I grew up believing that life was a battle, from birth until death. Perhaps because I knew poverty and thought I had everything to gain. Or, perhaps because I also knew some financial strength and felt like I had something to lose. At my core was the feeling that I am fragile, and already broken. I had to survive, make do, provide for my family. And I didn’t quite know how…..
I put on a strong face, tightened my lips, lifted my chin, and threw on a garb of overconfidence. It was a false armor, forged in the pits of self-doubt and anguish, and polished by a keen intellect. A fake posture emerged that shone custom-fit for my battle, honed over the years, and carried as one would drag a burden. I believed that I would eventually fail at “life”, be seen for the weakness that I am, and chewed up by the grinders of existence that hummed in wait for the likes of me – antisocial introvert, clinging to the mental distractions of solving mathematical puzzles, and never stopping to smell the flowers.
There was no peace in inevitable failure. There was no ultimate reward or even occasional enjoyment. Only the sense of dread drove me forward so that I could stall what felt to be worse than death – utter resignation. To everyone else, there was no mystery that I was mostly flammable – despite being occasionally useful. I was a liability, and mostly to myself. To me, it was simply the way it was.
Over time, the facade of competence became exhausting. I needed to realize that “I” wasn’t working and had to become completely drained to turn away from my career and even my health. Then, a door began to open – a new possibility that can only be described as peace. I had to face my fear of failure by…failing.
I simmered in my worst nightmare for several years, unsure of what I believed about life anymore. Was it still a battle if I had already lost? Was there some way to give my life new purpose, besides not failing? And why was failure such a threat? It had happened, and I was still here. I let go into it. Had anything really changed?
Eventually, the core belief that I had carried had finally run its course – like a bad flu. Finally, there was no need to believe something specific about life – just living and connecting was complete. I no longer needed to succeed or to expect failure. I had nothing to prove or to achieve. Nothing felt “locked in” or “set in stone”, and certainty felt unnecessary. The armor dissolved, and I stood vulnerable in a vista of possibilities. It had become so easy to rest – just rest, and any previous delimma was clearly unnecessary.
A few paragraphs cannot sum up this journey, or possibly any journey that frees one from an illusion. Maybe it doesn’t matter how or why we eventually become at peace with the simple, the quiet, and the humble – only that we do. We know when that moment arrives because it never leaves.
It is so much easier to do things when there is no fear nipping at my heels, and there is no need to control anything. I traded in armour for genuine curiosity. It had never occurred to me that the need to control life to feel safe could color my perception so completely until the need to protect had dissolved.
Reality is so much more interesting than any illusion I could have contrived, and so much more relaxing. Peace is real, while fear and doubt are not. Who would have thought?
Enlightenment is not a single event, but a continuous evolution, and there are some myths about the “benefits” It brings. One such myth is the health of the body. While abounding health is certainly possible, it’s lack does not indicate a lag in evolution.
Ramana Maharshi died of cancer. Baba Mukhtananda died of heart failure. Both broke through into a permanent awakened state, and Maharshi reached an even deeper level of surrender to the Infinite. Why doesn’t enlightenment mean perfect health? If not initially, does it eventually?
The state of awakening is just that. The sense of identity permanently shifts to the perspective of the Infinite from feeling like an “I” with a body. Rather than reaching for the Infinite in meditation, one starts to be the mediation and reaches through the body. The transformation of perspective and consciousness is a complete one-eighty.
Meanwhile, the body is now carrying the awareness of the Infinite and serving as its conduit to manifestation and expression.The intensity of what the body carries inspires the body to purify anything that holds or blocks deeper surrender. Many call this state “burning.” This burning is an ongoing process of the charged nervous system adjusting to consciousness, and expressing its presence to the world. Enlightened beings carry their own karma that must be processed and balanced, but this process intensifies and adds stress to the body – it can only be tempered so much.
Many enlightened beings also tend to take on the energy of others, when that karma can be taken on from others. Diligent discernment is required about when it is appropriate to help, and when an individual needs to continue to undergo certain experiences. Any energies taken on willingly from others add a load to the body system and tax its function.
Not all disease is necessary to carry, and medicine and treatments of various kinds can help. However, for some conditions, there are no treatments. The body must simply exist in that condition until it can no longer function, as it continues to evolve as an extension of the infinite.
