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4 lessons on the Circle of Remembering

These were given over 4 weeks by email to some people who were generally interested in attending a Circle of Remembering. They are not necessary complete or particularly appropriate to all persons or situations.

Lesson 1: The Intention - or "opening the cookbook".

The real reasons behind coming together and repeating a sacred name or phrase or sound in unison, and together tuning the heart breath, and personality toward "something" is to experience as much as possible what that reality is - that which exists - and remember what one truly is, not just the outer person.

It is a way to work with each other supporting and easing the way toward this. We grow in experience as one body. We 'feed off' each other along the way. That is, through attunement - which means at one level giving away of self and harmonizing as one instrument - we can catch the sense of what each feels, and then become of that. So as we climb the ladder of consciousness and realization, we are able to experience the highest (or the lowest if we prefer) of what any member of our body experiences.

This leads higher and more toward the Real as we go further. The intention is to provide ourself toward this process and become a battery, so to speak, of the highest toward which we feel and become. We know that more persons gathered together for one purpose and working toward that is stronger that the the sum of each doing independently. The starter can be engaged, to use an automotive metaphor, but needs a certain voltage and amperage. Together, with that intention and unity, this is provided - through the combined effort of all taking part.

The intention is to lose oneself in the Greater Self, and AS this, as much as one is able at the time and under the conditions there. We join together not only to feed off each other but also to provide a service of helping lift each other - which is much more positive. We know that be helping, selflessly, each one is raised, and in so doing, we join together and remember, as one, as part of the Only One, and that reality become us.

We join together with the intention also of raising the world and all those other beings within it, as well as all the energy, life, attitudes, focus, and perception. This is through the growth of all as it's parts grow, for as one thinks, feels, and experiences, so too does this spread throughout all the spheres, including all this human and physical realm. We touch the angels and the souls not incarnate, and we become of them also. This coming together provides a focus for this to take place.

Another intention and part of the process is to refine ones experience of the Real and grow further in this remembering - for one is, we are, each person, part of and OF this, as one larger and greater being. It is only in the remembering that it becomes back to the forefront of our personality and feeling. So we join together to remember again what we are and to feel the love, joy, peace, and reality of this life. In so doing, we are able to catch this and then, through practice and attention, extend it more toward our daily living.

Many times people may come to a practice such as this and not get 'more' or in the way that the think. Yet, sometimes much more is actually going on than they see. Too many times people try to capture again some feeling or experience they have had previously. By coming together open to what NOW is, we become as the blank slate, open to the writing of the only Hand upon one's heart - the empty cup to receive and then give.

These are some of the intentions. Next week, or next time I mail a 'lesson' we will consider more of the methods or approaches to doing this. In the meantime, I offer a suggestion. Take the time to prepare yourself for coming together by examining your own intentions. Consider how you feel about 'giving away yourself', your attachment to and identification as a lesser self, to find again, remember what your really are. Examine whether you are looking for a social or superficial experience through associating with others or if you have a deeper, more real purpose, one true to yourself. Reflect upon your desire and willingness to help another, all beings grow in this peace, love, and harmony - of which you touch also, and of which you are.



Lesson 2: The Mechanics - or "preparing the recipe".

There are many approaches to attuning, harmonizing, and reaching toward experience through recitations such a in a Circle of Remembering. Each person who originated an approach tried to do so for the conditions and people. For all of them, we seek to go toward That Which Is, beyond form and means. However the method, or mechanics, are, or can be useful.

Just like a batter in baseball, or figure skater, or any athlete or student of any subject, there may be many means to improve or reach the goal. The approaches increase the possibilities of the experience. I have written and spoken on many of these approaches in this circle. You can find these on the spritual-learning.com web site at the address above.

Rather than go into them again here, let me give you some things to consider and work with. First, we seek to get to the "position" above form and sound - to experience. Indeed, some 'schools' start with silence. The practice presented here starts with and includes sound and movements. We start at the grosser and refine. Each sound and movement has its related function.

When we meet, I will review some, rather quickly . You can delve into them more through the web site before that. To go into them more specifically here might take a small book. And to go into them fairly fully through a "class", would take perhaps a full weekend of work. Please consider that you are getting a taste.

I have spent some time over the last year or so introducing this practice through some classes and meetings in this area. You may have attended one. I suggest that there is far more to be gained and experienced than one can get through a few circles. Further, the experiences deepen with time, application, and repetition. If you are not satisfied, then go further.

