know? But, it is how religious have gained new members since the dawn of time.

But, back to the point, at this level, the individual wins the conflict by bringing another sheep into the flock. Whether are not they believe what they are preaching and promising is true or not is almost unimportant, because they have conquered another life. They have WON.

Desire

We can ultimately come to understand that all conflict is based in desire. All forms of seeking power over others are based in desire. People want to control others so they go to school; they go to the seminary, the go to the gym and learn how to fight, etc… What they are gaining at these places is a method for dominance. This is due to the fact that no matter what lie they are selling themselves, about why the doing what they are doing, studying what they are studying, they ultimately want to be MORE. MORE than other people.

The fact is, all level of individual unhappiness is based in desire. If you don’t want anything else, then how can any one sway you in any direction? And, if you are content in yourself, then you have no desire to gain control or have the need to feel empowered by being MORE than any other individual.

As desire can be understood to be the controlling dominant in all those who wish to be MORE. If you simply do not play the game, then no one wins and no one losses and perfect karma is set in motion.

  1. Do what you do. Let other do what they do. And, the controlling hands of words and people who seek to be MORE will have no effect upon you.

LET GO! And, you are free.

Copyright © 1995—All Rights Reserved

Reality and the Spiritual Path

By Scott Shaw

Just as in the concept of enlightenment, many people believe that by walking the Spiritual Path they will somehow be removed from the trials and the tribulations of life. Certainly, with a spiritual mindset, most will possess a better set of tools to deal with reality than the average person who fights their way through life dominate only be desire and the fulfillment of those momentary desires.

This being stated, the reality of life is, you will encounter obstacles, even if your feet are firmly planted on the Spiritual Path. This is the reality of life.

Some people choose to believe that when they encounter some form of reality, that they are not particularly happy with, they are being tested. But, this is just mental nonsense—justification for the reality of reality.

Why would anybody be testing you?

The simply fact of the matter is, life is life. There are so many people doing so many things—all based in their won desires, that is factually inevitable that you will encountered someone or something that will cross your path and challenge your peace.

I often detail evens that have taken place in my own life to illustrate this fact. The fact, that we all encounter Life-Things that we do not like. No one is immune.

And, the more you are out there in life, the stronger the chance of these events occurring we be. This is why some of those walking on the Spiritual Path choose to retreat to monasteries and live a life sheltered from the world. For within those walls, the chances of being forced to deal with the reality of reality are far less possible.

Personally, I too have spent time in a monastery, locked deeply within the walls of a religious group. One of the first things that shocked me was that I quickly came to realize that there were personality conflicts within these groups, as well.

At the time I came to realize this, I was sixteen years old and full of all of the youthful exuberance of someone newly walking the Spiritual Path. Though it shocked me at the time, it also caused me to realize that this is the reality of life and particularly life on the Spiritual Path. No matter how much you attempt to run and hide to be spiritual, the reality of life, ego, desire, and the definitions of humanity will come to find you.

It is important to understand that this is not bad or good. It is simply life. And, in life we are all destine to deal with Life-Stuff. So, running and/or hiding is never the answer. Sure, it can be nice to get a break from the daily grind. But, it will never free you from the Human Condition.

This being said, the ultimate truth is that all you can do is live your life as spiritually and as consciously as possible. When Life-Stuff comes at you, do what you can do to keep your focus on the spirituality—keep your gaze focused on enlightenment and try to gain new realization while learning from the experience(s). Perhaps you will learn a method to keep you from dealing with that same type of experience ever again.

The reality of life on the Spiritual Path is that we all must realize that we are no different, certainly no better than anyone else. All we are is someone who embraces the seeking of higher consciousness and attempts to make sense of the actions that take place in this place we call, “Life.”

So, when something comes that you don’t like… …And, it will come. Stay conscious, step back from the emotions that surround it, (especially if they are negative emotions), and embrace the essence of who you are—a spiritual being.

Copyright © 2012—All Rights Reserved

In Your Own Moment

By Scott Shaw

Since the dawning of the New Age one of the key teachings has been, that of, Getting into the Moment. Terms such as, Be Here Now, Get into Your Moment, and Feel Your Now, have been essential components.

