God is a Noun and a Name … and a Verb
A noun is a word that identifies a class of people, animals, plants, places, or things, or a particular one of these. A name is a word or a couple of words that specifies a specific person or animal or plant or place or thing. Thus, George Washington was a person (noun), and George Washington (name) was a specific person.
God is a noun. God is also a name.
As regards the noun and the name
God, the application is a little different than
George Washington. And the reason is that, while the name George Washington properly applies to only one person, precisely because George Washington was only one person, God is Infinite.
Just so, unlike
George Washington, there are many names of God. And every one of those names applies to the same Being. Brahman. Elohim. Allah. Yahweh. Hu. Akal Purakh. Infinite Self Consciousness. The Very Self. Truth. And so on, infinitely. Lots of names, one God.
Why? Because God — the noun and the name is Infinite.
And God being Infinite means that there is no where, no when, no what, no how, that God is not. Likewise, there is no person, no animal, no plant, no place, no thing, that God is not. Similarly, there is no idea, no thought, no attitude, no feeling, that God is not. There is no event that God is not.
There is no anything anywhere anytime anyhow that God is not.
And there is no word — not in English, not in any language — that God is not.
And there is no word in English or in any language that is not the name of God.
And again, all of that is because God is Infinite. The noun and the name. No limits, no borders, no boundaries. No
God is this, but not that; that but not this.
God is every birth, every death; every health, every illness; every perfection, every imperfection. God is every success, every failure.
Past, present, future is God.
God is now; now is God.
God is the self, the Very Self, of me, of you, of every one, every thing, every where, every when, every how.
God is the atmosphere, the space, in which we exist.
God is awash in God. I am awash in God. You are awash in God.
God is the computer screens you and I are staring at. And God is the sentence
God is the computer screens you and I are staring at.
God is my act and your act of staring at these two computer screens, both of which are, yes, simultaneously God. My ability and your ability to understand and consider and interpret what each of us is staring at, is, yes, again, God.
My joy, and your joy is God. My sorrow, and your sorrow is God. Now and ever.
The assertion There is no God, even genuinely asserted, is God.
There is no escaping it: If God is Infinite — and if God is not infinite, then God is not God — it follows indisputably that God is All There Is, and all there is, is God. Period.
No exceptions. No,
Yea, but …
In the words of
Even disagreeing with this perception is God. Likewise denying it, rejecting it.
Whatever there is, whatever the circumstances, God is It, It is God.
We live with It, we live in It, we live as It.
Now, consider this: The illusion that most, even all, spiritual paths talk about is our perception of ourselves, our lives, and the world we live in, as being composed of many diverse, separate, unrelated, independent beings and things: me, you, my house, your home, towns and cities, populations, mountains and rivers and lakes, animals, plants, buildings, highways, light bulbs, chairs, planets, universes, stars, thoughts, dreams, ideas. That is the illusion, and it is an illusion because in fact all of that — and more — that we perceive as a bundle of things, is, in Truth, One Thing, the One, God, which we are perceiving mistakenly. And we are doing that because we perceive ourselves mistakenly, and we project that error into and as our lives.
So we perceive what is one as many. Correcting that fundamental error is the focus, the intent, the outcome of every spiritual tradition.
Some religions ascribe our error in self-perception to
Original Sin, and assert that our lives — sometimes up, sometimes down — are God’s punishment of us for that sin. The sin in question according to these religions is Adam and Eve eating an apple growing in God’s Garden whose fruit imparts the knowledge of good and evil.
As I see it, that apple actually eventually awakens in each of us the question
Who Am I?
God obviously (rightly?) wants us to encounter that question, otherwise why would He have planted that Tree in the Garden. And so, predictably, here we are. There is more of some of that here. Also here. As well as throughout The Zoo Fence.
And so … eventually, over time or instantly, after years of inner spiritual work or inexplicably suddenly, we Realize all of the above. It becomes real. It is no longer prophecy or promise or opinion, it is actually, observably, sensibly truly what is. And we know it.