So, if enlightenment does not bring a guarantee of health, why bother? This is a good question that arises because, in this realm, most people want a happy, fulfilled life. They are rightfully learning how to bring more and more happiness into their existence and build relationships. From this perspective, striving for health, good food, strong relationships, fulfillment in creativity, and relaxation are the primary. Desire for complete transformation out of the ego state is still very rare.
From the enlightened perspective, happiness is already there unconditionally. The primary becomes to express that happiness more and more through the body, as if playing an instrument. Sickness or health, while real, do not perturb the primary state. The ups and downs of any life are simply waves to be surfed, and emotions come and pass. There is also a longing to serve that is on 24/7.
Prior to consciousness, the body is often a dumping ground for emotions, and a sponge for surrounding energies – often unbalanced. After consciousness, the body is tool that extends the relationship of the infinite to this realm.
The body is necessary – without the body, enlightenment would not be possible. However, the body is temporary; it does wither and eventually die. The more the body can withstand and grow through – with the greatest possible care, the cleaner the conduit. The only difference enlightenment brings is that one learns to celebrate all aspects of existence – even the simplest of movements can elicit profound bliss.
The World we see is only a small fraction of what is actually happening all around us.
I find it very interesting that it is this “hidden” part of our reality that seems to move and shape everything we experience – from physical objects, to emotions, to thoughts. Whatever this hidden network is, it provides the energy for changing our perceptions and awareness of our world. What is this hidden grid? It is light? Is it a different kind of matter? As a scientist, I cannot explain it. However, my experience of how we all affect one another through our intentions, thoughts, and actions, is very real.
In the New Age circles, this effect is ascribed to “energies.” However, that doesn’t really explain anything – it’s only a label. But I do understand that there is a fabric that interconnects us all. Depending on how attuned we are to this influence, we experience more or less of information continuously streaming to us from life.
One way life energy moves beyond our direct senses has been called the Astral Plane. I experience this plane, in part, as a collection our emotions, mental processing, and sexual energy. As we move about our day and generate these energies, they flow through this unseen vista.
I do not feel the Astral Plane as something separate from us, or being in some other place. It is all around us. The Astral Plane is just a lump name for how we exchange some of our life experiences on a daily basis.
I sketched a picture (above) of what I can see going on with these different emotional, mental, and sexual energies. These energies funnel into the Astral Plane as part of our natural daily life – from us! Because these energies are primarily generated by our Egos, they become a kind of collective Ego Hive – the combined result of all our joy, sadness, happiness, anger, confusion, lust, and mental processing of our life situations.
The energy we dump does not stay in the Astral Plane, but flows back into and through the various people. Just as we are continuously exposed to the unseen radiation of our power generators, cell phones, and transmitted signals all around us (and we don’t consciously feel them), we are continuously surrounded by the Ego Hive energy.
Astral Plane energies can come back into any person who is open and susceptible to receiving them. It is true what they say – sometimes when we feel something, it did not necessarily start with us, nor is it our responsibility to take it on. Part of spiritual practice is learning to discern these energies and block the destructive types from joining with our awareness.
What’s even more interesting is that the energies on the Astral Plane can self-organize and form Entities. Essentially, some of our feelings and intentions take on a life of their own, although they are not alive in a body, and begin to move with purpose and direction to find living people who will channel them. I’ve shown these emerging Entities as red vortexes that arise out of the Ego Hive and enter some person or group, who then begins to act out this energy.
The vortex energies that form naturally in the Astral Plane will move around and gather strength – like winds moving on the earth and becoming storms. Some vortexes become very powerful and seek “hosts” that are powerful – whether financially, physically, or in terms of their ability to influence a large number of people.
From the Infinite’s perspective, there is no good or evil. However, in our everyday lives, we clearly see events and people that are destructive to the welfare of others. Some of the influences behind destruction seem “intelligent” and driven by purpose. In such cases, it is likely that certain people and groups in power have become receptacles for these destructive vortexes and channel them into our world. Some of the more destructive entities are actually invoked by people deliberately to achieve self-centered goals!
Some people pray to Satan or whatever dark “deities” they choose. This is a confused action, since such entities have no true power, except to manipulate perception (create illusion) – they appear to feed on our energy, but only because we give them something to latch onto.
