Finding Your Own Reality Through Comparison

I just finished a personally enlightening meditation (if you haven’t checked out the Pacifica app I highly recommend it!) and I wanted to share a bit of insight I got.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately on the nature of Reality, how there are several layers that constitute one’s Reality, and awareness. And in executing a very simple guided meditation of Progressive Muscle Relaxation, I was reminded that we only know our own physical reality.

Humans have an amazing intuition for “guessing” others’ similar realities. But we can only truly know our own.

For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? (1 Cor 2:11, KJV)

So, when I strive to relax my shoulder muscles, how do I know exactly what relaxed is? We say relax, but for each body relaxed is its own definition. The only way to know what relaxed is for ourselves is to compare it to tense.

By purposely tensing and then relaxing our own muscles — and becoming aware of what each feels like — we become acutely aware of what the relaxed and tensed states mean for us individually.

Sometimes I become aware that I have unrealistic ideas of what something means for me, even something as basic as “relaxation”. We must remember to learn for ourselves what our realities truly are, so we can live more fully in them.

When Literalism can be Beautiful….

Most people who claim they read Genesis 1 “literally” don’t. They believe that what they believe about Genesis 1 is literal. But they aren’t reading Genesis 1 literally.

If we read Genesis 1 literally, we come out with a very different picture than most literalists imagine. Indeed, we find ourselves firmly planted in the Hebrew worldview—an ancient worldview. And, if we know our history, we know that the Hebrews had no concept of a round earth that coursed around the sun. They believed the earth was flat, the sky was a dome, and the sun revolved around the earth.

—-Scribalishess, from “Reading Genesis 1 ‘Literally’

 

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To try to wrestle with the ancient cosmological understandings of the day and shoehorn them into our modern, scientific understandings of the Universe, as we know them so far, is to rob such ancient texts of their beauty and poetry.

Read this wonderful article by Scriablishess in its entirety for all the details in understanding this beauty, from the cultural perspective of the ancient Hebrew writer of Genesis.

Click through the jump for some of my most favorite quotes from the article!

Continue reading “When Literalism can be Beautiful….”

Seeking Redemption

Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.

–James 4:17

“Sin” is in the eye of the beholder. It is merely our own “knowledge” (or, perception) of what is wrong—and then doing that which we “know” to be wrong— that will most surely condemn us.

Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight…Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom….Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

–Psalm 51:4, 6-7

God is me; I am in God and He in me.

Against thee only have I sinned… When sinning against your own self, it is only your own self that can cleanse you and turn you away from your sins. Seek not redemption from the outside heavens or historical figures or idols, but rather seek redemption from your own Unconscious which is condemning you. Your Divine Beloved loves you and will quickly cleanse you and release you from your guilt and shame. Align your Universes; let not your own conscious harbor anger and regret, but release it to your “Higher Self” (if you will), who knows better.

Today, be free.

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In Harmony and Silence

What is love?
Love is the driving force of the universe; God is Love, Love is God.
But what is It, this force that binds the particles into matter around us, making up our very substance?

It is Harmony, and not chaos.
The Universe is in constant flux, moving and changing and adjusting and adapting…
An “additive principle” is what is at work, building abstract block upon abstract block, creating and tearing down to make way for the next evolution.

Therefore, we may say, Love is Harmony.

Love flows, Love bends, Love adapts. Love is Harmony.
To struggle against, or to cling, is not Harmony. It is not Love.

Un-love is a fighting against the very primeval forces of creation, the forces of our own inner being.
And, as boisterous and proud as it is, it is ultimately useless; one cannot struggle against the nature of our own self and accomplish a single thing.

What of willful change? What of inspiration? What of the pursuit of answers to the hurdles that plague our journeys?

The answers are already around us and within us. Love — Harmony — permeates the fabric of our existence.

But through struggle and chaos, we blind ourselves to All that already Is. Through narrowly seeking that which we think we must struggle to have or produce, we close our eyes to all that is presently around us and ignore all possibilities that do not line up with our narrow criteria.

