Contemporary knowledge about God, Evolution, and the meaning of human life.
Methodology of spiritual development.
How God Can Be Cognized/Love for Nature
Love for Nature
The beauty of the Earth... It would be wrong to say that I had not noticed it before. I noticed it and admired it! I admired a reflection of the sun in spring puddles. I delighted in the transparent blue of the sky and in a golden carpet of leaves rustling under my feet during the autumn. My eyes always noted something amazing and beautiful and tried to imprint it.
However, I was not able to dissolve in this beauty when I was attuning to it. I observed it from aside, from my ajna chakra only, from my head. When we look from the head, we can see beauty and we can even enjoy it by sight, but we still remain separated from it, while mergence with it is what constitutes spiritual value.
Before I started my discipleship, I thought that a good artistic taste was proper to me. I appreciated esthetics and, seemingly, knew a lot about it.
Nevertheless, I had to think more seriously on this topic after one of our trips.
... We stayed on the bank of a forest river. It was the beginning of spring, and everything was bathed in sunlight.
Suddenly I saw a beautiful red tulip floating in the river and slightly rocking in its current. Immediately my past estheticism rose in me, and I started involuntarily admiring this picture: a red flower is floating in a transparent river between two banks covered with dazzling snow. However, a comment of Vladimir took me out of the contemplation of this “beautiful” picture:
“Look, a beautiful corpse is floating”…
... Afterwards, I had another more serious lesson.
Whenever we were in the forest, Vladimir acquainted us with birds, specifically, the names of each different kind of bird and how each of them sings in spring. At that time, it seemed to me that this aspect of our work was undoubtedly interesting but not very important. I also was sure that I would never be able to distinguish a finch from a robin or a thrush anyway.
So, when the chatter of birds was all around us in spring, Vladimir could suddenly ask:
“Well, what bird is singing now?”
Of course, no one remembered. We just shrugged our shoulders and tried to guess.
That is why I was waiting for the next spring with a certain shudder, thinking: “Oh no, soon birds will come again and start singing all together!...”
Indeed, they came soon and started singing.
At the beginning, Vladimir laughed at our ignorance, put “bad grades in our karmas”, and exclaimed:
“What kind of God will you be if you cannot even memorize birds? God, contrary to you, knows each one of His creatures!”
However, I still could not understand why it was so important.
So, one day, when I again called a redwing a robin, Vladimir told me:
“I do not know whether or not I will be able to communicate with you any further... All these birds are my friends! All those years that I have walked along these forest trails, they were with me! I indeed do not know how to communicate with you if you do not love and accept my friends!...”
It was a new “squall” that fell on me! I cried and still could not understand what my fault was. I love all birds! What can I do if I cannot learn their voices?!
I was really worried then and promised myself that I would start having a more serious attitude towards this issue. So I began to “prick up my ears” with all my strength in the forest and listen to the tape recordings of bird songs at home...
I do not remember how much time had passed since then, but one day, while walking along a forest trail, I heard a blackbird quietly sing somewhere in the distance. Words cannot describe what joy filled me from that song! For the first time in my life, I myself had heard and recognized its voice, and it did not belong to some abstract bird but to a blackbird indeed! Then I heard and recognized a finch song without hesitation. And somewhere nearby a titmouse started “titmousing” happily. The spring was blossoming, and more and more birds were all around. I then finally realized how important it is to love all my friends and to know them by their names! The bird’s twitter stopped being a mere pleasant background for our work. Birds really “revived” and became dear and kind friends when I had learned to recognize them.
In this way, step by step, I understood what real love for nature is. It can originate only from the heart. When we transform ourselves into spiritual hearts, our arms of the souls seek to embrace and caress everything living! We, in this case, turn into love pouring out on everything, seeking to wrap everything with it and to merge with the purity and subtlety of surrounding harmony! Only then you do understand that everything around is living! Each bird, each blade of grass, each flower, and a little tree are all living souls that respond to your love!
It is only by knowing and loving in this way and in no other way, we can move further.
It is impossible to flow into God, to unite our hearts with Him if we have not learned to love all His children and all His Creation!
“Only having learned to love the Creation, we can learn to love the Creator” is what Vladimir taught to us.
* * *
I would also like to say few words about the nature of love.
What is love? In my childhood and youth, I was surrounded by many people who said that they loved me.
I noticed that the love of some of them gave joy: for example, one of my grandmothers was nothing but love and tender care for all of us.
The “love” of others, on the other hand, was oppressing, suffocating, and put forth constant demands...