I understand why people worship Evil. When a powerful vortex from the Astral Plane enters a being or a group, these people literally get high from that experience – the sense of purpose, power to do anything (or so it seems), belonging is so intense that people can’t resist it. “Powerful is the Dark Side” – or, the chemical reaction in our brains that this much energy produces as it engages with our bodies and minds.
Ultimately, the “high” someone can get from powerful vortex energies coming from the Astral Plane is limited. This temporary elation is nothing compared to what you feel when your awareness identifies with your true nature – happiness. People who believe they have discovered “power” from a dark source are trapped in limitation and cannot see through it. The more bound they become, the less they can see clearly.
Is there “good” on the Astral Plane? If you define “good” as anything to support the balance and well being of all living on the planet, then such energy appears to be limited on the Astral Plane. At best, Astral Plane energy is neutral information.
Most of what feeds us and on us is a reflection of what we spend most of our time thinking and feeling. Usually, we want something, hate something, are extremely attached to something, obsessed with something, disconnected from something – these are the energies that we attract. There are also other energies of a similar kind, attracted to our realm from other dimensions of existence. Even obsession with “good” can attract posing energies that claim to help, but really just want to feed on our passion. As humans, we must discover our own power and connection to the divine.
People who are unconscious of Astral Plane energies are vulnerable unless they make a conscious effort to draw clear boundaries of what they allow to come in. For example, someone who is angry or sad may attract a vortex that is filled with a directive for vengeance, will get intoxicated by that sense of purpose and power, and begin to enact it in his or her daily life. At the initial stages of practice, visualization tools and meditation are effective at reflecting negativity back to its source. You can set the intention that a mirror is reflecting all negativity from you back to its source, and hold that intention in the space of meditation. As you continue to evolve, a Light web strengthens around now and naturally repels all that is not of Its kind.
Drugs and alcohol are particularly dangerous in leaving a person vulnerable to becoming an instrument of darker forces. Pornography is also a magnet for these energies, tapping into a desire-driven (rather than love-guided) sexual energy of the planet. Sexual energy, by itself, is not bad, of course. However, it becomes destructive and “sticky” when it is layered with attachment and distorted with self-absorption and manipulative games. When we are free from mood- and perception-altering substances and influences, some of our natural defenses are more likely to kick in and block dark vortexes.
You may already be very aware all that you feel and experience as you go through your daily life – the source of your emotions and urges. You may be able to discern what is originating from you, and what does not belong to you.
If not, set your intention to reflect anything that does not directly belong to you and to your realm of responsibility. Your intentions are your natural protective system that does not require any magic spells. Pray for help and clarity in resolving anything that is unresolved and festering in your life so that you can emanate love and grow stronger. The skill of discernment and clearing up your own energy field is necessary preparation for further awakening.
Fortunately, awakening cuts right through the complex and the unnecessary – including dark influences, and makes life much simpler – although not necessarily easier.
The wind swallowed up the land, and the snow fell in waves – cascading and shimmering under the Moon. Blue and silvery light entered the Master’s home, as if always invited. The Master got up from his warm seat in front of the fire and gently lay another log on the flames, closing his eyes as the shadows danced around.
After several knocks on the door, the Master walked toward it and opened it wide. Several strangers shuffled in with varying gaits. They expressed happiness to finally meet the Master, and he ushered them in to sit by the fire and warm themselves.
He asked the strangers about the depth and texture of the snow, about the brightness of the moon, and which trees they saw on the way to his house. The strangers were smiling with noticeable impatience – why is the Master wasting precious time about the weather and the moon? The road was treacherous uphill, and all they saw was the snow directly in front of their feet. Sometimes their eyes closed, as gusts of wind blew by their faces. And yet, they humored the Master’s questions and responded with strained smiles.
One stranger tried to bring the Master back on track. Her voice was quiet, yet firm. She was trying hard not to appear like she was interrupting the conversation – parhaps he doesn’t know what they want or why they are here…. “Something is missing from my life – even with all this beauty around me. I want to feel something new and different. I want to be enlightened.”
The Master smiled at her like a man who was asked to speak after biting into a large sandwich: “You want more beauty? Something a bit more interesting?”
“Yes! I am so bored with everything. The colors of the world have looked gray to me for long time,” she answered uncertainly.
