May 10, 2015

Sacred Art

This week the Gomang Monks have been visiting Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria, CA. They are busy working on a world peace sand mandala which they will sweep away just hours after completion. My son and I have gone three times to watch their progress and sit with their peaceful focused energy. Not surprising front row access to this event has been easy to get as Buddhist are few and far between in this neck of the woods. To me this mandala crafting process was a reminder of life's inevitable changes and the impermanence of our daily sufferings. Even beautiful, time consuming, hard earned, endeavors pass away. Whoosh!!!... they are gone... blown away by the wind! 

The Paradox of Our Age
We have bigger houses but smaller families
More conveniences but less time
We have more degrees but less sense
More knowledge but less judgement
More experts but more problems
More medicines but less healthiness
We've been all the way to the moon and back
But have trouble crossing the street to meet the new neighbor
We built more computers to hold more information
To produce more copies than ever, but have less communication
We have become long on quantity, but short on quality
These are times of fast foods, but slow digestion
Tall man but short character
Steep profits but shallow relationships
It's a time when there is much in the window
But nothing in the room.

May 5, 2015

Pre-Internet Brain

Remembering to seek that still small voice of God in our daily meditation practice may be the hardest challenge facing modern spiritual seekers. Perhaps our reliance on electronic devices has become so en grained that it over shadows our need for a relationship with God. Our meditation practice squeezed out between our busy lives and new instantly accessible information. Our electronic devices, a buzz with rampant activity, a dizzying distraction of sound bytes that have little lasting meaning. Yes! Some days I do miss my Pre-Internet brain. It can be very challenging to be a spiritual being in an age of distraction. Therefore, we must set aside time and silence our personal electronics. Vow to unplug them for the weekend and form a lasting connection with our true divine nature. That understood, I whole heartily believe we can use the World Wide Web to the glory of the Supreme Godhead. Digital media is the future and it's here to stay. It's not going away! Its value being one of the first ways many of today’s young people will ever hear the harmonious message of Vedanta. Prompting some to take action and reach out in face to face fellowship with other devotees. Some may be drawn to learn meditation, read spiritual ebooks, hear a lecture online, or even attend a puja at their local Vedanta Society. Through Internet and its power to inform and transform our spiritual universe expands exponentially. May the new digital media be used to the glory of Brahman!

Artist and writer Douglas Coupland (see photo) probes the way that contemporary life and digital technologies affect our understanding of the world around us.