The ego, which is really nothing more than a pattern, a dramedy of illusions, is an error-finding mechanism. That’s it. That’s the whole ballgame. Seeing right isn’t given to the dummy, so seeing wrong, or not at all, is all that’s available.
Seeing error everywhere is the survival strategy, the one-direction, of the oblivious false self. The sound of silence cannot be heard in a head full of complaint.
This seemingly entrenched tendency could be utilized in the way of lucid dreaming. A recommended trick to become lucid in a dream is notice the errors. A light switch doesn’t work, a hallway that leads to nowhere—something isn’t quite right. What doesn’t look right is the prompt to wake up, and become lucid.
I had a dream the other night that students were dressed in rabbit suits and lobbing snowballs at each other across a walkway on campus. I knew something was funny, and creepy, about the situation, but sadly, did not wake up. I did think, “…this looks like a trap,” and wisely took another route, and so escaped without harm.
So yes, there is something wrong. It’s only natural a contrived character would suspect as much. But it isn’t the rabbit-suited students, or the snowballs in July. It isn’t “others” or the scary circumstances. I wasn’t on any campus.
By Priscilla Jane Thompson, from Gleanings of Quiet Hours, self published in 1907.
‘Tis a time for much rejoicing; Let each heart be lured away; Let each tongue, its thanks be voicing For Emancipation Day. Day of victory, day of glory, For thee, many a field was gory!
Many a time in days now ended, Hath our fathers’ courage failed, Patiently their tears they blended; Ne’er they to their, Maker, railed, Well we know their groans, He numbered, When dominions fell, asundered.
As of old the Red Sea parted, And oppressed passed safely through, Back from the North, the bold South, started, And a fissure wide she drew; Drew a cleft of Liberty, Through it, marched our people free.
And, in memory, ever grateful, Of the day they reached the shore, Meet we now, with hearts e’er faithful, Joyous that the storm is o’er. Storm of Torture! May grim Past, Hurl thee down his torrents fast.
Bring your harpers, bring your sages, Bid each one the story tell; Waft it on to future ages, Bid descendants learn it well. Kept it bright in minds now tender, Teach the young their thanks to render.
Come with hearts all firm united, In the union of a race; With your loyalty well plighted, Look your brother in the face, Stand by him, forsake him never, God is with us now, forever.
Writing about the illusory nature of problems can look like a denial, or outright ignorance, of what today appears to be a highly problematic state of the world. There is a battle going on, right? Many social media posts speak of love and mindfulness and peace. All well and good, but do they meet the demands of the visible unrest?
Do these mindfulness reminders create a restful moment of pause, or do they engender more anger as a striking lack of awareness? Seemingly irrelevant tropes in the face of powerful upheaval–akin to bringing a rubber knife to a gunfight?
Concepts of love, mindfulness, and peace are empty, and thus not a source of solace. We cannot talk or write or read about these ideas unless they are transformed and lived. Love is not the selective feeling of affection and connection to a delineated few. Mindfulness is not a scheduled respite, a moment or two taken out of time in the midst of conflict. Peace is not an impossible goal to be hoped for sometime in the future, and not really an agreement between two or more parties.
Peace is an allegiance to the calm that always can be found under or behind the storm. Not a break from it, but a dwelling as and in that calm. Mindfulness as a way of being. Ultimately, it becomes the realization of no-differences when the two or more are the illusion, the false segregation created by the split mind. The experiential realization of inseparability is love.
The hardest thing to accept right now is that the division is within, is projection. Anger and fear are the unavoidable manifestation of this inner conflict projected out there. Even if you don’t or can’t believe this premise, there is a close-enough proximation of being the equanimity in the midst of outbursts all around. See the power and the solace in the refusal to give in to the temptation of helpless fear or an over-wielding anger.
The need to be right is a powerful force. It is, however, a weak defense in this shadowy world of not really knowing, of honest uncertainty.
In those most disorienting moments of there-is-something-wrong-I-need-to-do-something distress, some response will and always does emerge in the space that is beyond fear and anger. It helps to realize we are not in charge, but simply vehicles of this greater intelligence. Simply allow the response, the doing/done, to emerge.
