Zen Master Alan Watts Discovers the Secrets of Aldous Huxley and His Art of Dying

Few figures were as influential as Alan Watts and Aldous Huxley in popularizing experiments with psychedelic drugs and Eastern religion in the 20th century. Watts did more to introduce Westerners to Zen Buddhism than almost anyone before or since; Huxley’s experiments with mescaline and LSD—as well as his literary critiques of Western technocratic rationalism—are well-known. But in a countercultural movement largely dominated by men—Watts and Huxley, Ken Kesey, Timothy Leary, Allen Ginsberg, etc—Huxley’s widow Laura came to play a significant role after her husband’s death.

In fact, as we’ve discussed before, she played a significant role during his death, injecting him with LSD and reading to him from The Tibetan Book of the Dead as he passed away. In the interview above, Laura speaks with Watts about that experience, one she learned from Aldous, who performed a similar service for his first wife as she died in 1955. The occasion of the interview—conducted at Watts’ Sausalito home in 1968—is the publication of Laura Huxley’s memoir of life with her husband, This Timeless Moment. But talk of the book soon prompts discussion of Huxley’s graceful exit, which Watts calls “a highly intelligent form of dying.”

Watts relates an anecdote about Goethe’s last hours, during which a visitor was told that he was “busy dying.” “Dying is an art,” says Watts, “and it’s also an adventure,” Laura adds. Their discussion then turns to Huxley’s final novel, Island (which you can read in PDF here). Island has rarely been favorably reviewed as a literary endeavor. And yet, as Watts points out, it wasn’t intended as literature, but as a “sociological blueprint in the form of a novel.” Laura Huxley, upset at the book’s chilly reception, wishes her husband had “written it straight.” Nonetheless, she points out that Island was much more than a Utopian fantasy or philosophical thought experiment. It was a document in which “every method, every recipe… is something he experimented with himself in his own life.” As Laura wrote in This Timeless Moment:

Every single thing that is written in Island has happened and it’s possible and actual … Island is really visionary common sense. Things that Aldous and many other people said, that were seen as so audacious – they are common sense, but they were visionary because they had not yet happened.

Those things included not only radical forms of living, but also, as Huxley himself demonstrated, radical ways of dying.

Related Content:

Aldous Huxley’s Most Beautiful, LSD-Assisted Death: A Letter from His Widow

Aldous Huxley Reads Dramatized Version of Brave New World

Leonard Cohen Narrates Film on The Tibetan Book of the Dead, Featuring the Dalai Lama (1994)

Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Washington, DC. Follow him at @jdmagness

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The Dalai Lama and Buddhist Science

Flickr-buddha-Akuppa

Gene Hart 

Why does consciousness seem to complicate reality? – A question that arose in my mind upon hearing that His Holiness the Dalai Lama was coming to England to spread his teachings of non-violence. The Dalai Lama, spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists, was visiting Manchester to share his wisdom and knowledge, something which he has dedicated his life to doing around the world. Despite leading a life of peace, he has had his share of drama, being in exile since 1959, due to the Chinese government taking over Tibet. Since losing their country, Tibetans have stayed loyal to the Dalai Lama, claiming that they feel alone without him – a bond between a leader and his people we rarely see today. Both have been pleading honorably for Tibet’s independence. Furthermore, the Dalai Lama has been trying to establish a democratic system of governance, speaking with countless world leaders. Parallel to this His Holiness works for the promotion of moral values, harmony and respect for religions throughout the world; not preaching on Buddhism, but teaching how to promote inner happiness and Buddhist science, to which many people take an interest. I had the pleasure of participating in several talks by His Holiness over a period of four days.

I joined a news conference on the morning of his arrival. It’s not every day you see a Buddhist monk being exposed to apprehensive press taking 100 pictures a second. However, like a true Zen master, he seemed barely distracted. I thought how, if every person in the room was of a calmer nature, this would have given him a warmer welcome to a more enlightened country, but then this country thrives off media consumerism.

Immediately, he expressed the purpose of his visit: to spread his message of non-violence, the value of dialogue, universal responsibility and expressing his views on modern education:

“We should implement the teachings of compassion, tolerance and forgiveness by teaching scientific moral education not based on religious beliefs. This has the potential to bring harmony to the basis of human life on all levels. Furthermore, I will be talking about the nature of reality; such as what is really happening in any situation at a fundamental level.”

