The Way Home
A sincere spiritual seeker
need not worry about finding the correct path to Truth.
The path will find you.
Last month, as I have reported elsewhere, we performed the unpleasant task of taking a one-way trip to the vet with a beloved four-legged friend. Since then, we have observed our reaction (Sorrow, with a capital s!), and are agreed there is no escaping the perfectly obvious conclusion that all our pain is caused by memory. Quite simply, when images of her come to mind, if we entertain them, we are sorrowed; but if we refuse to focus on them, and immediately let them go, we’re fine.
Of course, these images pop up repeatedly, particularly when we are considering or doing something which used to involve her in one way or another, and since she was with us everywhere always, that includes very nearly everything. But still, it works. As soon as the image arises, reject it. Give it no energy whatsoever. At first, some sorrow will be triggered. But pretty soon, the mind seems to recognize what’s going on, and even sorrow does not arise.
This is not denial, surely. Denial is the refusal to acknowledge the truth or reality of an event or relationship or whatever. This is not about that. This is about recognizing that our emotional reactions to this very real event are (perhaps entirely) a product of memory, and so, if we can “turn off” the memory machine, not by denying its existence but by refusing to feed it, we can turn off the pain.
Notice that its not the absence of our four-legged friend that generates sorrow, but the memory of her. That is, she is now absent all the time; but we are sorrowed only when we think about her, or remember her. Curiously, talking about this, we observe that in some weird way it is less “fun” to release these memories than it is to entertain them. In other words, the pain which these memories trigger is somehow almost pleasant. We “get” something from it. A couple of friends even remarked that the discomfort makes them “feel alive”.
But who is enjoying the pain? Who “feels alive” under these circumstances? Surely, it is the ego, the separative personality. After all, “loss”, and the sorrow it generates, can be experienced only by a separate entity (what I call “me”) living in a separative environment (what I call “my life”). And anything that reinforces our sense of separateness serves the ego.
Consider that the personality (who I think I am) is really nothing more than a random collection of memories. After all, suppose as an infant in the maternity ward, I had been inadvertently switched from one crib to another, and therefore been raised by different parents under different circumstances, would I not now have a completely different set of memories, and therefore a completely different sense of who I am? If so, then clearly who I think I am is the product of memory.
In that case, releasing our memories will release our sense of personality, of separative self (”I am me, not you”). Surely, like everything else in nature, memories require energy to remain alive. The difference between those things we remember and those we forget, is that we do not keep the latter alive. So, if we systematically withdraw energy from these memories, they will weaken. Eventually, they will become so weak as to be transparent. Then, we will be able to see “past” them (past “me”) to whatever lies beyond … to our true self.
A common reaction to TZFs line “discard your memories” is, “If I do that I will not be able to function”. But I don’t think so. The Teachers all say, “I know what I need to know when I need to know it”. In other words, to use an extreme example, it is not necessary to remember not to step in front of a moving train. In those circumstances, we will know.
Now, if what I call “me” is simply a random collection of memories, then what about what I call “my life”? Can I honestly say that I consider anything, approach anything, experience anything, do anything (in a word, “live” my life) without my memories … without “me”? If not, then perhaps, as we say repeatedly on TZF, “me” and “my life” are indeed one and the same thing, and perhaps that thing is no more than a collection of random memories.
In other words, as my life unfolds all the images and experiences I perceive are generated by memories, memories which, in their turn, were generated by other memories … and so on, as far back as … when? At what point can I say that “I” existed without any memory, without any sense of “me”? And what if I could get back there, and then, from there, live thenceforth “that way”, thoroughly and enthusiastically relating to whatever unfolds, but not creating any images of any of it, and therefore not generating any memories. I would be absolutely alive right now, relating absolutely cleanly to every moment as it unfolds, but not carrying any part of any moment into the next moment. Is that not “being here now”, the crux of every spiritual path!
We recently rented the movie “The Matrix”, which focuses on aspects of this question in an interesting way. It’s about the relationship between humans and computers, but if you make some adjustments, the similarities to what were talking about here, are there. (There is quite a bit of violence in this movie, so be prepared.)
February 20, 2001
Earlier we said: For some of us “the discomfort makes them feel alive. But … who feels alive under these circumstances? Surely, it is the ego, the separative personality”.
