It has occurred to me that if Consciousness were to change its mind, we would all just disappear…
I have mentioned in previous posts that I have chosen not to comment on the current situation regarding the pandemic, which has affected so many people around the world. I’ve always felt that there are enough armchair experts out there, without me chipping in as well.
But, with the amount of suffering that is going on, I feel inspired to write this post, not necessarily just about the current world-wide situation, but about suffering in general.
Like many, I have learned that going through difficult experiences has a habit of forcing us to look within ourselves for strength and inspiration, as opposed to looking to the external world; which quite often is the source of our troubles. It is also true to say that as a species, we evolve via our experiences, and being as our true nature is consciousness, this is only natural as consciousness is in a constant state of flux and evolution. I personally, feel very positive about what is happening in the world; I feel that the end product will be something quite amazing. Let us not forget that we have this wonderful thing called relativity and that the world moves in cycles. After every fall there is a rise and every painful experience ultimately leads to a pleasurable one, and vice versa.
Once again, I’m going to refer to the teachings of Ramana Maharshi to demonstrate the whole point of this article, as I feel his simple philosophy holds the key to whether we as humans live a life of peace or pain. The Maharshi would always address questions from devotees and visitors to his ashram in accordance with their ability to understand, so from this respect, it would be impossible to say that the following is the exact answer that would have been given to everyone who asked the question. But quite often, if anyone asked him why they suffer so much or why there is so much suffering in the world, he would say, “who is it that suffers?”
He would tell them to ask the question, “who am I?” The only answer being, “the One eternal Self.” He would remind them of this; their true nature, and say something like, “if you are and always have been the Self, which exists as it is with no knowledge of suffering, who then is it that suffers?” The answer to that question is that it is only the ego that suffers because of our habit of falsely identifying with the body as the reality.
No one is saying that it’s an easy ride; far from it. But having the understanding that we are ultimately just “the witness” to what is happening and not a participant helps a great deal. Finally, I refer you to my previous blog post “Be Still.” I find that simply being still is a very effective way of getting through each day. There is most definitely something happening, but we need to look within ourselves to find out what that is. I find that it is only during moments of stillness that the Self reveals its secrets.
I’m about half-way through the book, Stillness Speaks, by Eckhart Tolle and I came across this truly beautiful piece of wisdom that I felt I just had to share with you. I hope it inspires you in the same way that it inspired me:
“Just as water can be solid, liquid or gaseous, consciousness can be seen to be “frozen” as physical matter, “liquid” as mind and thought, or formless as pure consciousness.”
“Pure consciousness is Life before it comes into manifestation, and that Life looks at the world of form through “your” eyes because consciousness is who you are.”
Just as a matter of interest, and following on from my previous post, Everything Serves A Purpose, I thought it would amuse you to know that it’s happened again. After me explaining that my out-of-body experiences had dried up, and sharing with you what happened the last time I made a similar statement, during the early hours of 16/11/20 I had… yes, you guessed correctly… an out-of-body experience…
You couldn’t make it up!
For the benefit of those who have not been following my blog for very long, I will just recap on something that I once wrote about on a fairly regular basis, before I get to the point of this particular post.
There was a time when I seemed to have a lot of out-of-body experiences. I estimated, that over the years; starting in approximately 1999, I had somewhere in between 200 to 300 astral adventures. Some were spectacular and some were not worth writing about. A couple of years back I wrote about how they had become very few and far between, but no sooner had I made that statement, they started again with a flurry. In 2020 I have had only five; the last being back in May. They now seem to have dried up completely. Every now and then I asked myself the question, “why, what’s the point?” I came to the conclusion that it was so I would be able to share my experiences (where appropriate), and reassure people that, “this isn’t all there is.”