Why does consciousness seem to complicate reality? – A question that arose in my mind upon hearing that His Holiness the Dalai Lama was coming to England to spread his teachings of non-violence. The Dalai Lama, spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists, was visiting Manchester to share his wisdom and knowledge, something which he has dedicated his life to doing around the world. Despite leading a life of peace, he has had his share of drama, being in exile since 1959, due to the Chinese government taking over Tibet. Since losing their country, Tibetans have stayed loyal to the Dalai Lama, claiming that they feel alone without him – a bond between a leader and his people we rarely see today. Both have been pleading honorably for Tibet’s independence. Furthermore, the Dalai Lama has been trying to establish a democratic system of governance, speaking with countless world leaders. Parallel to this His Holiness works for the promotion of moral values, harmony and respect for religions throughout the world; not preaching on Buddhism, but teaching how to promote inner happiness and Buddhist science, to which many people take an interest. I had the pleasure of participating in several talks by His Holiness over a period of four days.

I joined a news conference on the morning of his arrival. It’s not every day you see a Buddhist monk being exposed to apprehensive press taking 100 pictures a second. However, like a true Zen master, he seemed barely distracted. I thought how, if every person in the room was of a calmer nature, this would have given him a warmer welcome to a more enlightened country, but then this country thrives off media consumerism.

Immediately, he expressed the purpose of his visit: to spread his message of non-violence, the value of dialogue, universal responsibility and expressing his views on modern education:

“We should implement the teachings of compassion, tolerance and forgiveness by teaching scientific moral education not based on religious beliefs. This has the potential to bring harmony to the basis of human life on all levels. Furthermore, I will be talking about the nature of reality; such as what is really happening in any situation at a fundamental level.”

Everyone laughed when he used an example of the press, saying that they may all seem pleasant, but at a more fundamental reality, they could just be looking for gain and money.

“I am not here to popularize the Buddhist religion but to respect all religions. The 20th century was one of violence; the 21st century should be one of dialogue. Why do we not see the world as one entity rather than separate places of people… wouldn’t this diminish the violence?”

Afterwards, questions were asked by the press. To my curiosity, the questions all came off the topic of what he was talking about. All the questions were about economic problems and the conflict between him and China. Although these may be concerning issues in mainstream modern news, I felt that they could have found the answers they were looking for through the objective attitude that the Dalai Lama was displaying. Nevertheless, every answer was expressed in a highly detached manner:

“Despite being in a world of tough economic times each must lead a life of compassion.”

Afterwards, he came down to have a handshake with the press. As he approached me, he gave me a two-handed handshake and looking at my dreadlocks, he asked what kind of hairstyle I had. Everyone laughed. Noticing my appearance he asked where I originated from; I replied that my mum came from the Philippines. He remained silent for a moment looking into my eyes. I felt a tranquil presence come over me, and then he proceeded. The intellect and true power of this man was apparent. I was very excited for the next three days of his upcoming teachings to the masses.

The first event was free to ages 15-25. It filled over 10’000 seats in Manchester’s MEN Arena. The Dalai Lama was presented to the stage by actor and comedian Russell Brand; the Dalai Lama entered with a happy, humorous nature and received a lively loving audience. He was impressed with the amount of people who turned up. During his talk, he touched on many subjects including: the reason behind why our species is lacking from compassion and happiness, “Most unhappiness comes from the sense of self-importance and self-centeredness;” how to use dialogue rather than violence; and the relationship between thinking and emotions. Moreover, he expressed how we can perceive ourselves and everyone else on different levels of identity and significance. Using himself as an example, he said that on one level, he was a cellular human. However, on the subsequent level, he is a man, then on the next level, he is a Buddhist Monk, and finally, comically expressing – he is the Dalai Lama. In the laughter of the audience, I felt anyone who was expecting a boring preaching session was in-fact delighted to find such an amusing and honest man. He spoke about things which we could all relate to as human beings.

“For us to live harmoniously we must live and conceptualize compassionately with the ‘human level’ of experience. In this way, we cultivate an authentic realistic way of being, expanding consciousness to finer levels of experience, moving us away from a level of consciousness that emotionally attaches itself to identities, for instance, thinking of ourselves as being greater or inferior to others, which can limit deeper levels of relationship.”

