I don’t know what that is. I woke up from bored. When I was young, I had apparently used to get bored, sometimes. Now there is no boredom. There’s no space for boredom. I am riding on unending waves of utter mystery…
Too much, you say? Unending waves? Mystery? Yes it is always there. The question is, am I (whoever “I” am) present with it?
Once, I was very knowledgeable. I had a lot of expertise on many subjects, based on long study and much experience. Then that went away, when I saw that much of my knowledge was opinion—someone else’s attested opinion— and the rest was just information — which is the imposition of form on chaos.
Once one sees that all there is is appearance, then the appearance of knowledge is seen through.
It is seen that there is no basis for knowledge, because there is no availability of truth, beyond the simple truth of aware being.
Appearance is of course overwhelmingly convincing, until it is seen to still be just appearance.
And I have no idea at all of what might lie beyond appearance. So I am free of all knowledge.
That does not mean I cannot use a clock — information — to determine the time, and then use a bus timetable — information — to know how long I am supposed to have to wait for a bus. But the bus will come, chaotically, when it does, not when the timetable says, and all information is just as conditional, just as useful, but conditional on underlying chaos, which occasionally overwhelms the information.
Now, I know — nothing. I don’t even know that I know nothing. And that is part of life.
Remember from the previous post, “the test is in living it”? The testing continues…
I and my beloved are slowly recovering from new variant “UK” Covid-19. That’s eleven months after catching and recovering from the original variant.
We didn’t get very seriously ill, but quite ill enough: my beloved spent a week in hospital with a very high level of inflammatory response. My oxygen levels were borderline for a while.
So, to the point. Illness, sickness, and fear. As already noted, this liberation I live is not liberation from sickness, disease or physical death.
But there was a point when the disease was really digging in when, for one moment, there was the option of fear. It attempted to creep in.
And allowing fear in — as against reasonable caution — is feasibly the entry point for deadly disease.
It also raises another point: waking up is to life, not the dream. It does not erase all history and habits, it’s a form of rebirth but with luggage.
The testing that happens is, perhaps, to test the level of attachment to the luggage. Have I made my history historical? Is it released, fully? Well, let’s test it and see! Can fear enter? Can fear be attached to the disease? Well, not here, no–but what would happen if it did? Why are so many dying of Covid-19? Could fear have a role in such deaths? Perhaps.
Many readers will know what a placebo is. Briefly, it is a neutral substance that, when taken while believed to be a medicine, has genuine therapeutic effects.
The nocebo is much less well known. Can you guess? It is a neutral substance that, when taken while believed to be a toxin, has genuine negative physical effects. This has been demonstrated in trials, where people take a sugar pill that they have been told produces negative side effects. Although the pill is just sugar, some 20% of subjects showed the negative side effects.
This is not because the subjects are stupid or gullible. It is a demonstration of the power of belief in the individual, just as the placebo effect is, but with opposite polarity. It is in a way related to the effects of hypnosis, which can have major effects through suggestion that is accepted. It also is related to what can happen in cults, sects, or extremism.
There’s a branch of psychology that developed to study what was once regarded by mainstream psychologists as improbable phenomena: the effect of beliefs on the capacity of the body to handle, or succumb, to disease.
This is the field of psychoneuroimmunology.
Mind, body, cells?
“Psychoneuroimmunology is the study of the interactions among behavioral, neural and endocrine, and immune processes.”
It’s interesting how ideas once regarded as bizarre fantasies have entered the edge of the mainstream. This study is now reputable, and has demonstrated the interactions of beliefs and behaviours on the apparent functioning of the fundamental apparently physical systems of the apparent body. Gosh, what a surprise.
We are not going any further into this, because the whole of this domain is essentially that of the false self, the mind, belief–which is not gnosis.
Covid and fear
The massive and unrelenting reportage across all the mainstream media of covid infection rates, hospitalisation rates, deaths and hiccups in vaccines feeds the mind’s fears. It’s inescapable. This together with being effectively jailed for long periods stokes generalised fear for the populations at large.
The worldwide outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) raises concerns of widespread panic and anxiety in individuals subjected to the real or perceived threat of the virus.
