Wednesday, November 14, 2018

The "Spirituality Today" Review, by Peter J. Morris



While Spirituality Today is no longer with us, this book review from it's Editor, Peter J. Morris, still is:

Writer Robert Kopecky has the extraordinary distinction of having died and gone to heaven not once but no-less than three times during his life. On each occasion he has been unceremoniously sent back down into physical reality and these dramatic experiences have, quite naturally, led him to develop a unique perspective of what it means to be a human, alive on planet Earth at this time.

A Place of Being

In his book, How to Get to Heaven, Kopecky identifies the specific life lessons each near-death experience (NDE) has taught him. More specifically, he has come to recognize that his three NDEs were not separate events at all but that they formed an important part of an evolving sequence. He qualifies these as; Perspective, Presence, and Purpose; with each one heading up a different section of his book.
The experiences of death and brief awareness of life on the otherside’ to which Kopecky was party, leads him to conclude that what we perceive of as ‘Heaven’ is less a ‘place’ and more a ‘state of being’. He qualifies this further by saying, “Going to Heaven isn’t about dreaming a dream of the afterlife. No, going to Heaven is about being right where you are — wherever that may be — and waking up.”

A Threefold Perspective

In Part One of How to Get to Heaven the author examines our core human traits and in particular those that require development. These include humility, release of ego-control, love and kindness. He is of the opinion that practicing honesty and forgiveness aids this process.
Part Two focuses upon the state of presence as a means of creating quality to our lives. Kopecky describes this in the following way, “Awareness in this very moment informs and determines where we’ve come from in life, where we are, and the amazing potential we can access to empower where we are going.”
In the third and final part of his book the author explores how by carrying all of these spiritual principles into everyday actions it becomes easier to discover our own special purpose.

Review

So many reports of near death experiences include a single, common theme, which is that the recently deceased needs to return to the Earth plane specifically to fulfill – or complete, a personal destiny; or in order to undertake an important task for humanity. This also seems to be the case with Kopecky – someone who has clearly taken this challenge to hand and unravelled a personal destiny from which so many people can now benefit.
Whilst the spiritual philosophy that permeates his book has been drawn from mainly Eastern or Buddhist principles this does not color the book to such a degree that it becomes detached from its central theme. Indeed, the result is a deeply satisfying read for throughout its pages Kopecky presents a very personalized style of writing – one that keeps the reader thoroughly engaged and hungry for the next round of insights. The depth of revelation and enlightenment here is rarely found in spiritual publications and comes as a breath of fresh air.
How to Get to Heaven by Robert Kopecky is a comforting book for anyone concerned about the fragility of life. More importantly though it is the sad, the lost and the lonely, the dispirited, disillusioned and disengaged who will gain most from reading it. For those readers I”d personally guarantee that How to Get to Heaven offers the chance of a major personal transformation long before reaching its final page.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Earth is Like a Spiritual Elementary School (that’s on fire…)



The day after a big election is a day like any other, really. A lot has changed, but then, not that much has changed too. The problems don’t suddenly get solved, and in fact the differences and obstacles may seem more distinct and dramatic than ever. It helps me to think of it this way, just for the sake of simplifying things:

The Earth is like a spiritual elementary school, with evolving souls attending grades one through six, simultaneously. The first and second graders tend to be unsure of themselves, to feel vulnerable – they tend to isolate, feel victimized, or to become bullies – whatever it takes to make them feel acknowledged, respected, cared about. They can become intolerant, even violent…they’re fearful, they haven’t got much wisdom yet, or what you might call “ more expanded consciousness.” They get tribal, follow manipulative leaders, and want to control things without really thinking it through. They tend to believe that Darwinism means “survival of the fittest,” but it doesn’t, really…it means “survival of the most cooperatively adaptable,” so they tend to be less cooperative, and more entitled, “independent,” and “self-reliant.”

The fifth and sixth graders have gotten a little wisdom. They’ve developed a little “expanded consciousness.” They’d never hurt a fly, tend to naturally like all different kinds of people, and feel connected to everyone and to the natural world in an easy, graceful way. They’re learning that the world isn’t happening to them – it’s happening for them. They’ve learned that fear is seldom real (unless there’s a bear approaching, or a fire is out-of-control). Their community is less a ‘tribe,’ and more a collection of tolerant, “cooperatively adaptable” spirits, all along on the same ride. They know that no one can be truly independent, or totally self-reliant. We are all the same thing, on the same ride, called Earth. They possess what you might call “spiritual sanity,” and have learned that intelligent, mature, responsible stewardship will benefit everyone the most.

