Let us differentiate the inestimable benefits of accumulated knowledge from the tendency to hold fast to the past out of fear of the unknown. The beliefs we cling to, particularly about ourselves, are a denial of the growth of knowledge. When our habits have a stronger impact on us than facts, we are in danger of rejecting discovery in return for a mental story-line about the world and ourselves. For thousands of years, it was the belief that man cannot fly; however, innovation exposed this belief as false. No reason exists to think that a new understanding could not grant us many choices beyond our current beliefs about the world and ourselves.
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The Relevance of Kabir – By Todd Vickers
We need not alter our actions and the lives of others by deferring to imagined fears. Nothing obligates us to believe or obey any thought in our mind, even our most deeply ingrained habits. To grasp this fact develops in us a conscious sense of freedom. This includes freedom from how we know ourselves. As a result, we have more choices then we would otherwise have.
If a woman is afraid to approach a man and reveal her attraction for him, that doesn’t mean she is not capable of doing so. If she dares, regardless of the man’s response, the fear is not her master. She has access to her capacities instead of pretending they don’t exist while being trapped in a prison of imagined results. The question is not ‘what will this woman do next’, the question becomes ‘what can’t this woman do?’ Such a realization can be intensely creative because now the limit is her actual capacity, not her habitual fears or her beliefs about herself.
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When we begin to see the harm of unfounded beliefs and start questioning them, we start to see the world differently. It’s more than being in the unknown, it’s an adventure!
“We live in a vastness much broader than our imagined limits and this includes our sexual beliefs. When we let go of our ideas of ‘self’, we are not bound to the limits of such an arbitrary ‘self’. That same ‘self’ would have an entirely different set of beliefs about intimate relationships if we grew up in a different culture with a different religion or system. In particular, the question is not what you would do in this or that circumstance, but what will you choose from the thousands of options available. This access to a greater variety of options from which to choose cannot guarantee an outcome that you want, but makes it so that you are not limited to the options that coincide with what you believe about yourself. We do not need to defer to an authority , an institution or a belief to go beyond the limits of our habits and try some new sexual beliefs. We may feel fear, but fear can be imagination ebbing and flowing in the silence. Is it fear based on a real danger or fear of doing something outside of what we have become accustomed?”
Excerpt: The Relevance of Kabir
“Humans are mortal. So are ideas. An idea needs propagation as much as a plant needs watering. Otherwise both will wither and die.”
― B.R. Ambedkar
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When our dream is love, we feel passions like sexual desire. When our dreams become nightmares, the fear engulfs us. We may forget the same mind that dreams at night is active while awake in a different way. While awake, our consciousness includes the sensations of the world and the affective power of our mind to induce feelings just as in dreams. We can experience the same intensity of emotion anytime as we do while dreaming, but, when awake, we would be wise to discern between publicly observable facts, and the interpretations, distortions and falsehoods that can be found only in our minds. Such clarity is less common than we might think.
Excerpt: The Relevance of Kabir
Our desires can make us more conscious or less. The less conscious we are, the more we rely on preconceived ideas, habits and unfounded beliefs.
The pros and cons of spiritual experience with reference to the poet Kabir at Lamakaan in Hyderabad, India.
In the wood where lions
and birds don’t fly,
in empty meditation.
Why empty meditation? Why did Kabir reject rights and ceremonies.
Film director V.V. Raju (left) and Dr. Chiranjeevi Kolluri (right) met author Todd Vickers at the recent India talks. They met again to discuss a new film about the life of Kabir.
Mr. Raju made a film about Kabir thirty years ago, but wants to create a remake in three languages Telugu, Urdu, and English. The new movie will more in tune with the poems of this daring 15th philosopher who criticized the religion, customs and the power structure of his time. There will be a gathering of academics, philosophers, and historians to discuss the content. The movie is now in pre-production planning.
What a lovely and exciting project!
Spiritual experience in the light of Kabir
The talk by author Todd Vickers involved some of Kabir’s most skeptical poems and his rejection of rites and ceremonies.
Gorakh was yoga’s connoisseur.
They didn’t cremate
Still his meat rotted and mixed
with dust. For nothing
he polished his body.
We discussed the mistake of creating an identity around race, caste, nation and spiritual ideology and the similarity between these things. We touched on mistaking thoughts as facts when thoughts only interpret and reflect facts. How identification of ourselves creates both human misery and imposes capricious limits on us. And how meditation dissolves these habits of mind and frees us from these limits. We have video of the talk that will soon be on The Vivriti You Tube Channel.
The Vivriti Foundation sponsored this talk and it was hosted by Lamakaan on the day of its anniversary.
A special thanks to Subba for making it happen.
Talks – Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad
The imagined self.
Mind inducing feeling.
Thanks to Chandra Kotaru and Ashwini Koppisetti
for making the event not only possible but a success.
Video of this talk coming soon!