“I don’t even call it violence when it’s in self defense; I call it intelligence.” ―MalcomX
When someone attacks without apparent cause and there is no time to think, the immediate reaction to preserve life is natural intelligence to survive. But when someone expects to be attacked at any time and fear is inside, his action will be violent. That is not intelligence; for who will knowingly put his life at stake in the hands of another? Contrast the above quote with this one by Jose Marti: “An insatiable appetite for glory leads to sacrifice and death, but innate instinct leads to self-preservation and life.”
Angry impotency circulating in ourselves when we cannot change ourselves or another to fit our demands, will be expressed as what we call violence. The history of known humanity could be defined as utmost violence. Reading about the life of Malcom X we could easily observe that violence had surrounded his life experience: A silent witness of violence since childhood.
Understanding and goodwill does not arrive through violent means, but on the contrary the angry impotency to get even at some point by means of revenge, will be the outcome.
Self violence is expressed through repression or even through our perceived need to conform. Guilt or shame could be ways of self violence as well. Those emotions could be confined at one point, but will explode and could be used to hurt another.
The practice of “Non-violence” is another form of violence. Why? I could oppose without physically hurting another, but the intention to become a force against the wish of another force will be there; then, our actions will have that violent shade. We need to observe that a violent man cannot be ‘non-violent.’ It is not just about one action or two of pretending, but violence is in our BEING and will come out in our words, our demeanor, in our thoughts. Life has shown that those who have been violent by using the force of the collective consciousness to obtain their ideals, will have themselves a violent end.
A violent individual does not bring compassion to the world by practicing ‘non-violence.’ That individual needs to acknowledge that violence within and then heal it. As violence is no longer within; whatever he does, will be spared from the pungent smell of violence. Every significant change to change our world, starts within.
“Until we stop harming all other living beings, we are still savages.” ―Thomas Jefferson
How was it possible for empathy to be out of our system? At what point did we lose our ability to sense and feel someone else’s suffering? How could we talk about love when there is no compassion inside?
A Savage cannot stop being a savage by a new law or the practice of a new fashionable spiritual attitude. A savage has to be able to see himself in the mirror of a relationship with Life. Through that awareness, change could be. Until then, a human being will relentlessly exploit anything he thinks he needs to become “better.’
“Women endure entire lifetimes of these indignities—in the form of catcalls, groping, assault, oppression. These things injure us. They sap our strength. Some of the cuts are so small they’re barely visible. Others are huge and gaping, leaving scars that never heal. Either way, they accumulate. We carry them everywhere, to and from school and work, at home while raising our children, at our places of worship, anytime we try to advance.”― Michelle Obama, Becoming
Violence also exists in the relationship of men and women. The use of physical strength to subdue another is a savage way of relating. When a man uses that biological advantage to subdue, humiliate or degrade another; that man is a complete coward. Unfortunately many societies have supported that cowardice by labeling that as a ‘compliment’ from one gender to another. However, a sexual advance under that circumstance is not a compliment but a lack of respect, for whenever we think of another as an object to satisfy lustful mental desires, we do not care about the person but only about ourselves.
A coward will look for ways to express that violence with those who have no chance to defend themselves. ‘Compliments’ coming from such individuals are merely a show of their own shallowness.
A compliment when accompanied with a legitimate expression of admiration and a notch of elegance will be well received by most.
“The great secret of true success, of true happiness, is this: the man or woman who asks for no return, the perfectly unselfish person, is the most successful.”
― Swami Vivekananda
The word “success” is open to many interpretations. For that reason “true success” is an open door. In this quote, Vivekananda wanted to highlight one side of unselfishness which is to ask for no return when DOING “good.” For the beginner in spirituality, this quote deserves to be “practiced.” The end result being someone who is practicing something as a means to obtain something else, that is our own self gratification for we have “achieved” some sort of perceived unselfishness.
If I discover that I am selfish, then I want to be unselfish and thus, I will follow Vivekananda’s advise and “practice” not to ask for return. Now, after a few or many of those practices, I can call myself “unselfish” and “successful.” Is that so? Not a chance.
Unselfishness cannot be defined or put into a concept. Someone unselfish will not “practice” or rehearse in his mind the deed that he is to perform and the way that he will behave after the action has been completed. That is completely artificial. Also, Life may present situations when asking for a return is necessary. Life is not a static formula to be applied in all situations.
Unselfishness comes naturally when we realize that the “other” is also “me.” (See the third quote below) It is in that unity when there is no need to define “success,” for a natural act is only a reflection of who we truly ARE.
In the meantime; while that consciousness is not there in mankind, we could continue with our “practice” according to Vivekananda, and label ourselves whatever we wish. Obviously, it is better than DOING nothing.
“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.“
– Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Does it truly matter what label we think we ARE? (spiritual, bodily, astral, metaphysical, multidimensional, etc.) Paradoxically, what matters is to find out “who we ARE:” That is what we emit in Life, give in Life, for we could find out how we are contributing with Life. It is in under the observation of our relationship with other protagonists of Life, how we find who we ARE by ourselves; as long as we are aware of our thoughts, deeds and feelings. That is the most important finding beyond any sacred belief or dogma that we could ever engage in. In a nutshell, what we ARE is what we emit on a daily basis: Thoughts, words, deeds and of course, feelings. Could it be otherwise?
According to society, deeds alone will define us, but that is self deception. A “politically correct” lie to ourselves and others. A deed which is good, moral and with extensive benefit to all; comes from BEING first, which is in alignment with what we FEEL and think. That action is wholesome, honest and thus, will elevate our state of consciousness. For example, I could donate money to others. Society will praise that. I may get to be known as a ‘saint.’ However, my BEING is greedy and power hungry. I did that because I wanted a tax benefit (thoughts) and the admiration from others (feelings.) I will not follow up where those funds end up. I will not be there to give my time. Anyone can write a check if money is all they have. That dissonance between BEING, FEELING and THINKING creates an ACTION which will not be wholesome. That energy, may cause problems to others instead.