This ideology and these terms are meant to describe a sort of superior consciousness, where the individual is feeling some nondescript enhanced since of their life—something that the average person does not feel.

In is common that when asked, “What does getting into the now mean?” Or, “What does getting into the now feel like?” It will commonly be described by the pundits as becoming childlike—experiencing everything for the first time.

But, what does this mean? And, what are the benefits?

Somehow, in New Age spiritual circles, it has become a type of goal to revert to a childlike mind. A mind of innocence, naiveté, and trust.

From certain perspectives these may sound like ideal qualities but there is also another side to this. These are the same factors that cause the child, and the child-like, to become victims of people and society.

But, more importantly, reverting in any way, is both an impossibility and an impractical desired end-goal. The reality is, each experience we have lived, each bit of knowledge that we have taken in, has contributed to who we have become. Good or bad, all experiences have made us who we are. To some, these experiences have lead to seeking out a spiritual mindset. Which has guided them to seek out the understanding of living in the now.

So, what is living in the now? And, how can this be achieved?

From a philosophic perspective, living in the now means embracing each moment as a new moment. Okay, don’t we all do that anyway?

Let’s think about this. How are you feeling right now? To answer for you, how you are feeling right now is how you are feeling. Thus, you are already living in your now.

Many spiritual teachers and traditions believe, however, that a person should get away from their emotions; their feelings. They should be removed from them because they are somehow based in an animalistic level of human consciousness. But, are they?

As human beings one of the essential components of our make up is emotion. Thus, emotions are a natural state. We feel! It’s as simple as that.

You can try to hide from emotions. But, they will not go away.

No matter how spiritual a person claims to be, they too have emotions. As they are human, there is no way to hide themselves from emotions entirely.

This is one of the big problems when people follow teachers who are no longer alive. A dead teacher is a perfect teacher. Why? Because you will never see or experience their faults or shortcomings. All you will do is to read or hear about their superior consciousness. So, basically all you are exposed to is an enhanced description of their existence. Or, simply a lie. Because all living people have faults, just as they all have emotions.

Now, some people: the insane, the sociopathic, the selfish, the power hungry, the emotionally out of control, and the religious zealots are driven by very negative emotions that are in complete disregard to those around them. They do not care whom they harm to reach their own end-goal. But, these are not the emotions based in a normal individual.

Most of us feel happy, sad, embarrassed, frustrated, bored, in love, in anger, and all of the common emotions that are experienced throughout humanity. In terms of, “The Now,” these are the emotions that bring us into the now.

Think about how much of your life has passed by and you did not even notice it. Every time you ate breakfast, dinner, walked to school when you were young, drove to work, and all of the nondescript activity that make up modern life; you lived those moments, but they are gone.

Think about this, how many dinners do you remember when the food was really good (or bad), the company you were with that made you laugh and feel good (or angry), and all those times when you were really brought to an expanded emotional level. Those are the times you remember. Every time your emotions were turned-up, those are the times that truly stand out in your mind. Those are the times when you are truly in your now.

As detailed, some gurus may tell their students to rebuke emotions and live in a state of placid, meditative abyss. But, what comes from this? What comes from this is a life lived with no memories—as everything experienced is the same. Just like the boring drive to work, day after day, life all becomes a blur.

Some teachers say this non-involved emotionless mentality leads to the higher-mind. But, does it? For here is one of the ultimate illusion on the spiritual path, “Doing nothing leads to something; enlightenment.” “A silent mind is nirvana.” This is all the mumbo-jumbo of teachers who have not lived. …Teachers who have framed their teachings upon the borrowed knowledge of those who have walked the path before them. …Teachers who want to control their flock and keep them silent and mindless. Think about this, one of the key components of Zen is to become Mind-Less for only there can some level of enlightened knowledge be lived and experienced. But, all of those who teach this make excuses for themselves as to why they have not personally experienced this ultimately level of human consciousness.