It may be the case that in some suggestible individuals, this environment taken together with beliefs fostered by social media may lead to a nocebo effect working on that individual. As one review said:
The Verdict: If you believe a treatment won’t help you, it probably won’t — and vice versa
Awakening to covid-19
Being awake does not mean that waves of emotion reflected off fears and memories formed in the prior unawake existence do not arise.
It does mean that there is nowhere for them to lodge, to bind, to trigger an attachment. They pass like a gust of wind and are gone.
But if you have not yet awakened, note how you can be subjected to convincing though false arguments that fear is a valid response. The “fight or flight” adrenaline stress response triggered by fear can be most useful if you have to run from an aggressive dog, jump from in front of a tram, or resist a robbery.
If you are in lockdown in a small flat in a big city (or even in more expansive circumstances), that adrenaline stress response triggered by unending mostly bad news will ruin your immune system — if you can’t run it off.
But if you can’t run it off, you can also sit and dissolve it, feel it, let it go.
Don’t die through fear — die to fear.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7573456/#:~:text=Our findings suggest that most,confidence in hospital IP practices.
So — what happens when an “enlightened” being gets a toothache? And not just any old toothache, but a sight-twisting eye-watering agonizing and excruciating toothache of a level probably never previously experienced?
One of the guides along the way said, “the test is in living it”.
How does one “live” toothache?
Does “enlightenment” reduce the toothache? Magically resolve it?
No. It does not.
What “enlightenment” does do is take the fear out of the pain.
It cuts through the dithering, and guides immediate action to resolve the pain – that is, leads to the immediate acquisition of antibiotics, because the clear watching eye sees that it’s not going to go away all by itself, as the old wishful mind would have it. So direct practical action is launched.
In the current crisis, instant access to dental services — especially when not in one’s home country — is problematic. Obviously, for a real fix dental services are called for.
But in the short term, pain relief and killing the infecting bacteria is what’s required.
And yet, with this particular toothache, painkillers just didn’t cut it.
It was a long night, waiting for the antibiotics to work.
Physical pain is physical pain. It is inarguable. If strong enough, it stuns the system, and exhausts the body. When painkillers don’t work, in the mental system, fear will arise.
But the “enlightened” alternative is to go into the pain. To enter the sensation of the tooth. To feel the extremely strong sensations. And the pain is still pain, but it is somehow bearable.
The pain is still pain, but not apart. Not separated. Not other.
In the pain is the acute sensitivity of the offended flesh, bruised and swollen.
And in the pain is the pulse, the sensation of the flow of the blood, each heartbeat causing a momentary increase of the pressure on the poor struggling infected flesh.
And in the acceptance of this, in the entering into the pain – comes a species of relief, perhaps because the pain is NOT now separated from the whole.
And perhaps it is this acceptance, perhaps it is the antibiotic, perhaps it is the benzocaine spray or the anti-inflammatory or the co-codamol, none of which had worked, but — the pain fades, first to a dull thud – the pulse – and finally into sleep.
OF COURSE “enlightenment” does not make for life free of all its exigencies. Pain will occur.
We already know this: for every apparently “enlightened” woman and man has apparently died, in the apparent body. And death – apparently – often involves pain, and pain relief.
But the “pain” in pain, beyond the exquisite excruciating intense sensation of it, is mostly in the fear, which in the “enlightened” being is gone. Pain, then, is sensational. Very intense – but sensational. All fear, finally, is of death – or what we think it is.
The human condition is rooted in “Who you are”. Typically, death notices enlarge on “who” the person that just died was. All “who”s die. Your “who” will die too; and mine. Well, mine did already die.
Real identity is rooted in What you are.
For example, in the morning you wake up in the body and for a split instant all you are, what you are, is awake — then suddenly who you are rushes into place.
You are Jack or Jill, Penny or Phil, (insert your name here) — and today you have to (something – fill in the blank)
But that who is overlaid on WHAT you are.
WHAT you are is that pure presence that was there at the moment of awakening before you entered into WHO you are. And if you can see it, “that what you are” — or as some traditional texts would have it, “Tat tvam asi” (That thou art) — is undying.
