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My teachers

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A few weeks ago - longer? - I was reflecting on my life and my teachers, and I realized how many of the German geniuses and poets have been important to me. . . It roughly went Hesse - Goethe, Japsers, Fichte, Meister Eckhart, Nietzsche, Schopenhauer - these last two are wonderful to read, but also to set down, as they, especially the former, emphasized thinking for oneself above all else - and so many times it has come back to Goethe, and others - then, when I started studying from Novalis, was when I really began to realize how many German poets and thinkers were there. Meister Eckhart was a Christian mystic, I believe he must have influenced Goethe to some extent.

Some interesting thoughts by Hesse:

Today I was looking up quotes by Novalis and came across a very interesting thing - the Leaflets of the White Rose. Leaflets of the White Rose

That quote was from here: ; it's slightly different than the translation on the site given above.

These beautiful leaflets were put out during the war in the 1940's in Germany. .

One thing that I found most striking and interesting - a couple months ago, I was reflecting on the state of the world, how we can create peace, and help save the ecosystem, the balance of biodiversity - and I realized that one helpful thought is that there is a war machine - as surely as there is a refrigerator; it is much vaster, with many more moving parts, but it is a machine none-the-less, and it can be turned off. . .we can do so, we can achieve this; all it takes is enough action and shift of consicousness in the right places. . . we can do this.

An interesting quote from the site: (of leaflet #3)
"Probably the most famous of the first four leaflets, this is the one in which they clearly define what passive resistance looks like - what the man on the street can sabotage in order to bring the war machine to its knees."

I just like this, that the thought was developed independently. . . it's just pleasant. I had earlier written this:

"1) preserve the ecology - of utmost importance.
2) end war, turn OFF the war machine (there is one, let's turn it off ok?)
3) improve social justice."

What I had written in more full:

The messages of peace and wisdom from Hanh, Rumi and others - these are generally very potent, very liberating. I think of them now - after having learned from them for years - as the basics. . . Hanh, especially, is a most insightful and skillful, compassionate and kind teacher. . . The things he says are so liberating, and so beneficial to humanity. . . they can really help restore peace. I think of them sort of as John C Lilly mentions, reprogramming the human computer, or metaprogramming. . I haven't read his books, I havne't needed to - but you program yourself will all of what you store in your consciousness, in your heart, mind and body. So if you find the most true, the most insightful, the most powerful words of the wisdom traditions. . . then you will find the results very wonderful. And one day, if it's your wish and you work for it, you'll surpass them in understanding. Just to understand that you can do so - just as, all of what I have said; I am sure that over the years I will continue to grow, and many years hence, it will be a much older form of thinking.

In any case, the fact that we program ourselves, by all of what we store in our consciousness, and heart and body, this makes it apparent and clear to me that the most important principle of self-discovery, of self-evoltuion, is the principle of selecitivity - the filter we use to find what is true and good, and bring that into our heart. . .

Bassui, Bankei, and Dogen are also exceptionally enjoyable Zen teachers in my view. . .Milarepa is the greatest psychologist. . .but his way is tantra, so, be sure you have done the requisite work to understand him. . .

Sri Ramana Maharshi and Zen master Bassui, very interestingly, both taught exclusively the path of self-enquiry, almost the very same way. . . Swami Vivekananda, Black Elk, Laoze and the Bassui all, somewhat independently, came to the same conclusion, that only when one realizes they are one with the universe, will they know true peace. . .

One day, maybe, this will be old news. :-)

If it matters to people, my ideals are 3-fold,

1) preserve the ecology - of utmost importance.
2) end war, turn OFF the war machine (there is one, let's turn it off ok?)
3) improve social justice.

Some books-

Siddhartha, Herman Hesse,
Powers Within, Sri Aurobindo and Mira Alfassa,
Entering the Stream, edited by Samuel Bercholz, Sherab Chödzin Kohn, and Bernardo Bertolucci,
Drinking the Mountain Stream, by Milarepa
Living From the Source, by Swami Vivekananda,
The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, Sri Ramakrishna
The Joyous Cosmology, by Alan Watts
In my Own Way, by Alan Watts
The Unborn, by Zen Master Bankei
Black Elk Speaks, by Black Elk,
Be Here Now, by Ram Dass

the poetry and teachings of Rumi, Dogen Zenji, Shelley, Goethe, Blake,
the dharma talks of Thich Nhat Hanh, and Tara Brach

A Primer on Group Psychotherapy, by Dr. Ray Naar,
Farther Reaches of Human Nature, by Abraham Maslow,

A few of my other teachers:

Sri Ramana Maharshi

Indian aint and mystic; primarily taught the path of self-enquiry as the means to Self-realization.

Sri Aurobindo -

Writer, poet, and teacher; was influenced by Swami Vivekananda and previous traditions. . . Was educated in England but came back to India to learn more of his spiritual roots.

Sri Ramakrishna

Saint and poet - considered by many to be a holy personality, several years of his life and all of his teachings are recorded in The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna


Zen monk and teacher. . . reknowned for teaching a simple, understandable philosophy of liberation, on the Unborn. . well-beloved by laypeople of his day.