It is all nonsense. It is all playing to the minds and the wallets of those on the spiritual path that seek some sort of allusive esotericism that cannot actually be had, except by the most holy. But, who is the most holy? Usually those who are dead or those whom you are not allowed to live with and see that they too actual have flaws.

Stop believing the illusion. You are living the now, right now! What you are feeling is your now. When you are hating your job, that is your now. When you are happy. When you are sad. That is your now. When you are taking your boring drive to work. That is you now. When you are making love. That is your now. When you are doing whatever it is you are doing. That is your now.

Stop trying to make, “The Now,” some allusive entity that you have to perform spiritual exercises to find. This is your now. What are you going to do with it?

Copyright © 2011—All rights Reserved.

Meditation is Everywhere

By Scott Shaw

         Traditionally, a practitioner of meditation is taught to remove themselves from all external sights and sounds. Most forms of meditation teach the meditator to close their eyes and ignore all sounds that they may hear. Personally, I have long believed that meditation is everywhere. Instead of running away and forcing yourself to pretend to not hear sounds, you should embrace them and make them part of your meditation.

         Most people now live in urban environments. In the cities there is a constant barrage of sounds. Not only are there the sounds of nature, such as wind, rain, birds and the like, but there are also all the sound of man: cars, airplanes, construction, and people talking.

         Attempting to turn your mind off and not hear those sounds is very difficult. This is especially the case for the individual who is new to meditation. They sit down and they try and try to not be distracted, but the sounds take them from their meditative mindset. Then, as they have become distracted, then mind finds its way to think—thinking about all the things the mind likes to think about… But, if you take a different path of meditation, if you allow the sounds to become part of the process, then meditation becomes much more natural.

         For example, when you initially sit, it is always a good idea to calm the mind through a few deep breathing exercise, in order to gain a certain Center, and refined sense of control over the Self. Once you have done this, you can allow your mind to become focused much more easily. Then, instead of running away from your environment, embrace it. If a car drives by, remain focused; by follow its sound as it drives off into the distance. If some someone is pulling their suitcase or bag on wheels, listen to it rumble across the pavement. If you hear a lawnmower in the distance, allow its motorized rhythm to capture your mind and hold it fixed. If you hear a siren, embrace its sound, study it and come to understand its essence as you listen as it fades off to the distance.

         In both urban and natural environments, there is the sound of nature. Obviously, the sounds possessed in nature tend to be much more constant and soothing than those of the city. But, they too can be no less jarring to the meditative mindset if you try to turn your ears off from hearing those sounds. So again, when you sit to meditate and you hear the sounds of birds chirping, wind blowing, the ocean or a river flowing, instead of hiding from it, embrace it. Allow it to become a part of your meditation. Let the sound guide you deep into the overall essence of nature. Become a part of it. Understand and embrace it.

         Being what you are, where you are, who you are, while fully taking in and merging with the source point of the energy that is surrounding you is the ultimate form of meditation.

Copyright © 2012—All Rights Reserved

The People Who Never Evolve

By Scott Shaw

Life is a process of personal evolution. We are born, we experience, we are taught, and we continue to pass from birth to death; growing in both understanding and in wisdom. Many of us have done foolish things when we were young. When we look back to those times, we shake our heads and question, “How could I have ever been so unwise?” But, we have grown, we have evolved, we have become better people—we took a long hard look at our self, our life, we studied our existence, we learned from our mistakes, and we emerged as a better person refusing to ever make the same mistakes again.

Not everyone is like this, however. There are some people who never change—they never evolve. They are so lost in the realms of misplaced self-adsorption that they never take the time to learn from their mistakes and to understand that bad thoughts, bad words, and bad deeds not only do nothing to help the overall evolution of this world but they, in fact, hold them back, (as a person), from ever achieving anything of substance with their life.