The Master saw anger beneath her quiet, soft-spoken exterior. He also saw the sad eyes of feeling unworthy beneath the anger, and the bright being that she truly was and did not know: “You are still not angry enough or bored enough. You want me to say something wise to you so that your mind can spin on it in busy circles, and then you can be entertained. You’ve come to eat, but I must ask you to leave hungry.”
“So what should I do now?”, she asked in frustration.
“Do what you want to do,” he said with a gentle smile and waited.
She got up angrily and uttered “What a waste of time.” No longer dressed in niceties, she threw the door shut as she walked out. The fire crackled.
“What have you come to see and hear?”, the Master turned to the man with a thick, wet beard.
“I don’t really want anything. I already see the truth that the world is a cruel place. I don’t belong here because I see it clearly – how we are all just killing each other and the Earth. Sometimes I think I should just not even be here, and that no one cares anyway. If you don’t agree with me, I hope you can prove to me that I am wrong.”
“I cannot prove to you that you are in the right place, at the right time, and doing the best you can do….I can only say that you are not yet disillusioned enough. Your true hope is not to leave your life, but to have life turn around your hardships. You think life is a problem to be solved, and so your mind prevents you from seeing life any other way. You should go and solve a few more of life’s problems, and feel the satisfaction this will bring to you.”
The bearded man silently tied his coat, and stumbled out into the wind. The door fell shut behind him, and the Master looked at the next stranger, who glanced at the Master with uncertainty. “I’ve come to tell you that I’ve heard many stories about you and that I have so much respect for how you help people. I am here because I want to help people like you do,” she said.
The Master smiled and asked the stranger, “Someone needs help?”
She was visibly much more animated as she answered. “Well, so many people need help! You are here, so far away from the world, and probably don’t see the hungry, the sick, and the dying. They all need hope and help!”
“How are you so sure that they need help, and that you don’t just need to help?”, he answered.
“Are you saying that people don’t need help, or that I am not the right person to help them, or…both?” Her eyes grew distant as if she were deeply immersed in a complex calculation.
“You grieve about your life and feel helpless. So, wherever you look, you see grief and helplessness,” he answered.
“That’s not true! I can’t believe you would imply that children should continue to go to sleep and wake up hungry, that women should continue to be abused by men, and loved ones should disappear to illness or addiction! That is the truth, with or without me saying it. Why do you help people?”
The Master smiled.
She continued. “I heard about all the people you comforted, gave gifts to, carried forward through dark times…. Why did you do these things if nobody needs help?”
He turned to the fire: “I have not set out to help anyone – only to be present here fully. Maybe some people felt like this has helped them. Maybe others thought that I’ve been no help at all. Either way, each moment unfolds before me, and I am filled with wonder.”
“Well, you certainly aren’t helping me at all. I was expecting something different – perhaps some guidance and some appreciation of my willingness to help others. I got nothing from you.” And with these words, she walked out into the cold.
Then, the warm quiet took hold of the room, with only one stranger left. She sat with the Master, while he stirred the fire ablaze.
She said: “I am not sure why I am still here. It just feels right to stay. How can I feel so many possibilities? I didn’t know what I was looking for before I got here, but now I know that this – whatever this is – is what I want.” After a short pause, she continued “I saw a leafless birch under the moon, I think. Let me tell you more about it….”
The Earth opens wide her arms. She keeps this blue space for us in her embrace, as we dance about on rock, wood, stone, and water, amidst seeming chaos, and surrounded by life.
Our dance. Our dreams. And she is always beneath our feet, poised. What will we do with all of our wonder, gifts, and fear?
Moved by confusion within her clouds, the cosmos blinks, and blinks once more. Time stops, and the collection of moments merge from blur into focus – as this moment. The infinite ceases to be a meaningless metaphor.
We cannot own any thing or any being, but we continue to believe we can. We grasp at people and objects, but they flow through our shadows and the years pass by. Even the atoms of our bodies are on loan from the cosmic foam.
The clouds swirls into new eddies. It has never been just about the quality of life or the quality of people in our lives. It has never been about being right or wielding power. Illusion is the blood that circulates through our hearts to the point that we do not even know our hearts.
And the Earth still holds us in her green, blue, and yellow. The Sun smiles at her love and surrender. He knows she grows with us and has her own growing pains, and yet we are unconscious of her as a Being and take her for granted.