From thinking, hoping, wondering, we suddenly know that God Is All There Is, and All There is is God.
We can feel it, we can see it, we are it, and we know we are it.
This is not something achieved. It is not the result of anything. We cannot make it happen.
It is not a product of the mind. It does not occur in our mind. This takes place beyond the mind. The mind is transcended. It might even be that this replaces the mind. (I have often wondered whether mind and ego are not the same word, spelled differently.)
Whatever the case, looking about us and in a mirror, the world appears the same, but it is not the same. It is different. What seemed many is now one, One, the One. And so it is perceived.
We become aware, we realize, that it has always been so.
The spiritual traditions refer to this event, this phenomenon, as Realization or Christ Consciousness or Atma-Jnana or Satori. And there are other labels in other cultures.
And then comes bliss.
Bliss is not happiness, because happiness has an opposite, an antonym, actually many: melancholy, misery, depression, despair, gloom. Bliss has no antonym. Bliss becomes the atmosphere, the ambience, the climate, that we live in. We become blissful. We may still experience unhappiness, but it is now blissful unhappiness. Of course, that makes no sense to us now for it is an irreconcilable contradiction in terms. But nonetheless, it is so.
That’s bliss. And it is the destiny of all of Creation.
Okay … except
All of the above said, there is one essential point you and I need to make now together, because if we do not, it will come up on its own … and we being us, it will get ugly. That point is this: Am I saying that I am God? Am I saying that you are God? No, I am not saying that. It may be say-able; ultimately, God being God, it probably is say-able. But I am not saying it.
I am saying God is me. And I am saying God is you.
And I am saying that understanding that distinction, ingesting it, embracing it, living it, is what the spiritual path is about.
Because the cardinal question is: Who am I, What am I, Where am I … in Truth.
To address that question, to adopt that question, to answer that question, is God’s challenge to every one of us.
And now the Verb
Just as God is a noun and a name, God is a verb.
Verbs express action — a doer (subject) does (verb) a thing (object).
For example, Eve (doer) eats (verb) an apple (object). Adam likewise.
To Eat is a transitive verb. Probably the first ever transitive verb.
Transitive verbs consist of a subject (Adam or Eve, or Adam and Eve) which performs an action (verb = eat) to an object (apple).
In the beginning, there were no transitive verbs. No doers doing anything.
There were only intransitive verbs. Actually, there was only one intransitive verb: To Be.
Intransitive verbs have no objects. Only a subject and an action, Thus I Am That I Am (Exodus 3:14). God (subject) is (verb).
Now, hearing that, you and I (being habitually transitive) respond
You are what? because in our mind everything does something, wants something, says something. As we perceive it, there is always an else, something else.
And God replies,
Like I said: I Am.
To which we repeat
What am You!
And God repeats, affirmatively (impatiently?),
I Am. That’s what I am: I Am.
To which we mutter,
Because today, writing this and reading this, you and I know (not yet Know, but know) that God is All There Is, and All There Is is God.
And in a Universe in which God Is All There Is, there are no objects, no thing separate and distinct from other things, nothing to which a subject can do (verb) something to something else (object), because there is no something else.
And so, there aren’t — never were — any transitive verbs … because there are, never were, any objects.
There is only one Subject: God, and only one (intransitve) Verb: I Am.
Before moving on, let’s be clear: Whatever God is, whatever is God, it is far more than what I am talking about, writing about, here. I am addressing what and where I perceive myself to be, and where and how I perceive God in what I perceive to be my life … today.
That God is more than that, even vastly more than that, I not only concede, I embrace it. But what little I think I do know already exceeds my mind’s capacity to grasp firmly. What is beyond that is, well, beyond.
And in some way I do not know (Know), and can only imagine — actually, can only presume, I am that (I AM THAT). You too are that, but there (There) there is no you. No you and no me. So too is all that you and I now perceive and experience. But again not as an other, not as others. Only as I — the One, the Only, I.