Having been involved in the martial arts for over fifty years, I have watched as many so-called martial artists have played the game of attempting to make themselves, their teacher, their school, or their system look like something more by diminishing the accomplishments of others. Throughout these years I have watched as most of these people have grown into something more—became something better and have left this foolishness behind. But, this is not the case of everyone. Every now and then I will encounter a person, years later, and discover that they are still locked into the mindset of believing that it somehow makes them look like something more if they say something negative or bad (be it truth or a lie) about someone else.  I forever find this very-very sad.  The martial arts are about making someone a better; more whole, more complete person. The martial arts should never be diminished to the level of personal attack—motived by individual ego. This type or behavior destroys the true essence of the martial arts. It robs them of their true beauty, as this type of behavior is simply motivated by a very sad and low level of human consciousness.

Having been involved in the film business for the past three decades, I often encountered this type of behavior, as well. The one thing I will say is that the film business is an industry motivated by ego. So, unlike the martial arts, which should solely be about focusing on the higher self, the motivation for this behavior can be more understood in this arena of life.  This is not to say it is right or good, but it can be explained.

The fact is, it is easy to find a reason for criticism in the film industry. You may not like a performance, a storyline, or a style of cinematography. From this, judgments are made.

Certainly, the enlightened filmmaker does not follow this path. As a true filmmaker, they understand that each project and/or actor is art onto itself.  The true filmmaker understands that whether or not they personally like a specific project, that project is simply a process of giving to the great whole of the art form. Thus, judgment is put aside.

But, as in all things in life, the low-minded, the unaware, the egotistical, and the unaccomplished are generally the ones who are screaming the loudest.

Over the recent years I have found myself discussing the internet and how it relates to human consciousness quite frequently. The internet is the defining factor of this period of history. As such, it has become the conduit for both all that is good and all that is bad with humankind.  From this, many have found a voice where in times gone past they would have had none.

Here, on this internet, people can say anything about anyone with little consequence. Most hide behind screen names so no one even knows who or what they truly are. To me, this simply seems like a coward’s soapbox. People scream as loud as they can; scream about anyone or anything but they do not even have the personal level of Self-Honor to tell the world who is truly saying what, what they have accomplished in their life that gives the right to voice an opinion, and why they are saying it in the first place.

This brings us back to the entire point of this discourse. Most of us evolve as we pass through life. We become more, we become better, we develop a deeper understanding of life and, from this, we possess less unfounded critical judgment. We, through our own personal accomplishments and our own mental evolution, become more whole onto ourselves. Instead of issuing critiques, criticism, and deformation, we reach out a helping hand. We want to make the world a better place. We want to help those that need help. We do not want to hurt anyone in anyway for any reason. But, the sad truth of life is, some people never evolve. They have become so lost in their interpersonal anger, their sense of lack of fulfillment, their lack of personal accomplishment that they remain lost in the mind of attack. From this, all that they do is attack, especially when they can hide behind the wall of perceived anonymity.

For those of us of who walk the path of consciousness, we cannot allow ourselves to be drawn into their web of misplace anger—anger that should be focused on themselves for behaving in an uncivilized manner but, instead, is broadcast to the world. These people are out there and you will, more than likely, encounter them. When you do, the best course of action is understanding and forgiveness. Forgive them, because if they were not a truly lost person they would not be doing what they do.

At each stage of our life we all need took at ourselves. We need to view what we have done: whom we have helped and whom we have hurt. We need to study our own personal trajectory. Where are we going in our life? What will be the consequences of the actions we are currently performing?

Many people hide from the truth of their life. They hide as many do on the internet. They believe the actions issued by a screen name are not true and their will be no ensuing karma leveled at them because of these seemingly anonymous deeds. This is, however, the explanation of the unaware and the unenlightened.

Everything you do sets everything else in motion. Whether people know who you truly are or they only see a screen name is virtually irreverent. What you have done is what you have done. What you have said is what you have said. If what you have done or what you have said does not produce immediate positive reaction your world will be negatively influenced. This is why so many people fail in life, because what they are doing is not adding to the greater good.

People fall prey to the addiction that can be had from the adrenaline of unleashing negative emotions outwards. But, take a moment and study that emotion. What are you experiencing when you embrace that negative emotion? Is it positive? No, it is anger and it is rage. Does anything positive ever come from of anger and rage? No, it does not.

