Discussion of spiritual practices: awakening, meditation, and the freedom that cannot be lost or found. All perspectives are welcome; advaita, christian, buddhist, islam or even no perspective at all. Just pointing to that which is nearest and dearest.


For some "awakening hints" take a peek at: www.robertflegal.com



Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Why all the shopping?


So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.  Matthew 7:12

Christmas? So why all the shopping?

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

what story?


The physical world is the same for all of us: the air, the water, the weather, the animals, and the alternation of night and day and so forth.

It is then a matter of what story we tell ourselves about it.  I like the story that:

Nothing is mine,
God is in control of all matters, and
everything is temporary.

This story hatches a peaceful heart.

Meditation shows that we choose our stories.

Peace on you,

bob

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

What you don't need to do



Meditation is the practice of doing nothing. As I think over my life, I cannot imagine how much trouble I could have avoided if I had just sat there quietly instead of jumping into the fray. 

Sitting in silence shows me all the things that I do not need to do anything about right now.  This pretty much accounts for all my thoughts as I meditate.

Practicing stillness; noticing all the things that I don’t need to do anything uncovers peace. Stillness points directly at the “illusion of control” - the cause of most anxiety. 

“To God belongs everything in the heavens and everything on earth, and all matters are controlled by God.”
[Quran 3:109]

“All of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”
Blaise Pascal

"Sitting quietly, doing nothing, Spring comes, and the grass grows, by itself." - Matsuo Basho

peace on you,
Bob

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

give it up!

Meditation is the search for what to give up.

Give up what?  When we sit quietly in silence we see so many stories - stories about how we think IT OUGHT TO BE.  Did I do well at work today? Does my partner care about me? I should have said something different to Jack yesterday.  I’m scared and lonely. My meditation practice is not right. I could go on and on - you get the picture!

Not a single one of these ‘stories’ is true while sitting quietly. Meditation is the practice of noticing these stories and seeing that they are just not true right here right now.  In this light, the stories  dissolve leaving the One True Story.

Empty yourself utterly and the One True Story will shine brightly.  It’s really quite simple.

Hint: all is well!

peace on you,
bob

  

Saturday, July 23, 2016

who am I?

Meditation eventually forces us to answer the question: “Who am I”?




Who is meditating?
Who has a quiet/noisy mind?
Who sits?
Who is noticing the breath?
Who is trying to find peace?
Who was born?
Who dies?

Hint: If nothing is yours and God is in control of all matters and everything is temporary, who are you?

To God belongs everything in the heavens and everything on earth, and all matters are controlled by God. [Quran 3:109]

O my people, this worldly life is only a fleeting enjoyment, while the Hereafter is the abode for eternal settlement.
[Quran 40:39] 

peace on you, bob

Saturday, July 2, 2016


Meditation is the the search for what to give up.  When you empty yourself utterly, you will come to see that:

   Nothing is yours,
   God is in control of all matters, and 
   Everything in this life is temporary. 

As they say: the truth shall set you free - free of the tyranny of ‘me’ and ‘mine’.  Ahhhh the sweet taste of it!


To God belongs what is in the heavens and what is in the earth, and to God, all matters will be returned.
[Quran 3:109] 

You cannot will anything except in accordance to the will of God, the Lord of the worlds. [Quran 81:29] 

O my people, this worldly life is only a fleeting enjoyment, while the Hereafter is the abode for eternal settlement.
[Quran 40:39] 

Peace on you,
bob

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Worship


I've been meditating for almost four decades now, and my practice has had some pretty distinct stages - about three of them. I’d like to share my experience with you - perhaps it will lighten your load a bit.

The first stage for me is what I call "Getting out of the pounding surf". It lasted for several years. My mind was like a rough ocean surf that I could not shake. It seemed to have  me captured in endless pounding.  Thank goodness it only lasted for a few years when I found myself up on the beach where it was quieter and I could open my eyes. It was consistent daily practice that lead me out of the turbulence. 