Without any sense or perception of only!
And so, in the words of Robert Browning,
Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for?
And now finally this
Jesus (Issa) commands us repeatedly, directly and indirectly,
Love one another.
Reading this morning’s newspaper, one cannot help but wonder if that was a waste of his breath. But we must assume he meant it, for he was not One to waste words.
By now, you and I are agreed — at least I hope so — that
God is Infinite means God Is All There Is. If so, then by definition the phrase one another includes every person, every thing, every whatever, however defined, precisely because, whatever
it may be at any moment in any circumstance, God is it … and do you and I really need to be reminded to love God?
Apparently yes, we do. I do.
No Teacher or Guru I have ever read, heard, or come across, has said the spiritual path is easy. On the contrary. But they all insist, and what my life experience proves every hour of every day is, it’s worth every ounce of effort it demands … and then some.
Love one another. Sure, it’s easy to love a spouse, a friend, a paymaster, a pet, a chocolate bar, a plate of pasta aglio e olio, a sunny day, a swim at the beach. But rattle snakes? COVID? Terrorists? Failure? A bad cold? A flat tire?
And yet, Issa didn’t say
except … Presumably intentionally.
Let’s be honest: Loving one another in the inclusive manner Issa commands is one of the — is the — most difficult of all his Teaching.
It’s easy to say. To preach. To pretend. But do it? Really? Great honk!
Nonetheless, I suspect, of all his Teachings, truly loving one another, every one another in every corner of our lives, is his most efficacious lesson.
Try it, he says; you’ll see.
While pondering that, consider this: Nancy wonders if Issa’s original statement about our loving one another was not a commandment but an observation about how we will be when Realization becomes us, how Reality is.
When we have been altered (what’s the correct word for that?) by Realization, we will automatically, naturally, perceive the world as God sees it, as Himself, and therefore as our Self, with Love and in Love. We will not need to be commanded to love one another because we will no longer perceive ourselves as a we separate and distinct from anyone or anything else. We will KNOW that we and every conceivable
one another will be, always has been, one and the same one, there being no others anywhere. And we will be living all of that, all there is, in Love.
Here is Nisargadatta:
You see yourself in the world, while I see the world in myself. As I understand that, I perceive myself as an object in the world while Nisargadatta Realizes the world to be within His Self. As in
The Father and I are One. (Mark 10:30) In that case, what’s not to love?
If so, why does John change Issa’s words into a command? Is it a typo? Is John an authoritarian? Or did he cut Issa’s class on Realization, and so just guessed?
For me, Nancy’s interpretation works. From my reading of Issa’s Teaching, and from books I have read about him, and, yes, from my own sense of who he is, I do not see him issuing commandments. He is a Teacher. He does not command; he teaches. He does not want us to obey him. He does not even want us to follow him. Issa wants us to be him. And he teaches that quietly, gently, lovingly: Live as I live, walk as I walk. A True Guru, which Issa surely is, does not command; she or he plants the Truth into us by being It, knowing that, like a Sequoia seed, it will grow into a colossus. Yes, he repeats the existing commands of scripture: You know the commandments, he says in Mark, don’t murder, steal, bear false witness, …. But that is not him commanding, that is he quoting scripture; that’s different. Oh, yea, except to the evil spirit harassing a man in the synagogue, to whom he commands Come out of him! But who among us, if we were able, wouldn’t?
All that said, it is probably not a bad idea for you and me, in the meantime at least, to make an effort to love one another any way we can, whoever we are, wherever we are, whenever we are.
So help us God.
An alert TZF visitor observed that, after my original posting of this piece, I later changed the order of
… is God to
God is … in a couple of places, and asked,
I think I know why, but why?
In religious treatises I have come across, the classic example of that question is
God is the universe, but the universe is not God. The logic there is apparent: God is greater than the universe, the universe is less than God, so God is not in the universe, the universe is in God.