OK, so that was a condensed version of my astral travelling experiences…
It occured to me very recently, that my initial assumption, although true, was not the complete picture. I have now realised that my experiences, some of which, that as time went by became quite tedious, brought me confirmation of a very profound truth and that it has taken me all this time to realise it. What I mean is this: I had the sensation of leaving my body; I also had the sensation of returning to my body. Then there was the bit in between where I had the actual astral experience, whatever form that took. But, the important thing here is that I was conscious of all aspects of the experience. Meaning, that my body is most certainly not who I am. When I was out of my body, consciousness was very much “alive” and alert. So, my body is not essential to my being, but consciousness is who and what I am. Indeed, my body is completely inanimate unless consciousness is present.
It is all very, very simple and I can’t believe that it took so long for the penny to drop. If it’s the case for me, then it must be so for everybody else. Of course, if you want to be pedantic about it and split hairs, you could argue that I know it is my truth because I had the direct experience, and possibly it would be different for others. You could add that individuals will only come to the same conclusion as me if they have the same experience. But, all said and done, I think it’s a pretty good indicator that we are consciousness and not the body.
I am currently reading the book, A New Earth – awakening to your life’s purpose, by the wonderful Eckhart Tolle. This is the third time I will have read it; it is just a truly amazing book. The following passage really resonated with me, so I thought I would share it with you. Hope you enjoy it.
“The joy of Being, which is the only true happiness, cannot come to you through any form, possession, achievement, person or event – through anything that happens. That joy cannot come to you – ever. It emanates from the formless dimension within you, from consciousness itself and thus is one with who you are.”
Nameless one indeed, for is it not true that labels and names only serve to impose limitations? In our day to day lives, of course names are important for practical purposes, but the reality is that who I am has no name; and the same applies to the nameless one reading this post. My parents may have decided to call my body “Richard” when I was born, but that is not who I am. I am that which is unlimited experience; and so are you. All of us nameless ones here in the world acting out our drama in the play of life can be categorised in one of three ways (see, there I go imposing limitations again).
There are those who are completely oblivious to their true nature and who who are firmly immersed in all the pain and suffering that the play of life can bring. Then there are those who are “spiritual seekers” or “truth seekers” (see, names again!), who have become aware of their spirituality and are seeking to know more. However, truth will continue to evade you as long as you continue to seek it. The very seeking of it ensures that you cannot find it. Why? Because you are looking for a “thing” and truth as a “thing” doesn’t exist.
The third category (those bloody names!!!) are those who understand that truth simply exists as it is and will reveal itself to you when the conditions are right. When we allow ourselves to just be in the flow with that unlimited wilderness of abundance, or consciousness if you like, it will pander to our every need.
There was once a simple farmer who kept a horse in his field. One day the horse got loose and ran away. A neighbour heard this news, and on crossing paths with the farmer said, “such bad news about your horse.” “Maybe”, said the farmer. A few days passed and the horse returned, bringing with it two more wild horses. Again the neighbour heard this news and on meeting the farmer in town said, “fantastic news about the horses.” “Maybe”, said the farmer.
One day a few weeks later, the farmer’s son was breaking in one of the new horses and it threw him, fracturing his leg in the process. The neighbour came to visit and on hearing what had happened said, “such bad luck with your son’s broken leg.” “Maybe”, said the farmer. Soon after this incident some officials from the military came calling. They were drafting young men into the army to go and fight in a war. On seeing the son’s condition they didn’t bother with him and went away. Again the neighbour heard and on seeing the farmer exclaimed, “such great luck that your son does not have to go to war.” “Maybe”, said the farmer.
This lovely little parable aptly illustrates several things that can be the cause of pain and suffering if we remain unaware of our true nature (consciousness). The farmer was obviously accepting of “what is.” He also understood that good and bad are simply personal judgements, and that the nature of the phenomenal world is cyclic.
He did not judge each situation as it occurred. He simply accepted each scenario in the understanding that the natural flow of nature would soon carry it on its way. Had he not accepted the seemingly unfortunate events exactly as they were, and instead formed a judgement that they were “bad”, the story playing out in his mind would have caused him to suffer. Equally, had he allowed the seemingly good fortune of events to carry him off on the crest of a wave, the judgement made by the egoic mind when the fortunes were reversed would have also caused him to suffer. In consciousness there is no relativity, no phenomena, nothing to judge. Instead of becoming embroiled, the farmer remained “the witness” to the dramas playing out before him on the stage we call life.