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He emphasized the importance of cultivating an ‘analytical mind-set’ to develop our sense of skepticism about all things and to think reasonably, scientifically and morally. He went on to say there are two types of meditation. Firstly, stabilizing meditation – which focuses on nothingness, awareness and healing. This allows you to become devoid of mind, which is known as ‘clear light’ or ‘luminosity’ in Buddhism. This purity of mind is Nirvana and gives way to expanse of mind and consciousness. The other type of meditation is analytical meditation – which he explained is the key to understanding, and we do it as part of our nature such as when we are studying or contemplating life. This certainly shed some light for me on distinguishing the types of awareness in everyday life.

“However, it is easy to misinterpret reality. The analytical mind can come to a distorted way of knowing. At the root of all distorted perception is ignorance. An example of this would be of people who perceive impermanent things to be permanent, i.e. material objects. In doing so, we can become attached to things whether it be material or thought forms.”

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An interesting fact which struck me: a scientist, with whom the Dalai Lama spoke, said that there are an estimated six billion different perceptions about the world, all defying each other. So how can we know which ones are factual? He said to cultivate what he calls the ‘ultimate perception of reality’, we must question and contradict every view we have with defying ones to come to a more realistic, natural way of knowing.

Another event with the Dalai Lama was named ‘Being western – being Buddhist’ and included a panel of 5 western Buddhist practitioners. This was a Q&A event about any aspect of Buddhism. The panel was surprised to find such a large audience. They only expected a few hundred people to turn up but over 4,000 participated. It is obvious that Buddhist interest is flourishing at an accelerating rate in the western world. One of the answers which caught my attention was from a man who told a story that he once took a group of Monks through a prison where he worked. As they walked through, the prisoners hurled abuse at them, and the man said to the Monks that this must be the worst place to practice Buddhism. In fact, they replied saying it is a perfect place to practice, adding that the best place to practice is in a place of suffering, and the prison was abundant in suffering. A significant message I thought. We conceptualize spirituality as different from everything else. It seems that we are unable to learn vital information from all things. As long as humanity continues to identify all experience as separate, we ignore the fact that all experience can be our spiritual teacher, not just school, books or going to see the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama had also expressed this when he said:

“We should pay particular compassion to people that we wouldn’t usually take a liking to, i.e. criminals, people who get shunned in community. As well as this we should see close relations (who give us pain and suffering) as spiritual teachers in order to analyze experiences. For example, during an argument, check to see if there is any intelligent thinking going on rather than just defensive emotion.”

I think people who participated in these events who had a general problem with religions were surprised to find the Dalai Lama talking about the negative sides of religious beliefs such as God. He also expressed his attitude towards his religion, which I found very viable for all religious people:

“I am Buddhist, but there is no attachment to Buddhism, if there is attachment you become biased; you start to become suspicious about other faiths and start to close your mind to other possibilities. It’s very helpful to have the ability to appreciate other faiths as well as your own.”

After three days of the Dalai Lama connecting, laughing, philosophizing, articulating universal energy, he went on to his next destination in the UK to spread his light.

Why must the Dalai Lama travel across the world discussing our problems? Why does consciousness complicate reality? Are we fooling ourselves for a reason, a purpose? Do we really know deep within ourselves the ultimate truth? Where does common sense originate from? An ‘all-knowing source’? If it is, then we surely have all the answers we need within ourselves. However, it seems evident that the human race currently lives through a perception far-off the ‘cellular human level’ as we tend to seek spiritual understanding from sources we regard as ‘spiritual’. You could say the Dalai Lama was not teaching, but reminding people of what we already know. How have we lost this simple universal wisdom that he was expressing? Are our habitual ego-driven minds holding us back from seeing the truth?

Did you know that there is an inherent nervous system within the heart made up of 40000 neurons similar to brain neurons? Research shows it can learn, remember, feel and sense independently. Maybe in this ‘brain in the heart’ lies the simple universal truth of compassion that the Dalai Lama was expressing.

During the first event, a video of a Mayan woman was played to the audience before the Dalai Lama was presented to the stage. She spoke about her people who predicted an era of peace and harmony around the year 2012. The possibility struck me that the Dalai Lama also sensed this shift happening. Is he going around the world to accelerate the process of the evolution in consciousness? Only time will tell.

