What does it mean to be present? Is it posture dependent? Is it something we can strive for is it something we find when all else falls away? The Buddha said that the root of all suffering is desire. When I meditate can I let go of craving? When I sit and lean forward do I lean into the future? When I lie down do I immerse myself in the ocean of the past?

What does it mean to be present? When the bird sings does it do so to attain something or does it sing for the pure joy of being alive?

What does it mean to be alive? What is required? Is breathing enough? Or is to be alive to be present? Is not everything contained within this moment? Is not every historical conquest contained within one conscious breath?

And what is a conscious breath? Is there anything else I really need to do in this life? Is there anything I can do to change the circumstances of this life? Do I need to?

Can total acceptance of all that is and of who I am be attained through one conscious breath?

Enlightenment is never further away than the next conscious breath.

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Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives and the recently released Beyond the Search, books to lift the spirit and touch the heart. See http://www.JohnHainesBooks.com

 

“In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

 

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit: http://www.circlesoflight.com/blog/in-search-of-simplicity/

 

“In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

 

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

 

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I’m in the middle of ten days of holidays. It’s a rainy day, not suitable for walking and I don’t feel well besides. So I decided to watch some inspiring DVDs borrowed from a dear friend, Peter, who is currently overseas teaching yoga in Europe and visiting ashrams in India.

The first movie is called Love and the Art of Giving. It was made by British filmmaker Simon Eugene. It covers a journey he made to India in November 2007 to interview Swami Satchyananda, founder of the Bihar School of Yoga, and his disciple Paramahansa Niranjananda at an ancient annual holy tantric festival during which mostly poor local villagers are given much. It is a beautiful colourful celebration in which boys and girls sing and dance and receive Prasad.

The second documentary, Call off the Search, a film by Jim Lemkin and David Godman, covers a 1993 visit to the ashram of H.W.L. Poonja, endearingly known as Papaji. The filmmakers approached Papaji and said, ‘Papaji, we want to make a film about your teachings.’ His response: ‘Very good. I have always wanted to know what my teachings are. Now you are making a film about them. I can watch it and find out.’ These words epitomize the light-hearted approach of this man who experienced his inner nature as a boy and then became a devotee of Krishna, travelling all over India in search of a teacher who could help him to regain that early inner awakening he so longed for. His search was over when he landed at the ashram of the great Indian Master Sri Ramana Maharshi. After realising his Self in the presence of that master of silence he spent the rest of his life helping others discover that which they sought. I summarize below a few gems gleaned from these films. I trust you are as inspired by them as I have been.

If you can’t see God in all, you can’t see God at all.

When we give unconditionally, we open a space in which we can receive.

To ‘fall in love’ is a sensory experience in which mind is involved and we expect to gain something from the other. When we ‘rise in love’ we do so without the interference of the intellect, of the mind. Then true love manifests and we share the joy of that love.

What you are searching for is very close. You should see it in every blade of grass and in the tallest of trees, in all of creation.

To surrender is not so difficult but the part of you which resists this is the part which wants to control.

The time is always right for enlightenment.

If you empty yourself first, then mantra and chanting can lift you to a plane beyond understanding to a place of pure experience. Thus, transformation requires a movement from knowledge to experience.

Without purification there cannot be meditation.

Life is like a flower. The appreciation of life is called love.

In the film on Papaji, Ramana Maharshi reminded Papaji to look beyond the form of Krishna he had devoted himself to for 25 years. He said that whatever appears and disappears is not real. It was in hearing this in the presence of this renowned master that Papaji realised the Self. A few gems from Papaji:

Teaching is preaching.

His advice: Don’t listen to any advice because advice belongs to the past.

His advice: Keep quiet. Stop trying. When asked: ‘Many have tried to keep quiet without success,’ he responded: ‘Then give up the intention of keeping quiet.’

Every being in the world is peace itself.

Look inside for even one second. Don’t seek. Don’t find. You will see you are peace itself.

If you must seek anything at all seek only freedom. Affirm: I Am free. I Am already free.

Keep still and know I Am That.

