The atheist entered and started looking at the decoration: Images of saints and Jesus crucified in a cross. The atheist was surprised by the atmosphere of peace that he felt in that wide room.
All of the sudden, he saw a white light which almost blinded him but increased his peace and made him feel a special bliss that he has never felt before.
The atheist was surprised after the experience and told his friend about it.
His friend said: “That is God showing you that he exists.” The priest knew about that experience of the atheist and congratulated him profusely. It was a miracle.
The atheist had experienced God by popular interpretation, therefore; he decided to convert himself into a Christian and from that point on, he strongly believed in God and followed his Godly book; the Bible.
The priest used this singular story to support his beliefs and the beliefs of those who believed in him. 🙂
The above story may have happened to many of us. Through an extraordinary experience, we thought that God has “chosen us.” After all, not too many folks experience that type of experience.
“I am special,” we thought.
Notice how the interpretation of an experience resulted in the change of consciousness of the atheist.
That which he denied, all of the sudden was completely embraced to the same extreme as his denial.
That is the story of St. Paul as well as the story of many “believers.”
What could have happened if that “special” experience was felt in a Muslim mosque? Or what about a Hindu temple?
Obviously, “God” automatically would have acquired those colors.
What is important to observe is not that the atheist have found God.
Observe how his consciousness has changed into the opposite side.
Observe how an interpretation has validated his beliefs.
Observe how general acceptance has determined that new “reality.”
Eventually, that “experience” becomes the hook into becoming a believer.
The label of “atheist” will change into “theist.”
That change is very superficial. The former atheist may follow rituals, he may confess his sins and pray to God all he wants, but his consciousness will be stuck in that new location, for a dogma will be created in his mind.
He found the “One.” The “One” who was denied.
Nevertheless, that may be the starting point in his “spiritual career.”
Unless this person allows for his consciousness to be open to further experiences, he will not be able to change anymore.
In his mind, he has found security and support from a group. He has “arrived.”
However, in his heart there will be the longing of needing something else.
Why? Is finding God or a belief in God not enough?
No… unless he wants to believe it is.
Once the belief is confronted and discovered, he may move into the next step.
What is it?
He will need to find himself.
To find the “One” is not enough until we become “One.”
That “knowing” is not theory. It is not something to recite and to “tell others.”
Being (labeling) an “atheist” or a “theist” is of no consequence unless we believe that to be the case. Lost into that duality, we could get “busy” by “doing things” such as proselytizing, supporting the faith, doing all rituals, etc. or going against it in a “hate” campaign. More duality…Same consciousness.
When those 2 words are forgotten, then we could be away from labels and perhaps discover that we are not those labels that we used to believe we were…
At that point, the search truly starts…
The “special” experience is meant to be enjoyed. It is the point for a change. It is not meant to be interpreted.
The path of the “middle way” is not a path. It is self-discovery. It is “our” path but not a path.
Followers are not required. If we follow someone else’s path, we are following our understanding, our interpretation of that based on our own unique experiences in life.
There is no interpretation when we pay attention to our own feelings and awareness, as long as those are not framed into a belief system, which only gives greater weight to the “I.”
To discover our limits by going from one extreme into the other, is the basics of knowing about “us.” It is in that discovery when we may find out that our limit is not someone else’s.
Later on, we may become aware that a “limit now may not be tomorrow.”
Then we could assure someone that “we went over our limit. We conquered our limitations.”
I assure you, that it is someone else and not that known “you” who found a limit, who actually did not find a limit.
That is a feature of words and language.
Mark is a decent competitive runner. His personal record for the 5 K is 15 minutes and 30 seconds.
That is his limit.
After a couple of years of training, Mark “improved” his time. Now he can run a 5 K under 15 minutes.
We believe that it is the same Mark “improving himself.”
I assure you that this is not the case.
Our awareness is static. Fixed in a label. The label in this case is “Mark.”
Through language we could make a story always referring back to that label: “Mark.”
Mark is this. Mark is that. Mark is a good runner. Mark is a bad runner. Mark is a decent runner (compared to “me.”)
Do we see how our perception is always static?
Do we realize that Mark’s body, mind and consciousness are always changing, evolving?