The answer to all, then, is Silence. To sit and silence the mind, and its perpetual whirlwind of thought, to sit in utter stillness and simply take in, without prejudice, All That Is.

In Stillness, in Love, in Harmony, and these within ourselves, we find God, we find Inspiration and Hope. It is not to be sought in some far-off place. It is always within us; we need only look.

Be a Master, Be Free

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Let not the Mind, in its attachment to the Past and to the Future, steal the Present from you. Let not the Reality of what Is, and is Now, be hidden from you. See what Is, in all its purity and reality. Let the same be true of the words we speak and the actions we perform. Let us study ourselves, and embrace the reality of what is true.

The Beginning of Love

“The beginning of love is the will to let those we love be perfectly themselves, the resolution not to twist them to fit our own image. If in loving them we do not love what they are, but only their potential likeness to ourselves, then we do not love them; we only love the reflection of ourselves we find in them.” –Thomas Merton

The Freedom of Non-Self

My image of Self is not a "thing," it is only a "process"….

We look at a river, and call it "river"; we look at a table and call it "table"; we look at a rainbow and call it "rainbow." These labels we give to objects are a handy tool language has developed by which we might communicate to each other, and relate to, the nature of the things we see around us. However, isn’t fascinating that all these objects are truly a conglomeration of an infinite mass of smaller "things"? We all know of the molecular world, the particle world… the sub-particle world… atoms… empty space… quarks…. bosons…. etc, etc, ad infinitum! Yet, to communicate this particular conglomeration of stuff in one word, according to the manner in which we interact with it in daily life, is to label it according to its resultant whole as it effects us.

Now, the river, for example: the river is always flowing. At times, it is murky if the mud is stirred, at other times it is still and calm, at still other times it is violent and rushing…. It is never the "same" river, yet we still label it The (Blank) River. It is a process of ever-flowing life.

The rainbow: The only reason one can see it, is the result of a very precise arrangement of water droplets in the air to sunlight, to a receiving optical organ. And two people standing next to each other may see the rainbow in exactly the same way. However, another who may be standing at a certain direction, may not see the rainbow as clearly, if at all. So…. Is the rainbow there, or not? 😉

Recall, do not mistake the label for the thing…. Do not mistake the Idea for the Truth….

…Likewise, let us not mistake the "Me" for Me….

At any given moment – any given Now – "I" am a "different person"… My Ego doesn’t like to think so, and it routinely, subtly, glosses over the differences and variations to try and concoct a succinct whole persona of "Me." But, one day I am "a phenomenal musician," the next "a terrible one." One day I am "together and with-it," the next I am "a complete scatterbrain." So, which is it, then? Or am I not all things at all times for all occasions…. A Process of ever-flowing life, relating to my ever-changing environment. And do I not appear, as an illusion, differently to different people, within the context of different scenarios?

So… What am I? What part of me is Me? "Am I" at all?….

A Breathing Meditation for you:

I breathe in, and I am filled with the Earth…
…filled with the stars above….
…filled with the very cosmos.

I breathe out, and I empty myself….
…empty the illusions, the attachments and aversions…
…empty myself to give my spirit-life back to the Earth…
…empty myself that I may be ready to receive again from the cosmos with the next breath.

I am Nothing, then… And at the same time, I am Everything. Everything is Me.

None of us has ever seen our face. Truly! We’ve perceived the reflection of our face in a mirror, or relied on the comments and perceptions of others outside of ourselves. But, all of those perceptions are out there. From right here we have never ever seen our face. One can ask, then, do we have a face? Or is it only an ever-changing representation of us as a universal being? A label by which others can point to us and relate to us and describe us at any given moment. If so, then let us not fall into the delusion of identifying with any of these labels or ideas, for we are so much more than any of that – we are Nothing. :mrgreen:

It is not that we are trying to "get rid of Self." It’s that there is no Self to get rid of.

Ascertaining Baseline Truth

Don’t mistake the map for the landscape.

“…night and day are ruled by the rising and setting of the sun, the rotation of the earth.” Building upon my previous thoughts on the illusory nature of Time, recall: “We would do well to keep in mind the arbitrariness of labeling”.