When anybody laughs he has no thought, there is no mind, and there is no suffering. It is the mind that suffers. Therefore laugh away your problems.

Who is the other? You are not apart from me. You are in my heart. Wake up from the dream and all suffering will end.

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Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives, a startlingly poignant and inspiring real-life endorsement of the power of thought, belief and synchronicity in one’s life.

 

“In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

 

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit: http://www.circlesoflight.com/blog/in-search-of-simplicity/

 

“In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

 

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

 

I remember my friend, Anne Marie, recalling the big turning point in her life. She was still a young adult at the time, growing up in France. She looked out at the adults around her. She saw being striving for the perfect relationship, the secure job and for material security. She thought, Is this it? Is this why I’m here? Her inner answer was, ‘No, this is not.’ From that moment forward she was on a spiritual quest. She found a teacher, turned to a steady meditation practice, hung out with other spiritual aspirants…

Each of the great Masters has encouraged us to hitch ourselves to the wagon of enlightenment; to embark on the journey home, to awaken to the greater reality, to discover who we are. Each of these Masters has also said there also comes a time in every person’s awakening to let go of even this goal and recognize this journey back to the place from whence we began is the shortest journey we’ll ever take. It is the journey into the heart and into complete acceptance of things as they are; into the place of total surrender.

We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.

T. S. Eliot

In the end, does it really matter what the outer circumstances of your life might be? the nagging illness, the broken relationship, the pain in your back, the shattered dreams.

There is a part of you which transcends all these earthly challenges; which observes them dispassionately; which smiles softly on your sorrows; which lovingly caresses you in your darkest hour; which encourages you to get up again each time you fall.

Fix your goal on God, on Self-realization. Let nothing stand in your way. And, recognize the time when even this goal must be relinquished. All things are possible. Awaken to the reality and the immensity of who you are.

 

Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives, a startlingly poignant and inspiring real-life endorsement of the power of thought, belief and synchronicity in one’s life.

In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit: http://www.circlesoflight.com/blog/in-search-of-simplicity/

 

In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

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Saints from the Past

The extraordinary ordinariness of being.

We spend our lives trying to be special when all we need to do is to be ourselves.

When do I feel the best, the most relaxed? When I’m doing the ordinary things that come easily to me—weeding, cleaning the shower, washing the windows, cutting the grass.

We’ve all heard the expression—before enlightenment chopping wood, fetching water; after enlightenment chopping wood, fetching water.

Perhaps the modern version should be—before enlightenment washing windows, cutting grass; after enlightenment washing windows, cutting grass.

Simple, isn’t it. Confucius once said, “Life is simple. Man makes it complicated.”

Blessings to all you saints.

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Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives, a startlingly poignant and inspiring real-life endorsement of the power of thought, belief and synchronicity in one’s life.

A Potential Modern Saint

Enlightenment is About How You Do It

1. Your health is your most important asset. You should dedicate at least 1/10 of your day to your physical, mental and spiritual well being.

2. Having a solid spiritual practice is the key to surviving challenging times and there’s little doubt we live in challenging times.

3. Starting your day with mantra and meditation brings clarity and purpose to the other important goals of your life. Sadhana (or spiritual practice) is an anchor for the rest of the day. Beginning the day on a high note sets the tone for the rest of the day.

4. Sadhana is the time you develop your relationship to your Self. Maintaining a healthy relationship with your Self, is the key to strengthening your relationships with others. It’s your light that others feel. Turn it on.

5. The early morning hours have less electrical and mental activity in the air, allowing the mind to focus better and deep awareness to be obtained.

6. Your subconscious mind absorbs so much unconscious information. Conscious relaxation of the mind through yoga, meditative chanting, and deep meditative silence provides the best avenue to consciously enlighten yourself.

7. Great things come with depth. All masters have transcended through the depth of their practice be it in music, business, sports, science, spirituality or Love. The cure for bitterness and disillusionment is discipline. Daily practice with discipline leads to enlightenment.

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John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives, a startlingly poignant and inspiring real-life endorsement of the power of thought, belief and synchronicity in one’s life.