The greatest loss is in not loving enough, not feeling deeply enough, and rushing through life unconscious. And love requires connection, always connection.
What does this have to do with daily life, pain, and suffering? How is this even vaguely relevant? We are here. We take and give what we can. And we die. Our bodies are just atoms – fragments merging right back into Blue Love to be present when new life bursts open. Why not embrace her as she embraces us? She is also but a cosmic traveler, so we have that in common.
In every moment, she is there, but ignored in thought and deed, as we dance to the tune of self-absorption.
We measure time in hours, days, and years. We measure our time. But the cosmos is unfolding its light and sound with no knowledge of our life’s logistics. And yet, it knows us too because we are its very space, always expanding. What if we felt what the cosmos feels? What if we felt the Earth as she truly is? What if we cared so deeply that we saw ourselves as we really are beneath layers if veneers we choose as our life’s clothing? And then we would see apparent others as they are….
If you move your mind to touch a star, already you know that even space does not really separate us, and time does not exist.
Imagine life as a continuous stream of moments, where you feel joy in your every movement and in stillness.
This life stream feels so natural that it is indistinguishable from you.
You move, and you feel the true nature of your movement as a gesture of relationship. Your life is timeless.
You live one long day, and then you move on, always rooted in happiness – regadless of what situations life presents.
It is easy to dismiss this possibility for living. We are taught that happiness is about what we have and how comfortable our lives appear. Power, money, people who say they love us, and a legacy become our goals so that we can someday be happy. So, if life does not present us with the right circumstances, we buckle in misery. Our lives are not sofragile, and our ability to be happy is not conditioned by how much we have achieved, or how much pain we have avoided.
It is all too easy to fall into a pattern of living where we drag ourselves forward, focusing on discomfort, fear, frustration, and setbacks. This kind of relationship to life is disconnect. Awareness is trapped inthe palace of the mind, and we watch our lives from a distance. Every situation and feeling is dissected and critiqued, and we react to every judgement.
There is an alternative possibility to living. In this possibility, you are rooted in happiness first – as happiness itself. And this state is not disturbed by any life event.
You are naturally drawn to explore and feel as fully as you can. Then, life’s ups and downs don’t color perception.
You see clearly the dynamics of life’s situations, and you work with these to the best of your ability. Although you are innocent, you are not naive. As taught by many masters, such a life is our natural state. This state is real and can become permanent.
The process of meditation restores us to our natural state. While many talk about meditation as a relaxation technique, this was not its original intent. Instead, meditation with an enlightened teacher was a way to strip away all that was false until our natural state of happiness was all that remained.
Many people talk about spiritual practice as a way to restore health, acquire wealth, and attract people who will love us. However, anything we can acquire – including our lives – is temporary and fragile. That is just reality.
Many people talk about love and service as the basis of life. Thus, spiritual practice can become about acting more loving and offering time and money to others. However, even this approach can result in a feeling “holier than thou,” or feeling entitled to receive only the “good things in life.”
For many, practicing meditation and cleaning up imbalanced relationships is beyond difficult and even unimaginable – especially if this process takes years. Instead of feeling good and relaxed during practice, you are agitated as illusions burn away. Instead of feeling satisfaction in money, food, and sex, you feel confused about what is really important.
So, why bother? Why engage in practice if it does not provide instant gratification of feeling like you have it all? The simple answer is “You don’t need to – just live your life as you want.” Being on a path to transformation does not make one any better than anyone else.
However, you may feel like you have no choice but to be in the world without being of the world. At some point, nothing in life satisfies, and you begins to yearn for freedom.
With the help of a teacher, you eventually feel freedom from life’s changes – you remain steady amidst any and all storms of life. Service becomes a natural disposition of the heart. Love deepens beyond attachment, and you are more interested in loving than in getting someone else to love you.
You no longer feel lonely or bored. You love yourself enough to take good care of yourself and surround yourself with people who are balanced and care about you.
You use your mind as a tool and are no longer a slave to endless, circular thoughts. You have a clear picture about what is dysfunctional and appropriately stand up for truth without self-righteousness. You feel everything, but emotions pass through you and do not stick to you. And all of this – your natural state.
Many of us have forgotten that we are not our pain, discomfort, frustration, or reaction. We are also not our thoughts and judgements. We are not our imbalances or beliefs. None of these things need to define us for us to feel real. If we take away our reactions to life and our drive to do, what is left is relationship without any filters or blinders.