Therefore, how can I say that it is the same person?
That is the starting point to become aware of that which we call the “I.”
That “I” becomes the greatest limit there is, for if that “I” did not exist, where is the limit?
If that “I” did not exist, why do we need to find our limits through the “middle path”?
It would be completely unnecessary.
Because there is an “I” there are limits.
To find our limits is to find the extent of that “I.”
When someone says: “I don’t exist.”
Do we label that person as crazy?
Or perhaps, there is some intelligence in that perspective.
Therefore, Who is the “I” that will go to heaven?
Who is the “I” that will die?
Who is the “I” that separates?
When the above is no longer intellectual understanding, then we could perceive the Totality and in that realm, there are no beliefs.
The “I” becomes everything because it is no longer limited by itself.
One of the most fascinating aspects of self-knowledge is the ability to sit down at the couch with nothing to do or think about and just enjoy that moment for the emptiness of it.
To be empty is a delightful feeling.
No thoughts to think about. No beliefs to be fearful of. No memories to fantasize with.
The thoughts appear slowly, but then to observe them as we see a distant star in the sky, is all there is. I wouldn’t dare to call that “my thought” as I wouldn’t call that star, “my star.”
If there is identification with that thought, then that thought becomes “mine” and with that an emotion will appear as a consequence of that possession.
Do we need any scientific evidence to become aware that those thoughts are not created by “us”?
Find out for yourself by getting rid of all beliefs in your mind. The first and most challenging belief is the existence of the “I.”
is it too drastic, huh?
Maybe we just need less distraction and entertainment and more idle time to reflect, to recharge, to feel life, to observe.
Seeing life and feeling it, does not require interpretation of any kind.
Any belief system or tradition is merely a way to interpret life.
If you are a seeker and you worry that “idle hands are the devil’s workshop” let me share a secret with you: When you feel gratitude and appreciation of life from your heart, there is no one who can take you to the “underworld.”
My friend Mathias shared that with me, but I put that advice into practice, so it is “my” secret now.
On the other hand, if you become an intellectual head, thinking and analyzing beliefs, then you’d better do lots of “good things” to get “busy” with, before your unobserved mind takes you to wild trips.
Seeing the world through borrowed glasses of some ideology or tradition will not allow someone to put the time where it is most important.
What is that place?
That which is known as the “I.”
To discover that which we call “the self” is to fully live life.
Without that self-discovery all we have left is pointless activities, which we may call with several glorious labels… but at the end it is just to kill time… until time kills the one… who practiced killing time. Karma! 🙂
No interpretations in that.
Raymond was finally home after a busy day of work.
Raymond didn’t feel like doing anything for the rest of the night. He relaxed in his couch, turned the lights off and started to look at the window while listening to Jeff Kashiwa’s “Hyde park.” 🙂
Raymond was able to listen attentively that song for the first time!
Even though, he has listened to it many times before, his mind was busy in trips back to the office, or in thinking about someone’s life, the purpose of life, etc.
Raymond was looking at the window but he wasn’t interpreting anything in his mind. There was no script playing. Raymond was thoughtless!
During that time, Raymond appreciated the beginning of silence as a prelude of the song, to a shy start into simplicity, elation and “brightness” of the tune… The slow crescendo into maturity to the fading away into silence…
That was awareness and appreciation at the same time!
Why is it so difficult to stop thinking?
Isn’t it that “I” created the thought? Then, why it is so hard to stop it? 🙂
Let us not bring explanations and theories about it. Let us not bring a belief.
Just observe the inner voice, the movie, the coming and going to different places through the mind, catch-all of that “activity” right now.
Be aware of it. Conscious.
And then, the miracle may happen… It may stop.
If we take our attention into something else, the inner activity with thoughts and ideas will start again.
Unless we are conscious of this thing happening, there is no book or religion or savior that could liberate us from living life in our heads.
Thinking is “good,” only when necessary. In our society, at this time; thinking has transformed into “over-thinking” which is a disease.
Do you want to worry about something? Do you want to plan things out to the last detail?
What about thinking about the unforeseen circumstances? Let us plan for some remedies. Let us make a scenario to think about….