Of all the things I can suggest you do when you attend a circle, perhaps the most effective are to arrive 10 or 15 minutes early and quiet your mind, attune and harmonize your breath, and sit with intention. From there, pay attention to others and try to catch what is going on. Do not limit your experience and attempt to stay connected to what is going on. From there you possibly may gain.

Following below are several statements from several different people, plus a story. If you would like some things to use for contemplation, here they are. By paying attention to them [the attention, attention of Zen], there may be a benefit.

Next week, or next time I mail a 'lesson' we will consider more on The Experience - or "tasting the food".

-----ITEMS TO CONSIDER-----

"Live thou, uncontaminated in the world, just like a lotus flower with its head above the muddy pool, or like a sea-fowl that springs into the air with wings unaffected by the water. O Nanak, communion of the soul with the Word is the only means whereby one can safely cross over the endless ocean of matter - attune ye to it." - Guru Nanak

"Blessed is the person who utterly surrenders his soul for the name of YAHUVA to dwell therein and to establish therein its throne of glory." - The Zohar ..........

"The Divine Will is revealed unto the man by communion with the Holy Naam - the Divine Word."- Kirpal Singh

"There are various paths prescribed by various Yogis and Saints of different paths of the world. But Ramdas found that the easiest is the path of devotion. ... Ramdas had no other discipline when he was walking on the path of God-Realization. He found the name of God most helpful. Many people ask what the name of God can do. But those who know the power of the Name can tell you what wonderful potency is in the Name. Ramdas never found any other method so easy as that. To repeat God's name is to remember Him, and as you remember Him, the divine hidden within you manifests and fills you through and through." Swami Ramdas

" The technique of the Mantram then consists in following the overtones of the sound beyond the limits of the range of the ear, into the supersonic range picked up by those areas of consciousness usually referred to as the unconscious. One continues to listen, but not with the ear. Thus consciousness is induced to extend beyond its span, shifting its threshold with the unconscious. The classical techniques require one to repeat the prescribed mantram a given number of times: 21, 33, 101, 1001, etc.; but it is better to interrupt the sequence if one is not entirely satisfied with the sound produced. There is no point in repeating the same mistake or perpetuating the same imperfection over and over again. Do not content yourself with the sound produced. In fact, one is like the indian musician who, in guise of tuning his instrument, is actually tuning himself to the right pitch. An indian musician may take hours to tune his vina, but actually he is tuning the soul. You say the Bound, and 'Oh, no, that's not it', so you do it again and again and again, and you gradually get your soul into a condition which enables you to produce the desired sound. One feels things in one's self that one doesn't like in the sound that one produces: it's too personal or it's too harsh or there's too much ego in it or it's too inharmonious or there's something in it you don't like: All those things which you suffer from in your sense of beauty, which cause despair in the minds and hearts of men. After practicing the wazifas (mantras) listen to the harmonics in the atmosphere. Climb the ladder of the harmonics. Become yourself: pure vibration beyond space. You hear in each vibration the harmonics of that vibration, and the harmonics of the harmonics of that vibration. Float on the sea of vibrations. You are in absolute inner sound." -Vilayat Khan

STORY: "A conventially-minded dervish, from an austerely pious school, was walking one day along a river bank. He was absorbed in concentration upon moralistic and scholastic problems, for this was the form which Sufi teaching had taken in the community to which he belonged. He equated emotional religion with the search for ultimate Truth.

Suddenly his thoughts were interrupted by a loud shout: someone was repeating the dervish call. 'There is no point in that' he said to himself, 'because the man is mispronouncing the syllables. Instead of intoning YA HU, he is saying U YA HU'. Then he realized that he had a duty, as a more careful student, to correct this unfortunate person, who might have had no opportunity of being rightly guided, and was therefore probably only doing his best to attune himself with the idea behind the sounds. So he hired a boat and made his way to the island in midstream from which the sound appeared to come.

Sitting in a reed hut he found a man, dressed in a dervish robe, moving in time to his own repetition of the initiatory phrase. 'My friend', said the first dervish, 'you are mispronouncing the phrase. It is incumbent upon me to tell you this, because there is merit for him who gives and him who takes advice.

This is the way in which you speak it.' And he told him. 'Thank you,' Said the other dervish humbly. The first dervish entered his boat again, full of satisfaction at having done a good deed. After all, it was said that a man who could repeat the sacred formula correctly could even walk upon the waves: something that he had never seen, but always hoped - for some reason - to be able to achieve. Now he could hear nothing from the reed hut, but he was sure that his lesson had been well taken.

Then he heard a faltering U YA as the second dervish started to repeat the phrase in his old way. While the first dervish was thinking about this, reflecting upon the perversity of humanity and its persistence in error, he suddenly saw a strange sight. From the island the other dervish was coming towards him, walking on the surface of the water.

