Our Journey Home
"It's no wonder that truth is greater than fiction. Fiction has to make sense." ~ Mark Twain
Our lives, which seem like everything to us, are simply part of a long journey of awakening. I mean this figuratively for there is nothing simple about it and in a very real way it is not our awakening I am referring to, though that can happen too. The awakening I am referring to is the the awakening of that which has many names. I refer to "It" as my "true self", though even this label is utterly insufficient.
When I say this I do not mean who I am at this moment, the person sitting typing these words in on the computer is something distinct from "It." I am not something that lives separate from or merely as a proxy for the true self, something that is discarded or perhaps assimilated when I die. The true self exists in every "molecule" of our bodies and every vibration within our energy field and like everything else. "It" is not static. We change with every experience and "It" does as well though the "I" affects the "It" is more aptly likened to how blowing on a hot coffee of cup gradually cools it. Each breathe being synonymous with a life we live.
Some would suggest that each life is like a grain of sand on the beach or perhaps one of the many mirrors that make up the surface a disco ball. Such analogies are inaccurate as they imply a separateness of the "I", the grains of sand or the mirrors, from "It", from the beach or the disco ball that does not exist save in our minds. You might then wonder how the mind, if there is no separation, can create it. To this I say that we have eyes and ears and so on. They are not separate from us yet the eyes see and the ears do not, and so to each of them there would be the illusion of separateness. Each would describe their reality differently and neither would "get" the other's perspective. It is the same for us. We are not separate from "It" yet due to the nature of our existence we appear to be.
Of course the above analogy is insufficient for everything is energy of one form or another, including our bodies. It is our mind that creates the illusion that things are separate and distinct due to it's focus on our physicality when we are actually Beings that exist on many levels. The analogy also illustrates the source of the illusion of duality that challenges us at every turn, the one that keeps "I" from recognizing that it is also "It." Even though such analogies are insufficient they do stir within us notions of wholeness, notions which we feel but cannot speak of, certainly not adequately. How this happens is something I have written about extensively, namely, once we are born and start to experience our physicality our minds develop with a markedly physical focus. The consequence of this is that our mind delimits "this from that" which makes things discrete and of course ... separate.
"Three things cannot be long hidden; the sun, the moon, and the truth" ~ Buddha
There is no magic bullet that will help us to reintegrate ourselves, to end the illusion of separateness that our increasingly more powerful minds have created. What exists are a whole host of ways to go about it. While the means or way one goes about it differ it is something everyone on a spiritual path is doing just as I have done during my life. We may have our own reasons for doing so, be driven by our own desires, wants or inner urgings, but in the end we all seek to eliminate the separateness between "I" and "It." This means working on the primary block - our mind.
Once our mind begins to label and define things the illusion of separateness begins to take hold. The more it discriminates between "this and that" the stronger the illusion of separateness grows. Over the many thousands of years of our evolution this has led us to create and come to rely more and more on words, on language. The increased reliance on language has codified the illusion of separateness (1). With that passing of centuries we have become more and more reliant on language to the point where most of us struggle to get past the separateness our minds have created and to get to a state where we are "being rather than doing".
We have become reliant on language to express ourselves where in the past we were more in tune with the world around us. You could call our minds our Pandora's box and we are like children enraptured by a box of new toys some of which lead to negative consequences. For example, it is easier to hurt others when you do not feel their pain. I will grant you that it appears the mind does more harm than good; however, in and of itself having a more highly developed mind is not a bad thing, the issue is allowing it complete dominance. And in the end one can easily argue that this shift is a natural part of the process of the evolution of mind, which is part of our consciousness' evolution and was inevitable.
There are benefits to language for even as it appears to have stifled our spiritual development it has expanded our ability to express ourselves. We are starting to use more and more of the capabilities of our minds and brains. Each of us will eventually figure out how to reduce the illusion of separateness that our minds create, and will also do so collectively, but it will take time.
The roots of this shift are apparent in the world though mostly in small pockets rather than being widespread. Those roots can be found wherever you find people who are openly exploring their spiritual side and whole new views on and concepts about what we are. This is something I touched on in the essay What Is Going On (2). New ideas on the nature of things entering the collective consciousness of humankind are having an affect on our view of not just reality but of ourselves. We are starting to become far more aware of the illusions of mind.
