The disciple asked: “Master, It seems like awareness is the solution to every problem. What is awareness? I gather it deals with being awake and to realize the underlying thing as it occurs, but is that all?
The master listened carefully and responded: “ Many times our conditioning is so strong that it will not allow us to consider other ways of looking at Life. To begin, when we refer to the word ‘problem,’ we have the conditioning of society, where Life is about solving problems. If there is something that we do not like, then we have a problem and we put our efforts to resolve that. Anything which doesn’t fit our vision of Life becomes a problem to solve. We usually do not believe in changing ourselves to fit the setting. Awareness inside society, is about the perception of a situation or a fact. However, the very act of perception is colored with our own conditioning. Therefore, there are many degrees of perceptions, some closer to the fact than others.”
The disciple asked: “could you be more specific, master?”
The master continued: “For example; for many individuals, Life is about survival. The economy has great importance even though that is a man made game. Nevertheless, we take that as a fact of Life, and many individuals could suffer if we don’t. For instance, if someone is hungry that is because she has no money. Money is a human creation, we are stuck in that mind game. Similarly with political systems. Individuals believe that there is a system which is the best. However, human beings run those systems and ultimately, human moral values have utmost importance behind any system where the common good is the objective, rather than group or party loyalty.”
The disciple said: “ I understand now. We have a socio-economical, political, religious conditioning which act as reading glasses and we see the world through those. We see problems there, and we try to solve those but we cannot take those glasses off.”
Then the master said: “It takes awareness to take those glasses off but at the same time, to be able to wear them when dealing with the world of those wearing glasses. They call that world ‘reality.’ That is the irony of Life to live in a ‘real’ world of individuals wearing distorted glasses.”
The disciple said: “ I understand master. But, is that the extent of awareness?”
The master looked at the disciple before responding to assess his readiness. The master said:” There is way more. That is just the most superficial layer. Greater awareness will take you into self knowledge and the nature of being and reality. This is not a study. This doesn’t deal with picking up a book and be informed with someone’s ideas. You need to experience all of those things under a setting of tranquility and silence, away from the conditioning of any system. Great deal of unlearning needs to take place first. The idea that “I know” will dissolve into oblivion. As you change, you will be wearing a different set of glasses, which others will not understand. Even though you will suffer a much lesser degree of nearsightedness, you will need to be aware that glasses are still being worn.”
The disciple said: “ Ah! The goal is to take those glasses off.”
The master smiled and said: “There is no goal. It happens when we are ready. Remember this riddle: The ‘problem’ is not the glasses being worn but the belief that there is someone wearing them. Awareness is required to figure that one out.”
Autumn arrived. It is the balancing act of Nature. High Summer activity will enter gradually into a period of rest. Some will feel happy because the heat of Summer is over. Others, will remember with nostalgia the great Summer time they had, hoping for that experience to come back again, some day. Summer will be back again. It is certain, just like the cycle of Life and Death.
The disciple was sad. A loving relative passed away. It was unexpected. It was in the midst of Summer. The disciple couldn’t shake that feeling of sadness from his heart. He went to his master and asked:
“Master, why is it so difficult to go over that feeling of sadness? Why does it persist? It is as if my mind brings piles of thoughts which end up in a feeling of despair.”
The master allowed the disciple to weep and when he was ready, the master replied: “ Losing someone we love is another experience in the vastness of Life. There are those who love things after they’ve lost them, and there are those who squeeze things hard so they do not lose them. Observe this: When we live in the mind, it will take us to the past which is gone or to the future which may not arrive. We don’t live in the reality of now, where Life unfolds, where love truly is.”
The disciple was disconcerted. He was waiting for some words to mitigate his pain. He asked: “ Do you think that my sorrow is in vain? I have the right to feel this way.”
The master understood his pain and lovingly said: “I feel your sorrow. Observe that all relationships have value, but when we value one relationship more than another, we set ourselves up for sorrow as all relationships sooner all later will disappear.”
The disciple responded: “Then, it is better not have relationships, for pain will be felt at the end.”
The master remained in silence for some time and then he added: “ Observe that many times we take Life experiences as traumatic experiences. We want to protect our self and by doing that we punish ourselves from the opportunity to forge new relationships. Life is relationship.”
The disciple had enough and he said: “What is the answer then ?”
