OK, here's a major problem alluded to in the Tower of Babel story in the bible. What makes 'perfect sense' to each one of us differs! What constitutes rational thinking, speech & behavior is unique to each individual - we speak different languages, we're 'on different wavelengths.' And THAT is because of our unique personal histories, different traumas experienced, which in turn give rise to an array of different defenses (armoring) & preferences, neuroses etc. So what each of us sees is not the world as it is, but essentially a cartoon of our personal psychological 'baggage' or 'personality.' BUT, because we all do the best we can to survive, each of us is quite certain that WE see perfectly clearly, while others (especially those weird mystics!) need glasses or are blind.“We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are.” Anais Nin
THIS is why, on rare occasions, when we briefly drop all our defences & neuroses and are momentarily our true Self, we perceive the world accurately, as it really is, everything, including the most mundane things, so amazingly bright, glowingly beautiful, other-worldly & unforgettable. Perhaps this is how we experience everything - for a while - as newborns.
“Many people have intimations of their true nature in childhood – the sense of a benevolent presence guiding their life, a radiance that shines forth from all things, or a current of love that unites us all. …
But we lose touch with this luminosity as we age … we forget who we really are and succumb to the way others see us...
By adulthood we've more or less forgotten who we truly are, and have passively absorbed the current cultural fad of being frozen in the armor of materialism, meaninglessness & cynicism. Not surprisingly, something in all of us 'continues to weep over the barrenness of modern life.'"
Stephan Bodian. “Wake Up Now. A Guide to the Journey of Spiritual Awakening.” McGraw-Hill, 2008.
Humanity now faces crises on multiple fronts: climate, pollution, wars, 'ethnic cleansing,' over-population, economic, addictions, colonialism, many forms of xenophobia (eg patriarchy, misogyny, racism, religious exclusivism, etc), loneliness, meaninglessness & spiritual. Our left-hemisphere-dominant society, 'frozen in the armor of materialism,
meaninglessness & cynicism,' created & exacerbates this dystopia. This ancient part of the brain that we share with reptiles is ONLY concerned with personal & tribal survival / supremacy - 'my tribe (color, 'religion' & politics), right or wrong' - the 'partisanship' paralyzing the US. This narrow, primitive level of thinking & behaving, while essential & useful mainly in emergencies, short-term, is - much like the caveman-like leaders we tend to elect in times of war - is NOT capable of nurturing all that is deeply meaningful & valued so human beings can evolve & flourish. http://www.johnlovas.com/2022/02/more-than-one-way-of-knowing.html
Einstein long ago warned that we cannot get out of this mess using the same level of thinking that got us into it.
“We have created a Star Wars civilization, with Stone Age emotions, medieval institutions, and godlike technology. We thrash about. We are terribly confused by the mere fact of our existence, and a danger to ourselves and to the rest of life.” Edward O. Wilson
"Wisdom comes when we live from the heart. It’s the recognition that love is the only power that is moving any of this." Jac O’Keeffe
“There are only two ways to live your life.
One is as though nothing is a miracle.
The other is as though
everything is a miracle.” Albert Einstein
Michael Singer does a wonderful job illustrating how the evolution of the cosmos is equally miraculously wonderful from a scientific and spiritual perspective: Michael A. Singer “Living Untethered: Beyond the Human Predicament” Sounds True, 2022. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED"The Great Way is not difficult
for those who have no preferences..." Sengstan
Much of our 'self-talk' is repeatedly telling ourselves, 'I like this - I have to have it' or 'I don't like this - I don't want it.' This unconscious brainwashing creates a false small self made up for meaningless likes & dislikes ie 'preferences.' Most of us are so used to the burden of our 'psychological baggage' - a big part of which are 'preferences,' that we actually mistake it for who we are. No wonder low self-esteem is rampant! Psychotherapy helps us let go of 'psychological baggage.'