From the perspective of happiness, even the simplest actions are awe-inspiring. Every gesture we make expresses our connection to life and to our existence. One simple gesture, sparked by awareness, can ignite a chain reaction of connections, and can only deepen. Every moment has the potential to be expansive.
Ultimately, living is a relationship to everything of which we are conscious. You feel what inspires you, and then you move. You simply allow the next movement, and the next, and lose all interest in judging yourself because you are relating and naturally moving toward emerging needs.
With every gesture, you forge a stronger bond to your simple committment to express. And that really can be everything because it is always new.
If we and our world are evolving, where are we headed? What would a more evolved civilization look like? What does it mean for humanity to be more advanced than it currently is, and how would this influence our lives?
Change on our planet has been a result, in part, of the earth’s forming, shaping, and cooling. The earth is a body that undergoes various processes while serving as our home.
While our earth lives its part in the cosmos, we live on the earth. Our contribution is our communication with our environment – how we give, how we receive, and how much ownership we project over what we have. We communicate our position by speaking, whispering, yelling, and silence. We write, sing, and create art. We move our weight around, sometimes softly, and sometimes like bulls in a china shop. We reach out to touch, connect, push away, or hurt and destroy.
We are primal and emotional. Many of us lack the kind of awareness that brings us into balance within and without. We have the ability, but have not yet felt a conscious need to shift our awareness beyond self absorption.
Imagine being in the presence of a person and, with their permission, experiencing life from their perspective – even if just for a few moments? Imagine this empathy developed to such a level that every living being and object is perceived on its terms. Imagine all people with the ability to truly connect and feel each other, while still maintaining uniqueness. What would it be like to know our individuality without all of the pain and guilt we layer on top of our experience? What if we knew the feeling of being truly complete and explored the world from that origin? Would our globe map still look like a rag sown together from scraps?
Somehow, we are hardwired to possess or to want to possess something. We assign value according to our whims, and we obsess to acquire what or who we find valuable. Like in Indiana Jones, we like the thrill of finding the treasure and taking it. We like secrets and puzzles. And often we like the attention to pour in and to feel big, which is also a kind of treasure.
Many of us, maybe most if us, are on this earth to find our treasure. The more we are skilled at communication, or the more forceful, we tend to find success. However, the feeling of emptiness persists and we crave gratification even when we “possess” so much. Like small children crying for milk, people of the world emit a loud cry for what they feel they lack.
The cry is deafening and pained and omnipresent. However, there is also the glow of our potential yet untapped, enveloping us with its warmth and happiness. This potential is already fulfilled, but it awaits our attention. Imagine if we were all to hear the humanity cry and be overcome with compassion. Imagine if we knew we were already happy.
Unlike pity or a kind of personal judgement, compassion is communication. Compassion transmits an understanding that can only be found through union. Compassion is a force that shifts the world from its inability to feel others. We can align ourselves to compassion and to the unwavering feeling that we are complete, and then we will communicate only the energy of love, on automatic.
To truly love others means to also love oneself, and vice versa. Stripping away the layers of self absorption and an insatiable want, while feeling life on its terms and letting go into this sea of diversity, makes it clear that one is innocent. With innocence, everything is possible. What if the next step for us and our world is innocence? It can be, if we invest in compassion as the communication of choice with all….
Drenched in golden sunlight, a blossom on a tree branch became aware of itself. Although it had experienced the feeling of having petals before, and the sensations of light and water, today the feeling was different. For the first time, it felt beautiful and happy. It knew what beauty was – an entirely new wave of awareness. All the previous days of feeling sensations could not equal the knowing that it was alive.
The blossom was so happy with this newfound awakening that it relaxed and allowed itself to feel the branch that held it. And then, it knew that it was not alone. Feeling beyond its connection to the branch, it became aware of the other blossoms. It could feel them resting sleepily, unaware of who they are. The blossom felt even more joy, admiring each and every one of the others. No two blossoms were the same, although all rested on the same branch. It felt all of them connected, and yet each was unique onto itself. It was, after all, all of them too.
The happiness of knowing and feeling the connection to others was so incredible that the blossom released its awareness into the branch. At that point, it no longer knew itself to be a blossom, but felt itself to be the branch. It had never felt such vastness. How far did it go?