All of that stuff that we have learned so we can theorize about how sound and logical our actions are, and get the approval from someone; all of that is creating a noise which does not allow us to enjoy life, to appreciate it, to sit back and relax…
Do we want tips on how not to over think?
That is, well “thought out” methods? Do we want to meditate about a thought? 🙂
Have you heard the “it is impossible not to think” theory?
That belief is an obstacle in our own discovery.
To meditate, our minds need to be clear from that noise, then that silence is healing, it is comforting, it is fulfilling.
Raymond experienced a meditative state while listening to that song.
Raymond discovered that there was no difference between life and how a song plays.
Everything starts in silence and goes back to silence.
Thus, it is in silence (thoughtless state) how we could know our essence without beliefs.
Wesley finally decided to call her friend Karen, after sometime of not knowing anything about her.
Wesley had a swift romantic relationship with Karen a couple of years ago. The relationship ended because Karen was in love with another guy, Terry.
From Karen’s perspective, Wesley was the kind of supportive person who was helping her while she “rebuilt herself,” while she was alone, after breaking up with Terry.
From Wesley’s perspective, that “rebuilding herself” meant “until Terry called her again.”
Destiny brought a surprise to Wesley.
Karen was available again! She just finished a 2-year relationship with Tom.
Wesley went out with Karen. They had a good time. Karen embraced Wesley effusively at the end of the night, smiled at him and left.
Wesley interpreted that hug as the open door to pursue Karen.
From Karen’s perspective, that effusive hug was her appreciation and care for Wesley.
It was Wesley’s interpretation, which brought about his own disappointment later on: Karen repeated the same pattern. She gave Tom, her latest “better half” a new opportunity to reunite.
This example illustrates the danger of interpretation.
Interpretation cannot convey the true meaning of things, for it is limited to our own life experiences. To value or judge others based on what we consider to be “right” is to be narrow-minded.
To believe that God has a “formula” of what is “good or bad” is truly infantile.
An interpretation is a belief… and beliefs are just that. Beliefs.
To be able to perceive the unspoken language, or the expression behind words and behaviors, is an art which requires a different kind of intelligence.
Human beings are contradictive in nature. For example, living a long life is the ideal for most minds but not to get old and decrepit. We cannot live a long life without getting old… 🙂
That contradiction implies a paradoxical aspect of life.
When there is an interpretation of a text or a talk by someone, we could only go as far as our own experience.
The well-known Guru “Top Cat,” meowed to his gang: “ In love 2 beings become One, but yet they are 2.”
The logical “Brain” interpreted: “ It is not logical that 2 beings could be 1, for 1+1 =2 not 1. TC is wrong. Logic is always right.”
The philosophical “Choo-choo” interpreted: “For 2 to be One, someone must follow the other. Love then is to follow the beloved.”
The metaphysical “Benny” said: “ There is unity in nothingness. An egoless romance of 2 is always one.”
The fun-loving “Spook” interpreted: “ Like …cheese and bread, man.”
“Fancy-Fancy” did not say a thing. He probably knew by “experience.” 🙂
Our experience is not the benchmark for understanding. It is just the way life has chosen to interact with us.
Reality is when interpretation is not.
The perception of “what is” will be biased unless the observer is part of that which is being observed.
If we have not experienced the above, then we will always think that “my perception” is the truth.
For instance, a religious book or a religious reading is conveying information. That information has been interpreted; in that way it can be put into words.
That interpretation depends on life experiences and emotional culture of the time of the one writing the book.
“God says to love him and no one else but Him.” It is a phrase that could be interpreted in many ways according to experiences and emotional background.
If my experience of love is exclusive, then that is what my perception will be.
If my experience of God is “personal” then my interpretation will be of being into a “One-to one “relationship.
Please see that my interpretation is based in my cultural background, which will develop my own desires and those desires will shape up my “reality.” That reality will be different even among people who may “believe” the same as myself.
Have you ever wondered how “God” may perceive love to be?
No. It is all about you and your perception.
Do you think that “God” has the same consciousness as you?
Yes. Because it is all about your perception.
That is how religious and spiritual teachings become misinterpreted as words cannot describe a reality beyond words which hasn’t been experienced by the one receiving a teaching.