Over the years writing for TZF (or just walking the path), this issue has arisen. Whenever I write (or consider) anything with
God is … like, say,
God is the world … or
the world is God I am always inclined to add
but that’s not all that God is, as I did here.
Just so, when I say
My sorrow, and your sorrow is God here, that sounds like I am saying God is sorrow, which yes, I am, but, again, that’s not all that God is or that is God. In the context of my current perspective, what increasingly I know is that anything I am talking about, or anything I am not talking about, is God, whatever else it may seem to me to be, precisely because there is nothing anywhere anytime anyhow that God is not and that therefore is not God.
In other words, statements like This is not God or God is not that are sometimes inescapably relevant in a particular discussion about something, and, being so, they are of course perfectly okay. But the Fact remains uninterrupted that they are, both of them, unavoidably, indelibly false, there being no thing that God is not … or that is not God (including those two sentences).
Just so, more and more, I come to realize that even not being God is God.
And the why for all of that is, simply, God is Infinite, meaning God is God.
Years ago, I wrote a book suggesting that what you and I call me and my life was God’s Way of Knowing His Self. I was quite sure of that then. Now, I still am, but differently. Differently how? I’m not sure yet.
And what about DEATH
For a seeker the first question that arises about death is, Who dies?
Before I came across the spiritual path (or it came across me?), the answer to that question was easy: Me!
The body and I were one and the same.
Did I occasionally give thought — sometimes even serious thought — to the soul, what it is, where it is, if it is? Yes, I did. And as a child I played one of the three kings several years in a row at the church’s Christmas pageant. Both with about equal conviction.
But ingesting Nisargadatta, Ramana, Vasistha, and a lot of others, including a reconsidered reading of the Gospels, has caused me to rethink, well, very nearly everything, including the question, who dies.
All of the Teachers — even all of the traditions — seem to agree that whatever we are, we are not the body we seem to ourselves to be inhabiting.
Which means the death of the body may not be, is not, the death of us.
Which now means to me, I was alive before the body was born, and I will continue to be alive after the body has died. Just so, when Brother Theophyle speaks of a man whose 105 years old body has died, Rabbit asks,
How old was he when it was born?
As I see it today, in a manner I cannot fully articulate but of which I am increasingly, even nearly totally, convinced, the body I seem to be living in, the body that is reflected in the bathroom mirror, is
Stefan (now Francis). It is alive, but limited — that is, finite. The body was born, the body will die. And Stefan (Francis) will die with it… EXCEPT (and here is where my struggle with ignorance continues) that something which the Teachers call Infinite Supreme Consciousness, among other labels, which has always existed, which will always exist, and which I am (or which is I?), and which is the Source of the Life that Stefan (Francis) and Stefan’s body enjoyed, will continue uninterrupted — unaffected? — by Stefan’s body’s death.
Now, is there an I, an aspect or element or whatever of I, The I, who, in some manner I am or is I, who will be aware of Stefan’s death, of the death process itself, and be aware of itself after Stefan’s body’s death, and will
remember the body’s death — and life? Will remember Stefan (Francis)? I do not know. At least, not today. If there is any
thing like any of that, it occurs to me it may be what I am now calling Francis. And let us be clear: the word
occurs here translates to
I am guessing. (If this is the first you have heard of Francis on TZF, click here.) The Teachers all talk as if the answer, or a partial answer, to that question is yes, but then, as I see it today, they are speaking from a place (?) and in a language I may be misunderstanding because (1) I want it to be a particular way (desire being always close at hand), and (2) my mind (which I believe is my ego) is unable to understand, to grasp, the enormity of this issue. In other words, I dunno. Briefly, here is what I think I know today: Stefan lives in the world, the world lives in Francis.
But whatever is the case, all the Teachers I have encountered in any way insist that the difference between life and Life is Bliss.