The dominance of mind and it's external focus has led to the vast majority of us to pass over their inner intuitions and knowings. We have not done so by choice, certainly not individually, it is more a matter of how we are raised and then go about living our lives. What we perceive with our physical senses is determined by the nature of bodies as there are limits to what it is capable of perceiving. We have created tools to greatly expand our ability to perceive things; however, they too are limited in what they can perceive. The same thing applies to our minds, which I refer to as rational mind (RM). It cannot be aware of those aspects of self that are comprised of matter of a higher level. This leads to the minds inability to be directly conscious of non-rational awarenesses such as our intuition, empathy, clairvoyance and sense of connectedness to "All" and so on.
It is a classic case of the old idiom "Out of sight out of mind". No one is immune to it. This may seem to leave us temporarily stuck, but just as we can perceive at the physical, emotion and mental levels, we can perceive at a higher level. The mind can interpret the impulses from above just as our brains are capable of interpreting impulses from "aspects above it" (thoughts from our mind). We can get past this by working on being rather than always doing, though our minds must "step aside" to allow this to happen. For this shift to happen one must believe it is possible that we are more than a body and it also helps to also believe that there is a benefit to doing so.
It takes time for new ideas to enter the collective consciousness. This is why societal shifts do not occur quickly. The tipping point needs to be reached and then passed. This happens when there are enough are aware of and embraced them. We saw this with the industrial revolution and more recently with the computer era.
The fact is most people follow the herd and there are many reasons for it. It is not a knock on them, we are where we are for a reason. Still there are more and more who are daring and dissatisfied with the status quo. They have chosen not to wait for others to catch up and are charting their own paths. The roadblock is our minds whether we dealing with the challenges of life, trying to find more balance or are a "seeker" of one form and level or another.
Knowing more about the "I" can be very helpful to those who want to resolve issues, improve oneself or who are looking longer term say for a better sense of balance or more "happiness" in life but who have no real interest in "spiritual matters". The "I" is our mind and for any of these paths must be dealt with. If one is going to work on it it helps to be more aware of thoughts, their interactions and their affect on us, even at a rudimentary level (covered in the Our Mental House Series)(3). While our challenges are as unique as we are the way our minds work and interact with our brain is the same for all of us. The issues we have, the aspects of us we would like to change or even any discontentment are due to the thoughts created by our reactions to experiences. Understanding our minds makes it easier to locate the react and understand our why we reacted as we have and change it.
Our mind is aware at some level, of how it functions and integrates experiences. What I have explained will resonate with your mind and reinforce what it already knows, that is if I have been successful in explaining things in a simple and straightforward enough manner. The ideas will provide seeds that your mind can then utilize to help you in your own efforts to develop and grow. Further, your conscious awareness of this will help you to grasp the importance our reaction to experiences play in our development and enable you to make, in the moment, choices that benefit you. (3)
Those who seek in one manner or another are working on reducing the separation. They range from who are curious and dabble or try to live a little more spiritually, to those in the middle who are at various stages of developing their focus to those who have grasped some of life's deeper mysteries. Understanding our mind can help though you certainly do not have to unravel the mysteries of it to reduce the separation. This is something we can do this through mediation and letting go and so on. However, doing this does modify our minds, the only difference is the method. At the same time awareness of the processes of mind enhance our efforts because we can direct our efforts better. That said, as we proceed on this path there comes a point when even even if were possible to get answers for every question we have we would find that the answers are not the answer.
Think about it this way...
- Our questions come from our mind.
- It is our mind that creates the illusion of duality and separateness.
- Our answers come to our mind.
- Our answers are part of the illusion.
Even a cursory look at the above shows that by only working on our mind we will get stuck in a loop. Our mind, our mental house can be likened to our vehicle and it that we express ourselves in a given lifetime. The illusion is created by the debris of our negative reactions to experiences, our misconceptions and of contradictions and so on. They can be likened to occlusions within our mind. For the seeker the goal, whether consciously aware and able to articulate it or not, is to get out of the illusion, the dream. This happens as we clear the occlusions we manifest and those that we came in with so our non-rational awarenesses from beyond mind can shine through.