My plan for my next book was to put 20 mainly Zen-based parables together as a sort of “pocket companion”. I set about putting my document together and realised that I’d miscounted; I’d only written 19. So, here is number 20!
A monk was taking the long journey home to visit his family and inadvertently took a wrong path. He came to the point where he faced a wide river that was fast-flowing. He looked up and down and could see no way across. He puzzled over his predicament for several hours. As he was about to give up and turn back, he saw an old mendicant passing by on the opposite bank. He cupped his hands to his mouth and shouted across, “Sir, Sir, can you tell me how to get to the other side?” The old man stopped and looked across. He paused for a moment and then shouted back, “my child, you are already on the other side”.
How apt to end my project with another little reminder that we are already where we need to be. The journey itself is the destination. Consciousness is eternal and constantly evolving, so even when we make a plan, set a goal or take a journey, it is only one of an infinite number of experiences that we encounter in our own individual evolution. The torrentially flowing river is the mind (ego) that puts imaginary obstacles in our way. When the veil of delusion is removed there is the realisation that there is only the One timeless Self; there never was an ego, but the false belief that there was (“I am the body” identification) enabled us to take a journey within time and space that was ultimately the means by which we realised the truth of our being.
In the end we will all come to know that the path was actually pathless, that the road travelled was a road to nowhere, to the eternal bliss of nothingness that we all are.
A long, long time ago in Japan, it was quite normal for marauding armies to ransack villages, with the villagers having to flee or be killed. In one such village an old Zen master sat peacefully in his very humble abode as chaos reigned outside. All of a sudden, a fearsome soldier kicked the master’s door open and stood menacingly in the doorway; the master was unmoved. The soldier sneered and said, “what are you still doing here, are you not afraid? All of the villagers are either dead or have fled, yet you remain here.” The master replied, “what have I to fear, and besides, where would I go?” The soldier became angry, and drawing his sword raged, “don’t you know that I am a man who can run you through without blinking an eye?” The old master looked at him and said, “don’t YOU know that I am a man who can be run through without blinking an eye?”
With a body or without a body; it is all the same to one who has realised. Live or die; the master knows there is no death and therefore remains unmoved. There is also the paradox here between the polar opposites of “doing” and “being”. The soldier wants to “do” (kill) the master, but that in itself is a fruitless task, as the most he can achieve is to be the cause of the master’s body evolving (effect) into a different form. You cannot kill anything in reality as all is consciousness and is in a constant state of flux. What would happen to the body? If buried it would eventually decompose and merge with the earth. If cremated, the cremation process would cause the flesh to evolve into heat energy and be absorbed back into the total energy mass.
The master remained in a state of pure knowing, enlightenment, awakening, bliss or whatever description you wish to use; all are just terms for “Being”. The master remains blissful regardless of which action the soldier chooses to take. He says, “besides, where would I go?” Indeed, where would the master go? There is only here and now; it is all we have.
Two friends were watching on as a flag flapped around in the wind. “It’s the flag that’s moving”, said one of them. “No, it’s the wind that’s moving”, said the other. They could not decide amongst themselves who was right, so they decided to consult a Zen master who lived in their region. They went to the master and explained the story, saying, “please tell us, is it the flag or the wind that moves”? “It is neither the wind nor the flag that moves”, said the master, “it is the mind.”
Ramana Maharshi refers to the mind (ego) as a “phantom” that rises up from the Self during waking state, and disappears back into the Self during deep, dreamless sleep. It is also that which is completely obliterated on the attainment of Self-realisation. In consciousness (Self) there is no form; just pure being. All objectification is a product of mind, and all movement takes place in mind, which is a projection of the Self. Consciousness is constantly in motion, therefore objects rise up and fall away again. Like the millions of waves that take form and then become immersed once again in the oceans. When you gaze upon the beauty of a landscape, all you are actually looking at is consciousness (energy) existing at various levels of vibration. It is the mind that interprets and objectifies these vibrations, and projects the form perceived as landscape, which is seen by the eyes.