Tagged: consciousness

What is awareness?

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.”

Love is everything

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.

Solving problems in the world through Spirituality

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.”

The belief of man over Nature

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.”

Consciousness and the “theory of everything.”

The disciple asked: “ Master, science is trying to describe all phenomena in the Universe through a ‘theory of everything.’ Is that something possible? So far, they have encountered 2 theories [Relativity and Quantum mechanics] which have been proven to be correct but are contradictory of each other. There is no consensus as to where one starts and the other ends…

The master replied: “Perhaps they are beginning to understand what duality is all about.” The disciple listened and wanted more, but the master kept quiet. “But master,” inquired the disciple, “It doesn’t make sense that a planet appears solid and has a clear path of movement but yet is made up by either non solid waves or particles which do not have an exact location and appear to have random movements.”

The master smiled and said: “ That is a riddle of consciousness.”

The disciple said: :”Consciousness? But master…What consciousness has to do with that?” The master said: “Everything. Are you still or in movement?” The disciple said: “Master, obviously I am sitting here still listening to you.” The Master replied: “Obviously. However, you are moving as well. Isn’t the planet moving? You are moving with it. Aren’t the cells in your body moving, changing? Who is still then?”

At that point the disciple didn’t know what to say. “But, master if everything is moving that means that movement is in relation to a point of reference…” The master said: “ Everything is moving but yet is at rest. That is duality. It depends on the location of your consciousness. That location will give you a particular experience. Have you seen a sunset?”

The disciple said: “Of course, master.” The master said: “ How is it possible for the Sun to disappear in the horizon?” The disciple said: “It is impossible, but yet we see it and call it sunset.”

The master said: “The sunset exists but it doesn’t. Duality. Even though for the great majority of people, there is the experience of a sunset; that doesn’t exist. The reference is in the observer.”

The disciple said: “But scientific experiments prove something as existent.” The master said: “ The point of reference is the human being. Using their human senses to measure things. Human senses have a limitation to perceive the unlimited. The physical world is real for most consciousness but limited for other consciousness. The Universe provides for all, according to how they want to see it, measure it, understand it, but it leaves mystery for more.”

The disciple said: “Oh! So everything is relative.” The master said: “Relative to the observer. As we gain more consciousness there will be no difference between the observer and that which is observed. But that consciousness is not in the collective yet.”

All of the sudden, the master asked to his disciple: “Are we predestined or do we have free will?” The disciple thought for a few seconds and said: “Both. But yet none…. However, we are predestined according to some people but with free will for the immense majority. All according to consciousness.”

The master smiled and said: “You have understood. Now observe the significance of such questions.”

Walking the path of Life

The master said to his disciple: “Experiences in Life are meant to peel all the layers of perceived knowledge, for those who are aware. Those who are not, merely will react according to likes or dislikes strengthening emotions. A strong like will create an avenue for pleasure, with the mental need to repeat certain experiences. A strong dislike will create a trauma due to a rejection of such experience. Caught up in such duality most human beings are unable to move on towards greater consciousness.”

The disciple responded: “It appears that everything is about the mind ….”

The master took a moment and said: “There are many types of seekers and every one of them is at a particular landmark in that path. In general, the mental layer is the first and perhaps most important at this time, to set yourself free. In this Life path, it is of no consequence to know how the brain works or to understand what is conscious or unconscious. What is very important is to observe what is there and what triggers it. How anxiety comes up? How fear arrives? How the sense of insecurity lingers throughout the day? What is like to feel at ease? Are we able to observe violence as we act? That is important.”

Then the disciple said: “I noticed that many seekers know the theory behind improving themselves. They know what to practice and what not. However, when tests in Life appear they fail the test. Why is that?”

The master responded: “Most likely they are unaware of their emotions. Thought cannot control an emotion. It can only repress it, but eventually; the emotion will surface with greater intensity. At this time, fear is one of the greatest emotions influencing most people. Those who have walked the path, know the importance of the process of catharsis for emotional liberation. While your arms are extending towards heaven; your feet are immersed in the depths of hell. To acknowledge that duality within creates that which we know as self. Transcending it means to integrate it.”

The disciple eagerly said: “Then that will be to know yourself? We arrived. Correct?”

The master calmly replied: “Because there is self, in the world of duality there is also no-self which is the collective consciousness. The most significant aspect of that collective consciousness is experienced through the emotional and mental roots of your family ancestry. ‘you’ are not only what ‘you are’ but what your family has been. There are branches from that family tree influencing you. Most are completely unaware of that. That is how the past is connected to the present and the future. Once that layer is peeled off, you are free to be no one.”

The disciple was a bit disturbed and responded: “No one? That is scary.”

The master immediately said: “And very gratifying indeed. Peel all the layers of the onion. What is left? Similarly, all those onion layers are like armors of ego protecting nothing inside. Do you see that? As you are peeling the onion, you may shed some tears, which at the same time will give you the fuel to smile with greater intensity. That is the gift of duality. To know who you are is to liberate yourself from the cage of yourself.”

Free movie time through the mind

The master said to his disciple: “There are 3 fundamental aspects in learning about the self while you are at the stage of going beyond the mind. First, is the observation of the mind through constant awareness of the content. You may notice there is day dreaming. That content is not in the present, but something in the past or future. Emotions will be influenced by content. It is like watching a movie continuously in your mind. For instance, you remember a sad story which happened in the past. The mind plays that movie. That story is not real anymore. The personality experiencing that scene is no longer here. Everything has changed. Feeling sadness in the present is fuel for more movie time; supporting repetition of that mechanism. Second, is identification with those thoughts. Unaware individuals will take a side and defend a particular view given by their own conditioning or experience. These individuals totally identify with their minds. There are other individuals who analyze apparent facts and assume the truth, but those are usually partial conclusions. The third aspect, is to be aware on how that content, identification and conclusions creates ego, that is a personality which separates from the actual movie of Life, without ever becoming aware of their inter-dependency.

The disciple listened attentively and then said: “Master could you explain with an example?” The master replied: “John speaks with Jane. John had an agitated day by dealing with individuals who would not acknowledge his ideas without putting up a verbal fight. When John spoke with Jane, he had the same fighter attitude and tone, he was still disturbed with memories. Jane concluded that John did not like her. Jane resented John and did not want to speak with him. John had a movie in his head playing. He was unable to disengage as another experience in the now arrived. Jane had a conclusion by analysis of the perceived facts. If there is a fight between them, both will defend their own positions; solidifying their egos and separation. Made up reasons to demonstrate how ‘I am right’ will affect that relationship.”

The disciple replied: “Master, but how do I disengage from that movie in my head? How not to make conclusions when it seems obvious?” The master stayed in silence for a few seconds and said: “Become aware of the movie playing in your head. Observe that any conclusion will close the possibility to perceive further realities. Allow room for unexpected things to be. With a conclusion you will act in a predetermined way. You may regret that. Many individuals entertain their minds through movies at this time. A movie will take them to a fantasy world. They may feel a rush inside, their emotions make them feel alive out of the boredom of repetition of every day life. However, they do not observe the movie playing in their own heads constantly.”

The disciple realized about his own day dreaming and content mixed with inner chattering and asked:”But without a movie, what should be there instead?”

The master said: “Nothing. The mind does not need to play a movie while you are driving or cooking or eating or bathing. That will happen as you become conscious of the mind playing an artificial movie in your head. Feel the real movie of Life instead, place your awareness into the activities of the present instead. While doing things in Life, do as you wish but be AWARE of it!”