I mentioned that one of the hurdles to overcome is due to our continually seeking answers to the questions we have. It is natural to have questions though we learn as much if not more in the search for answers as from the answers themselves. I am not referring to answers to a personal question such as "Why do I react the way I do?" or questioning our perceptions to make sure we are not deluding ourselves about our observations or experiences. What we want to avoid is the depending on answers before we proceed in what can become a never ending search for facts or truths. Facts and truths are funny things and the two are often, and mistakenly considered to mean the same thing. The generally accepted definitions of them do not clear the air and introduce notions of reality and whether something is true or not. The four definitions are:
Fact (n): a thing that is known or proven to be true
Truth (n): that which is true or in accordance with fact or reality
True (adj): in accordance with fact or reality
Reality (n): the state of things as they actually exist as opposed to an idealistic or notional idea of them
Given these definitions, for something to be a fact requires it be known or proven. This is straightforward enough unless one is a solipsist (one who believes that the self is all that can be known to exist). The definition of truth, which is essentially the same as that of the word "true", includes the notion of facts and includes reality in the mix, which is where they differ. As for the label or word true, it is a valuation of a something be it a fact or statement and so on, which is why it is an adjective and not a noun. Facts require objective validation, and one does not have personal facts. Truths, on the other hand, while they certainly be and often are objectively validated, have a subjective component. That is to say we can hold personal truths separate that cannot be objectively validated or verified. Some would say such "things" are not truths, and while I will grant you that some of what people hold as personal truths are the result of mistaken notions or delusions this does not apply to all personal truths.
"Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is the truth" ~Mahatma Ghandi
The real issue for those of us who seek is that our minds can struggle with accepting personal truths, especially where they run contrary to what others have stated or to other beliefs we hold. Does this mean we should discard them? Of course not, all it means is that we need to be cautious about what we accept as truths especially when they are about non-physical things or things that cannot be objectively verified. One should never believe anything in such areas as being one hundred percent true as we should always assume we could be mistaken; however, we know what we know.
"There's a world of difference between truth and facts. Facts can obscure the truth." ~ Maya Angelou
When I was a child I knew things that I could not explain, some could even be proven as true even though I had no understanding of how or why I knew them. This happened frequently not only intuitions about people that were validated but also when in discussions with my father. When it happened he would ask me to explain or justify what I said. I could not do so. Being young I'd often resort to using the word magic, which would drive aggravate him to no end. I used the word magic because I did not understand it and it was the only appropriate word in my vocabulary.
My father on the other hand was not given to such notions. To him the physical reality was the only one, there was nothing more beyond it. He expected verifiable facts and nothing less was sufficient. It did cause issues though fortunately such experiences happened frequently enough and I believed enough in myself to not discard what I knew even my fathers strong reactions. Most are not so fortunate as they give up on holding onto their truths when pressured to do so.
I held onto the notion of magic though I knew that it wasn't magic, not at least as far as the common definition of magic goes. I almost always knew that there was a reason for my experiences though it took until my teenage years before I began looking for explanations. It took some time but I eventually came to understand that what I knew and experienced were not based on supernatural forces but on natural forces that most are simply not aware of. The real struggle was not with what I knew, it was in expressing it and communicating. To this day I have found the language available quite insufficient to share such things with others, at least at the verbal level.
"I resolved from the beginning of my quest that I wound not be misled by sentiment and desire into beliefs for which their was no good evidence." ~ Bertrand Russell
For better or worse, and there are both pluses and minuses, what Bertrand Russell suggests is an idea that remains dominant. By evidence he is referring to facts, these being what is objectively verifiable. For some it is not an issue, but for many it is an idea that is both taught continually reinforced by our experiences. On the plus side, one should always question what they believe to be the case, though what constitutes good evidence is a challenge. Even a great thinker like Mr. Russell seems to ignores the fact that ALL things are not objectively verifiable. On the minus side there is the issue that one can refuse to believe good evidence if they have already existing beliefs to the contrary. And remember, our minds do not have a logic chip so they can belief things to be true when they are not. Also the mind can set the bar for what constitutes proof insurmountably high.
We can also get caught in the trap of requiring proof for everything and again, this is the domain of mind. There is a danger in this beyond what I have mentioned. That danger is we ignore that which comes from within or our non-rational mind. These aspects of self already know the truth, though not in words. The more we rely on truths and facts the more we turn our attention away from that part of us that actually knows.
"He who knows nothing is closer to the truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors." ~ Thomas Jefferson
I certainly dealt with this in terms of trying to understand my subjective experiences, most of which I'd verified through various means. That is to I had an answer or intuitively knew something, knowing the "what" but not the "why" and I sought the other "parts of the equation." My quest was not to verify them, it was to understand them and the greatest value in doing so was in the act of inquiry itself. I say this for the most interesting questions are those that whose answers are elusive and just as you feel you are about to grasp them they slip out of your fingers. For me the act of inquiry engaged more of my full self and often required me to work on myself in the process. The others I find captivating are those where the answers either either lead to more questions or they suggest I had been asking the wrong questions.