After the four days, I was left with a great sense of admiration for the Buddhist religion. Cultivating a fully awakened mind benefits all fellow sentient beings, and as long as every sentient being endures suffering, the practice of Buddhism will remain to dispel and endure the miseries of the world. However, I think that once humanity reaches a tipping point in the awakening of the human psyche, it will flourish in a sense of connectivity, expansion, abundance and purpose.

“Whatever seems impossible now may be a reality in 100 hundred years.”Nagarjuna

About the Author

Gene Hart is a dedicated yogi currently studying Philosophy at Manchester Metropolitan University, UK. He is most interested in the multidimensional nature of the universe. Through extensively practicing meditation and out of body exploration, he investigates the links and relationships between the non-physical and physical; dreams, thoughts, emotions, and the root, or essence, of all reality and existence in its entirety. You can reach him at genephart@gmail.com.

This article is offered under Creative Commons license. It’s okay to republish it anywhere as long as attribution bio is included and all links remain intact.

Astrotheology: The Gnosis of Religion

Dalai-Lama-quote-religion

The more things change, the more they stay the same. And nowhere is this more clearly demonstrated than in the history of man’s quest for “God”,  and we still keep holy the ancient religion of Astrotheolgy to this day, though certainly cloaked in an historical allegory. Belief is ignorance, it’s dogma. It is used by people to fill in the void of what they do not know. That void is filled with a belief and that belief becomes their reality, no matter if the facts prove otherwise. Understanding reality is essential to an evolving life that is growing to the Ultimate Reality, which is Love. However, for the most part I feel religion went from holy science to holy shit. I don’t think religion will get us there. You have to do right because you know it’s right, that reality is designed to evolve by your doing right, that you will come back after ‘death’ over and over till you do get it right. Doing right because of belief is different. It’s good your doing right, but you have no solid basis for doing so. It either makes you feel good, or you think it will keep you out of hell, or whatever. It is not growing. Growing comes from knowing. I agree with the Dalai Lama above, religion isn’t for me. But it has always intrigued me. I’m into Truth and how reality works. But let’s move on to the subject, you that know me know I can ramble completely off track and be talking about so many things nothing makes sense. I’m going to attempt to write a coherent piece here, wish me luck.

What we all we need to do is understand the origins of religions, and the fact that they have been mistakenly taken as literal (or worse deliberately forced literalism for mind control) for years. Those that knew the truth were driven underground or slaughtered, for God’s sake (because god is love and stuff). Knowing the Truth we could perhaps all have one religion, without war and another Golden Age on earth. Hey, Light Workers are saying this is written in the sky. I think that is the purpose of Life, I’m optimistic about that fact. Let’s trace religion, concentrating (not picking on)  on christiaanity:

First and most importantly, no people of the ancient world believed the “Sun” to be “God”. That is pure “disinformation”. All Ancient cultures and nations on Earth have all used the Sun as the most logically appropriate symbol to represent the Glory of the unseen Creator of the heavens. It’s an allegory within an allegory. That’s why I love myths, they are pregnant with deeper levels of meanings.
It was accepted by everyone that man was bound to a life on Earth, but the sky was God (the Father’s) abode – His dwelling place. (The moon represents the Divine Femine, Virgin Mother). Naturally, God’s Sun (Son) would reside with his Father “up in heaven”. (The English language is derived from the German. In the Germanic, the word ‘Sun’ is spelled ‘Sonne’. Having a son is having a tiny sun. the word youngster is derived from young star. Language was more wonderful when it was understood. May our young stars have a bright future).

Since life is energy, and energy from the Sun gave life, and our existence was sustained by taking in energy from our food (which came directly from God’s Sun), you can see that the Sun must give up its life supporting energy so that we may continue to live. “God’s Sun gives his life for us to live.”

As it was clearly true that our life came from and was sustained each day by “Our Savior… God’s Sun”, it would only be true as long as the Sun returned each morning. Our hope of salvation would be secure only in a “Risen Savior”. So even if man himself died, as long as the Sun comes up each day, life on Earth will continue forever. Therefore, it was said in the ancient texts that everlasting life was “the gift” that the Father gives through his Sun. For…”God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten SUN that we may have life everlasting”….on Earth! Not for you personally – but on Earth!