The master replied: “ That is for you to find out. In a hot and humid Summer day, the wind will blow and clouds will appear turning the sky into a dark, gloomy day. Then, when darkness cannot be anymore, rain and thunder will arrive and lightning may show its anger by hitting things, but then soon it will be over and a rainbow will appear. Like Nature, express at once without holding back and move on into the rainbow for there is much more in Life than lightning and a dark sky. Everything has its own time. All experiences are fleeting. Enjoy an experience while it lasts. Not as a memory but as a heart felt experience while it is happening in the now. That will nourish that self that we try endlessly to protect. Remember that even lightning has its own beauty and that death is not the end but a passage. Summer which is gone now, will certainly return again. Spring time is its own colorful passage. In Life, what goes away comes back and once it is here, it goes away again. It is the circle of duality. That is the game we are offered to play and enjoy or to reject and traumatize.”
The disciple asked the master about the significance of control in society.
The master replied: “ In society there is a need to impose a will over another. For example the belief in widgets as the way to improve society, will encounter many who will not believe in that. Therefore, a will needs to impose for a belief to rule. Manipulation means to influence another to accommodate their will to our own personal ideas, beliefs. Manipulation and control come together.
In society, a belief will encounter many obstacles, such as rejection from others which will have a reactive consequence. Every disagreement, every fight is an opportunity to display violence over another to subdue that one, to win. In this context, winning is to impose over another.
Life does not work that way. Life shows the path, the direction and we align or oppose. Every opposition is a bitter lesson to learn, but nonetheless; useful for our conscious development.
For example is we observe the climate changing from hot to cold, we dress accordingly. If we believe that things should be the same, there will be a consequence for us. On another level, Life will show death to every person at a particular time. Acceptance is to go with the way. Rejection, fight, implies that there is a personal will with ideas and beliefs, opposing Life. What could be some of the consequences of that? Society has many problems to solve from dysthanasia, euthanasia, orthothanasia, combined with several religious beliefs, moral values involved and such. Society wants to come up with a solution that will be applicable to all; and that belief will be imposed to others to follow in the name of righteousness. Society has its way. Life has another. Observe that Life is completely impersonal and its movement tends to balance different forces. Society usually relies on personal opinion which comes from conditioning, tradition, personal interests and deep rooted beliefs.
Every time we are unwilling to observe the signals that Life is giving us and we stubbornly hold on to a belief for we believe that to be right, we are opposing to what is. To discern “what is now” is one of the greatest awareness we could have.
Life will teach us to respect, to acknowledge and to move on. Thus, become flexible like a palm tree who does not have a rooted belief as to where the wind needs to come from, and to which direction the tree should move to be right. If you observe this carefully, you will discover that every belief a person has is deep rooted in something ideal which Life uses sooner or later, to teach us to open up, to accept and to move on.
Confrontations, control, manipulation are human ways to obtain what a group wants. In that scenario, look for a common ground and take that. Sooner or later the common ground is bound to appear for at the end, we are all breathing the same air to survive. That is the common good.”
Will resume writing on April 22. Until then! 🙂
The master and his disciple were greatly amazed, observing a formation of new born ducklings following their mother duck, near a lovely lake.
The master said: “Life has a hierarchy. In the human family, parents have their position and it needs to be respected by offspring during their parents lifetime. Respect means acknowledgment. A family decision which does not consider that hierarchy will have consequences which could be even assumed by later generations. Our genealogical family past stays with us. It is the inheritance from our ancestors. In society we have been taught to consider wealth as the only type of inheritance that we could have inherited from our ancestors, but that is only the more superficial layer.
Society in general gives more importance to wealth, power and influence. Television, movies and news are the means used to indoctrinate those values to unaware individuals. It is taught that an individual ought to be successful in society. Success is defined by the amount of wealth a person has obtained; for that person can buy influence over others, power over many and has the ability to dictate what society adopts. The common good is easily forgotten as each individual is out for himself, his beliefs and his success creating conflict with another.”
The disciple said: “ Master, there are spiritual groups suggesting not to watch television at all.”
The master replied: “Television is neither good or bad. Most unaware individuals cannot recognize the messages. They end up adopting what represents economical gain for few and in time that becomes normal, accepted by them, the new normal. Have you observed that?”
The disciple responded: “Yes, master. I recall watching some TV programs from the 70’s and 80’s. It was very unusual to see killings in them in such a graphical way as it is shown today. It appears that the most sanguinary, brutal and hideous a scene of crime is, the better.”