"The pursuit of truth and beauty is a sphere of activity in which we are permitted to remain children all our lives." ~ Albert Einstein
In a manner of speaking you could say that some of my questions are about the "without" while others pertain to the "within" and yet others pertain to both. I am not being deliberately cryptic, this is merely the nature of my explorations. The reason is that I am an observer, a student and a teacher and sometimes am just in the moment where such mundane labels are meaningless. As a result there are times when I need to be able to explain things. To do so adequately means exploring things from a variety of perspectives just as there I times when I have no need to question and being or knowing is enough. So I remain both the teacher and the student. It is with these two where, unlike the others, I must deal with the challenges of communication.
Communication is a fundamental aspect of our lives and we do so in a variety of ways. Some we are aware of and others we are not. By the former I am referring to how we communicate through language, music, art, body language and for those who can empathically or telepathically and so on. By the latter I am referring to the mostly unseen communications such as those that occur at the biological levels and the energy that flows between us and everything else.
We communicate for a variety of reasons such as to explain, describe or discuss things with others. The challenge with doing so is our definitions for our terms and labels vary dramatically. When it comes to matters of a spiritual nature I have found that people's definition of their terms not only vary dramatically they are often quite vague. Vague definitions are problematic for a variety of reasons, a significant one being that it leads to contradictory and conflicting notions. One can for example use the term consciousness in relation to mind and also in relationship to spirit or soul. This leads our minds to be confused about what we are, namely are we mind or are there other aspects of us that are "not mind."
"Truth can be stated in a thousand ways, yet each one can be true." Swami Vivekananda
We can often see the issues with our terminology and can clear them up if we are unafraid to discuss our what they mean to us with others and hear their thoughts about them along with their own definitions. This is not anywhere near as likely to happen if we do cling to our definitions. A side effect of this is that when we are reluctant to share we are not bring the gap between us and others, which does not help us reduce the duality within us. So, do not be afraid to share your thoughts with others, as this is can be a sign that we are not confident in what we believe and do not want our illusions shattered. Remember, no one can make you believe anything so it is up to you to accept what they say or not. Though I will add that if what someone else says bothers you in some fashion do not make the erroneous assumption that their words are the issue, it may very well be your own thoughts that are the problem.
There are also those who care not for how their minds works or the dynamics of thoughts or even energy for that matter. They will say that one "simply lets go" for example and the light will come on or they have an "ah ha" or "woo" moment. People typically refer to such things as having an epiphany. However, epiphanies are not magic, they are the result of one's mind changing over time to the point where a particular knowledge or awareness is enabled. It can seem to come out of the blue to those having it, but that is not the case. What occurred is that, over time, their thoughts and reactions to experiences made changes to their thoughts and hence their mind. Even though such experiences are wonderful to have we cannot force them to happen. One can certainly wait for them if they choose, or one can facilitate it through becoming aware of how their minds work so they can clear the occlusions that haver built up within it.
I am well aware that what we require to awaken varies from person to person, as I spoke about above. Those who are starting out benefit from more detail as their minds can need some convincing in order to let go. Those further along can grasp concepts more quickly and become enhance their awareness with less detail and yet others can get it with a simple phrase or example. I write for all three levels at the same time and embed the message I am trying to convey in different ways within them. Based on the feedback I've received, and the passages referred to by those providing it, I have been successful in aiding people at all different levels in this way.
In the end what truly matters is that we get our minds out of our way as our minds are the source of what blinds us. This means less doing and more being. It means less fear and more trust. If we limit our search to truths and facts, which are entwined like the wind and the air, the blinders will remain on. In addition, as I have mentioned, we should be careful in our use of language and avoid vague notions regarding our various terms and labels because this is also part of what blinds us. This is where being mindful and practising meditation come into the picture for it is only when we do these types of things do we get away from the endless loop of question and answers.
William Shakespeare stated this quite eloquently in MacBeth:
While he did not mean it as a statement for spiritual awakening, it can be viewed that way. In the passage we are the idiot, or rather our mind is. It is what keeps us from understanding the meaning of our lives and of our true nature. The path to our freedom then is to, one way or another, clear our minds of the debris and rubble of our reactions that separates our "I" from "It". This is our journey home.
© 2014 Allan Beveridge
Last edited December 30, 2016
References (*- denotes essays only available to site members of TheTwinPowers.com):
- Codify (verb)- arrange (laws or rules) into a systematic code.
- What Is Going On?
- Our Mental House Series (6 parts): Part 1: The Dynamics of Thought