Bassui -

Zen monk and teacher - remarkable in my book for the similarity of his method to Ramana Maharshi - both taught primarily the path of self-enquiry as well.


Tibetan saint-poet.


Thich Nhat Hanh

Black Elk

Some of the informative, intelligent, and compassionate teachers of altered states of reality -

Alan Watts, John C Lilly, Ram Dass, Terrence McKenna.

Another statement about the machine - I believe part of what I posted on the thread Peace.

What I really want to do is to turn the war machine off - there is one, as sure as there's a refrigerator in many kitchens. It's just larger, with more moving parts, but it's still a machine, none-the-less, and like any machine, it can be turned off; we just have to make it so.

So - please share your thoughts, your stories. . How can we work for peace? In my life, the best way is to share presence. . the poor, the people who are cut off from the rest of society - a lot of times they don't know the way out. . . So, I would say, let's bring them back into society - with open arms. The old Gaelic phrase, "Praise the child, and she flourishes."

A couple more thoughts (by Hanh):

“I am inviting you to go deeper, to learn and to practice so that you become someone who has a great capacity for being solid, calm, and without fear, because our society needs people like you who have these qualities, and your children, our children, need people like you, in order to go on, in order to become solid, and calm, and without fear.”

“We who have touched war have a duty to bring the truth about war to those who have not had a direct experience of it. We are the light at the tip of the candle. It is really hot, but it has the power of shining and illuminating. If we practice mindfulness, we will know how to look deeply into the nature of war and, with our insight, wake people up so that together we can avoid repeating the same horrors again and again.”

So it's possible. How could it not be possible?

We just really have to turn off the war-machine. . . it's a big task, but it's very doable. Share your best ideas - in places where they will help, where they will do good. .

My basic ideals - find peace, share peace, share happiness, and work for peace and to save, preserve, and protect the eco-system.

Thanks for reading.

In Black Elk's words -

"The first peace, which is the most important, is that which comes within the souls of people when they realize their relationship, their oneness, with the universe and all its powers, and when they realize that at the center of the universe dwells Wakan-Tanka , and that this center is really everywhere, it is within each of us. This is the real peace, and the others are but reflections of this. The second peace is that which is made between two individuals, and the third is that which is made between two nations. But above all you should understand that there can never be peace between nations until there is known that true peace, which, as I have often said, is within the souls of men."

Novalis' original quote -

"Blood will stream over Europe until the nations become aware of the frightful madness which drives them in circles. And then, struck by celestial music and made gentle, they approach their former altars all together, hear about the works of peace, and hold a great celebration of peace with fervent tears before the smoking altars."
As quoted in the Fourth Leaflet of the White Rose (1942).

I am very lucky - I was born out in the country, without a TV, with lots of fresh air and nature to run around in; with lots of love and beauty around me; and later as I grew up, I had some of the best teachers. . But everything is temporary, though also eternal - what we take from the kind and loving teachers who grace our lives is what plants the seeds of a more beautiful life: the most important thing is to learn, love and grow - and learn how to live in peace - create peace in the world, and from that place of stillness, in the light and love of Nature - there alone we can see the higher reality that is meant for us to bring to this earth.

Every moment we are new - every instant we are new - but we do not always feel new; we do not always feel refreshed, strong, rejuvenated, although if we understand life, and understand ourselves, we will come to know that we are, at every moment. This is a curious phenomenon of life, one I have been considering all my life. . It is clear that the answer is to be found when we look at the problem with a calm awareness. Every moment we are new - but we only experience the full life of growth - of love - if we are able to experience the boundless space of freedom when we are loved fully for whom we are, and we are able to live fully for art, love, and beauty - only when we can live from the source of live - can we bring life and rejuvenation back into the world..

The first part of life is to question - to wonder, to be curious - and this part of life never fades; but the second part of life is to rejoice, to laugh, to live completely with love and happiness, and all rejuvenating powers, and art and beauty which forever create new life, new love, new forms of culture, and peace and hope in the world. The first part of life will never leave us - and ideally, the sources of love and happiness, that are so deep within us, will sustain us whenever a difficult threatens to overcome us. The greatest souls of humankind have always been exceedingly adept at various skills - especially at creating new life in the world - at understanding what leads to rejuvenation of our planet, and what leads away from it. The brightest stars of homo sapiens have always been in love with Nature, and her intricacy and beauty, and her preservation and peace.

Every day we are new, but only if we learn to be who we are - we create our life, our world; and so we can just as easily choose to be insensitive, unable to feel, unable to care, as we are able to create hope and peace vast and spreading throughout the world - to live with power is the goal and the key, and the primary ingredient is to know ourselves as free and at peace - to know that we are the authors of our fate, not some external events or laws; not the characters within a book, written down on some page - nay, we the writer, holding the pen and the book, aware of another dimension altogether more lovely and beautiful - to get free in this way is the key of life, the goal of life, and the only thing worthwhile in life - mundane love and happiness are helpers along the way, they sustain us along our path, but they are not real substitutes for the boundless wealth of happiness, peace and bliss which we may inherit if we but choose.