The master replied: “The level of sensibility has been modified, to create a sadistic pleasure where violence is expected. It is like adding one more teaspoon of sugar to a glass of juice every now and then. Eventually a person becomes used to violence and expresses it in every aspect of living. Violence becomes an addiction which is exploited for the sake of profit. Diabetes is one consequence of consuming too much sugar, but the consequence of being fed with violence is oppression, control, unconcern and disconnection with other living beings. That is why, some spiritual groups may suggest that Television is evil, but that is a reaction to try to protect unaware individuals. However, these same individuals will be repressed in following that. Repression eventually will explode and indulgence will be greater than before. The individual needs to become aware by himself. Then, conflict is not.”
The disciple inquired: “What do suggest to do master, to be out of that loop?”
The master said: “Drink juice without sugar for some time or drink water instead. Experiment. Self willingness without external coercion or fear, shows individual readiness for change. It is in that experience how an individual may discover his sensibility through his own experience. That is the adventure which few are willing to take. Most are told what to do and even though they feel to be free to choose they cannot, for their conditioning is very strong and is part of them. A human being is not violent unless he is afraid. Thus, fear is fed in many ways and the ways to solve that, always point to some form of violence. As the individual becomes heartless, the doses of violence is regularly increased to keep the business going. Become AWARE and the solution arrives by itself.”
The master and the disciple sat in a comfy bench near a small park, that had narrow walking pathways. A girl came close by while walking her little puppy dog. The disciple started playing with the puppy and the master smiled during that “free time.”
After the girl left with her puppy dog, the master said: “ That puppy is playfulness. Everything is a new experience for that dog. If the experience in front is comforting, the dog will wag its tail. If the next experience is not that comforting, the dog may cry. The response is clear and does not carry over for another time in the future. That dog has the capacity to move on unburdened, for a new experience in Life.”
The disciple said: “ Yes, master. The mood of a puppy is stable in playfulness.”
The master then said: “ Have you observed that many people have lost that zest for playfulness in Life?”
The disciple responded: “Yes, master. As we grow older we tend to accumulate experiences in our memory and use the outcome of those to meet other experiences in our lives. If we get enough good experiences, we end up with an overall happy mood; but if our experiences are overall bad, then we could become bitter and revengeful.”
The master said: “Most cannot let go. However; all experiences are fleeting and the perception of good experiences, are followed by bad ones for this is the world of duality. Everything that you believe to be yours, will go away. Even what you believe to be, will change. Do you see this tremendous fact?”
The disciple nodded his head in agreement.
The master continued: “Intellectually we make sense of that fact. But we cannot process it when a challenging experience appears to make our theoretical learning practical. Do you know why?”
The disciple took a few seconds and responded: “ No, master. It is said that most people are just theory when challenges occur in their lives. If all of the sudden I lose everything I have, I will react and become bitter, angry and will fight to recover what is mine.”
The master said: “Correct. Even though we understand things intellectually, those do not make a change in what we are. Listen to this carefully: Human beings believe that Life is an intellectual experience. The mind always wants to understand. That procedure mostly works in society but not in Life. The Universe is not intellectual. It is more on the emotional side. Love is the way to understand it.”
The disciple said: “ But love is not an emotion, master.”
The master responded: “You are correct again. The Universe, Life is not to be understood intellectually. It is to be Loved. Probably that didn’t make much sense? Those are the limitations and nuances of language.”
The disciple said: “ Interesting master. But what is Love then?”
The master smiled and said: “Intellectually, when there is no difference between the observer and the observed. When the perceiver is the perceived… Everything. Just like the Universe, Life. If that did not make much sense, it is because it was said quite accurately. It is said that God is Love. Thus, Love is God. ”
The master perceived that his disciple was uncomfortable, for he was challenging some of his disciple’s deep rooted beliefs. Then, the master looked at his disciple with Love and said: “Love is not a romantic emotion. It is conscious presence. Open your heart to newness and clean your mind from the old, just like that puppy dog. That is the door to feel Love and thus, to know it.”
The disciple had a typical walk of about 3 miles before meeting his master. In his walk, the disciple witnessed how a person stole a cellphone from another, who was walking on the opposite side walk; then he observed that the amount of indigent people begging for money in the company of their small kids, had increased.
The disciple met his master and almost immediately asked him: “Master, are any of these things that you teach me useful to help solve the problems in the world? I see people stealing, I see people hungry begging for money and I hear that people kill one another for personal interest, and yet laws do not seem to help. There is a general idleness to do something real about it.”