Now, think about this, if you have spread that anger and rage outwards, perhaps on the internet, think how many people are encountering your anger and your rage. What do you think will come from that? What you have done is set a negative course of events into motion and those negative events may be wide spanning. Yes, maybe your ego was stoked because you said or did something to someone or something that you do not like. But, that is you unleashing your personal judgment—which is egotism. And, we all know what happens to those who base their life upon egotism. Thus, ultimately, what have you done? At best, you found a moment of ego stimulation and a momentary adrenaline rush. In the long run, however, you set a course of negative events into motion which will, sooner-or-later, all come back to haunt you.

Now, to the evolved person, they will immediately understand and agree with this.  To the un-evolved they will argue in their mind and defend their right to say or do anything that they feel like. …The world and its people be damned.

But now, for those of you who behave in this manner, let’s look at your life. Is your life all that you hoped it would be? I would bet that it is not. And, that is probably why you are embracing your un-evolved mindset. You are angry at what you are not.

Again let’s look at you. You can turn this around. Yes, it can be addicting to spew out negativity. But, if you are not living the life that you want to live, then what is that addiction giving you? Just like all additions, it is harming you. Stop it! Be more! Do more! Undo the negativity you have created and redo it with the positive!

Your life can be more. It can be what you want it to be. But, you have to make it that way by not allowing yourself to be seduced by the negative and doing only positive things.

Copyright © 2016—All Rights Reserved

No part of this article may be used without the expressed permission of Scott Shaw or his representatives.

Zen: Conscious Interaction or Interaction Consciousness

By Scott Shaw

Life is about consciousness. Life is about consciously living. The more consciously you live your life, the more refined understanding you develop about the inner working of yourself, human kind, the universe, and god.

Most people spend their entire lifetime driven by unchecked emotions and desires. They run from wanting to anger about not getting what they want. When they get, they are happy for a moment but then they want something more and from this they are no longer content. Thus, they are again driven to disharmony and rage about not having all that they desire. Though this is a common thread that runs through the life of many/most people, this is the ideal example of a life defined by lack of consciousness as there is nothing conscious about desire, wanting, and rage.

Everyone wants what they want. This is an element of the human condition. This being said, the consciousness individual, the person who walks the path of consciousness, does not let desire and/or emotions control their actions and reactions to the world around them. For if you do, that means you believe yourself to be the center of this universe; which you are not. If you do live your life by this code, however, by doing so, you do whatever you deem necessary to get what you want. But, by living your life in this manner, you injure the lives of all those around you. This is never the path of consciousness.

Many people are falsely feed the belief that if they ask for forgiveness, if they do something good, then their wrongs are righted. No, this is incorrect. Yes, at some point an individual who has wronged others, driven by the own emotions and desires, may experience remorse for their actions, but the only doing is the undoing of anything bad you have done but this is impossible in this Life Space. What you have done is what you have done and though you may seek forgiveness for your actions; your asking forgiveness from a religious elder or some divine entity never can change what you have done. Thus, the person, persons, or the Life Space you have damaged, remains damaged.

People wanting gives birth to lying. People wanting gives birth to damaging actions. People wanting gives birth to bad behavior. People wanting never gives birth to refined consciousness.

In this world people seek. They seek possessions, they seek position, they seek power, some even seek enlightenment. But, the common factor and the incorrect element to this equation is, “The seeking.” For at the very root of seeking arises the desire for things to be different than they already are. At the very root of seeking is born the concept of unhappiness due to not having. From this, all the damage to others, all the damage to the earth, all the damage to the all and the everything is given birth to.

At the root of Life Betterment is consciousness—focused human consciousness. As humans, all we can be is humans. As humans, we are defined by being human. This being said, it is the person who chooses the path of refining their consciousness that consciously eliminated as many of the negative obstacles of human existence as possible; namely: uncontrolled desire equaling rage, equally lying, equally power-grabbing, and power-tripping. From this, the damage unleashed onto others is minimized and the world becomes just a slightly better place.

In this pages of this book life, life occurrences, and actions will be detailed and discussed. From this, each who read these words may be able to learn from experiences that they did not have to live through but were able to witness; lived by the life of others. From this, new understandings of better way to live life and react to life may be understood. From this, a more conscious world may be born where you, personally, may have the chance to become a more wholly fulfilled and conscious Live-er in this Life Space.