And bliss is … I’m not sure. From all I have read and encountered and ingested, it is clear to me that the bliss the Teachers talk about is beyond the comprehension of the (my) mind. Bliss is the Realized State which itself has nothing to do with death. Many of the great Teachers become, achieve, arrive at (word?) Realization before physical death or at physical death. They say they are in bliss. (And remember, there is no there there. There, there is only Here … and Now.) And that bliss sounds to me like (and this is only a sort of educated guess) a certainty that everything, everywhere, everyhow, everywhatever is OK. It is not happiness (or unhappiness!). It is, simply, a self-created, self-sustaining, uninterruptible certainty that whatever is is fine.
Is that bliss limited to Self-Realization? Almost certainly, yes. That is, as I see it now, while those who simply die, yes, do survive death, but even then they will presumably continue to perceive themselves as they did before,
I am me, and you aren’t.
Again, their perception of themselves and their situation and location will be in some way affected by the dying process, but they will, I suspect, continue to perceive themselves as they did before,
I am me, and you aren’t.
MIND, VASANAS, EGO, VEIL
As I understand it, if physical death happens before — or absent — Self Realization, what occurs is the body dies but the personality continues. And here, by the word personality I mean more than, in my case
Stefan, but rather all the identities — persons and animals and whatever — that the
I which is currently incarnated as
Stefan has ever been, as ever identified itself as, over the, what, centuries, millenia, timelessness.
Yes, reincarnation. There is a Sanskrit word jiva that translates
one who lives in the body, a mortal being; the embodied self that identifies with body and mind … ego. As I understand it, jiva repeatedly incarnates into or as various forms or beings or whatever — in my case today as Stefan, in your case today as your name — along its journey or evolution or transcendence or what? toward Self Realization.
I take Self Realization to be the erasure or elimination or transcendence of the separative state (
I am me, and you’re not) that I now consider myself to be in or as, and its replacement by or transference to or resumption of, the Natural State which is beginningless, endless, limitless, non-dual in every sense of the word … and then some.
Here, consider these other words that, as I understand them, enter into this consideration: vasanas veil ego.
Vasistha’s Yoga describes vasanas variously, but at one point as
psychological conditioning, memory-store, past impressions and dispositions, at another point
the seed of mind. Another source labels vasanas as
desires, ambitions, and attractions. The word
veil appears in Matthew and Mark as the veil (sometimes curtain)
of the temple which I — admittedly, on no authority — understand to be a synonym for vasanas and for mind and for ego. Another website says this about veils:
In the New Testament, along with the temple veil, is the concept of a spiritual veil of blindness or unbelief, a hindrance to perceiving truth. In sum, as I read them in this context, all four of those words are references to the I each of us takes ourselves to be at any given moment, while physically alive or after bodily death — again, before or absent Self Realization. Similarly, as I see it, the mind is not a thing. It is an accumulation of stuff — ideas, thoughts, memories, preferences, biases, dispositions, intentions — that today manifest or embody (or word?) physically as
Stefan and as your name, and will continue to manifest in or as other bodies in other times and other circumstances … until Self Realization.
Update 9/5/2023: Today, the mailman delivered a book Nancy purchased from Amazon called Mind is Myth by U.G. Krishnamurti. Seeing it, and having read none of it yet, I immediately took the title to be confirmation of the consideration here. And then, a few hours later, turning in for the night, I opened Vasistha’s Yoga to the page where I had stopped reading yesterday evening before sleep, and there I read,
Holy One, pray instruct me in such a way that it will be perfectly clear to me that the mind is non-existent. I mean, really? Who’s writing Stefan’s life?
Anyway, I say again, now with apparently unmistakable (for me) confirmation from Above, what you and I call mind or the mind is nothing more — and nothing less — than a basket full of memories. And each of us allows those memories to become our constant, uninterrupted, dedicated focus, and the determining, the defining, the shaping factor of our lives.
In other words, you and I are always living in
what was … the past.
And so we are never aware of the actual present, What Is Now.
