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Sunday Soul – MOKSHA
Year 11 – Playlist 33/52 – Art, Essay and music for the week of 30 Kartika 2014
There is a good deal of affection these days for eastern practices in the west. Yoga has become the exercise regimen of choice for many modern people. Some take it to the extreme and practice as a religion, while others go to classes at the gym and think of yoga as a workout. It doesn’t matter how you feel about yoga, my thinking is that the 196 sutras of yoga were written in the year 400 because the warriors of the time found it difficult to meditate. Yoga was developed as a method of preparing warriors for meditation. I love the idea that the western world is in a state of preparation for meditation. I think that’s about right.
The popularity of Buddhism and Zen teachings has become widespread in the last couple of decades as well in the west. There are many centers, temples and retreats where people gather and learn the art of zen and the teachings of Buddha. This doesn’t surprise or disturb me in the least. I think that in the western world, for the moment, religion has failed the people. And ultimately the common language has become that of the agnostic. We speak in terms of the secular world and without ministrations and community for our soul there is a space left in our lives. We simply cannot live for self, and material things alone. Without a philosophy of some kind the human heart seems to go into remission. Zen is a fascinating practice which can bear fruit in the hearts of many people.
Even without knowing what we are seeking, we search the skies, the sea, the faces of strangers, and even the bottom of a bong for comfort for the human soul. And the soul has yet to be found. Of course these are inter-religious disciplines which are ultimately interchangeable, and the accompanying words like “God” and “soul” are inevitably interchangeable. What is important is that people feel their suffering, and then seek to be relieved of it. I argue that you are no more or less close to the semantic expression of “God” when you are staring up at the sky than you are when you are lost completely to your conscious mind in mediation. Personally I have never felt closer to God than I have when I am dancing. I lose myself to music and rhythm, and I feel something other than myself moving me. I transcend myself, and after a while feel something deep inside of me just let go. It is a place I would like to always be.
The concept of Moksha is both an epistemological and psychological expression of transcendental consciousness. It is a state of completely perfect release from suffering. A synonym for Nirvana, Moksha indicates a release from the cycle of samsara. In the Hindu tradition, the idea of Moksha is the central concept of the four aspects and goals of human life:
1. dharma (virtuous, proper, moral life)
2. artha (material prosperity, income security, means of life)
3. kama (pleasure, sensuality, emotional fulfillment)
4. moksha: (liberation)
When observed from the west, it is easy to see that these basic concepts of a spiritual life are not so different from the fundamental values of the western religious, agnostic or secular experience. We absolutely can agree that our lives must be if not “moral” then at least disciplined and true to our own virtues. Some go for the ideas of country, or class, cult or subculture, but in the end, we are all first attempting to organize ourselves in such a way that we feel that we are on a correct footing, and therefore in possession of virtue.
Once we know who we are, where we are from and how we must behave, then it’s only natural to attempt to thrive. Thus we embark upon Artha and begin our educations, career, or other adventures in search of fortune and prosperity. It’s understandable that in the western world we have decided to place Kama before Artha as a general rule. Perhaps we don’t believe that we will achieve Artha at all, as the ideas of “wealth” seem to be so remote, and ever distant from our position that we ache for pleasures and fulfillment now. Impatience calls us to prevent the trap of working for many years and then “retiring” and enjoying what’s left of our lives. So we have our wild years first, and hope for more success later on after our dreams of stardom finally fade. Or perhaps we take these things in installments and work for a time in school, and then go wild for a few years, and then we work for a time at a job or in a field of our expertise and then we go wild again in mid life, and then we go back to school, or resume our careers and finally surrender to our limitations (hopefully with some savings to take care of us.) However we do it, the idea is the same – we must thrive both emotionally as well as materially.
And finally we arrive at Moksha, where we are relieved of the cycle of suffering, and liberated into a state of perfection and complete harmony. The disciplines we have mastered in life have become so perfected that they are not conscious. We pray without stopping as the pilgrim, we meditate without sitting as the Buddha, we awaken to love as Jesus did, and we are effortlessly present in and of the world.
It’s the last state which seems missing from the west. It’s likely that it’s missing from everywhere. Hindus and Buddhists have had to develop theories of life cycle, or reincarnation in order to explain why not everyone arrives at Moksha, and thus we go round again and again until we are liberated from suffering and at last awaken to the heart of buddha, or achieve nirvana. In the west we are forgiven for failing to arrive there, and go to heaven if we’ve been good, or hell if we’ve been bad. I can see why eastern religions are more popular in the west than ever before. Life is painfully brief, and it’s pretty hard to feel like we got much done. So I can understand why folks might want to have another crack at this. If not to try again to get it right, then at least to try to do better and pay just a little bit better attention next time.
I don’t personally believe that there is a literal place called heaven. I also don’t believe that there is any such thing as reincarnation. I believe that when we leave this experience we leave this experience. Death is not sad, and it is not bad. Death is a natural and quite beautiful piece of life. It is only sad for those who are left behind. And yet why all this talk of another go round? Why all this hope for a better place after this one? Have we really squandered this time here so desperately? Have we really been so foolishly stupid about our planet, our bodies, our beauty, and our hearts? I fear that we have. But that shouldn’t stop any of us from attempting to pray without stopping, preparing for meditation, and strive for a disciplined life, a sense of self so clear and loving that we are in possession of who we believe we should be. The world whizzing past us in ever distracting increments should not stop us from seeking to build our homes, our lives, and educate our hearts and minds. None of the tempo of life should discourage us from true pleasure, love, joy and fulfillment. And if we do these things with any degree of focus, or honesty I believe that for each of us we will have arrived at Nirvana, at Moksha, at Heaven on earth.
Whatever you believe it is my single wish that you nourish this flame in your hearts. Embody the teachings of your gurus, and awaken from suffering, greed, the agony of capitalism, and the emptiness of self. Know yourself and your soul as deeply and as honestly as your courage allows, and then begin your journey to the glory of awakening from the hallucinations of suffering and pain to the joy and vivid beauty of love. After all, love is the only thing real in this world. Everything else is a hallucination. The ego is tempting, and often quite convincing, but chances are if you’ve read this far then you are already aware that you and I are a dancing beam of radiant light from the same sun, the same heart.
Thank you for listening. See you next week.
Here is the track listing for Sunday Soul: MOKSHA
1. It’s Alright, I Feel It! – Nuyorican Soul
2. Roly Poly – Hernene
3. Splinterpella – Ivan Zharov
4. Afrique – DJ MFR Beats Mix – Vincent Kwok
5. Ibooji (Fading Lights) – Needs
6. Settle Down – Scott Wozniak Remix – Kimbra
7. With It – Kevin Over
8. Blax One – Kevin Over
9. We Don’t Have Much Time – Neville’s Dub – Yuki Suzuki
10. Porno 3003 – Gus Gus Mix – Pizzicato Five
11. Happy Up Here (Holy Fuck Remix) – Royksopp
12. For You – Richard Empire
13. Whatcha Want – Alvaro Hylander Remix – Tim Andersen
14. 10 Years Later – Bruce Monteiro
15. Sunday Soul – Program ID
16. U Fade – JNL Cinemafunk & Atlaas
17. Sunday Soul – Program ID
Year 11 – Playlist 33|52
30 November 2014
Total Running Time: 01 Hours 21 Minutes
May the stars above you shimmer and shine, guiding your heart always, all of the time. May they guide you sweetly, all the way home. And may all your sundays have soul.