In this same book, Singer recommends practicing intentionally letting go of our 'preferences.' Instead, he advises that we accept*** everything we encounter, and do our best to nurture ourselves & others helping us to flourish, with no personal gain in mind. Again, it's a very wise, helpful book.
***Acceptance – “open to seeing & acknowledging things as they are in the present moment; acceptance does not mean passivity nor resignation, rather a clearer understanding of the present so one can more effectively respond.”
Shapiro SL, Schwartz GE. “Intentional Systemic Mindfulness: an Integrative Model for Self-regulation and Health.” Adv Mind Body Med 2000; 16(2): 128-34.
Everything, even things that terrify us, such as death – our own & that of our loved ones – is best dealt with in a friendly, open mind & hearted way. If we “lean into” (rather than keep avoiding) even such scary things with curiosity, self-compassion & acceptance, at our own pace & possibly with expert guidance, we benefit greatly in the long run!
"The light within you, when resolutely recognized in all circumstances, has the capacity to embrace everything. This uncompromising acceptance is, in fact, your true nature." Amoda Maa
& saints operate from a qualitatively higher level of
consciousness, able to directly experience ultimate
reality. Such wise elders repeatedly tell us something that drives many 'bat-shit-crazy' angry: "Everything is perfect just the way it is." Of course our reptilian level of mind cannot cope with paradox & helplessness in the face of our own (& everyone) suffering, that we (& everyone) age, get sick & die, AND that we can't fix it. After all, the small self is exclusively about controlling so as to survive!
We're dealing with TWO qualitatively different LEVELS of reality - consensual, every-day, shallow, relative reality of the small self, AND ultimate reality of the true Self. Our usual level of thinking cannot make any sense of ultimate reality because our psychological baggage and energies are focused almost exclusively on survival & thriving on the material plane of existence, the noisy, stressful busyness of which veils or hides the much more subtle, peaceful ultimate reality.
“So long as one is merely on the surface of things, they are always imperfect, unsatisfactory, incomplete.
Penetrate into the substance and everything is perfect, complete, whole.”
Philip Kapleau “The Zen of Living and Dying. A Practical and Spiritual Guide.” Shambhala, 1998.
HOWEVER, when we learn to accept the laws of Nature (which like gravity, are impersonal ie have nothing to do with our individual preferences), and learn to be curious & grateful about EVERYTHING, we eliminate all unnecessary suffering and discover that life is filled with joy rather than 'ordinary unhappiness.'
"There’s only one happiness and it’s who you are. There’s only one place to find lasting happiness, and that is to know who you are and to be who you are.” Francis Lucille
"I would’ve claimed to be pretty awake prior to the cancer diagnosis. I’m much more awake now. There’s no reason that we can’t all wake up. That’s the overarching message that I want to broadcast is ‘Join me in the celebration, the appreciation of this miracle that we all find ourselves in.’ ” Roland Griffiths PhD
“The whole point of spiritual practice is to discover that we’re already good enough. That we don’t have to prove a thing. That’s the fundamental purpose of all spiritual practice." Henry Shukman
“If you abide in this state of acceptance, you create no more negativity, no more suffering, no more unhappiness. You then live in a state of nonresistance, a state of grace and lightness, free of struggle.” Eckhart Tolle “The Power of Now”
Many of us spend a large portion of our short & precious life, bitterly unaware that we're all honeybees swimming in a cosmos of honey.
The bitter distraction is wanting some experiences & wanting to avoid others. We take our preferences dead seriously, actually believing that a cocktail of neuroses is our actual identity. And because of this common delusion, we forget who we truly are.
By not taking preferences seriously, and instead, engaging intimately with all that we're presented with, a QUALITATIVE SHIFT occurs: the veil lifts, and we embody our true self - Self, the One Source of honey AND see that every One is swimming in honey. At this level, we DO see things as they are, AND as WE are!
RELEASE more & more unnecessary suffering, BE your Self, and SHARE your nurturing presence!
|24 Brand New Hours! - by Molly Hahn www.BuddhaDoodles.com