Well, perhaps never is too strong a word. Over the decades, I have experienced, and probably so have you, a few moments — what I call
eureka moments or
wow moments — that are, well, different. They occur on their own, spontaneously, and last only a couple of seconds. (Until I take notice of them?) During those seconds, everything (and I mean everything) is clearer, lighter, undistracted, less entangled. Quiet. Like a bright light has been turned on. And then, it’s gone. Back to
normal. A taste, maybe even a promise. But nothing more.
Clearly, that is why the mind, the vasanas, the ego, the veil, is the target of all the spiritual practices and exercises we undertake as spiritual seekers: meditation, contemplation, reading, dieting, chanting. All of those serve to, exist to, empty the mind, silence the mind, erase the mind, eliminate the mind, transcend the mind. Return us to, awaken us as, What Is. Now, always, and forever.
Speaking of Self Realization
Again, as I understand it, Self Realization is the state, condition, reality (word?) beyond I am me, and you aren’t.
Self-Realization is about
I Realize I Am The Self.
Mind you, none of the I's in that sentence refers to Stefan or your name. At Self-Realization, those I's as which we have lived are no longer.
Self Realization is not achieved. It is not something we become. Self Realization is our natural state, always and already in
place. We are not aware of it, we are not living it, only because our minds have veiled us from awareness of our True Being. In a way, we are like kids at a carnival with a fun house full of mirrors that distort the reflections. The difference is, the kids know that the images they see of themselves in the mirrors are intentionally distorted just for the fun of it. We, on the other hand, believe that the apparent separate and distinct selves (and lives) that we perceive ourselves to be (
I am me, and you aren’t) are real, are who and what and as and where we are in Truth.
We embrace the mirror’s distorted image as reality.
As I have suggested, the difference between that — our current egoic condition or situation or perspective on the one hand, and, on the other, the alternative, Self Realization, is that in or as the former, we limit our sense of identity to the physical body we seem to be inhabiting and it’s life, and, and on the latter we know there exists only One Single Infinite I, the entirety of What Is, and we are It … actually, I Am It — It is I — there being no
I suppose that error is what religions call original sin. I’m not sure it’s a sin, but it is an error. The question is, is it a
normal part or aspect or feature of the creation process, of evolution? My guess is, yes, well, maybe, otherwise why does it happen, why does it exist? I mean, to me the word
sin presumes choice, as in I choose to do something sinful, which choice makes me a sinner. A sin has to be voluntarily committed as an exercise of free will, otherwise it is just a happening. If I ever chose to identify myself as and with the body named
Stefan and its physical life, I do not remember doing so. In this context, I suppose if anyone sinned, it was Stefan’s parents, who told me, albeit lovingly, that I was the separate, unique, limited physical body they were fondling. Just as, presumably, Adam and Eve did with (to?) Cain and Abel. (Speaking of which, if Adam and Eve had no daughters, how did we get here? Original incest? Now, there’s a sin.)
Anyway, according to the Teachers, the sin, the error, the distortion is caused by the fact that our minds (egos, vasanas, veil) are in constant motion, are constantly thinking, considering, measuring, judging, remembering, planning, and a Self Realized Teacher’s Mind is still and silent. As I get it, that constant motion in our mind (that is our mind?) distracts us so thoroughly that it blinds us (veils us) from Seeing or Being what is already and always Real, what we are in Truth, which is Self Realized. In a word, we have no understanding of the question
Who am I? and so, of course, we have less than no understanding of the answer to that question.
There is nothing magic about any of this. We are simply so disillusioned, so distracted, so undisciplined, that we are blinded (veiled) from recognizing what and where and how we are. And that is what the spiritual process is about: removing the veil. The function of the practices, the diets, the commitment, and all the rest, is to awaken — Awaken — us. Here is Vasistha’s Yoga:
… the cause of enlightenment is but the purity of the disciple’s consciousness. Not by hearing nor by righteous acts is Self-Knowledge attained. In a word, God created the eraser (the Eraser), and we need to use it … on ourselves.