That is why, all spiritual teachings are merely referential. Those teachings are meant to be discovered through our own life experiences.
Sally believes that to have a small animal in the household is important to liberate the members of the family from receiving harm from others. The animal is believed to be less stronger and it could absorb the harm inflicted to a family.
In a culture were vodou and damage through spirits is common when there is envy of one another, then this practice may have some usefulness.
In other settings and cultural background, to have an animal in the household may not be desirable.
The issue is to constantly believe that something holds true for every circumstance. That is known as a “dogma.”
Sally’s experience in life is not the same as Mary’s and cannot be considered “better” than anyone else’s.
In a different consciousness, words are meaningless. Explanations are not needed.
Because the world is as it should be. What matters in to learn to enjoy that “reality.”
I can interpret things in different ways, but my happiness, my enjoyment remains.
When we have understood the above, then interpretations will be discarded for they do not add anything to my quality of enjoyment of life.
As a matter of fact, many beliefs only do the opposite, that is they become a burden to open our consciousness into a different understanding.
For those “working on” being a virtuous human being; one of the most talk about virtues is that of being humble.
If we go into the Google dictionary for a definition of that word, we will read: “Having or showing a modest or low estimate of one’s own importance.” Even “of low social, administrative, or political rank.”
For someone used to “becoming” what the dictionary says; a concise translation of humble is to “lower yourself.” 😦
Mark: “I am a very good cook.”
Mary: “That could be true, but you are not humble at all.”
Isn’t that what we believe to “humble”?
Mark: “ I know, I am a very good cook… but if I don’t express that, “others” will recognize me as being humble.”
Mary: “That is being a fake, Mark!”
Fortunately, Mark does not think out loud very often. 🙂
In Spirituality, many things are interpreted with the mentality of someone who is used to worldly ways.
In the world, we “work hard and long hours to make things happen” therefore, in Spirituality if “I” want a virtue to be “mine,” “I” will need to “work on it.”
The dictionary’s meaning of “humble” is merely a word denoting the opposite of “proud.”
Please see that when we are dealing with “opposite meanings,” we are in duality and when we are in duality, we cannot possibly know what goes beyond duality; otherwise known as “pure.”
And the big question is WHY?
Because, that duality only expresses 2 sides of ego. When you estimate yourself low that is ego, as well as when there is a high esteem. But we can make it sound “nice” and “religious” by calling it “humble.”
As a matter of fact, for most that word “humble” already comes with “good” connotations. It is a “good” word to say. It is a “good” thing to be. A “good” ideal to strive for, to work for.
The above is only shown as to make us aware about the “power or words” in our life.
At the same time, the power of “I.” 🙂
There cannot be deep understanding of spirituality, when we are trying to “save” that “I,” by lowering it or by highlighting it.
There cannot be spiritual understanding of what we call a “virtue,” when we rely on the dictionary for meaning.
What is to be humble?
Humble only appears when there is no sense of “I” separating from the “others.”
When there is separation through thinking, “I” am already comparing. In that comparison, there is “ego” underneath.
When “I” think about “I,” the body is used as a point of reference. That body as unit. If the stomach hurts, then that is the time when “I” start making magical separations.
“My stomach.” “My liver.” That separation continues on as we get “smarter,” “educated.”
My “Sternocleidomastoid” muscle hurts… 🙂
However, we don’t see that the body works as a unit. Everything is related with each organ, muscle, tissue, ligament, etc. which is connected with our emotional and psychological aspect, which in turn manifests in the subtle, the aura, and then in the physical through an organ… and that is the outcome, the pain that we point out: “my stomach” rather than “it hurts here” pointing to the location of the stomach.
Most of the time, the stomach is not the culprit of that pain but usually that pain comes from other sources, from what “I” have done… 🙂
Language is not bad, just inaccurate for full communication. That is why in Spirituality we need to live something to understand.
The same is with being “humble.” All virtuous living will come as our perception of separation through that “I,” diminishes.
At that point a humble person will be someone who is fully displaying all the gifts that life has endowed him/her for the benefit of all; the common good.
Mark: “This food turned out to be good!”
Mary: “It must be the gift of the cook…”