Our biggest problem always stems from this situation: The sixth graders can’t give their wisdom to the first graders without the first graders feeling like someone is trying to push them around – insinuating that they’re “better than them” (which in a spiritually-evolved sense, they are, but in a spiritually-evolved sense, no one is better than anyone else). So the first and second graders have to get some wisdom for themselves (usually by making painful mistakes); they tend to be haters before they become lovers. This is their hard karma, the cause-and-effect of life that everyone must pass through, to graduate, that is. Wisdom and expanded consciousness can only be attained by direct personal experience. Unfortunately, everyone in the school falls subject to the struggles of the early-grade students, and those struggles have to hurt enough to make them realize their self-centered pain is unnecessary and self-inflicted – so it’s painful for everyone. They calm down a lot, in the third and fourth grades, thank God.

Sadly, the unconscious “control” of first and second graders for the last thousand years (a drop in the geological bucket-of-time), has led to the destruction of life as-we-know-it on our Mother Earth that we see around us—the catastrophe approaching. The school is on fire. Fortunately, that sadness makes our hearts resonate more deeply with the unseen, benevolent structures of the Universe; and impending doom tends to mature a lot of people fast. Fifth and sixth graders can stay present with all the goodness in their hearts, and try to hold things together, providing enough Love to balance things out…until the kids come around.

If you think people don’t respect you; that you’re being victimized by ‘elitists’ or ‘aliens;’ that you’re somehow different (or better) than other people, or know ‘the right’ way to live; if you think violence is sometimes necessary, and that we can reserve the right to kill or inflict pain on others ‘for their own good,’ or ‘to protect our rights;’ and impose our will on others to ‘make them get it right,” well, welcome to school. Open your heart—and your ears—and realize that no one is all that important. We really are all the same, even if we don’t look like it, or dress like it, or eat like it, or pray like it…we do all love the same.

If you’re constantly shocked at the level of ignorance and violence in the world, don’t be—there’s always been that 30%, and there always will be. Bring on da Love, in large enough quantities to put out all the little fires you can. There’s a tide of Love on the rise (along with the sea level) that’ll quench the conflagration. 
Things are changing – at this school they always have and always will. But if you love it here anyway, don’t worry, soon you be moving on to Middle School.




Read about this and much more in the new book: How to Get to Heaven (Without Really Dying), Wisdom From a Near-Death Survivor, from Llewellyn Worldwide, and the first book: How to Survive Life (and Death), A Guide To Happiness In This World and BeyondBoth are available everywhere – but ask for them at your local bookstore!

Saturday, October 20, 2018

The Simple, Grammatical Cure to All Our Problems


This selection about the cure for society's problems comes from Chapter 11: Looking Into the Truth,


A Simple Trick of Grammar Can Help You Find the Truth

      I really just want to have a simple, hooked-up, plugged-in knowledge of what I am: a beautifully fragile, flawed, creative, and potentially loving expression of Divine Source; along with my wife, my kids, my occupation, a nice meal on the table, and a little sunshine on my face…but it’s just not going to happen that way all of the time. I need some tools to help lift me over the self-created obstacles that block my spiritual view, especially when I like those obstacles. I need ways to trick my ego into leaving the room, so I can lock the door behind him and be happy in a room full of transcendent connectedness—a room with a view of Heaven. 

      In this human form, I find material life is like a vacuum—especially since it comes with so many attachments. It's easy to get sucked into all of the common biases, day-to-day definitions, and material demands of my life. While I can forget my divine connections in an instant, it seems that any time I’m not truly present, I can instantly become obsessed with all the material things that "I am supposed to be." I can quickly forget my own Divine Source.           
      All of the temporary aspects of my life—the externals—have always been changing, even when I don’t want them to; and it’s the instinctive, unconscious effort to control these changing parts of life that sucks us in, isn’t it? One of the best spiritual tools I’ve ever come across is a simple language trick that helps me divide what parts of my life are always changing from what parts aren't. It may be obvious to you that grammar isn’t my strong suit, but even an amateur analysis of sentence structure can help open the window in my heart up to a superior view of of The Divine, in a way.

      Ramana Maharshi, a wonderful 20th century Indian swami, put his finger right on an important point of fact when he simply said (and I paraphrase): “The only important part of "I am this, or I am that" is the "I Am" part. It is always the second half—the "this or that" part that is the problem.” With that helpful grammatical foot up from the good Swami, we can see the distinction between the start of those statements we make about ourselves, "I am," and the finish, "this or that," and what an easy way it is to separate spirit from the material:
      "I am bored; I am an American; I am still waiting to get paid for that job; I am victimized by my landlord; I am smarter than all of those people are; I am detaching from that; I am very spiritual." 
      What changes and what doesn't change in all of those statements? You'll notice the second part, the "this or that" object is what changes, or can always change. It’s the movable part. The first part, the subject "I Am" always stays the same. So if we simply drop the second part, the first part is our connection to the eternal Self—the part that we all share! In this easy, open-ended way, we’re directed straight into the mystery, the common ground that we all spring from and stand upon. It's how we are all the same. That little I Am can compassionately connect us to each other, and to all of Nature, all the plants and animals, the oceans and the Earth—even to the stars and the Universe itself. It’s a pretty big trick for such a little bit of grammar. 

      Then it’s hard not to notice how that second part grammatically separates us from The Divine, by opening the door to our painful regrets, fantasies, expectations, and sense of self-entitlement: 
      “I was once the Homecoming Queen; I was really the first person to use that technique; I am more deserving of that promotion than anyone else; I am going to lose weight.” I am quite sure that none of that really matters.
      Just catching ourselves and stopping at "I am" immediately reconnects us to the real substance of Life, and appropriately disconnects us from the unnecessary desires, fears, conceits, and the like—our troublesome attachments to the vacuum of the material. 





Read about this and much more in the new book: How to Get to Heaven (Without Really Dying), Wisdom From a Near-Death Survivor is due out early 2018, from Llewellyn Worldwide can be pre-ordered online. The first book: How to Survive Life (and Death), A Guide To Happiness In This World and Beyond is available everywhere – but ask for it it at your local bookstore!

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

"Transcend the Turmoil"


Transcend the Turmoil
A Different Definition of Success


a working book title (for 2020?)
©2018 Robert Kopecky

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Animals Are Our Partners in The Sacred: An Excerpt


   

This selection about recognizing the Sacred and spiritual stewardship is excerpted from 


      Our continued misuse of the sacred expression of animals to feed
our needs is quite harmful to our spiritual growth and realization.
This idea may sound extreme to you, but you can test it within yourself.
Does it make you uncomfortable to seriously consider livestock
factory conditions and methods of animal breeding and slaughter?
Look it up, focus on the actual techniques, and honestly consider
it in your own experience, and if it makes you uncomfortable at all,
you’ll know that you’re doing spiritual damage to yourself. You’re
making it virtually impossible to realize the graceful potential of Life
that’s available to us all when we recognize and respect the Sacred in
all things.
      Overlooking this potential is easy when we don’t recognize the
Divine Nature of Life, but many of us don’t think we can live any
other way. Acknowledging the Sacred in all things brings a saner and
more spiritually responsible way of living to light. For example, the
big beautiful steer we feel we must rely on for a source of protein got
big and beautiful by eating grass, so a more rational option, on every
level, is to do what benefits all Life, and try switching to a vegetable
protein–based diet. If it’s too big a leap at first, then take it a little at
a time. Look for providers who practice compassionate methods of
raising livestock—who treat, pasture, and feed animals in humanely
natural, spiritually evolved ways. Look at this issue from a spiritual
perspective—primarily as a respecter of Life, then as a responsible
steward of the planet.
     Proof of this improved reality exists in embodying all the benefits
that a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle can bring. Not only will you always
have more and better energy pouring through your body, and be
physically much healthier by every available measure, but you'll also
likely live a lot longer. You'll find it easier to maintain a better attitude,
and to be happy—free from the subconscious guilt of participating in
any unnecessary exploitation of the Sacred. Instead, you'll elevate
your spiritual well-being by consciously celebrating it in every form.
It's the single best way you can personally address the extreme
environmental destruction and waste that animal exploitation inarguably generates, and you'll comfortably contribute to the recovery of the environment and the spiritual balance of the world. 



Monday, July 23, 2018

Why Meditate? Because "Meditation Works When Your Mind Doesn't."


Sitting quietly clears our mind to reflect Consciousness better, and grounds and binds our mind to our heart...


      As a three-time near-death survivor, I can tell you that Heaven is not any place in particular—in fact, it is different things for different people; but all heavens have some very powerful attributes in common that demonstrate it to be an attainable state-of-being, available to everyone...possibly in the next life, and very possibly in this one.
      This little excerpt from the chapter Meditation Works When Your Mind Doesn't, in the Part III: Purpose section of How to Get to Heaven (Without Really Dying), is a taste of the relief, clarity, and serenity that meditation can provide anyone (even the most unlikely meditators) in a successful search to find a little piece of Heaven.


      "When we start being able to sit longer in meditation, we can consciously engage that holistic experience and hold ourselves in a balanced state where we discover that most demanding thoughts aren't really so important. Life can be experienced in a more "realistic" way when we are in this way "less realistic," because we recognize that the actual moment we're living in is fine, as it is. Life isn't really full of sequential demands or threatening "realities" at all—those are mostly imaginary delusions thrown up by our prehistoric ego. Equipped with the conscious awareness that a meditation practice gives us, we can start freeing ourselves from unnecessarily demanding thoughts. Nothing really needs to happen right at this moment—unless a bear is heading your way or you're sitting on something wet.
      The escape from serial thinking delivers us into presence, and the power and comfort alive in the eternal moment. It's a presence for Life that only becomes possible when we can gain some control on the courses we run through our heads, and meditation allows us an easy awareness of those different parts of of inner life—the duality of material ego versus our extra-dimensional spirit. When we can identify ourselves with our loving, spiritual nature, we become more effective in our demanding daily lives, because the ease  in our thinking makes it easier to get things done.
      As we sit making space in our thoughts, we experience a sense of joyful transcendence, and a sense of unity that's impossible to experience when we're pent-up and weighed-down by material demands. There's the presence of that graceful intuitive intelligence, rising up through our more spacious thinking, informing our decision-making and problem-solving with fresh clarity and confidence." 


      I almost always end my encouragements to meditate with this wonderful quote from the Buddha, when he was asked: 
"What have you gained from all your meditation?"
"Nothing at all," he replied.
"Then what good is it?"
"Let me tell you what I lost through meditation: sickness, anger, depression, insecurity, the burden of old age, the fear of death. That is the good of meditation, which leads to nirvana."


Sounds pretty good, doesn't it? And BTW, in Buddha-talk, nirvana is Heaven.

(quote; Easwaran, The Dhammapada, p.58)

Read about this and much more in the new book: How to Get to Heaven (Without Really Dying), Wisdom From a Near-Death Survivor is due out early 2018, from Llewellyn Worldwide can be pre-ordered online. The first book: How to Survive Life (and Death), A Guide To Happiness In This World and Beyond is available everywhere – but ask for it it at your local bookstore!


Thursday, July 5, 2018

What a Jumping Fish Can Teach You



        What is the best way to live? With a BMW, a big house, and a job with an important title? Of course those things may be great to have at times, but they only contribute to the real quality of your life in a certain way. Your true happiness—the way you really feel—has more to do with your understanding of Life and how you fit in it. When we completely identify ourselves with the material aspects of our being-in-the-world, we may come to feel insecure or ungrounded, because those things come and go. They're undependable, momentary, 
transient. 

        The other day while sitting on a rock by the river giving my mind a break, a fish suddenly surprised me by jumping clear out of the water right in front of me. Naturally, fish do that while pursuing bugs to eat, but there didn't seem to be any bugs around. This fish appeared to be jumping free of its watery medium for fun – or to make a kind of statement, like:
        "Here I am! I'm free of the water for this moment! I'm exposed to the air-world!" (of course, he may have been saying, "Hey buddy, you seen any bugs?" but for my purposes we'll stick with the first version).
        For a very brief moment (the image of which stays with me indefinitely) the fish was "a fish out of water," separated from the actual medium of his being – the water; but if you had blinked, you would have missed it.
        People say that about life too, don't they? You blink, and it's over.

        Water has always served as a great metaphor for the nature of Life as a medium – the depth of its mysteries; the ceaseless directional flow of it; the images and inevitabilities that it carries our way, that arise from it; the surprises that suddenly drop into it from out of nowhere. Those are the things that change, that come and go – but it's the medium it takes place in that I want you to think about. This is about the way you think about it. Let's think about it like we were fish (in a Buddhist way):

"As a fish taken from his watery home and thrown on dry ground, our thought trembles all over in order to escape the dominion of Mâra (the tempter)."
                          The Dhammapada, 3: 34

        Like that fish out of water, we're not entirely safe or secure exposed to this world of shifting material conditions, filled with destructive temptations. As an "Out-of-Body Near-Death Experiencer" myself, I can testify to you that we are clear, sweet spiritual (energy) beings, inhabiting the (sometimes unreliable) vehicles of this body we're in—and this tenuous world all around them. 
        No wonder we might feel insecure.

        Like that fish, humans are 90% water ourselves; and if we can remain aware of that medium that is our natural element (and our real ultimate home)—the true ocean of energy we swim in every moment—we can leap free of the demands and pressures of this difficult world, and "who we're supposed to be" in it. We can detach with compassion from all this messy stuff, and return to the true, secure medium of our being—which I like to simplify as Love.

        Have you ever heard of "The Gnostics?" They lived what we think of as Christian spiritual principles before Christianity was institutionalized, and they had a very interesting "fish-out-of-water" way of looking at life that I think fits the picture I'm drawing pretty perfectly. They saw themselves as brief visitors here, in a way:

        "The Gnostic ideal, simply put, is that you really are a displaced part of Heaven, but during this experience of human life, that knowledge eludes you. Momentarily, you’ve forgotten your true connection and the way to return, so you’ve actually come back into this life to rescue your authentic self, trapped in your limited perceptions of this world. Within a transformative moment of gnosis, you’ll remember who and what you really are, where you really come from, and how to take yourself back home.
        In Gnostic mythology, all of humanity is an expression of a divine light imprisoned on an imperfect plane of existence, enfolded in the beauty of earthly existence, yet victimized by the suffering that is such a big part of it all. Each of us contains a connecting spark of the Divine Light within called the pneuma (what the Hindus might call atman). Our fragment, imprisoned in this body, has fallen away from the radiant, infinite matrix of limitless potential, which is our Source called the pleroma. 
        Life's sadnesses inspire the longing to reunite our spark with the transcendent unifying power that we inherently know to be our loving origin—the effort to restore ourselves to our authentic nature. When gnosis takes place, we are restored as beings of light."
                    from How to Get to Get to Heaven (Without Really Dying) 

        So whenever you're feeling uncomfortable, when you're experiencing that "fish-out-of-water" feeling, take a blink and give yourself a moment of "gnosis." Return to that medium of our solid, profound grounding – this ocean of Divine Energy we all come from, and all return to – and experience being enfolded in that Love that is the true nature and source of life on this beautiful Earth.
        ...and remember what every fish knows by heart:

"Everything that changes, isn't real."
                    Nisargadatta Maharaj


        "Reduce your needs to the simplest level of intelligence and
practicality. Live lightly and respectfully on the surface of Mother Earth!"

                    from 20 Tips for Getting to Heaven; How to Get to Get to Heaven (Without Really Dying), Llewellyn Books, 2018.


Read about this and much more in the new book: How to Get to Heaven (Without Really Dying), Wisdom From a Near-Death Survivor, from Llewellyn Worldwide, and the first book: How to Survive Life (and Death), A Guide To Happiness In This World and BeyondBoth are available everywhere – but ask for them at your local bookstore!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Busting Out of the Bubble of Delusion (How All the Best Answers Can Pass Us By)




“Deluded by ignorance, man mistakes one thing for another. Lack of discernment will cause a man to think that a snake is a piece of rope. When he grasps it in this belief he runs a great risk. The acceptance of the unreal as real constitutes the state of bondage. Pay heed to this my friend…”
-->
from Shankara’s Crest-Jewel of Discrimination


            It’s just the nature of the way our minds work that the world as we perceive it seems like a pretty important, pressing, and immediate thing. It’s really the tiny bubble of anxious circumstances that surround us – the bills we have to pay, the kids we have to pick up, the movies we ‘have’ to see, the politics we need to get our panties in a bunch about. In this ‘western’ society we live in, even when we expand our focus beyond that personal immediacy, we tend to look to mainstream media as the window to the rest of world – but in fact that is a tiny bubble of delusion, too. We end up getting our heads [literally] wired into a kind of sphere of presumed realities, when if we simply step back from it all and look at it objectively, we can see most of it isn’t really real at all.

What we all seem to have here is actually a perception problem – or let's call it a limited perception problem.

            There’s a lot of powerful forces that play with us in this way these days, what with all of the devices that we're constantly engaged with – hi-tech pocket belief-inseminators that enclose us in a kind of “protective and secure” bubble of reality, where our fears are managed by our ability to confirm what’s most comfortable to us. They don’t simply connect us to a very particular world, they monitor the complexities of our every reaction, and keep instant tabs on our fears and desires – in order to better form the realities they would have us presume. We walk around, staring at screens, surrounding our heads in a bubble of ideas that support a “safe” and entitled worldview—when just beyond the bubble’s confines, we clearly see that certain very very important things are going terribly wrong, and require some legitimate, immediate and principled attention too.


            Our mainstream media even goes so far as to constantly parrot that those profound values we’ve always taken for granted – values like honesty, sanity, responsibility, civility, and charity – are passé and archaic. We’re continuously told that we live in a “post-truth” world, when the actual truth we all know intuitively is this:  NO, WE DON’T.

We’re told that we have to look at things in one of two, or possibly three ways only, and by that volition we’re given the precious (democratic) gift of “choice,” when, in reality, if we’re only looking at the three choices presented in that one little bubble of delusion, we are actively surrendering a virtual ocean of far superior choices – the truly powerful potential we are actually swimming in all the time. That “acceptance of the unreal as real” is what “constitutes the state of bondage.”
It’s time for us to start paying attention to what we’re paying attention to!

“…illumining with the candle of our ego a bright circle of awareness, we also darken the remainder of the room…The process of making conscious thereby also makes unconscious…the ego concentrates into one pole the divine primordial half-light, thereby also darkening the divine.”

                                    James Hillman, from Senex and Puer

            The destruction of our planet's environmental balance, the willful vivocide of the planet’s biodiversity, the aggressive misappropriation of the Earth’s resources by a fearful minority, the rejection of the very values that keep humanity a going concern, and the suppression of Life’s collective intelligence, reason, and spiritual sanity are the ruinous symptoms of living in that little ego-bubble of delusion – of only casting light on to a tiny bubble of manufactured interests at the expense of keeping our real well-being, and our responsible stewardship of the planet and all the life on it, ignored in a realm of increasing darkness. We’re painting ourselves into a corner and trying to be happy cowering there because we’re essentially being brainwashed to think it’s the “best” choice we have.

Break out of that bubble now!

Turn away from that artificial technological reality, and place your faith in the miraculous underlying spiritual technology that supports and sustains all of being. Fear is what separates us, fear is what divides us – Love is our unifying reality. The presence of Love as a defining inspiration for change and growth is what must free us. The true reality of this amazing life is alive in that surrounding universe of infinite creativity—everything that isn’t within that tiny bubble of fear—the ocean of innovation, interdependence, and the energy of Love alive in all things, and available in absolutely every other direction we have to choose from—where all the spiritual solutions we need plainly are awaiting us.


“As you become more truly alive, you see an infinitude of universes, a beginningless, boundless sea of life, energy, and delight, full of goodness, aware of itself in its absolute ultimate peace and security, freedom and happiness.”

                                    Robert Thurman, Infinite Life


Read about this and much more in the new book: How to Get to Heaven (Without Really Dying), Wisdom From a Near-Death Survivor, from Llewellyn Worldwide, and the first book: How to Survive Life (and Death), A Guide To Happiness In This World and BeyondBoth are available everywhere – but ask for them at your local bookstore!