In some traditions, our current egoic condition — my life, your life — is described as a dream state. Which raises the question, when I am dreaming, what difference does it make where I am in the dream, or even what is happening to me in a dream? Last night, I dreamed I was riding a horse into a wooded area which was inhabited by … and so on. Of course I was not actually riding a horse anywhere; I was in pajamas in my bed in a small town in Maine. But at the time of the dream, the dream events were real to me: I was riding a horse. I wasn’t sort of riding a horse, imagining riding a horse, pretending riding a horse. I was riding a horse. At no moment in no way during the dream did I know I was dreaming. As far as I knew in the dream, the dream was all there was.
Until I awakened.
However attained, Self Realization is Awake … Awake and Aware, from a convincing illusion, a dream you and I each call my life … to Silent, Still, Infinite Awareness of What Is.
In the words of some of the traditions, from bondage to LIBERATION.
I have heard and read Teachers use the words Aware and Awareness. Sometimes, as they do so, it sounds like a synonym for Self-Realization. At least here is what I think I hear them saying:
When we are Aware (when they use the word, I definitely hear a capital A), our mind is silent, perhaps even absent. We are not thinking, mulling, considering, worrying, measuring, regretting, anticipating … none of that.
Aware we know what we need to know when we need to know it. We say what needs to be said, we do what needs to be done … without consideration or thought or planning. In effect, as I get it, we act non-volitionally, which in this context means (again, as I hear it) without making a choice to do so. And get this, that does not mean we act against our will. Rather, we do so unconditionally precisely (and only) because it is the appropriate, necessary, self-evident thing to do. Our will does not enter into it at all. Perhaps our will no longer exists; I suppose because it then serves no useful function. At one point in the book I Am That, Nisargadatta says something like (as I remember)
I hear what I say to you at the same time you hear me say it. In other words (as I get it), he does not hear a question, consider its meaning, determine an answer, and express it — as we do. Nisargadatta (and each of the Others, I suppose) hears a seeker ask a question, and he hears himself answering it.
And again, as I understand the Teachers, that is where each of them is everywhere always.
So, I suppose being Aware is Being Here Now. Not in our mind, which is where most of us live most of the time.
For me now, Aware or Awareness is a target or a manner or a behavior or a condition to reach for, to hope for, always conscious that, like Self-Realization, Awareness is not achieved, it is some thing (?) we become or Recognize ourselves Being or resume Being.
Here, a favorite line in the Bible (Matthew 21) is Jesus (Issa) instructing his disciples to go into the village where there will be a donkey. How does he know there will be a donkey in the village? He knows because he is Aware that it is appropriate and necessary that there be a donkey in the village at this time in these circumstances. That is, at Self-Realization or Awareness, what is appropriate and necessary occurs routinely and timely and effortlessly precisely and only because it is appropriate and necessary.
Sattva is a Sanskrit word (sometimes spelled with a single t) that I have seen defined variously. It occurs to me there is no
unliberated synonym for it. That is, sattva is one of those things one has to be to understand. Like Self-Realized?
Among the words I have seen to describe sattva are harmoniousness, peaceableness … and serenity. Considering the Teachers I have read and met,
Serenity) describes it best. Thus, I think of sattva as in this world, but not of this world, a self-perception as I am what I am where I am with never a thought to be otherwise. (see here)
Technically sattva is that
place where the mind is not. At some point, at some moment in our spiritual quest, the mind silences. It seems to occur either all at once or over time bit by bit. But in all cases (that I know of), there seems to be an unpredictable moment when the mind as we know it (mental noise?), stops, permanently. It is, simply, gone. And what’s left is What Is — what we are and have always been, although distracted, confused, blinded, ignorant, by The Veil.
The Veil is lifted. And we are at Peace.
That sounds like Self Realization. In the (disrespectful, perhaps, but funny) words of Frank Costanza on the Seinfeld television show,
Serenity Now! Except what Costanza is shouting about there is probably not the same serenity Teachers exhibit.
Here, as I understand it, Serenity is Self-Apparent Self-Enabled Undisturbable Unlimited Realization of Ever Present Ever True Ever Evident Divine Presence.