Undoubtedly, a (defining) characteristic of the separative ego (”I am me, and you aren’t”) is that it is thoroughly armored against true intimacy, constantly “avoiding relationship” (to borrow one of Da Free Johns powerful expressions). Therefore, if relationship (by which is meant true relationship – freely given, freely received, no definitions, no restrictions, no contraction, no barriers, in the moment now) is ultimately our True Nature, then it is only in just such a true relationship (with ourselves, with each other, with our lives, with our spiritual path, with God) that we “feel alive”, for it is only in true relationship that we are alive.
In that case, perhaps it is possible that, in a situation of genuine crisis, even the ego is overwhelmed, and its armor fails. Then, suddenly, inexplicably, rendered naked without our “protective” (separative) armor, we discover ourselves (to our surprise) to be in true relationship with the current event. And, of course, it feels good (we feel alive) precisely because, for those few unintentionally un-armored moments, we actually are alive.
Thus, perhaps contrary to what we concluded above, in moments of crisis (1) it is not the ego that feels alive, but our very selves finally allowed “out” to be what we are, however briefly, and (2) it is not the discomfort that makes us feel alive, but rather it is that we are forced, again briefly, into true relationship with our lives, precisely because the power of the crisis overcomes our armor.
March 6, 2001
Everywhere God will come to meet you.
What Distresses Us
In an interview on the CBS television program “Sixty Minutes II” broadcast on December 19, actor Peter OToole, in humor, suggested for his epitaph a line he read on a dry cleaning receipt: “It distresses us to return work that is not perfect”.
This remark got me thinking how many of us live in fear of death partly because we suppose we are less than perfect, and that at death God will judge us on that basis. That is, we perceive ourselves as having been sent on a mission (our lives), which we presume we have not accomplished perfectly. So, we conclude that we have somehow failed, and will be adjudged accordingly by God. In a word, we are afraid that, at the pearly gates, God will accuse us of trying to “return work (ourselves) that is not perfect”, and lock us out.
The problem with that reasoning is it rests on the false assumption that God is an “other”. That is, God can judge us (for good or ill) only if He (?) is other than we, only in a set of circumstances in which He’s the Judge, and we’re the judged. But if God is Infinite, then God is all there is, including we (for more on this thought, please see TZFs The Simple Way). And if God is indeed somehow we, then the prospect, even the concept, of our being judged by God (or, think about it, by anyone or anything else) evaporates.
Speaking of which … if God is somehow we and God is somehow all there is, then we are somehow all there is (remember high school math: two things equal to the same thing are equal to each other).
December 21, 2000
When we remember we are all
the mysteries disappear,
and life stands explained.
A couple of TZF visitors have asked about a recent Theophyle cartoon, specifically the one concerning Theo’s apparent confusion at the rabbits questioning how he (Theo) knows his friend is dead. One good friend wrote, “I like the cartoon, even though I don’t get it!”
The first draft of the cartoon had the rabbit asking, “How did you know he was alive?” but was changed to the current version because the use of the past tense (was alive) is an aspect of the problem. When it comes to life, there is no past and no future, only Now. To be sure, every body is born, and every body will die. But life is not born, and cannot die. The Life which a body seems to be exhibiting never began and will never end, and is certainly not “the body’s life”. The body has no life. A body may reflect life, exhibit life, move in life – but that is different from being alive. After all, even Hamlet acts alive, but is he? Only life is alive, for being alive is Life’s infinite and eternal condition. And that’s what we are, Life itself. That it does not seem that way to us is precisely the crux of the spiritual process.
Getting back to the cartoon, the rabbit knows we will answer both questions – How did you know he was alive? and, How do you now know he is dead? – in terms of the body. Thus, we would say, I knew he was alive because I could hear his voice, feel his touch; and I know that he is dead because those are gone. But, however meaningful those may be – and very meaningful they can be – (Here, please understand that it is not the intent of the cartoon to make light of a friend’s death. Quite the contrary!) – clearly, sound and touch are bodily functions. And besides, a computer can talk, a robot can touch. In a word, being alive means far more than functioning bodily. That’s what the rabbit would have us Know.
November 24, 2000
Realize and achieve the Highest with the help
of the illumining, guiding, and fulfilling Masters.
The path is as sharp as the edge of a razor,
difficult to cross, hard to tread.