The second stage I like to call “Coming to see things as they actually ARE not as I think they OUGHT to be". This period lasted about twenty years where I practiced letting go of all my notions of how my life, you, and the world ought to be - welcoming the truth without my ideas about it. One day, quite suddenly,  I came to see that all of my ideas were wrong save three. Grand peace became the signature of my meditation periods after that.   The  three ideas that remained after all that emptying were:

Nothing is mine,
God is in control of everything, and
everything in this life is temporary. 

The third (and current) stage of my practice is to effortlessly sit in worship of God with an overwhelming sense of gratitude knowing that everything is exactly as God would have it be - seeing that the world is not broken.  The Arabic term "Ibadah” comes to mind.  Ibadah means a humble submission and obedience to the One God. I have come to believe that Ibadah is the purpose of my life. Every practice period is filled with peaceful surrender. Ahhhhh.

You shall have no other gods before Me. (Torah)

Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. (Jesus)

I have not created the jinn and the humans except to worship Me. (Quran)

Peace be upon you,

bob

Monday, April 4, 2016

thoughts


With regular meditation practice you will come to see that you are not your thoughts. 

This is good.

Just because it is raining outside does not mean that you have to run out there and get soaked.

peace on you,
bob



Friday, March 25, 2016

Breakdowns are the best part of travel.

Breakdowns force me to see all my expectations about any trip I'm taking, which are almost always out of sync with reality. 

When I'm out of sync with reality, I suffer.

I’m much happier when I’m honoring exactly what life presents in the present moment. Life’s twists and turns are always full of wonder. 

So it is with meditation.  Breakdowns in meditation include noisy meditation settings, barking dogs, fellow meditators who do not “obey the format”, and so forth.  You get the idea.

Meditation is the practice of letting go of expectations and revering the breakdowns.

God controls the night and day. This should be a lesson for those who possess eyes. [Quran 24:44]

peace on you,
bob

Sunday, March 20, 2016

become like a child


Meditation is the practice of release - letting go and trusting that all is well - that God is in control of all things.

I have found meditation is like time spent in the state of total trust and dependence of a small child. Trust, dependence on God, and a deep peaceful meditation experience are brothers and sisters. 

I ran across a helpful passage from the “Gospel of Barnabas” where Jesus talks about the notion that no one enters the Kingdom of Heaven lest He becomes like a small child. The way Jesus teaches about “becoming like a small child” is a powerful meditation instruction.

In chapter 183 of the Gospel of Barnabas (who was one of Jesus’s twelve disciples) we quote the following: 

While they sat at meat the scribe said: 'O master, you said that God loves true humility. Tell us therefore what is humility, and how it can be true and false.' [Jesus replied:] "Truly I say to you that he who becomes not as a little child shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven." Every one was amazed at hearing this, and they said one to another: 'Now how shall he become a little child who is thirty or forty years old? Surely, this is a hard saying.' 


Jesus answered: 'As God lives, in whose presence my soul stands, my words are true. I said to you that [a man] has need to become as a little child: for this is true humility. For if you ask a little child: "Who has made your garments?" he will answer: "My father." If you ask him whose is the house where he lives, he will say: "My father's." If you shall say: "Who gives you to eat?" he will reply: "My father." If you shall say: "Who has taught you to walk and to speak?" he will answer;  "My father."


But if you shall say: "Who has broken your forehead, for that you have your forehead so bound up?" he will answer: "I fell down, and so did I break my head." 


If you shall say: "Now why did you fall down?" he will answer: "See you not that I am little, so that I have not the strength to walk and run like a grown man? so my father must needs take me by the hand if I would walk firmly. But in order that I might learn to walk well, my father left me for a little space, and I, wishing to run, fell down." If you shall say: "And what said your father?" he will answer: "Now why did you not walk quite slowly? See that in future you leave not my side."


peace on you - bob


Sunday, February 28, 2016

simplifying meditation practice




Complicating meditation practice with all manner of striving is natural - striving toward certain ‘spiritual’ experiences like: a quiet mind, feelings of bliss, and special insights.  Unfortunately striving only leads to more striving - striving never arrives at real peace.

How can we lose this habit of striving during our practice?  

The Quran declares that the only purpose of this life is to worship God.  This declaration can certainly point the way.