I had, of course, my own opinion on this subject, but Vladimir was the one who amazed me once by how succinct and accurate his wording was about this:
“A vast majority of people understand love as their own wanting. To love — for them — means to want something or someone. This has even become a part of what is called “classical literature” and, consequently, it was this form of ‘love’ that has been taught to children in schools!
“But this is absurd! Love for oneself is anti-love!
“The vector of true love can be directed only from oneself out, never towards oneself!
“Love is self-giving, self-sacrificing, and not demanding something from others for yourself!
“... Nevertheless, it is with such consumeristic anti-love that many people try to ‘love’ not only each other but also living nature and its specific representatives...”
On Meditative Work
What is meditation? Many people believe that to meditate means to sit in complete silence with the crossed legs and with the eyes squinted at the nasal bridge...
Long before my meeting with Vladimir, I had tried to “meditate” in no other way but this. Thus I was sitting for a long time and thinking: “What is next? Should I just sit and wait? But how long should I wait and what should I wait for?”...
While reading Castaneda’s books, I wanted very much to repeat everything that he related, but I did not know how to master “the second attention”* that he described. Castaneda did not explain anything about it, and everywhere in his books everything happened in the same way: Don Juan hit him on his back, and something amazing began… But what should I do? Who will hit me?
Of course, I tried many times to stop my internal dialogue, but nothing good came out of this as well. I did not succeed because I tried to stop the flow of my thoughts while staying in my head. It was so frustrating! The pinnacle of my achievements at that time consisted in the fact that the heap of thoughts turned into one endlessly repeating thought: “Do not think about anything!”, “Do not think about anything!”, “Do not think about anything!”...
It was until I started learning from Vladimir. He explained the mechanism of mastering the “mental pause”:
“One just needs to exit the upper bubble of perception and move to the lower one. In this case, one’s internal dialogue disappears by itself. ‘In one’s head’, one can only fantasize. Nothing happens in reality. It is only in the lower bubble, it is possible to achieve inner silence, the ability to move the consciousness inside the multidimensional space, and the ability to see what is really important on the Path to the Creator and the Creator Himself.”
... I remember how on one occasion, at the beginning of our discipleship, Vladimir acquainted us with a very interesting place of power. It was on a bridge over a small river. It was necessary just to cross the boundary of this place of power, and suddenly a practitioner, as a consciousness, fell through the bridge without efforts.
“Everything is very simple! You do not need to ‘tear’ yourself out of your body. You just need to perceive yourself lying on your back at the bottom of this river. The shift happens instantly, because the consciousness moves with the speed of thought.”
So I started gazing into the cool streaming water. The river was shallow, and I could see the sand on its bottom and some algae slightly swaying in the current. After that, I, as a consciousness, moved into my lower bubble, and then... I realized that I was lying on the bottom of the river, feeling soft sand with my back and clear spring water streaming around me and through me... I felt so good and peaceful, and all my problems and thoughts sped somewhere far away with the stream of the river... Suddenly I heard the voice of Vladimir that came to me as if through the thickness of the water:
“Be careful that your body does not fall into the river as well! You have already forgotten that it is standing on the very edge of the bridge!”
... I was greatly amazed then, because for the first time in my life, I was able to completely flow into the other world and immerse myself into it to such a degree that the material plane ceased to exist for me! And it turned out to be so easy to accomplish!
... Vladimir, undoubtedly, always rejoiced at our achievements! However, he did not teach us concrete meditations only. He gave us new tasks and every time explained not only the technique of carrying them out but also the strategy to do so. In other words, we had to understand how each exercise fits in the general outline of the Path and to be aware, including intellectually, of each stage that we have passed.
For example, while giving us that exercise on the bridge, he explained very understandably why it is so important to learn to move oneself as a consciousness below one’s body:
“At the first place, we all, in a quite natural way, have been learning before to perceive the world from our head chakras, that is, from the upper part of the body. However, in order to progress on the spiritual Path, we have to move into the middle dantian — the anahata chakra — which is located in the middle of the body. This is not easily, immediately mastered by everyone. That is why the correct decision in this case would be first to master the stable concentration of the consciousness as low as possible, on the other pole in relation to our heads, so to speak. Then it will be easy to master the concentration in the middle as well.