When we label a certain time of day by way of our arbitrary societal grid of numbers maintained by clocks, or a season of the earth’s natural cycle as months and days and years, it is a system by which we are able to coordinate and communicate and organize our experiences within each Now. Let us simply bear in mind, that the number is not the Reality, but only a way to understand the occurrence.

Likewise, we use maps to organize, systemize, and depict the nature of a landscape in which we find ourselves. Let us not forget, as we study the picture, that we are studying a representation of the Reality, and not Reality itself.

Thoughts are important; we observe and accumulate observations, then categorize and organize them in order to derive overarching meaning. Let us simply bear in mind, and be ever Aware, that the Ideas floating through our mind are not necessarily the actual Reality. These thoughts are our own observations and our categorizations of realizations we have regarding our observations.

Thoughts float along the river of our mind, and our Ego picks up each thought to cling onto it and identify with it.

If we are aware of this, we can better recognize the impermanence of Thought and decide which thoughts are beneficial at any given moment, and which are not.

Recall the second type of Clinging:

  • Attachment to views– “the tendency of the mind to seek out a viewpoint or opinion where everything is clear… Now everything is safe and comfortable for me… The Buddha is pointing to our tendency to seek security, peace, well-being and happiness in our views and perspectives.”

Does this mean, as some posit in various fashions, that there is no Reality and that all is simply a fabrication of our Perceptions? I tend to think not. There is Reality; we are of and from the Earth; we are firmly integrated and a part of the universe we see — we are children of the Stars. But, the thoughts we harbor regarding the Reality around us is a representation of that universe in which we find ourselves. To maintain this awareness is to foster universal understanding and peace.

Let us not mistake the Idea, for the Truth.

Take No Thought Today

Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. (Matthew 6:34)

Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? (Matthew 6:25)

Too often, thought equals anxiety. Thought equals judgement; thought equals ceaseless running

To wake from the World of Thought is as to wake from a dream, or virtual reality. This is the heart of being awakened.

Our minds are as a lake. When the waters are still, they reflect what is true. When the waters are stirred up, the reflection that is cast is distorted. To have a mind that is still is to have clear Perception, to be able to see what Is, clearly and in Truth.

Therefore, while Thought has its place of great importance in life, for Thought to exist in a cleared mind when it is needed gives it freedom to see and understand and operate most effectively, coexisting with Peace.

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Be Not Afraid of the World

We are each of us, an independent mini-verse; and yet, too, we are fully and intricately entangled with and in our environment, and each other.

How long and often I have heard and seen displayed, the ideology of “Not of This World.” The premise behind it is one of judgement — that this World is of some nature that we ought not be a part of, and to be separate from it is to attain a nature of peace, purity, and enlightenment of one sort or another.

In a way, one might look to meditation and the release of Attachments as a form of this kind of release from the world… But how much better we will fare if, instead, we realize — and, yes, take delight in — the fact that we are holistically integrated with ourselves and our environment. The notion of releasing Attachment is not to bring separation from this World, but instead to come to the awareness that we are One with the World, with the Universe (yes, I know how cliché this phrase is, but it nevertheless remains true). And by this understanding we welcome true peace into our existence.

Without it, we struggle against the World — the Universe, the very womb that birthed us. We see, we, judge, we hate, we long for that which we cannot have and we look endlessly for a mythical release that will not come, as it is powered by fear and hate and a desire for easy, unbalanced escapism… We condemn others who do not conform to our ideologies, and we blame them for the misfortune that seems to overtake us at every turn during our existence on this earth. More than this, by struggling against the very nature of our integrated beings, we create cognitive dissonance in our very souls; how frustrating it is to inherently know the Truth in our beings, for we have the mind of…the Mind… 😉 but retain the need to dismiss it with the excuses of our own imaginings! To maintain this life-encompassing delusion at all costs… This is truly, mentally and spiritually, exhausting!

That we could all come to understand that Perception is everything! That we could each welcome and explore the nature of Attentional Focus; that by employing the realizations of Open Focus we may freely explore the nature of who we are, tied intimately with our environment, in wholeness and peace.