If God is
If God is all
September 18, 2000
There is God,
November 1, 2000
The core and the surface
Are essentially the same,
Words making them seem different
Only to express appearance.
The inevitable outcome of love is union.
The inevitable outcome of union is identity. Two become one.
Just love. Not the experience, but the reality.
Let that be your path and your practice.
Nothing to learn. Nothing to memorize. Simpler than simple.
Love God. Love yourself. Love your life. Love your neighbors. Love the good, the bad, the beautiful, the ugly. The clean, the filthy, the healthy, the sickly. Love the long, love the short. Love the far, love the near. Love those you like, love those you hate.
Not because of what they are or are not. Not because of what you are or are not. But simply because love is all there is.
Don’t ask, love. Don’t think about it, love. Don’t talk about it. Don’t plan for it. Don’t even consider it. Just be it.
Let the love that resides within you, that is expressing itself as you, shape and determine your every thought, your every attitude, your every action.
Live not for love, but as love.
On the outer, this may be confusing, even terrifying. On the inner, it comes naturally. Therefore, let the inner out.
And, please, for the love of God, don’t grumble, don’t murmur, “It’s too much to ask. I can’t do it”!
You can, and you will. You already are.
Get out of the way, and see it.
August 9, 2000
This is a mystical view of things. True. But whenever we penetrate to the bottoms of things, we always find something mysterious. Life and all that goes together with it is unfathomable. That which appears to belong to the commonplace takes on an unsuspectedly deep and consequential character when we analyze it thoroughly. Knowledge of life is recognition of the mysterious. To act justly means to obey the laws that arise from this recognition of the mysterious.
Those who live engrossed in lifes game are governed by karmic law. They are played upon; they are not players in the game. In a ball game, what rights has the ball? It must go where it is sent. In lifes game, Karma is the supreme and only “player”.
Tough lesson. Karma is the player. We are the played. Not unlike balls on a playground, bounced to and fro by forces out of their control, you and I are living out the consequences of choices we made years, lifetimes, ago. In effect, then, we are not reacting, we are reactions! How to break out?
Instead of accepting fatalistically the decrees of karma, follow the inner way to freedom. Meditate daily. Commune deeply with God. Learn from Him, through the silent voice of intuition, the way out of soul-degrading serfdom to habits.
And, he continues …
Karmas unalterable decrees govern human destiny only as long as man continues to live through his senses, in reaction to outer events. … Once the ego has been transcended in soul-consciousness, however, the realm of karmic law is transcended also. The soul remains forever unaffected, for karmic consequences accrue only to the ego. They are dissipated when no centripetal vortex is left to bring them to a focus in the consciousness of “I” and “mine”.
June 10, 2000
I would like to paint as the bird sings.
The Garden of Love
I went to the Garden of Love,
And the gates of this Chapel were shut,
And I saw it was filled with graves,
May 17, 2000
Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies.
The answer is: Always!
Not sometimes, often, usually,
If the answer is always Always!
The question is,
And the answer is,
March 30, 2000
Inner bliss is its own most
The certainty it conveys transcends the most brilliant reasoning.
Doubt, when exposed to powerful bliss-rays, evaporates.
On February 10, I posted a new feature on The Zoo Fence called Integral Health. Included with it was a health-related message board hosted by Bravenet.com. This was the first message board to be directly associated with TZF, and I had enjoyed the process 8211; both the setting up of it, and the board itself. And once it was in place, there seemed to be immediate, positive response from TZF visitors, which was nice. All in all, a good thing.
Then, a couple of days later, the message board disappeared. POOF! it was gone. Bravenet explained they had suffered a “primary database failure”; in a word, they lost everything. However, because they regularly backup their files (as all of us should do 8211; cyberspace is a fragile place), they promised they would be able to restore everything quickly. And they did. Except not quite everything. It seems their most recent backup was made on February 8. TZF joined Bravenet on February 9. So, by twenty-four hours, we missed being included in the backup. Our message board was irretrievably lost.
Now the question became: Do we simply start over (re-register at Bravenet, and recreate the message board), or Do we accept the event as Gods Will, and walk on? That is, was Bravenets crash nothing more than a random accident that we can simply ignore, and walk around, or was it the Teacher telling us, “I dont want you to do this just now”?
Because I really had been enjoying the process, my first thought was simply to do it over again. “I want it, and Im going to have it.” But instead, I stopped, and reconsidered.
As a seeker, I have given my life to the Divine, whom in this context I call Mother. Further, as a seeker, I have promised that I will accept my life, however it unfolds, as God’s Will, and therefore, good for me. In exchange, Mother has promised to assume full responsibility for me. Of course, this “deal” is silly because, being Infinite, God (1) already has or is whatever I might offer, and (2) cannot withhold whatever I might perceive as being offered. But it is important for me, as a seeker, to undertake this commitment, for it represents a beginning of surrender, without which awakening is not possible.
Thus, as far as I am concerned, the crash at Bravenet erased the Integral Health message board because it was God’s Will that it should do so. And that’s all I need to know.
Thy Will be done. Not because it’s demanded. Not because it’s required. Not in fear or anger or trembling submission. But simply because God’s Will works, and nothing else does. The Universe has its own wisdom. Struggling against it dooms us to pain, loneliness, despair, and discomfort. It’s not “I am God, and you’re not, so shut up and do as you’re told!” Rather, it is “I am God; please allow Me to serve you”.
So, perhaps some other time; but for now, the TZF-IH message board is history.
Thy Will be done, for there is no other.
(For additional consideration of this thought, please click here.)
February 15, 2000
Dis aliter visum.
The gods decided otherwise.
Simply this …
Of all the powers granted a seeker,
This greatest power of them all is not about
visions and auditions,
The Teacher said it,
Notice, there is nothing there about when it’s convenient,
Simply, do it
walk the walk
love one another
January 28, 2000
”When somebody persuades
me that I am wrong
I change my mind.
What do you do?”
John Maynard Keynes
This does not seem to me to be a commandment, as in “There are two things I want you to do. First, be still, and second, know that I am God”.
Rather, it sounds to me like a tautology, as in “Being still” equals or is the same thing as “Knowing I am God”. Thus, “If you will be still, you will know that I am God”. Or, “If you wish to know that I am God, you must be still”. Or, again, “Unless you be still, you cannot know that I am God”.
Being still is knowing. Notice, then, that knowing is not about learning or in any other way acquiring or, even, seeking. Being still is what is necessary. What’s more, it’s all that is required. Just so, every tradition teaches stillness.
Being still is being here now. Not thinking about being here now, mind you, but simply being here now. The difference between thinking about being here now and being here now is what constitutes the spiritual path, or sadhana.
The separative ego (”I am me, and you aren’t”), which is never here now, and which therefore knows nothing and precludes our knowing anything, thrives on thought, which is movement. In effect, the ego is thought (not “I am” but “I think I am” or “I think about being”).
Thought is never still, for it is always remembering or anticipating. Thought is never aware, for it is always judging, measuring, comparing.
Bit by bit, we quiet thought, until finally we are still. Then we know.
Know what? “That I Am God.”
Don’t think about it.
December 25, 1999
A friend of TZF quotes from
“Things are not as they seem, nor are they otherwise”.
In The Presence
Living near does not mean breathing the same air. It
means trusting and obeying, not letting the good intentions of the Teacher
go to waste. Have your Guru always in your heart and remember his [or her]
instructions – this is real abidance with the True. Physical proximity
is least important. Make your entire life an expression of your faith and
love for your Teacher – this is real dwelling with the Guru.
A seeker asks, “Is there a book I should read?”
Books there are many. But the spiritual process is not about reading books. For it is not like algebra or engineering. There, you go to a teacher, read a book, memorize a few formulas, and you’ve got it.
The spiritual process is not about knowing. The spiritual process is about being. Here, the key is not learning what the Teacher knows, but being what the Teacher is. And the way to do that is to be with the Teacher so thoroughly that you resonate with him or her, until finally you become the Same.
For a seeker, at any given instant the answer to the question “Who am I?” is “Whom am I resonating with”. That is, we take on the identity of whatever we consider. The more so, the more so.
So, to Remember your Identity as the One, find a Teacher who Remembers, and immerse yourself in him or her. That’s the principle of the daily exercises in A Course in Miracles. Every day, every single day, with absolute obedience, immerse yourself in each day’s exercise, until finally you resonate absolutely with the Teacher.
That’s the purpose of living in an ashram or other spiritual community overseen by a Teacher. There, whatever else you may be doing, you are doing in the Teacher’s Presence. But a book is as good as an ashram, and any book by any Teacher will do. The important thing is how you approach the book. Do not address it as you would a high school textbook to be memorized, quoted, mastered. Rather, consider it as being in the Presence of the Teacher. Read from it as often during the day as your schedule permits, not to learn it, but to be there. And when you are not reading from it, think about it. Whatever else you need to do, keep the Teacher in your thoughts, in your vision, in your experience.
Consider yourself in this true story. One day a student came to a Teacher and said, “I wish to learn, will you teach me?” The Teacher replied, “I do not feel that you know how to learn.” The seeker responded, “Can you teach me how to learn?” The Teacher asked, “Can you learn how to let me teach?” [Quoted in In The Beginning from The Sufis by Idries Shah.]
November 3, 1999
Those who are fully taught
will be like their Teachers. (Luke 6:40 SV)
Why do you call me Master, Master and not do what I tell you? (Luke 6:46 SV)
Before Abraham Was
Abraham is regarded as a father by three of the worlds great spiritual traditions – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Considering that, the question arises: Before Abraham was born, Who Am I?
September 19, 1999
Choices have consequences.
Gotta Have It? Be it!
Why is it we are endlessly moved to aggrandize ourselves, our families, our wealth, our properties, our possessions? Not just as individuals, but as nations too, endlessly we seek to expand our borders, increase our influence, amass new wealth. Of course, the immediate response is the g word: GREED! And, to be sure, there is a lot of “Gimme!” in it. But in a metaphysical universe, there has to be a metaphysical explanation for that, too.
Consider this: The ego is trying to mimic infinity! (Or, as above, so below.)
Infinity is (consists of) all there is. When we Know our Identity as That, what could we possibly want? Being whatever there is, we have whatever we need whenever we need it. Just so, those who reach true Realization, the Teachers – Jesus, Buddha, Ramana, Rumi, and so on – cease to want anything, even though many of them appear to us to have nothing. “What would I want?” they ask. “What would I do with it?” And whenever they need something, it is always there, when and where and as they need it. As they see it, they have everything, and they want nothing. As the One, being and having are synonymous. “Who knows that enough is enough will always have enough.”
Now, the ego naturally tries to mimic that happy place, and of course fails hopelessly (even, if we were not so personally involved, humorously!). “If infinity means everything everywhere always,” the ego reasons, “then I guess I have to accumulate everything, everywhere, always.” Perceiving itself and everything else separatively, the egoic mind presumes that the only way to have everything is … well, to have everything. And the only way to do that is to amass stuff. In a word, look for stuff, and when you find some, grab it! “What are you going to do with all that stuff?” the Teachers ask us, to which we respond, “I’ll figure that out later; for now, I’ve just got to have it.”
Like squirrels, we are driven to accumulate. We rationalize this activity in terms of prosperity and security and welfare, but the real reason we do it is that we live in (are) an infinite Universe. That is, desire is insatiable not because it is evil (although, goodness knows, even at its least it is a nuisance), but because infinity is limitless. Somewhere within, we know that, and we are trying to be it. Until, one fine day, we Remember, and Realize that the only true way to be it is to stop trying to be it.
September 3, 1999
Dont seek it,
A Portrait of A Landscape
Think of the manifested universe (what each of us calls “my life”) as a landscape, not a portrait. That is, it is not a representation of each of us (”me”) amidst other people, things, and events (”I am me, everything else isn’t”), like a portrait. Rather, the entirety of “my life” is one subject matter, like a landscape, which is each of us (”This I am”).
A portrait painting consists of a person in the foreground and everything else, even anything else, in the background. That is, a portrait is a painting of the person, and the background is just filler. A landscape painting, on the other hand, has no background. It is all foreground. A portrait occupies part of a canvas, and is surrounded by other stuff, stuff which is incidental and even unimportant to the portrait. A landscape fills the whole of the canvas, and there is no “other stuff”; it’s all the landscape, all equally important and entirely essential.
None of the elements in a landscape are separate or separable. The landscape is one and whole. All of the elements of a landscape exist only in the context of the landscape. They exist solely in relationship to one another.
We think our lives are portraits: “Here I am, living in my life.” In Truth, they are landscapes: “I am my life, and my life (in its entirety) is me.”
As manifested beings, we exist only in the context of our lives, which is the landscape in and as which we are appearing right now. Life in the landscape is all about relationship.
If a piece of the background is removed from a portrait, it does not really matter. The portrait remains intact. But you cannot remove a piece from a landscape, for doing so destroys the landscape itself.
Every bit of our discomfort arises from our mistaking our lives for portraits when they are landscapes. This is an inevitable symptom of the separative egoic mind. The illusion “I am me, and you aren’t” leads naturally to “This is my life, not yours”.
Now, this landscape is of course a representation of the One (there being no thing else it can be). That is, what each of us calls “my life” is the One being (perceived as) (perceiving Itself as) that.
Being Infinite, the One is changeless. But the landscape is constantly changing. It is in constant motion, with a momentum of its own, a momentum derived from the Infinity of the One, which it is. For illustration purposes, compare it to the ocean, which is constantly in motion, constantly changing, but always the same.
In the beginning, we consider our lives to be portraits. Then, as seekers, we come to see them as landscapes. Finally, we realize we are the landscape, and that the landscape is a portrait of ourself, the Self.
August 27, 1999
The Landscape is Alive!
Think of transcending as trance ending.
Read the Teachings.
Think of God.
Be Still, and Know
In order to stay alive, the ego (”I am me, and you aren’t”) needs to be in constant motion. In this sense, the ego is like the shark, which suffocates if kept still. And so we spend our lives in endless search of distractions – sexual, sensual, vocational, recreational, conceptual – whatever it takes to keep moving, inner and outer, and therefore separatively alive.
The Infinite, God, is not in motion. Being infinite, God includes, or is, all motion, but God is not in motion. Where would God go, being There (That) already!
Just so, all the teachings agree, “Be still, and know I Am God.” (Psalms 46.10) Just so, all the teachings teach meditation practices of one kind or another, leading to stillness. Because being still permits knowing (Remembering) who (Who) we are.
In motion, I perceive “I am me, and you aren’t”. In stillness, the ego (again, like the shark) dies, revealing What Is. Being still, I see “I Am God” (for God is all there is). (Of course, the “I” in that sentence is most assuredly not the egoic I, who must interpret it to mean “I am God, and you aren’t”, which is not only silly and false, but insane.)
Is stillness, then, another word for Self-Realization?
June 9, 1999
Recognizing myself in all
that is alive,
and all that is alive in myself,
I shower my life with my love.
For The Greater Glory of … Me!
Consider this: God is Narcissus. That’s Narcissus with a capital N. Narcissus is the fellow from Greek mythology who saw his reflection in the pond, and fell in love with it. Narcissus is in love with his own image, with himself.
In other words, God loves God.
What a great image!
We are agreed that God is Infinite. [Please see “The Simple Way” at Consider This!] Further, we can agree that God is Love. (Being infinite, God is all there is, including love.) From there it follows that God’s Love is Infinite (clearly, every aspect of an infinite being must be infinite as well). If God’s love is infinite, then God loves all there is. If God is all there is, and if God loves all there is, then God loves God.
In other words, we might say it is the Natural State or Dynamic or Condition of the Universe that God loves God. This is a Self-Loving or Self-Loved Universe.
Right off, we must remind ourselves that, from God’s point of view, there are no others (because, again, God is all there is). So, when we say, as we have just done, that God loves God, we are not saying that God loves Himself more than or instead of or even as well as He loves anyone or anything else. From God’s point of view, there isn’t anyone or anything else. Being Infinite, God “knows” that whatever there is, is God.
Now, we are a reflection or manifestation of God (again, God being all there is, there is nothing else we can be). So we too must be narcissus (we’ll lower case the n when referring to us). And let’s face it, we are narcissus. We are all in love with ourselves, however much we may protest to the contrary.
What’s the difference between Narcissus and narcissus? The same difference between an object and its reflection in the mirror.
Where Narcissus (again, with a capital N, meaning God) sees Infinitely (”there are no others”), narcissus (you and I) sees separatively (”I am me and you aren’t”). Narcissus’s Self-Love is Infinite, and therefore all inclusive, because from His perspective, His Self is All There Is, and all there is, is His Self. Our love of ourselves (narcissus’s self-love) is finite and separative, because from our perspective, our self is “me, not you”.
But, consider this: It’s the same Self-Love! The only difference is, where are we standing? Are we the Subject in front of the mirror, or are we the reflection in the mirror?
