Before we begin our celebration, I want to talk to you for about half an hour and I apologize for this because I am for the elimination of sermons on Sunday mornings. But I need to explain both for you and for the radio audience what we’re going to do. It has been announced as an Aquarian Age religious service. I did not invent that title. It has nothing so far as I know to do with the Aquarian Age, If such a thing exists. And I don’t like the word service. It’s got all sorts of associations of sanctimoniousness. So I would rather call it a contemplative ritual. Period. Our purpose in doing this is to offer a suggestion to the churches. To the Christian Jewish and Islamic churches in particular, because for a long, long time, the kind of religious celebration which they have conducted has been impossibly loquacious. And didactic. Almost all our religious observances are nothing but talk. They tell God what to do, as if he didn’t know. And they tell the people what to do, as if they were able to do it or even willing. And this throwing the book at people and telling them the Word.
I think we’ve had enough of it. Because the history of religion is almost equivalent to the history of the fair. Preaching. Since preaching is a kind of moral violence, which excites people sense of guilt, and there is no more uncreative sense than that. You cannot love and feel guilty at the same time. Any more than you can be afraid and angry at the same time. What seems to me to be lacking in our western religious observances is some sort of social ritual or liturgy, which gives an opportunity for spiritual experience. That is to say, for a transformation of the individual consciousness, so that in one way or another the individual is able to realize his oneness. With the eternal energy behind this universe which some people call God, and others prefer not to name or to conceive. The Western religions have from an official standpoint, being somewhat suspicious and leery of mystical experience. Because in the founder of Christianity, a mystical experience, led to the claim that he was God incarnate. Which was, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness. Because if you believe that God is a monarch. A beneficence tyrant in charge of the universe, anyone else claiming to be God is obviously committing an act of subversion. And would be suspected of introducing democracy into the kingdom of heaven. Which is supposed to be a monarchy and not a republic.
And I do not understand how we can be citizens of the United States, believing that a republic is the best form of government, but go on insisting that the universe is a monarchy. I feel rather the Jesus was a person who had this colossal mystical experience that we call cosmic consciousness, the experience that your real self is not that little superficial idea or image of yourself which we call ‘I’, but the total energy of the world flowing through you and expressing itself in you. And that’s the real you. And it was on that basis that he could say I am the Father are one. What the Christians did was to stop the Gospel cold by saying all right, Jesus was God but nobody else. And so for lack of the spiritual experience of Jesus, nobody has been able to live the religion of Jesus they have lived instead the religion about Jesus, which is a very different thing. Because he’s been put up on a pedestal and worshiped at a distance and his example in life rendered ineffective, because you can’t make the tail wag the dog, or the cart pull the horse. You cannot expect love in Action, unless there is what the Christians call grace underlying it and grace so far as anybody knows is a purely theoretical thing which you believe you have received but there is never been any indication of it, to speak of, except in exceptional individual lives that account rather occasionally.
So what I’m proposing instead of the ordinary kind of religious this is as I said a contemplative ritual. And the idea is not to have everybody shaken up and whooping around like Indians on the warpath. But to bring about a state of profound peace. So therefore I should say something in a preliminary way about meditation or contemplation as I prefer to call it. Usually when Western people hear that an Oriental practices meditation he asks What do you meditate on. And that question puzzles a Buddhist or Hindu. Because you don’t meditate on anything anymore than you breathe on anything. You breathe, and in the same way you meditate. The verb is in a way intransitive. Meditation is the act of allowing one’s thoughts to cease. As Patanjali puts it in the beginning of the yoga sutra, yoga meaning the art of meditation more strictly speaking ,Yoga means union. The union of the individual in the universe. He says, after saying now yoga is explained he says she you know Gus pretty neat other which means yoga. Is stopping the agitation of thinking. Thinking is talking to yourself, or figuring to yourself. That’s the way I use the word.
Now if I talk all the time I don’t hear what anyone else has to say. Consequently if I talk to myself all the time I don’t have anything to think about except thoughts. There is no Into go between thoughts. During which I can come into touch with reality, that is to say the world which thoughts represent as words represent events, or as money represents wealth. And so, if I’m never silent in my head I’m living in a world of total abstraction, divorced from reality altogether. You may ask, what is reality? And people have various theories about what it is but you must remember that they’re all theories those who believe that reality is material are projecting upon the real world, a philosophical theory about it and those who say that it is mental or spiritual are doing likewise. Reality itself is neither mental nor spiritual, nor any concept that we can have of it reality is simply [gongs] Nor anything else. Nonverbal and words are reality and so far as they are noises. But even that is saying too much.
Now therefore, to meditate you might think that we attempt to suppress thought. We do not do that. Because you cannot meditate. Let me put that in a more emphatic way you cannot meditate. You, your ego image, can only chatter. Because when it stops, it isn’t there. When you are not thinking, you have no ego because your ego is a concept. The thinking behind the thoughts the feeling, behind the feelings and the think about Heine the thoughts is only a thought an idea of some reference point to which all our experiences happen. And that of course cuts us off from what we experience it makes a great gap or gulf between the knower and the known. And that creates the spirit of alienation to the world from which we suffer. Conflict. Hate. Domineering spirit arise from that basic division. So when you come to an end of thought, and you don’t know how to meditate you don’t know what to do with your mind nobody can tell you then thinking comes to an end naturally. And you just watch. You don’t ask who watches, because that merely arises from the fact that in grammar every verb has to have a subject by rule. That is not a rule of nature, it is a rule of grammar. In nature, there can be watching without a separate watcher, just as there can be flashing without something called lightning that does it. The lightning is of course the flashing.