“Accept whatever comes to you woven in the pattern of your destiny,

 for what could more aptly fit your needs?”

Marcus Aurelius

Pete Smith, renowned actor and filmmaker, returns to Voices from the North and describes with eloquence his recent trauma (heart failure) and hospitalization which led to an extended experience of awakening. This is a tremendously inspiring talk in which Pete will motivate the listener to live in the present; to simply be. In doing nothing, nothing is left undone and all one’s needs are met—effortlessly.

We’re all here to remind each other to wake up from the ego-centred world. The ego draws sustenance from defence and attack, fear and worry and the desire for people and events to be different than they are. Pete’s story is an evocative call to let go of the ‘tapes’ of the past and rest in the stillness and connectedness of now.

Awakening to who we are is what we’re here for. As Pete’s friend Dean Turner writes, “It’s good to be alive when you’re living.”

I urge you to listen as this master storyteller weaves the tapestry of his recent enlightening experiences:

Here’s the link to my earlier blog/interview with Pete Smith

https://insearchofsimplicity.com/2009/11/17/pete-smith-actor-and-filmmaker/

A few related posts are:

The Shaumbra Symptoms

The Call to Awaken

Three Short Steps to Enlightenment

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Subscribe to In Search of Simplicity by Email

Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives, a startlingly poignant and inspiring real-life endorsement of the power of thought, belief and synchronicity in one’s life.

“In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit: http://www.circlesoflight.com/blog/in-search-of-simplicity/

“In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

Knowing one’s Self is only being one’s Self, as there is no second existence. This is Self-realization.

Enlightenment doesn’t care how you get there. ~Thaddeus Golas

I was on the phone last night with an old and dear friend, Geoff, who recently returned to his home in Wellington after living for a couple of years with his family in London. We hadn’t spoken together since his return. He told me a lovely story I’d like to relate to you here. Geoff has been a coach for a long time. About ten years ago he had the privilege of hosting and being the guide for an Indian man (we’ll call him Michael) who’d come to share some of his knowledge with coaches in New Zealand.

Wellington Harbour

Here’s the story in Geoff’s words:

Michael wouldn’t call himself a guru. He is a little man who is very calm and has much wisdom to share. When he walks across a room it is as if the space around him is lit up. Part way through his visit we were sitting together in a busy café in downtown Wellington. I was drinking a coffee, he a green tea. In the course of our conversation he could hear that I was a keen seeker of truth.

Michael asked, “Would you like to know the secret to enlightenment?”

This got me excited. After all my searching I was finally going to find that which I was seeking. “Yes,” I replied with genuine enthusiasm.

“First of all the word ‘enlightenment’ is wrong. It’s ‘lighten-up-enment’”

I was on the edge of my chair, hanging on his every word.

“You see all the people walking past us. Do you think that because they believe something, it is truth?”

“Of course not. Just because we believe it, doesn’t make it truth.”

“Then what makes you think you have exclusive access to truth, Geoff.”

At this point I was feeling a little deflated; much flatter than I had been earlier.

Michael continued, “OK, here’s the first step to enlightenment…”

I was really eager, ready to absorb the coming pearls of wisdom.

“The first step to enlightenment is that you’ve got to realise you are full of shit.”

I looked at Michael, slightly shocked. This definitely wasn’t what I was expecting.

“The second step to enlightenment is that the moment you think you’re right and start using that ‘rightness’ to teach or dominate a conversation go back to step one.”

I was stunned. I sensed there was deep truth in what he said, even if it cut sharply across all my expectations.

“The third step is that the moment you think you’ve got it you haven’t. Go back to step one.

“Keep practicing these three steps and eventually you’ll transcend your ego.”

Have a great day and a great year and may your every step illuminate those around you.

John

Click Below to:

Subscribe to In Search of Simplicity by Email

Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives and the recently released Beyond the Search, books to lift the spirit and touch the heart. See http://www.JohnHainesBooks.com

In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit: http://www.circlesoflight.com/blog/in-search-of-simplicity/

In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

 Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews