“One way to handle extraordinary experiences is to be neither horrified not intrigued by them. In the course of meditation you may meet them all: powers, beauty, deaths, angels, demons, all of it. These are just forms, the stuff of the universe. You confront them on the path just as you meet all manner of people when walking on a busy street.
There are planes where beings exist other than the physical. If in meditation you enter other states of consciousness, you may meet such beings who seemingly come to instruct or guide you. Because of the uniqueness of these beings you might put more value on their teachings than is merited. Beings on other planes are not necessarily wiser than those on this plane. They may be well-meaning, but they may not know any more than you. All they may have to teach you is their existence itself, which shows you the relative nature of reality.
Just as with teachers on the physical plane, be open. Experience each being you meet and sense in your heart – do we have work to do together, or not? If that teacher feels relevant to your journey, work with him or her until you have fully grasped the teaching. Then thank the teacher and proceed.”
~ Ram Dass, Journey of Awakening: A Meditator's Guidebook
My method for trying to understand this fundamental essence – the presence of “something bigger” than me – was to examine intellectually all the reasons I could think of for the universe to exist and to try to envision what had “existed” before the universe came into being.
On the one hand, if there was nothing before creation, how could the “something” of the universe come from “nothing”? On the other hand, if there was something before the creation of the world, it must have always existed, without beginning. But how could “something” have no starting point, no first moment?
I was frustrated by these questions, and by not being able to envision the timelessness that went with “no beginning.” As a boy, I was continually preoccupied by such attempts to explain the world rationally. I was unable to recognize or accept the limitation of my logical mind, its inability to understand the nature of life beyond concepts of solid objects and linear time.
(I had these same thoughts back in high school, but these words are from the book, “Zen at Work.”)
“When I was very young, my spiritual awareness was limited to a foggy sense of the presence of ‘something bigger’ than me and my personal life. During grammar school years, I was intent on trying to discover this elusive something. I was convinced that ‘it’ was the primary source of life and of everything in the world. I hoped to end my spiritual confusion by understand this ‘source’ and clarify the meaning of my life. My method for trying to understand this fundamental essence was to examine intellectually all the reasons I could think of for the universe to exist and to try to envision what had ‘existed’ before the universe came into being.”
(A quote from the book, Zen at Work, which I found in a used book store yesterday.)
When I was young, I’d lay in bed at night, imagine traveling to the end of the universe, and then I’d remember thinking, “It can’t end, it must keep going, right? How can the universe come to an ‘end’ unless it’s a balloon, in which case there is still something outside of the balloon.”
“As long as egocentricity persists, we cannot see existence in its pure form. The Zen student trains himself to eliminate his egocentric, individual ego, returning to a condition of absolute mental nakedness.”
“A state of being is an experience. A description of a state of being is a symbol. Symbols and experience do not follow the same rules.”
Facebook status from six years ago: “In the throes of existential angst. In other words, nothing new.”
This is an excerpt from the Scala Cookbook (partially modified for the internet). This is one of the shortest recipes, Recipe 11.21, “How to Test for the Existence of a Key or Value in a Scala Map”
You want to test whether a Scala
Map contains a given key or value.
To test for the existence of a key in a
Map, use the