It is also identical in nature — but not character, that is necessarily unique –at all times, in all bodies that awaken, and is the One Being that is What Is.
And you are That. Not, who you are, that mortal thing.
And yet you are simultaneously, and uniquely, you.
The human animal is a narrative animal. Life is lived as a story, the story of ‘me’. I, whoever I am, tell myself my own story, in which I am the hero, or the anti-hero. If I am depressive, I am the anti-hero. If in my story I am successful then I am the hero.
But what is success? If I am to be the anti-hero, then is it not the case that a deep depression is a success in my goal of anti-heroism? If my story is the story of a failure, is not failure my success story?
My story — whosoever I am — has a putative past and a fictional future.
The future is fictional because the future will never exist.
Whoever I am, and whatever my fantasy of the future may be, it will today be today as it is today today, there’s no other day. Check and see if this is true. No future can exist today, or it is not the future, is it? It’s today. Which means no future ever can exist; only today exists.
The past is putative for several reasons.
First, it exists only in imagination. The past is not present, it only seeks to be, through emotional attachments to past events — which are attachments to the past in the present.
Second, the past is continuously rewritten 1, consciously and unconsciously. As the hero (or anti-hero) in the story, all events are self-related in the story that is under construction.
Third, almost everything that ever apparently happened to the self in the presumptive past is forgotten. Nearly every meal, conversation, visit to the toilet — and every other act — is lost. So why are some few acts, actions, events, recalled? Well, they are recalled because they support the narrative that is being constructed. They are its building blocks.
Three reasons is enough to make the point. Can you see others?
I – whoever I am – for so long as I live in my narrative – whatever it may be – am a fictional being. That is, my being is fictional, factional, and not a fact. It’s a fiction created by my self.
There’s a simple step to correct this.
Give up the narrative. And the human. And the animal.
Move from a fictional being to being the fact.
Simple, sadly, does not imply easy.
The fictional self must die for this to happen. This hurts – for a while.
Once again, die before you die. If you want. If you can. If you can’t it probably doesn’t really matter… life goes on.
Famously, Descartes concluded at the end of his long search for something that he could actually accept to be indubitably true about existence, “je pense, donc je suis” usually Latinised to “Cogito ergo sum”.
Of course, while he was definitely going in the right direction, this is insufficiently radical. It has been pointed out that all that can really be said about thinking is that it is occurring.
The more radical step is to note that awareness is: otherwise there could be no awareness that thinking is going on.
And that brings us to the false I, the step along the way to nothing-ness.
Let’s take the steps.
Who is aware? I am. Or am I? Why do we need an “I” to be aware?
What there is, is awareness, or better, aware of being aware.
Instead of “I think, therefore I am” there is “I am aware, therefore I am”.
But as indicated elsewhere, the only “I” is universal not personal.
There’s only one “I” – One.
So let’s take the “I” out of it. And what do we get?
We get the ungrammatical but more universal “Am aware, therefore Am”.
A great deal of attention is paid in “spiritual” areas to “the Now”. “The Moment”, the actual place that we apparently live.
This, apparently inherently and seemingly self-evidently, is the only moment that we can be in. After all, superficially, the past has gone and the future is yet to arrive.
We find that there is much material on “living in the now”, “the power of now”, “the art of now”, “mindfulness now”, “planning to stay in the moment”…
There’s only one problem with the emphasis on the Now.
“Now” doesn’t actually exist.
It’s like “new”. “Now” and “new” have a lot in common.
Neither of them exists as something you can get hold of.
You cannot ever own anything “new”.
Just like, say, buying a new car.
You can never own one, since the moment you buy it, it is is no longer new: immediately it is purchased, reached out for, grasped, it is now a used car, from the very first “moment” of apparent ownership, with an immediate decay in price.
And you can’t grasp the moment, “now”, either.
You can point to it.
Like — now.
But as soon as you point to it, it’s not there.
It has no existence.
You can’t “be Now”.
You can only Be.
“Now” is the non-existent point of intersection of two imaginary, so non-existent, fantasies. It is a dimensionless point — the sort of imaginary thing that is taught in mathematics. And as an imaginary thing, it has no actual existence. It cannot exist, because if it did it would immediately become either one, or the other, of the two fantasies that intersect.