“Another important thing is that we must reject the stereotype of thinking, which exists in almost all religious movements, that ‘God is above, while hell is below’. Divine Teachers often manifest Themselves in the form of huge Fire Mahadoubles, and people saw Their Faces high in the sky. From this, the idea that God lives above us — has appeared (however, how can this be true if our planet is round?). In reality, everything is quite different: God is everywhere, but one does not need to look for the entrances to the Creator high in the sky. Instead of this, one needs to look for them in the depth of one’s own developed spiritual heart, much deeper than one’s body. It is in this way, we find the Abode of the Creator, the subtlest spatial dimension.”
... On another occasion, when we worked in the midst of expanses of meadows, inside the huge Mahadoubles of our Teachers, Vladimir gave us the following instructions:
“We, as consciousnesses, should flow out of the anahatas backward and immediately try to flood all the space with ourselves, to dissolve ourselves in the space of Light! It is not necessary at all to experience ourselves anthropomorphically, of the size of a material body. The latter is the experience of occultists in their attempts to exit from their material body, being in an astral body. However, this has no further prospects. We have completely different objectives, and we need to try to dissolve ourselves right away in the Light of the Divine Consciousness.”
... Later, when we ourselves were learning to be instructors, Vladimir explained to us that it was not enough just to know the techniques and methodology of spiritual advancement but also to understand the psychology of our disciples:
“While learning to be God, we have to become psychologists, because God is the best Psychologist.”
... When we were making our first steps in teaching others, it seemed to us that the most important thing was to find the boundaries of a place of power, to deeply feel a meditation, and then to properly explain all this to the disciples. But Vladimir laughed:
“You look like soloists in the theater: you go on stage to sing your aria. It is not right! It should be done in another way! It is important to have feedback with your disciples! You have to see whether each of them is succeeding in this or that meditation, or not! If they are not succeeding, you need to find the cause of this failure and help them remove it.”
Vladimir has always been an example for us on how to lead people. No matter how many times we went to the same place of power, he never repeated himself. He contrived to present a meditation to a person in those words and terms which were understandable for that person. For everyone he placed an emphasis on the most important aspect at that particular moment.
... How can one estimate progress and prospects of one or another disciple? It turned out that it should be done not only according to his or her meditative abilities. Vladimir taught us that the main criterion of assessment is the motive that drives this particular person. Does this person just like the company to which he or she has joined? Does this person only get pleasure from meditation states or look for the healing of the body or want to “pump up” the personal power? If a person is driven by any of these motives, it means that he or she must not be led any further!
Only the person, who aspires to cognize the Creator and who is driven by the love for Him, has the right to approach Him as close as the methods that we have allow! God opens His Arms only to the person who has chosen the Mergence with the Creator as the Goal of all his or her earthly life!
... Sometimes in the past, people, who were already sufficiently “crystallized” consciousnesses, joined us. This condition helped them to easily perform complex meditations, but they did not always achieve success. If they did not have the most important thing, i.e., the love for the Creator, God put an end to their further progress very soon.
“Only love decides everything! A person must not be attracted by pleasant communication with us or with meditative experiences that he or she receives. Instead, one must clearly see the Goal and seek the Mergence with the Creator!” — Vladimir explained.
Indeed, how can one accomplish such meditations as Cross of Buddha, Giving Away, or Awakening — without love? It is impossible! Whether we feel ourselves as the River of the Holy Spirit (Pranava) or penetrate into new unknown layers of the multidimensional space, filled with the Living Light of the Divine Consciousness, with Its Tenderness, — we can stay There only being love!
One day Sathya Sai Baba told me the following on this topic:
“When you are tired, you start practicing meditation as a series of memorized actions. But this is very similar to church rituals, which you consider empty and useless. You do those memorized movements and then you wonder why the flow of love does not appear in response. Meditation is not a series of memorized actions! It is not physical education for a consciousness! Meditation is the manifestation of your love for Me! It is giving yourself to Me!”
* * *
Before the beginning of my work with Vladimir, I had thought that the spiritual Path is like a series of “instant enlightenments”. I was also sure that if you completely exited your body once, submerged into meditation very deeply, or received a Revelation, — these achievements remain with you for the rest of your life.
However, very soon I had to realize that things were quite different. In the spiritual world, nothing that you mastered once — belongs to you forever. Each new boundary has to be “taken by assault” and then you have to prove every day that you are worthy of the height that you managed to achieve. Each taken stage needs to be made “habitable”, as with a new house. It needs to be transformed into the basis from which you can continue your ascension. There is no possibility of resting for a long time on this Path. There is no time or place for being satisfied with one’s own achievements. As soon as we grow up, the next stage is ready and needs to be mastered. And when this one is taken, God opens another one, whose height makes you feel lightheaded again.