Now, as the branch, it was conscious in an entirely new way. There was the light and the water and all of the blossoms that it carried. It felt full, expansive, and drenched in warmth. It felt the lifeblood of the branch and became enamored with its flow. In an unexpected moment, it let go into the lifeblood and felt itself as the lifeblood of all, nourishing the branch – the many branches.
It was everywhere at the same time, and yet nowhere in particular. It felt the many branches, the many blossoms, and the trunk where all joined. It was evermore happy to continue to expand its awareness, no longer quite sure what it was.
For immeasurable time, it flowed and nourished the tree. It was in the tree but not of the tree. It was aware of all change, continuous change, and there was only the moment, the lifeblood, and the happiness.
Then, it had released itself once again and felt the roots. It now knew the entire tree as itself. But not stopping there, it knew the soil where the tree lived. It knew itself as the soil, the roots, the trees, their branches, and all the blossoms.
Time had stopped long ago, but the expansion continued. For, as the soil, it knew many trees, countless trees. As the soil, it eventually knew itself as an entire planet. With each breath, it felt life waxing and waning. It was the earth and the water, and further it reached – into space, as space.
The blossom knew itself as the universe now. In a fiery blaze, the union continued, out of time in only a moment.
Today is Independence Day, when most Americans are gathered around family and friends, grilling burgers and hot dogs, and unwinding from a busy week of working hard. It is a good day for many, enjoying the company of loved ones and feeling a connection with them. With so many working long, hard days, and several jobs, it is no wonder that quiet moments of respite in the warmth of others are so welcome!
And yet, I cannot help but wonder, who is really independent on this planet? In truth, we are so intricately dependent on one another all around the globe. Whether we care to admit this to ourselves or not, the things we use daily may not come from our country at all. How often do we stop to think where something we use or eat comes from? How often do we look into the people and the processes that bring to us our daily bread and more? If we experienced – just once – the rich webwork of activity that supports our lives in all of its detail, we would hold an entirely new appreciation for the global interdependence that sustains us.
Let’s look at some of the things we all have in common – our basic needs:
We all need the basics: food, water, warmth, and rest.
We all need to feel safe, which is the exact opposite of being afraid.
We all need to have relationships and feel connected to others. After awakening, we do not ever feel dis-connected from anything.
We need to feel some sense of self-value until we awaken. After that, life ceases to be about the identity of the self.
We want to explore what it means to reach our full potential and to go for it….
Also, our DNA is the same 99.9%. We all live on the planet’s surface and breathe the same air. We all rely on the Sun and the planet’s resources. Although our atoms originated in the violent death throws of a massive star, these atoms have been used and reused by living beings who came before us. We are all creative and have the ability to bring into existence unique works to inspire and further connect others. We ask the same questions about our existence and about our death. We all feel a sense of Mystery about our universe when we look up at the starry sky. We have the ability to love, to care, and to nurture. We have the ability to feel – everything.
So, are we celebrating what we have in common and sharing our diversity with joy? Not quite… Many are too hungry, too oppressed, too frightened, or too disconnected to celebrate life and its possibilities. Many face a short life of pain. Even in a country like America, many live in ghettos and struggle for survival. People are ostracized based on their life choices in the name of someone else’s morality, and some are brave enough to step forward and fight for their civil liberties. People are abused by those who hold power and learn to live in fear. No, we are not whole. And, no matter how long we try to talk ourselves into it, we are not independent.
In fact, denying our interdependence with all of the Earth, is a lie that continues to fulfill predictions of our demise. We scramble over territory lines, bully others into turning over their resources, and continue to dump waste into every corner we can find to perpetuate the doomed paradigm of eternal economic growth. Collectively, we live like a bunch of teens in a frat house – partying to forget and go numb. Our infrastructure is designed to focus us on one problem at a time – recycle that water bottle or get a water-efficient shower head – without ever proposing a holistic solution that could reestablish balance.
Spiritual activism is about beginning global healing by starting to heal the rift within ourselves. We must come at the issues that plague all of us with clarity and a sense of who we are. After all, we cannot heal our society from self-absorption if we ourselves are self-absorbed and reactive. Unless we wake up to the fact that we have value, how could we truly advocate for all to have the same opportunities – regardless of culture, religion, or sexual preference? We can heal ourselves while we work on developing and enacting the changes we need to establish balance.