Amazed, he stopped rowing. The second dervish walked up to him and said: 'Brother, I am sorry to trouble you, but I have to come out to ask you again the standard method of making the repetition you were telling me, because I find it difficult to remember it." - Sufi story (Shah)



Lesson 3: The Experience - "tasting the food".

"Talking about enlightenment is like scratching an itch on your foot through a shoe". - Phillip Kapleau, Zen Roshi and Master.

This is a good way to begin speaking about the experience one may have through a circle of remembering. Do you have a favorite food or meal? If so, how could you describe it to someone who has not eaten it? What is the taste of chocolate? And if another has even dined with you, would the taste be yours or what that one experiences? So now you know a little of the problem of discussing this.

But are there some things we are able to say? Yes. We can discuss approaches and tastes in various ways. Each time we sit and attune we find what we seek. Seek that sweetness of the intoxication of the Wine and you will grow toward that. Seek another experience of the same or similar to what you may have had previously and you limit yourself to that. So we seek the Highest and move toward That.

We let go of self. What does this mean? It means a loss of attachment to - identification of - oneself as lesser than what One Is. And how is this experienced? Each one will feel the way through. But from a perspective, one will actually become larger - in space, beyond time, larger and more encompassing that the person. Letting go of the 'smaller' self is accompanied by a growing toward your 'larger'. The identity shifts. You actually can observe and feel your personality grow and you are able to perceive through that which is timeless and without space, yet without constraints in 'space'. You become. This is toward which we point.

And how do we experience? Not only through the sound and motion but through the refinement of that to the inward, and the refinement of that to the function and the breath of that which we seek - to become - once more. This is the feeling of remembering. One stops, we stop, cease to be of the person and include the person, the personality, the mind, the separate - within ourself - Oneself, and become. Toward this we seek, by remembrance.

Between the breath in and the breath out One Is. Beyond the form, beyond the means, behind and through the process - One becomes again. Here we are, one is.

And this is toward which one points. Here your consciousness, identity, and personality becomes again of the highest toward which you are able to conceive, feel, and re-member. One is helped by It's parts, your parts, yourself - and these include those who attend. When this happens, consciously, you become aware of the 'others' as oneself - yourself and your Ideal - separate and together - at the same time. Become again. Personality experiences, feels, losing the smaller, the lesser, as One Becomes again.

Reach once more to this, the taste, the dinner, the feast. Become.



Lesson 4: The Continuation - "refining and improving the dinner"

There are two main ways of refining and continuing in the practice and application which may come through a Circle of Remembering. One is in the the doing of the practice. This is limited in 'time'. The other, and far more important and valuable, is in the extension of the limited practice to every day living.

Recall that part of the intention of the "practice" is to become of what one seeks to experience. We place ourselves for a short time within a process. Through this, hopefully, we can and do try to experience as much as we are able, what the Real or True of ourself IS. We find that thought above thinking, that heart of The Real, the Only, lose 'ourself' in Oneself, and are led by, and in, and to, and as part of, that endless love and expansion of being. This is to be then experienced further and more regularly in daily living.

So we have two parts of continuing. In the first, just like learning any task or art and then becoming better at it, the practice helps. So it is in cooking, music, building, accounting, weight lifting, etc. and etc. Each time we do the 'practice' - making food, playing scales, hammering a nail, figuring, lifting, we become better at it and grow in it. This is the sitting, recitation, and attunement.

But the second portion is much more valuable. By sitting, reciting, and attuning, we can experience within a particular setting. Now we also pay attention to what we are experience and how we feel. We CATCH that breath and attunement so we can repeat it and catch again as it grows. We also find that through paying attention we are able to discern what our qualities are when we experience this deeper and more real state. By paying attention to these, we then can put ourselves toward that in daily life and live in this state until it grows to be our base state. Then this also can expand and grow more.

So we try to pay attention to what our mind is like: quiet? busy? occupied? set aside?. We look and feel our heart and breath. What are their conditions? What is our intention? How is our consciousness different? These things we are able to connect to again and again - and they will grow. Within our daily living we will be able to experience Ourself - more of our Real Self, as we become this. This is the application that is able to come - if you want it. Of course this too takes conscious intention and some effort. So it is up to you. Why you could even do the practices on your own, between meetings when you know it. And this could potentially lead to 'more'.

I will stop here. There is much more I could write about this. However, far more valuable would be to actually experience. I look forward to seeing you all who wish to attend.


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