There is the fantasy of the past, that which has apparently happened, and the fantasy of the future, that which has apparently not happened yet.
The only real difference between these fantasies or phantoms is the ineluctable feeling of certainty that the past is real and the future is potential.
It’s this feeling that makes the past appear to have really happened. But did it? Or is it just the feeling that happens? How can you prove that what you feel has just happened, happened? You can’t. It’s in the past already, and the past does not exist.
Living in “the now” is apparently quite a task. It can become a duty: “We need to live more in the moment”, says one site. We have yet another thing to do, to worry about. “Am I living properly in the moment?”
Well — yeah. You are.
You actually have no choice in this matter.
That’s where you always are, at the intersection of the non-existent past and the never-existent future.
But “now” does not exist. If it did exist it would be in existence, and therefore subject to the conditions of all existence.
Everything in existence is born, lives, and dies, in its manner and way.
Existence is mortal. Ephemeral. A phantom.
“Now” is non-existent and it is the eternal intersection where you live.
It is eternity in action in your life.
Its birth, life and death are simultaneous, contiguous and continuous.
Why is there no route from where we start out to the first stages of enlightenment? No path? No road or way?
We are mostly used to reasoning in a linear way: to get from A to C via B we pass through every point along the way.
But we also have some knowledge of progressions that don’t work that way.
Here’s an analogy: harmonics in musical instruments.
A guitar player can immediately demonstrate harmonics to you.
If the string is plucked near the middle, it will happily vibrate at its lowest note, its fundamental or first harmonic. If it is plucked at a different and carefully selected position, it will vibrate at a harmonic of the original note.
The second harmonic is twice the fundamental note, or the octave. Then there is the next, three times the fundamental, and the next, four, and so on for 5, 6, 7… and on theoretically without limit. But practically there IS a limit as the harmonics become less and less strong… and practically, it’s tricky to sound any harmonic without exciting to some degree all the others, especially the fundamental note – the first harmonic.
But do note well: there is no harmonic between the first and second harmonic. There’s no route or path between them. The harmonics are there or they are not.
It is simply not possible to get the string resonating at a pitch that is in between the fundamental note and the first harmonic of double that pitch.
Any attempt to get an in-between pitch can only produce a much higher harmonic and pitch.
Of course other notes can be played by shortening the string or changing its tension, and many practical instruments don’t conform exactly to this ideal case.
But there is no path from the fundamental to the first harmonic. And this can serve as a pointer as to why there is no path from where we start out looking for enlightenment to the place where we stop looking – because it is seen. Just as there is a caterpillar or there is a butterfly, there’s no viable in-between form. They are different resonances…
Back to Fundamentals
So that’s it, then — is it? That’s the key? Harmonics?
As we get more and more “spiritual” we resonate at higher and higher harmonics, it all goes up and up forever! More and more! Onward and upward!
That’s the bandwagon the false self and the human mind tend to want to leap onto: more and more excitement and activity.
But the analogy goes the other way – the Unlikely way. The analogy is the Clue.
Fundamentally – there’s One.
The first harmonic or fundamental is the lowest note. The One single underlying tone.
The second harmonic is double that, or two – perhaps, by analogy, the aware and that which it is aware of. Conscious and content.
Then the next harmonic is three times the fundamental tone – three being perhaps analogous to the one being and its two aspects, female and male, or the three gods that appear in some cults.
And so on the harmonics go, each being another division and differentiation until we end up – here. At some high level of harmonic division, a very small and short-lived tone.
In this analogy each harmonic does not replace the earlier ones, it is layered on top, adding tone and resonance and apparent complexity. And each harmonic is weaker than the previous one… and at the bottom of it all the fundamental is there, the strongest and lowest tone that is the basis for all else.