Healing ourselves requires nothing short of awakening to the truth that there is really only one being on this planet – and It is all of us, including the planet. This reality is nothing new. The idea that we are “all One” has been around for thousands of years, and possibly longer. If this idea were to, instead, become our reality, we would not do most of the things we do to ourselves, each other, and the Earth. We would not be so disconnected from our actions, and destructive, unconscious, and careless acts would fade into the fog of the past.
It is not enough to do lipservice to being One. We must live it to know its power. And this requires work – hard work – to drop all of the illusions that tell use we are isolated, self-reliant, and must assert our identity at all costs. We cannot even properly work with one another in groups to accomplish a common goal because of the persistent need to dominate, outshine, and be the one who has all the answers. Collaboration continues to be the coveted skill of the 21st century because it is, as yet, not a common skill!
Awakening to the reality that is our One-ness is a very strong form of activism. We don’t really need everyone to awaken to this degree – just a critical mass of people who would be able to keep the peace and support true cooperation. These people would make sure that there is no anger-driven agenda, no in-fighting, and no superficial competition and attention seeking while all participate.
Contrary to common belief that spirituality is tame and passive, an awakened being is very capable of literally devastating ignorance with a hard blow using words and his or her energy. When the resistance to truth is thick , a firm response is needed to break the resistance and to move everyone forward. Of course, as soon as the job is done, such a being would smile and complement you on the beautiful color of your shirt or laugh at the funny joke you told at lunch – as if nothing had happened. That is because awakened beings give the necessary energy to blast through illusion, and then feel no attachment to the outcome. Imagine such beings emerging all across the globe and assisting all of us in coming together around the simple dream of making happiness an opportunity for all.
How could you recognize an awakened being? Well, you would notice that somehow most of the stuff they say seems to speak to you directly. They do not appear to value the typically things, such as possessions, status, or cultivating a self-image. They have a twinkle in their eye and seems to look through you toward infinity when looking at you. They are very kind and care deeply.
Such people do not reveal themselves to the public for many reasons, including that most have been castigated by society over time. Many say that the world is not ready for these being to walk freely and participate without triggering everyone’s shit to the surface. In fact, another way you can spot an awakened being is by their ability to impact others. While many will be drawn to such people, there will be some who will feel flat-out hate and attack them. Can you think of any such people in your community?
Without clarity and surrendered service, there is a danger that activism is merely a an angry and destructive force, designed to sabotage “our cherished way of life.” Some people may feel afraid of activism because it has the potential to endanger oneself and others. Some people may doubt that the lack of connection between activist groups will fail to address the holistic changes needed to truly restore balance in our world. Is this the activism legacy? Wouldn’t activists want to include the majority, rather than take pride in being a minority. What will it take for activists to organize and unite? Probably, the biggest factor would be to make sure that only healed people lead the changes to further healing. Unfortunately, those who feel broken cannot catalyze healing. So, let us start to heal….
Where do we start? We begin to yearn for awakening from the illusion of having to assert ourselves and to push our agendas at all costs. Such a yearning, if sincere, will likely bring the resources into our lives to support our healing process. This is the way it typically works – when you are ready, the support is also standing by to help you. We may even be fortunate enough to come in contact with awakened beings, who will kindly guide us through our illusion so that we wake up. We can enlist such beings in helping us to learn how to listen and to hear each other, so that it becomes safe for all to share ideas. A climate is created where all are free to be who they are and are aligned to allowing others the same. All have an open mind and are willing to carefully and systematically examine our current problems and the most effective leverage points that will bring the system of Earth to a balanced state for all. On this fertile soil, activism can grow and blossom.
We do not want to make everyone the same. Instead, we want everyone to have all that they need to be their true and unique self, and for happiness (rather than struggle) to becomes the norm for being.
Gradually, as we serve each other and the Earth, we also heal ourselves and open to new possibilities of reaching our potential. When did becoming enlightened become impossible and unrealistic? Isn’t freedom from illusion the ultimate independence? And isn’t our interdependence the true cause for celebration?
Spiritual activism is about healing ourselves so that we can bring clarity to any movement, enlist the help of awakened beings to further unite us in a true grassroots movement, and model a way of being for all where the common and the unique are embraced in a life that can only be characterized as a true celebration of life.