Again, we are the image of God. Therefore, we have all of God’s Traits, Aspects, and Tendencies. Except, being an image (reflection, like in a mirror), we are in effect flat, tasteless. And therefore so are all of our traits, aspects, and tendencies.
So, self-love, even selfishness, is not a bad thing. In fact, it is the inevitable, inherent, prior condition of creation, precisely because we are a reflection of an Infinite Being that Loves Its Self. Our task, a seeker’s task, then, is simply to redefine the self we love, to capitalize the Self in our selfishness!
Or, Remember Who we Are!
June 3, 1999
Continuing … Does this explain why a true seeker seems to be happy (cheerful), even when the circumstances of their path or of their life generally are sometimes difficult, frustrating, even scary.
Our separative love of our separatively perceived self, while “normal” as a reflection of the One’s Love of the (Its) Self (as above so below), does not make us happy because it is fundamentally in conflict with the Reality of the Universe. That is, my perception that “I am me and you aren’t” (”My gain is not your gain” “Your pain is not my pain” or, as some put it, “One man’s blessing is another’s misfortune”) is an error (Error). In fact, it is THE error (the inevitable perspective of a flat reflection in a mirror). Remember, in Truth, where there is only One, there is no “and”. And where there is no “and”, there is no “me and you”, no “mine and yours”.
Love in the conflicted separative environment each of us calls “my life” is stressful (conflict produces stress), and therefore it does not consistently, spontaneously, and continuously generate happiness, regardless of other prevailing circumstances. (Consider that when you and I say “my life”, we mean “mine not yours”, but when God says “My Life”, He means All There Is!)
Now, a seeker, by definition, is seeking to see his or her self and his or her life singularly, as One, as the One. Therefore, a seeker’s self-love is directed, however tentatively, hesitantly, or clumsily at first, towards his or her True Self. A seeker’s self-love is a reach for Self-Love. As such, it conforms (or is seeking to conform) to the Natural Dynamic of the Universe. A seeker is narcissus seeking to be Narcissus. That weakens, eventually to remove, the cause of conflict which in turn relieves the stress which in turn permits happiness to blossom. The greater the seeker’s determination (aspiration), the more powerful will be his or her reach for Self-Love (rather than self-love), and so the more consistent, spontaneous, and continuous is his or her sense of happiness, regardless of other prevailing circumstances.
A friend of TZF sometimes jokingly observes, “I love me! Who do you love?” Directed properly, that expression can be a profound meditation. Whoever we think the “me” is in the affirmation, or however we respond to the “Who do you love?” question will determine our lives. As long as we perceive ourselves, and therefore our love (wherever directed), separatively, our perspective and our response will be separative, with stressful (unhappy) consequences. But the instant we seek to see singularly, we enter the natural flow and direction of the Dynamic of Life (we be What we Are), and we begin to feel better, happier. In a word, it is less stressful to row downstream, with the flow, than upstream, against it.
June 3, 1999
The imperative then is to find someone or something to love. Initially, it probably does not matter who or what is the object of our love, so long as our devotion is absolutely and unconditionally open, free, willing, and cheerful. So long, that is, as we surrender ourselves totally to love and loving. God, being infinite and perceiving Himself as all there is, will recognize the object of our love as His very Self, and, as Narcissus, be pleased. That in turn will manifest as happiness in our lives.
June 5, 1999
A true Guru (or Teacher), in whatever form, seems a suitable (safe) object of a seeker’s love, precisely because, being Self-Realized, he or she (or it) is not flattered or otherwise confused by a seeker’s devotion. The Guru knows the seeker to be himself or herself, and therefore recognizes and accepts the seeker’s attention as the perfectly natural and appropriate expression of the fundamental dynamic of the Universe: Self-Love. And, as Narcissus, the Guru is pleased. This pleasure manifests in the seeker’s life (which, from the Guru’s point of view, of course, is none other than his or her own life) as happiness (and other good things), and so, in some traditions, the Guru is considered “the wish fulfilling tree”!
June 10, 1999
In this context, is the difference between self-indulgence, so common in us all, and Self-Indulgence, which the One Itself must exhibit (or how could we reflect it), that the former is always at the expense of perceived others (”me, not you”), and so fails miserably, and the latter succeeds precisely because in Truth there are no others!
June 30, 1999
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