By analogy, to get back to fundamentals, we need to sense the wholeness — the underlying fundamental — under our divided selves. We need to resonate with a less complex level to sense its presence, and we can do this. We quieten ourselves and allow awareness of a lower resonance to develop…
Just get the idea… and drop it
But do note all of this is just an analogy, and an analogy pushed out a very long way — and analogies are not the fact, they’re just to help get the idea. Just see if the idea is triggered, and then drop the analogy once it has done its job…
Forgive your worst enemies… The moment I forgave the Nazis, I felt free from Auschwitz and from all the tragedy that had occurred to me
Eva Kor 1934-2019
Are you hooked?
I saw on the news that a brave lady, Eva Kor, had just died. Quoted and emphasised was her remarks on forgiveness repeated above, so I recognised that she was free, and that gave rise to this post.
Practising forgiveness is hard for the false self. It holds onto every potential insult with a grip of death. And of course it does that — for the false self is sustained by the emotional energy it entrains, in part by maintaining resentments, grudges, hurts, in a long list of every single infraction incurred by every other apparent self it has ever failed to get what it wanted from.
If this is true for the ordinary false self and the ordinary apparent crossed circumstances of an unexceptional life, how much harder can it be to forgive terrible deeds done unto you? Should the perpetrators be forgiven for the awful things they have done? Why should they get away with it? Why not hate forever? Is it not impossibly difficult, utterly unthinkable, inhumanly hard to forgive?
It’s no harder at all.
Because the secret behind forgiveness is that forgiveness is nothing to do with the apparent other — the apparent infractor — the apparent author of the sin. It’s nothing at all to do with letting them off. It’s about letting you off.
Forgiveness is letting go of the hook that has been set in you. It is quite impossible to do — until it is done. Then the hook is gone.
And that is true heroism. If Eva Kor can do it — how can you — how can I — not?
A year or so ago, thought lost its throne. I said, right here.
Now it appears thought has lost its home. Well, around here, anyway.
The habitual thinker has — stopped habitually thinking.
‘Thoughtless’ is often applied to others as a criticism.
‘You are just so b____y thoughtless, aren’t you?’ has been heard, said by one person to another.
It’s actually a complaint about not being considered — in other terms, it’s a complaint from self about not being central in another self’s actions, not getting reflected — and so is inherently a selfish complaint.
But of course none of that is about thoughtlessness at all, it’s about thoughtfulness on both sides of the complaint – maker and recipient.
‘That was so thoughtful’ is sometimes used as a compliment — meaning, ‘I got my reflection from you’ — a stroke of recognition, as sometimes said. More self-centred-ness.
Real thought-less-ness is not thinking unnecessarily.
So many words, so many concepts. So little truth. Anyone who has ever cared about language, perhaps while in the throes of attempting to express some subtlety — which might be nearly everyone of course — may well have looked into the derivation of such problematic concepts as ‘spirit’ and ‘soul’, endemic to Western religion.
If they had, they would have found that both ‘spirit’ and ‘soul’ ultimately derive from root words indicating ‘breath’.
If you have ever sat with something that died — even a fly — then it is easy to grasp how this coining occurred. As the body stops breathing, something goes out from it. Something was there — then it is not, the body is empty of it, and it stops breathing.
But do we need this profusion, this confusion, of words?
Why don’t we stick to one that is rooted in what we are — life?
It is life that that is not in the body after it dies — that life that animated it.
There’s plenty of living forms in any dead body after all, they start disassembling the thing as soon as the last breath passes. But while those living forms obviously also have life, they are not the life that was in the whole thing as one, animating it, before it died.
We may not know what spirit is — which leads to endless speculation and theorising.
We may not know what soul is — which leads to endless speculation and theorising.
But we know what life is – for that’s what we are.
There is ultimately One as the source; therefore all that is genuinely manifested in existence is unique, irreplaceable, and eternal. But not eternal in its present manifestation, only in its original being, where it comes from.
This includes the ‘enlightened’.
No two awakened beings are identical.
No two not-yet-awakened beings are identical.
This follows from their necessarily unique part of the One individuality.
It’s in part for this reason that the ‘teachings’ and received experiences of the awakened are so variable. These cannot be the same. They can have the same core of truth, but it will necessarily be subtly different in its flavour, in its manifestation.