We now have before us two (2) cosmic brothers – one very good, and one very evil. One brings the “truth to light” with the “light of truth”. The other is the opposite, or in opposition to the light – “The Opposer”… Prince of this World of Darkness-The “Devil”. It is at this point that we come to Egypt. More than 3,000 years before Christianity began, the early morning “Sun/ Savior” was pictured in Egypt as the “New Born Babe”. The infant savior’s name was “Horus“.

At daybreak. this wonderful, newborn child, God’s ‘Sun’, is … ‘Born Again’ Horus is Risen. Even today, when the Sun comes up, we see it on the “Horus-Risen”, or “Horizon”. His life was also divided into 12 parts or steps across Heaven each day: 12 HORUS = 12 HOURS. This is the origin of the modern ” 12 Step Program”. Horus is the (new-born) Sun, or the Bringer of the Light. In Latin, Light Bringer is Lucis, or Lucifer, or Luke. But now, what about the evil brother of God’s Sun, that old rascally “Prince of Darkness” himself? In the Egyptian, he was called “SET”. We are told in the Bible that when God’s Sun died, He left the world in the hands of the Evil Prince of Darkness. This evil prince took over the world at “SON-SET”.

Keep in mind ‘God’s Sun’ symbolically represented the light of truth, but was condemned by His enemies who could not endure the light of truth in their life. The ancients taught that the very act of opposing or denying the light of truth to the point of killing it, happened in one’s own mind! When we are confronted with the harsh realities of life, the light of truth, which we do not wish to face, and which runs counter to our views, such truth is judged in your mind, or judged “in the temple area” of your brain, and put to death in your head!

Therefore, ‘God’s Sun – The Truth and The Light – is put to death at “Golgotha” , or “place of the skull “, located right between your ears! This putting to death of the light of truth in your mind is always accompanied by two thieves: Regret for the past and Fear of the future.
God’s ‘Sun’ brought His wonderful light to the world, and distributed it over 12 months. So it was said, God’s ‘Sun’ had 12 companions, or helpers, that assisted His life-saving work. So it was, God’s ‘Sun’ had 12 apostles (or months) that followed Him religiously through His life. Incidentally, now you know why the American jury system has 12 jurors who help bring the truth to light, with the “Light of Truth”
As far back as we can go into the ancient world, we find that all known cultures had a “Three-in-one” Triune God. The very first trinity was simply the three stages of the life of the Sun.

A) New Born Savior at dawn.
B) Mature, full-grown (The Most High) at 12 (High) noon.
C) Old and dying, at the end of day (going back to The Father).

All three were of course One Divinity – The Sun, three different phases, but one sun, or god!

Since the Earth experienced 4 different seasons, all the same and equal (in time) each year, the round Sun calendar was divided into 4 equal parts. This is also why we have, in the Bible, only 4 Gospels. Of this point, there can be no doubt.
The 4 Gospels represent the four 4 seasons which collectively tell the entire story of the life of God’s ‘Sun’. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John are Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. This is why the famous painting of “The Last Supper” pictures the 12 followers of the Sun in four groups (of three) … the seasons!

On the round surface of the yearly calendar, you can draw a straight line directly across the middle, cutting the circle in half… one end being the point of the winter solstice; the other end being the point of the summer solstice. Then you can draw another straight line (crossing the first one); one end of the new line being the spring equinox; the other end being the autumn equinox. You now have the starting points for each of the 4 seasons. This is referred to by all major encyclopedias and reference works, both ancient and modern, as “The Cross of the Zodiac”.

cross_zodiac_solstice
Thus, the life of God’s ‘Sun‘ is on “the Cross“. This is why we see the round circle of the Sun on the crosses of Christian churches. Look for the circle (God’s Sun) on the cross on many Christian churches if you haven’t noticed it before.

180px-Perelachaise-croixCeltique-p1000394This is just the basic foundation of the religions of the world. It goes much deeper, but this is the basic blue print.

 

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I will meet you there.” Rumi

 

Thanks to:

Tom Campbell

Jordan Maxwell

Santos Bonacci

Bill Donahue

Zeitgeist Movement

Gnostic Warrior

Acharya S

and many others