The master said to his disciple: “Let me sit down to talk about it.” The master sat and observed the sense of emotional helplessness that his disciple experienced.
The master said: “ What you are learning is called spirituality by many. However, that is a very imprecise label. What you are truly learning is to live life in balance. Therefore, before knowing balance you must experience lack of it, disharmony. Once you are feed up, you will experience inner struggle; then you will be open to look somewhere else, to listen to something different. That is the process.”
“But master,” interrupted the disciple “that can take a long time for others and we need action now.”
The master observed the eagerness of his disciple to change things immediately, and said calmly: “Life has its own processes. There is a process of maturity for a a fruit to be ripe and ready to be eaten. Similarly is with human beings. When we do not understand that, we react and act violently to repress. In human history a reactionary movement has been used to suffocate something perceived as unfair. That is usually the task of politicians who experience that level of consciousness. Out of that struggle, something else happens one way or another, creating further friction which is met with further reaction. At this time, there are many individuals believing that laws and politics can change the world on a positive direction, however; they fail to observe that further struggle comes up, no matter what. That is what human beings label as problems.”
After a brief pause, the master saw the reaction of his disciple as if he was waiting for something else, a cure, a formula that will help everyone.
The master said: “ You are ready to look inside therefore your experiences will be different. Most humans are not ready. Many are always looking outside and trying to change things from an idealistic position. For example, many politicians believe in political systems as the necessary value to change the world; but they do not look at their own greed, their own violence, nor the ones following the ideal, the people. If they knew that, they could understand that any idealistic system that they choose will fail, for what they ARE is different from the ideal that they want to implement. Laws can force someone to DO something, but they cannot change that person to BE something else.”
The disciple was a bit disappointed with that reply and said: “Master, the systems implemented in the world have brought technological improvement and greater life expectancy. Something must be right.”
The master smiled and said: “The psychological and emotional profile of man has been the same or even degraded as time has gone by. Greater life expectancy is not the same as quality of life. Stress, anxiety, fear, anguish, restlessness, worry, neurosis.. with greater life expectancy, those will last longer as well. There is no balance there, and that is what human beings will learn to sense. Trust the process.”
It was a large park on a Saturday afternoon. It had many ponds, trees and flowers in a humid Summer. The master and his disciple sat near one fishing pond.
The disciple observed how a man was trying to catch fish. Once caught, he threw the fish back into the water. The disciple exclaimed: “That man is playing to be God. He decides over the life of those fish. Master, what is the right that a man has over the life of another being?”
The master listened carefully and after taking a few seconds, responded as if he was assessing the readiness of his disciple to assimilate what he was about to say. “A person is programmed with certain beliefs. The more unconscious that person is, the hardest it is for him to consider a different view point or belief. Many people with the same unconscious belief make up the collective consciousness. That program is hard to change for it brings some certainty, security to them.
A long time ago, there was a belief that the Earth was the center of the Universe. What was the basis for that? A belief in anthropocentrism. That is, life is according to human understanding and humans are the measure of all, above any species.
For instance, a Dolphin is considered inferior in that view, although it is quite intelligent. The label ‘intelligent’ is used to organize species according to how well they follow human standards. Humans are dominant because of their capacity to subdue others. Then, violence becomes the measuring stick for superiority over others. This also occurs among human races, gender, nationalities and religions and with greater intensity toward animals and plants. However, humans are afraid to live in an uncertain world which they cannot dominate completely. Nature is above any human power. Then anthropocentrism creates a being at the image and likeness of a person for protection and certainty. This fear of Nature, has increased to the point where most humans are no longer in touch with Nature, living artificial lives heavily surrounded by cement, processed food and mental entertainment. The master paused, watched the reactions of his disciple and continued: “To be able to observe how much egocentrism exists in many human beliefs, requires intelligence. Greater intelligence means to be able to discern if those beliefs are influenced by some needy psychological interest. As long as fear is the engine behind human decisions; humans will not be able to understand and become sensible of others’ needs.”
The disciple said: “There are religions and political systems proclaiming that man is the ultimate creation and that life and freedom are the greatest rights to preserve, but yet in practice that doesn’t happen, for man exploits other species and even other men.”
The master said: “ Fear brings corruption. That desire for certainty and security in an uncertain world brings a neurotic response in man. Knowing that, observe your beliefs and their emotional roots. There lies the human knot to untie in yourself. That is the most effective action you could do to benefit all.”