Copyright © 2009 — All Rights Reserved

Lose Your Identity, Erase Your History

By Scott Shaw

The majority of people desire to become SOMETHING. Early in their life they see those who are respected for doing what they do and follow the path of seeking that same admiration. Ask yourself, “Do you seek to become nothing, to be seen as nothing, to be unknown? Or, do you hope for something more for YOURSELF?”

People do all that they can to achieve. Though most never find the pathway to find their ultimate dream, they, none-the-less, try to rise to a position of respect and authority within their place of employment, in their community, or at their school.

Most people eventually find the road to marrying and having a family. At that point, the focus of their life quite often shifts from desires for Personal-Self to desires for their child and/or children. “I want the best for my child. I want them to have a better life than I have had.” How often have you heard those words spoken?

Having a child is not a bad thing. Having desires for one’s child is not a bad thing. In fact, having a child often takes the egocentric focus off of the individual allowing them to rise from a life of self-centered thinking to a life of caring and giving. How many of the people you have met, who do not have children, are truly caring and giving people? Most, are simply lost in a Life-Pattern of selfish thought, thinking only about themselves.

Life-Patterns are instigated by the individual. What one does now leads to the next set of available options in one’s life. As such, the desire(s) that are pursued defines the entire evolution of a person’s life. Though desires may change and what a person does may set a new course of options and availability into motion in a person’s life, everything you desire, and everything you do to gain that desire forever defines your life as your life is one continuous emulation of who you want to be leading to what you are.

Think about the actions you have taken to achieve your desires and your dreams. Have they hurt anyone? Have they hurt you? Are you proud of them? Do they make you ashamed? Do they make you happy or do they make you sad? Remember, you wanted something, you went about achieving that something, thus, it was you who set your ALL into motion by wanting what you wanted, desiring what you desired, which means you are personally responsible for all the goodness and/or all the damage you created in that pursuit. If you hurt anyone in that pursuit you will be forever bound to that person as you did what you did and their life evolution was changed because of it. Remember that.

The thing about personal achievement is that most of the achieved have not cared about their personal effect. They only think about themselves and achieving their desire and thus, the thought of damage to others rarely, if ever, comes to mind. As much as the person of consciousness will say, “This selfish mindset is not the attitude one should possess,” this has been one of the key traits of humanity since its evolution to the realms of thoughtful-self. People only think about themselves and what they want!

Now that this has been established, let’s turn this scenario around a little bit. What if you desired nothing? What if you wanted to be nothing? What if you did not care about your position or your legacy? How would you be feeling right now? What would you have done differently in your life? What would you not be regretting? Who would you have not hurt? Who would you have not been hurt by?

If you did not want to be something, if you did not do the things you have done to be that SOME-THING how would your life have evolved differently?

The fact is, in life we can never go back in time. We never get a re-do. But, what we can do is to become conscious enough to look deeply into the patterns of life and learn from not only our evolutionary movement but the evolutionary movements of all those around us. We can open our eye.

If you can take a moment and step away from yourself and your desire(s) long enough to truly witness what is going on with your life, the lives of those you interact with, and the lives of the Greater-All, then you have the chance to become more than your limited, selfish self. Instead of possessing a desire for your life to be some idealized ego-driven machine, adored by the masses, you have the chance to truly do something good for the world by becoming something that no one else can see or worship, a True Being not driven by ego and desire.

Most people don’t want this. Most people don’t understand this. Most people if they heard about it simply dismiss it as nonsense. They do this because they are so locked into the realms of their own identity, of their desire to become what they desire, that they are too lost to understand that they will never achieve what their mind sees. Why? Because what is, “Out There,” is never “In Here,” it is all an illusion. What you see other people BE-ING is never what you can BE because you are not them, just as they are not you. What you see out there is a projection of an idealized reality you have fantasied in your mind. It is not real. At best, it is only what you hope it will be.