So when you realize that you come to your wits end, you can begin meditation. Or meditation happens and that is happening is the watching simply of what is, of all the information to conveyed by your exterior interior senses and of the thoughts that key. Chattering on about it all you don’t try to stop those thoughts, you just let them run as if they were birds twittering outside. And they will eventually get tired of themselves and stop, but don’t worry about it whether they do or don’t just simply watch whatever it is that you are feeling, thinking, experiencing and that’s it watch it. And don’t go out of your way to put any names on it. That’s really what meditation is and you see you’re not expecting any result. You are in meditation in an eternal present. You’re not doing it to improve yourself, you found you can’t do that your ego can’t possibly improve you because it’s what’s in need of improvement. Your ego can’t let go of itself, because it is a complex called clinging to oneself. That’s what it is by definition. So it’s just something that evaporates when it is understood that it is unable to achieve a transformation of consciousness mystical experience the vivid sense of union of individual and cosmos.
So one of the easiest ways to enter into the state of meditation is therefore listening to what is using the sense of sound. Sound is curiously enough a sense that bores us less easily than sight. And when you listen to sound, you listen to it, just the random sounds you know, that are going on in the room and the street. Is if you were listening to music. Without trying to identify it source or name it. All put any label on it at all just enjoy whatever sound may be going on whether it’s in this hall or whether it’s in the area where you’re listening to the radio. That’s what we shall do the proper part of the ritual, just listen. Now we can go on from that listening to making sound ourselves and also listening to it and instead of making sound we learn the knack of letting it happen through us. Once a great choirmaster in England Sir Walter Davies, was rehearsing a choir in the presence of the Archbishop of Canterbury. Who was then William Temple a great theologian. And this was a raw choir, he didn’t really know much about singing. And he gave them a hymn to sing that they knew very well. And to impress the archbishop they sang it with gusto and it sounded forced and terrible. Then he had with him a professional choir and he asked them to sing a little known hymn. And sing it several times until everybody got the hang of the tune now he’s says,’ I want you to sing this tune about there’s one very important thing and that is that you don’t try to sing it you mustn’t try you must think of the melody and let it sing itself.’ And they sang it very well, and he turned to the Archbishop and said Your Grace That’s good theology isn’t it. And it obviously was because William Temple told me the story.
So then, we get to what is in India called the use of mantra. And that is, that the chant words sounds chanted not for their meaning but for their sound. And thus everything that will occur. In the following celebration will not be in the English language. It is not intended to be understood in a discuss of an intellectual sense you are asked only to dig the sound. And I use the word dig advisedly because it means something a little more than appreciate it means enter in to penetrate get right to the bottom off because when you are listening to sound and when you are letting sound hum through you, this is one of the most obvious manifestations of the energy of the universe. Shaba as it’s called in Sanskrit is Brahman. Commonly said sound as Brahma, sound is God That’s the real meaning of in the beginning was the word doesn’t mean in the beginning was the chatter. In the beginning was the commandment, the orders, it means the vibration of the word and that’s. So we concentrate therefore purely on the sound and you will find that although we have a chorus that has been made familiar with these Mantras. Some of them are so simple that you will all be able to join in with them. And please do so quite freely. It’s a pity you see that the Roman Catholic Church which used to have a mantric service, the mass is dropping it and putting mass into the vernacular. And not very good vernacular that so far as the English translation is concerned. So that it sounds it’s become terribly intellectual and often the somebody is standing by the altar at a microphone to explain what’s going on. And therefore as Clare Boothe Luce put it the other day, it is no longer possible to practice contemplative prayer at Mass because you are being hammered out with information with exhortation with edification all the time. And the Catholic Church should realize that in giving up Latin it has lost its magic. Religion is not supposed to be understood. Religion is that which is past understanding. Understanding may lead up to it as a pedagogue but to express religion intellectually is using the intellect with something it can’t do it is comparable to taking up the automatic telephone and dialing W H A T I S G O D, and expecting to get information as an answer. Although the telephone is very useful otherwise. You cannot find out the mystery of the universe through talk. Only through awareness.
And for that reason, we offer this as an example, and it’s offered in this way. It is a ritual. And it has a certain order to it. But it’s very easy to get together it doesn’t require an enormous amount of dramatic rehearsal. And it’s something that any group can do anywhere on the Do It Yourself basis any time. And I suggest that churches get rid of their pews, where everybody has heard it in like cattle to look at the backs of each other’s necks. And that they spread their floor with rugs and cushions. And that they have something in which people can approach. A, an ineffable, that means beyond words, a spiritual experience. And not be towed and forced into a particular pattern of thinking of mentation. So you see, for that reason I’ve only given the slightest suggestion of how one uses these mantra all the silence for meditation you all have your own way of doing things like that do it your own way. All this is, is a vehicle, a support for contemplation. So now there will be an intermission in which I suggest you simply sit quietly and get settled. And then we will proceed to the contemplative ritual.