Let it come from the equanimity that comes from trust in this larger/largest Source. And it will be reflected, this trust, this returning, out there. You will then more often notice images like that of the young white girl jumping in front of the young black male as the police move towards him, or the National Guardsman who takes a knee in solidarity with the protestors. That is the unitive perception, instead of the fearful division.
That is why you are here. You are/I am the unbiased witness, like the sun, that does not discriminate where it alights. And fear and anger will dissipate, if only for a moment. And that is the moment that matters, that fearless space of clarity and inseparability.
And in the silence, the vastness, of the indiscriminating light, the response comes through you, not from you.
You don’t need to do anything in particular. Forget the particular, the perception of parts, of right and wrong. There are no parts in this Whole.
Why did Krishna tell Arjuna that he must fight, as he stood in the midst of the battlefield,? Is he not fighting the doubt he feels in seeing this world split in two? Where is the battlefield? The great divide, thus the great anguish?
“It was Vyasa’s (the author’s) genius to take the whole great Mahabharata epic and see it as metaphor for the perennial war between the forces of light and the forces of darkness in every human heart.” ~
If you let go of that question, that complaint, that frustration, that need, that anger, that belief/assumption—-its all mental, right? Let it all go by. And make no demands upon the bodily reactions to those mental instigations, just acknowledge how the body is playing its part in the scene building. If there is this pause, this intervention, two things can/will happen. Continue reading →
Here’s the unequivocal thing: Nothing in this dreamstate makes sense. It is made, as an appearance, by an incoherent, split mind, exhibiting and manifesting nothing but fragmented reality from fragmented thinking. The experience of living in this incoherent world is then a striving to make sense of, and find solutions for, the “problematic” situations in which we appear to find ourselves. Like Don Quixote and his giants.
The story is strong; the story is saddening. The way things appear to be today, this disjointed, split vision of the world–yes, there is grief, but who or what are you in response?
There are not two worlds–one of peace (can I not find/return to it?), and one of painful division (please make it stop!).
There are only infinite perspectives, emboldening the division, or holding the peace. Can we not be the benevolent, generous, whole heart that surrounds and holds the broken heart that appears as the world?
Be as you truly are, the undivided that surrounds the perceived division. You/we are more than big enough.
In the post, What Remains, the point was made that nothing, no circumstance has duration; nothing is fixed. So what makes any situation, problem, or identification appear to have duration and substance? What makes it seem real and seemingly long lasting?
Seeing this, that past and future are nothing more than random images and thoughts happening now, changes everything. How you can have a solid sense of self, or anything else, if there is no fixed past or future image for it to have been or to become? Attention to, to the point of what could be called “fixation,” is what appears to give it (anything) life. Experience is quite literally determined by the wolf you feed.
The wolf is the problem or the identity. Attention is how it is fed.
Attention to fearful thoughts and emotions, creating deeper and deeper reality tunnels–is no different than being in the midst of a dream, a nightmare, and forgetting that you are asleep. If there is, for instance, a medical issue, by all means, seek medical attention. But then what? Is a diagnosis what you are? Or is it what you think about, and feel all the time? There is a mental proclivity to do just that, of course, but who or what are you absent the fixed attention on a thing apart? Shift attention away, from everything. Catch that, even if just for an instant. The sky is still wide open above you. Attend to that openness.
Max in his wolf suit, in Where the Wild Things Are tells the whole story. There really are no wolves, only kids in wolf suits, imagining things to be a certain way. But eventually it’s time to go home, to your own room, where dinner is waiting, and it’s still hot.
“Any movement of consciousness toward the phenomenal is equivalent to a movement away from what is real. The Real is attained by a movement of consciousness in the direction opposite from that by which the phenomenon is experienced.” Wu Hsin
To opposite world: attention flipping.
Take a playing card from a deck. In the game, all attention is focused upon the face card–the queen, the ace, a six–all of which represent the phenomenal. That with which the game is played. All experience–of self, other, world–all phenomena is the result of attention limited to which particular face card, or cards, appears.
“Who in the world am I? Ah, that’s the great puzzle.” ~ Alice in Wonderland