By comprehending this you allow yourself to realize that all that you hope to be, all the steps you take to get there, are, at best, simply your projected desires where you attempt to live a reality that may never be had. Thus, your desires to BE are nothing more than a Self-Instigated Illusion.

Knowing this, you have one of two choices to make. …Two choices that now you can make very consciously. One, are you going to continue on the path you are on, doing what you are doing, damaging who what you are damaging? Two, are you going to let go and simply BE? By being, you become free. Your desires are let go so you create nothing: no bad, no good. From here, you can be happy and whole within yourself. From here, no one is hurt, thus, you are not re-hurt. You are complete free and not trapped by the hurt that arises from not having what you want.

Freedom is always a better perfection that a life bound by desire. You are you. YOU is all YOU will ever be.

Do you want to be happy in your freedom? Or, do you want to be tormented by what you desire?

Copyright © 2016—All Rights Reserved

Zen Mindfulness and Can You Remain Mindful When the World is in Chaos Around You?

By Scott Shaw

I just came upon this article I wrote for a magazine in 1998 and thought it might be helpful.

There is the old adage that it is easy to be holy in a monastery. It is much more difficult to be holy on the streets of the modern world. In addition to this statement being very true, it is also an important factor to keep in mind on your path to mindfulness.

Born in Los Angeles, California, I have been drawn to the spirit of the driven mother ocean as far back as I can remember. Due to this calling, I have lived near her shoreline for virtually my entire adult life.

Having lived in a particular area of Southern California for many years, I would occasionally stroll past this one particular expansive condominium building on my evening walks and think, “What a perfect place to live. How will I ever be able to afford to live in that building?”

As if a jokingly given gift was presented to me from the great beyond, a few days after my mother left her physical body, I was looking though the newspaper and found a unit for rent in the building. Though not cheap, it was affordable. Ecstatic, I applied, was accepted, and moved in.

Looking out of my windows I see the expansive Pacific Ocean. Listening, I continually hear the sound of the divine mother’s waves.

Though a seemingly idealistic environment, the building is inhabited by a large number of very wealthy people, including an infamous African-American television evangelist who during the 1960’s and 1970’s milked an untold number of elderly people out of their life savings—promising heaven if they contributed, hell if they did not. Hand-in-Hand with this affluence comes a definitive problem; the individual units of the building are continually being remolded: floors retiled, carpets torn up and replaced with hardwood floors, design alterations, rooms expanded, and so on… Whereas most of the inhabitants leave for their plush offices or on shopping sprees early in the A.M., before the constructions gets underway, I am left bombarded by a seemingly nonstop barrage of sawing, pounding, and generalized annoyance.

Perhaps the most telling thing about this situation is that during periods of silence, I fall in love with my surroundings. Then, each time I have a project to complete, it seems new construction begins. Thus, I am kept from the peace and solitude and seemingly forced to the necessity of mental focus to the degree where my creativity can be channeled while noise constantly rattles my concentration.

Initially, I became very upset at the noise. I would blame people’s desire and vanity, (including my own), karma, god, and anything and anybody else around me. “How can I be creative with all this noise,” I would scream.

Somewhere along the pathway I realize, however, that you cannot be reliant upon silence if you wish to remain mindful. Mindfulness cannot be defined by a quiet, passive environment. You must be able to focus your mind to the degree that you can transcend the limitations of the physical world. If you cannot do this, your life, and particularly your mindfulness, will be constantly controlled by your external environment.

Though the noise continues, even as I write these passages, I have been able to create some of my most important work, to date, while living in this building and living through all of the construction turmoil. At some future time, I may move away from this building. For now, I use it as a karmic guru, teaching me to transcend the domination of the material world.

If you choose to walk the path of mindfulness, you must do the same. For if you are only mindful when things are going the way you want them to go, you are not mindful at all. You must be mindful in noise, in chaos, in traffic jams, and in the midst of a heated argument. To do this, you must develop the ability to step back from yourself and remain free of judgment in a world dominated by individualistic desires.

Stepping back, seeing the truth in the chaos, and the perfection in the absurd, this is Zen mindfulness.

Copyright 1998—All Rights Reserved.