In the thought articulated by Martin Luther King,
Free at last, thank God Almighty, free at last.
Here it is in Vasistha’s Yoga: The state of mind of the liberated ones who are still living and who see both the supreme truth and the relative appearance, is known as satva (transparency). It is improper to call it the mind; it is really satva. These knowers of truth are mindless … It is not mind at all but pure light (satva). The librated ones live and function here established in this satva, not in the mind.
Ultimately, actually, indelibly, really, the Self is all that exists, all that ever existed, all that will ever exist.
The Self is not a thing. It is simply, exclusively, infinitely What Is.
The Self is the one I, the only I.
else is delusion and illusion … in a word, not. Like everyone and everything in last night’s dream, even the dream itself. In effect, the way out is a user-erasing eraser.
Awakening to That Truth is the Source and the Substance and the Function of every religion, tradition, philosophy … of every thought, every hope, every prayer, ever considered by any apparent person anywhere.
Happily, That is What lies Directly Ahead for every one of us, whoever whatever wherever we may believe we are today.
It is when pure consciousness gives rise to concepts and notions within itself that it assumes an individuality. … Regard your body and senses as instruments of experiencing, not as self. The notion ‘I am the body’ is bondage; the seeker should avoid it. ‘I am no-thing but pure consciousness’ — such understanding, when it is sustained, is conducive to liberation. … Without cause this world-appearance arises in consciousness. It is experienced by the consciousness within itself. It is consciousness which considers itself the world and experiences the world. There is therefore no memory, or dream, or time etc. involved in this. This which is a mass of consciousness within appears to be the world outside; however, there is neither an outside nor an inside, nothing whatsoever except the supreme reality. Therefore, just as the infinite Brahman is real, in the same way this observed objective universe is also real. (See note below>)
There’s more about some of this stuff here … and about loving one another here … and about being infinite here … and about illusions here.
From The Encyclopedia of Eastern Philosopy and Religion:
Brahman is the eternal, imperishable Absolute, the supreme nondual reality … an abstract concept that is not accessible to the thinking mind. … Hence Shri Ramakrishna’s trenchant statement ‘No tongue has ever defined brahman.’
Sistine Chapel — Michelangelo Buonarotti
I Am That I Am
I know that everything at all times, everywhere, is but the one cosmic consciousness
… I know this world-appearance to be illusory …
Treat every being, every form, every thing as if it were God,
because God Being Infinite,
Inspired by Maharajji
Barefoot in the Heart page 121
The Lord is My Shepherd,
I shall not whine.
And the beat goes on.
From TZF’s Definitions: Consider a production of William Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet. On the stage, a great drama unfolds, shaped by prejudice, youthful beauty, romance, joy, delight, love, fear, anger, despair, faith, death — the stuff of all our lives. But none of it is real. None of the characters is real, none of the emotions is real, none of the action actually occurs. There is no such person as
Romeo, there is no such person as
Juliet. They were never born, they never loved, they never died. It is all an illusion. The only reality in that context consists of Shakespeare as author, the actors as players, and ourselves as audience. All of those know the play is an illusion, and that all that is real is themselves. But still, the play is performed again and again, and again and again we laugh and we cry. As if it were real. Likewise, what you and we each call
my life is thoroughly an illusion. Here, we do not truly know what is Real because each of us has taken on the identity of
me, the principal character in
my life. And just as neither
Juliet can know Shakespeare, neither can the separate, separative (
I am me, and you aren’t) self of our lives know our Reality. For that, we must transcend the character, and recognize and resume our True Identity in and as and with (choose a preposition) the Author, the Source, the Supreme, the One (choose a label). That is the spiritual process, transforming our current sense of identity bit by bit until finally, suddenly it is transcended altogether, and we Remember I Am. Then, we Realize we never were the character, that we have never been born and cannot die, and that What Is always was and always will be. In a word, Reality destroys illusion.
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Most recently updated on July 16, 2023.
To get out of another’s frame,