There are discernible similarities in all of the awakened, for they are all awakened to the same being, of which all are part. But if the similarities were to become identities — well then then one of those identities is false. It is either a simulacrum, intentional or otherwise, or simply a lie. A deception, a con.
The disparity in descriptions and understandings is evidence of the truth in action.
And another truth enacted is that no awakened being in existence is completed. Awakening is the beginning of the awareness of the full being, not its end point. There is always more to realise here, until the end of more, which is (apparently) bodily death. And each apparent being progresses in their own sequence.
Another obvious fact is that every awakened being in existence retains residual self, howsoever slight it may be.
A body is psychical self, a manifestation in psychic reality.
While in the awakened what we might describe as the centring in the ego-centre will have gone, there necessarily remains a trace of ego-sense. Without this the body could not survive as a body.
So with all of this as a given, a particular awakened being will fit or not-fit with a particular non-awakened being. This is not a question of judging, or right or wrong. It’s to do with a fit — for now.
There will be subtle resonances between beings, just as a note sounded on a piano can make a guitar or violin sing on the fundamental or even harmonic resonance.
Find being where there is resonance.
And as the wakening continues, the note may go higher, so the resonance — and the instrument — may change…
The Divine is like a butterfly. It is so easily startled, so delicate in its sensibility.
Have you ever attempted, or better, succeeded, in getting a butterfly to settle on your hand or arm? You had to stay very still, didn’t you? Any movement, even a sharp breath, would startle the creature away. If you are still enough, it might favour you with a landing, trust you with its life.
The Divine is most definitely not a butterfly (though the butterfly is indeed of the Divine) but there are some similarities.
The Divine is exquisitely courteous. It will not enter where it is not invited. It cannot enter if there is no space made for it. It will not enter unless there is stillness.
This is not because the Divine is weak.
It is because it is so potentially overwhelming that it now dare not enter where not invited, will not enter where there is any resistance, will not ever be other than love. It will not damage. Perhaps it has done this inadvertently when invoked unwisely — something gave rise to the word ‘awe’.
Awe: A feeling of reverential respect mixed with fear or wonder (OELD)
Awe: Awe is the feeling of respect and amazement that you have when you are faced with something wonderful and often rather frightening (Collins)
Awe: An emotion variously combining dread, veneration, and wonder that is inspired by authority or by the sacred or sublime (Merriam-Webster)
What is the divine? What could it mean? Well, do we know what ‘divining’ is?
It became entirely apparent to the writer while still a child through experience that the ‘gods’ of religion were almost universally an entirely man-made projection that was essentially the human ego writ large in all its worst and best aspects.
That is not what this writer is pointing to with the word ‘divine’.
The clear understanding of the projective nature of ‘god’ indicated above led to a brief existence as an atheist, which lasted not more than a week, when someone pointed out the self-evident fact that atheism was a belief. So agnosticism became the description of the position held. This was to be so for many years.
However, little by little this position was eroded.
The experiences that led to this erosion are too unbelievable to be listed here, but that does not affect the fact of the experience. The general area that applies is that of the mystics.
Finally the writer is convinced that there is a principle – a source – a no-thing that is indescribable – behind the apparent existence, that in fact IS, and also that the apparent existence is actually that – apparent. It’s absolutely as real as human experience can get, but nonetheless in its most important essence irreal.
Nothing whatever can be said of such a principle, or source, or No-thing, for it does not exist, has no existence. Rather existence is within it. All that can be done is point to it. Humans point with fingers, paintings, music, dance, theories… and signs, or words.
It is recognised that this stated viewpoint might be mistaken for a christian or other religious viewpoint, or pantheism, or be regarded as a heresy. No offence is meant to such viewpoints (other than the latter) but that is not where this author is placed.
Whatever ‘that’ is, that lies behind the fact of apparency, is the divine, and it is sometimes divined, just as a water diviner sometimes divines water.
Also as with water, the divine’s always there, somewhere, even if it’s not always divined.
The essence of the divine is absolute — unconditioned — love, and this, love, is the constructional material, the underlying base, which permits the apparency of all appearance and existence.
Love is exquisitely equipped to manifest everything as appearance, and provide the framework of experience; the experience of appearance is existence.