"Nature has secrets, not because she is tricky, but because she is sublime," - Einstein said, and well he was worth listening to. So, too, if one seeks for the greatest secrets of life, they will always come - but only if we seek with an ardent heart, with a promising fate - we will learn, we will know, we will understand - whatever the deepest lore of life and love there exists within me - it is within me, and I shall understand. Whatever truth, whatever beauty, is at the core of my existence, the heart and soul of my being - this I shall one day inherit, one day know, and live with in happiness. All that we wish to have, we shall have - such is the law of life. - Every motivational speaker is correct. But what many of them are forgetting is - what is it that we should wish to have?

In other words, power alone is nothing to wish for - power with no temperance, with no guiding love of wisdom, is not a good thing at all; but life, happiness, peace, beauty, and love - these are all ideas and thoughts which have lives, and which are powerful in themselves. Instead it is wise to always seek for truth - light, love and peace - for these are attainable in an eternal degree, whilst worldly power is only a fleeting thing, illusory and temporary, and not satisfying to the deeper heart. Much happier is the person who knows where they began, their source, and knows to where they will go - again and also, their source.

All of the ideals of the past have some value - but they are not eternally valid or true: all of the morals throughout history are touching stones only, places to step while we are climbing to the truth of life in the present day - and what we must needs to do to live in peace and harmony in the modern world. Ideas and ideals of the previous eras and minds have great value - but only for temporary learning - as the world is forever changing, so the ideals which we must embrace are always changing: the current problems are ones which have never faced us before - although if one were able to peer into the future, then one would be able to know what our problems are, from the distant past. Nevertheless - omniscience besides - our current problems are rather unique.

While they have been there, inherent, in seed-form in the past, in the present moment the world is new and different, and what is facing us is uniquely challenging. Every day the world human population is added to by another 200,000, give or take, and it truly seems like just yesterday to me that it was only 50,000 each day. We are very likely at the beginning stages of a mass extinction event, and the rates of extinction have gone up by several thousand percent, from what is the background rate, at a neutral pace - this is above all the most important concern of our existence; and these problems must be faced either today or another time - and they will be much easier to deal with the sooner we work to solve them.

But these are facts which should inspire in us change - but not any feeling of sadness or despair. Indeed, afflictive emotions which erode at the spirit are never our ally or friend - all that engenders hope, wisdom, peace - these are our spirits truest companions, our allies in any time, of peace or struggle, as they have always been.

So, while I say these things - this somewhat dire situation - there is nothing but peace, hope, and gladness in my heart; for I am happy what peace work I have done, what wars I have prevented, what steps I have taken. . . In one perspective - I have not done nearly enough - but in another perspective, I have done more than almost anyone I have ever met in my life - the difference is only one of degree. To see things clearly it's above all necessary to know that we can achieve anything - but to be able to weigh the benefits and costs of what we do.

And always - return to sanctuary, to refuge, to peace and hope and love - for these are the rejuvenating forces in the spirit of humanity - embrace them fully, live in their light until we experience the love, bliss, hope and peace that is our birthright, that is our source and the truth of a powerful life. . . Let go of everything and experience life and love fully - then you'll begin to know your true power, that source of love within you, that will never fade, as long as you live to create peace, and hope and truth in the world. Become a sanctuary to others by your actions and words - allow freedom and peace and love to blossom, and then share it with all the world. Prevent the future wars by understanding that you have the power to stop them - by living in the space of freedom you create for yourself, by living in that creative space. Knowing that you are free - you are sovereign; and never giving up that power to media, corporations, or anything which doesn't ring true to your inner heart.

Understand that when we all act together - we have the power to bring life and love, peace and rehabilitation, back into this world, this ecosystem, this planet of life - but we have to make the journey, so that we are free, so that we are creating new culture every day - And then we can rejoice, dance, because we have helped saved the earth. When we act in unison, to bring an end to that machine - to bring harmony, peace, and sustainable living into the world - then we have the power to succeed.


  1. farnoosh's Avatar
    That was a long blog post NikolaiI But I liked it. Especially the quotes with my favorite being : “We who have touched war have a duty to bring the truth about war to those who have not had a direct experience of it. We are the light at the tip of the candle. It is really hot, but it has the power of shining and illuminating. If we practice mindfulness, we will know how to look deeply into the nature of war and, with our insight, wake people up so that together we can avoid repeating the same horrors again and again.”
    I don't have anything to add to it but I'm really curious as to why you've been so attracted to this whole philosophy? It's really great don't get me wrong, but I never find it in me to actually read others view on life and how it should be. You say these writers and thinkers are your teachers, teachers can be wrong and mostly are. I find it hard to read and believe their thoughts and views however right they may be. But that's just me
  2. NikolaiI's Avatar
    Hey I just saw this. Thanks for the comment. I kind of realized he and Black Elk both lived through wars; and interestingly, their ideas for peace are almost exactly the same. I actually agree with you. Rumi said something interesting about it, "Don't follow others. They may be blind, or worse, vultures."

    It's really funny that you said all this, because I wrote a reply to your blog that's sort of saying the same thing.