I have not created the jinn and the humans except to worship Me. [Quran 51:56]

The key word here is worship. In Arabic the word translated as worship is ibada (ee-bah-da).

‘Ibadah’ is derived from the root word ‘abd, which means a servant, to be a slave/obedient, to exhibit humble submission.

In pure surrender (worship) there is no striving - just patiently sitting in Silence without any expectation whatsoever.

So … try sitting without expectation.  You will be amazed at how quickly you find what you were always looking for.

peace on you,
bob

Saturday, February 20, 2016

The Wisdom that bring lasting peace


The small man builds cages for everyone he knows. while the sage, who has to duck his head when the moon is low, keeps dropping keys all night long for the beautiful rowdy prisoners. [Hafiz]

Many meditation techniques attempt to imprison or cage the mind in order to quieten it. Such cages include: focusing on the breath, reciting mantras, and disregarding thoughts. While these techniques may temporarily quieten the mind they will not lead to lasting Peace.  

Lasting Peace comes with Wisdom.  The Wisdom that comes only by sitting in Silence expecting nothing. What is the nature of such Wisdom?  What are the ‘keys’ to which Hafiz is referring? 

To God belongs everything,
God is in control of all things,
Everything in this world is temporary. 

To God belongs everything in the heavens and everything on earth, and all matters are controlled by God. [Quran 3:109]

Ahhhhhhh the Wisdom that brings lasting Peace.

peace on you,
bob

Saturday, February 6, 2016

True Seeing



Meditation is the practice of “true seeing” - seeing things as they ARE not as I think they OUGHT to be. When in the state of “true seeing”, it becomes clear that nothing that appears is yours - NOTHING! No one can make even one atom let alone a spec of dirt, a rock, or a leaf. 

So … when sitting in silence just let go of all thoughts about to how things OUGHT to be.  Let go of everything you have ever learned, or experienced. Let go, let go, then let go of letting go.  You will come to “true seeing”. What a wonderful (filled with wonder) place it is. Everything there points directly to the Divine.


God created every living creature from water. Some of them move on their bellies, some of them walk on two legs and some of them walk on four. God creates whatever He wills. God is capable of all things.
[Quran 24:45]

O people, an example has been cited so listen to it: those you call on beside God will never create a fly, even if they all got together to do so. In addition, if the fly should strip them of anything, they would not be able to recover that from it; weak is the seeker and that which is sought.
[Quran 22:73]

Peace be on you,
bob

Saturday, January 23, 2016

try something different

I’d like to suggest a meditation technique that has worked well for me.  Give it a try if you wish.

Perhaps we don’t get what we want from our meditation practice because we are not doing anything differently from what we do day-to-day.  You know that saying: “same actions - same result”.

I was taught from an early age, that to be successful, I need to strive - strive in my work, in my relationships, and even in my play.  It is natural for me to bring this stance into my meditation practice.  In my experience, striving during meditation only leads to more striving and more seeking.  

It would be a nice change to hear someone say that they have found their way spiritually.  What I most often hear is: “I am a spiritual seeker”.  Who does not know someone who has been meditating for twenty years introduce themselves as a “spiritual seeker”?  

Meditation is the practice of not striving and not seeking. If we are not striving and not seeking, what then are we doing?  I claim, without seeking, we fall naturally into worship.

When, during my practice period, all striving and all seeking ceases, I find myself in a state of deepest peace that can best be described by the word worship - a state of willing surrender to the Creator and a feeling of gratitude for everything that is - just as it is!

The Quran states that worshipping God is the purpose of life - the sole reason we were created and placed here on earth. Why not align meditation practice with this purpose?

"I did not create the Jinn, nor mankind, except to worship Me."
[Quran 51:56]

So, during practice, try this: stop all striving, cease all effort, and simply ask God for help - help that you might be a “finder” right here right now. Then just sit.

And if those who worship Me ask you about Me, I am near; I answer the caller's call if he calls on Me. Therefore, they shall respond to Me and believe in Me in order to be guided.  [Quran 2:186]

peace on you,
bob