“The first peace, which is the most important, is that which comes within the souls of people when they realize their relationship, their oneness with the universe and all its powers, and when they realize at the center of the universe dwells the Great Spirit, and that its center is really everywhere, it is within each of us.“
– Black Elk
Oneness with the Universe, Life. In duality, we are individuals but also ONE unity with the Totality, therefore; omnipresent, that is ONE with all there is.
The state of consciousness of many are stuck in one side of that duality, that is individuality for their way to relate with life comes from thinking alone. Thought is divisive by nature. It likes to separate and label things. The change in consciousness comes when feelings become the new way to relate with Life. Feelings like Love, peace and happiness are not emotions. Going into the experience and understanding of that, is another notch in consciousness.
In the surroundings of a lovely afternoon, the sun was about to end its perceived daily trip from east to west, while giving the chance to most individuals to change the direction of their familiar gazes at this time: From looking downward to looking up at the sky. The scenery had that depth beyond the normal, trivial entertainment which the human mind has grown to be accustomed with.
The master said: “ To understand our own minds is perhaps one of the most important tasks that we could undertake. In general, the mind is an instrument to deal with memories, data and facts. The mind centers its existence in the past or the future only; that is; the mind lives in those times which are no longer real. The experience of the present as in “right now” is not of the mind. Thus, if you look at a sunset, you could look at it attentively as if that was the first time ever; that sight is immensely fulfilling or you can choose to take a photograph and look at it later and use your mind to label that sight and compare it: ‘It was yesterday at 6pm. Last year’s was better’ and completely miss that wonder. Humanity has grown to be content with having a picture or a video for that information of pixels is all the mind needs; but they are missing the unique moment of being in front of a timeless presence which no picture or film can ever grab. That timeless moment can nourish you. A picture cannot.”
The disciple had a question: “Master, isn’t a memory needed to connect with people? Otherwise, how could I remember that I know you?”
The master responded: “While the mind will allow us to remember someone from our childhood; it is that same mind creating a still picture, a belief that that one who we have met many years ago, is still the same. Therefore, most will relate with their own mind pictures rather than what is actually there. To find out what is there, you may need to observe as if that was the first time ever.”
The master paused for a few seconds and then continued: “The mind will judge based on social protocols which it has learned through conditioning. That judgment has the polarity of moral standards such as good or bad. That judgment will make us biased. A lazy mind will not consider change for it likes the certainty of what it already knows. Therefore, you will find in Life people who will be attached to their beliefs and defend them even to the expense of losing their own lives, in the name of truth. The mind finds a way to maintain its principles under the facade of improvement, which is another ideal of pursuit of that mind.
The mind is very good at recalling pieces of information to resolve technical or mathematical problems; it has the idea that Life follows the same protocols; that is the accumulation of information which has been labeled as knowledge to solve problems. Thus, the mind will follow ready-made recipes which do not necessarily meet the need of time. There is a disconnection with ‘what is.’
The mind creates separation, as it is designed to see differences. Those differences will be the ingredients to create beliefs. Those beliefs are static and cannot match the fluidity of Life. The mind creates what is known as ego in every individual as well as collective identity: Patriotism, nationalism, chauvinism are degrees of that same disease of pursuing separation, but yet the mind distinguishes those labels as different and appeal to the morality of ‘good and bad’ to make one degree of separation between those words and create a theoretical moral reality.
Moreover; suffering is a creation of the mind, that is the continuous repetition of distorted facts in time. Life will give us the experience of pain and pleasure: Physical, emotional or psychological; but the mind will make that experience into a ghost of torments or a pleasurable treasure to look for in a repetitive fashion, to bring addiction to our experience.
Pain is a fact of Life. Suffering is the option of a sick mind. Pleasure is the other side of the coin following pain, but addiction is the option of that ill mind. Therefore, the intensity of your suffering will give you the intensity of your addiction.”
Finally, the master went into a deep silence and emerged after a few seconds and said: “ The mind could be your greatest friend or your most formidable enemy. ”
Will resume writing on August 19, 2021. Enjoy life!
The Master was explaining to his disciple about the journey of self-realization.
Master: “The journey starts with the observation of your mind. Observe the difference between you and your mind.”
Disciple: “what is to observe the mind?”
Evidently, the disciple wasn’t aware of the difference between him and his mind.
Master: “ Sit comfortably. Breathe in and out slowly, while looking at the wall in front of you. All that exists for you is the wall in front.”
Disciple: “ What is the purpose of that exercise?”
The Master ignored the question. The disciple practiced the exercises for a while.
Master: “ Tell me. What was the purpose of the exercise?”
Disciple: “ Well, I don’t know. My mind was trying to escape from looking at the wall. I was thinking of many things while I kept reminding me- ‘Look at the wall.’ My mind was getting tired.”
Master: “Was your mind reminding your mind to look at the wall?”
Disciple: “I don’t know.”
Master: “When you know, you will find out what is observation of the mind. The observer and that which is observed. Then, those 2 can become one.”
To separate means to acknowledge their singular value to then appreciate the wholesomeness of their union.
Most individuals are aware of all the problems going on in the world: Global warming, poverty, wars, riots, human rights issues, animal right issues, inequality of wealth, tyrannies, social class issues, etc. All of those ‘issues’ have been created by society itself.
When some self-realized individual refer to our world as “ugly, cruel, violent, mad, etc.” Most individuals instantly dismiss that. Those words do not matter to most, for humans have created their own “heaven on Earth,” that is a little bit of hope of a “better future,” a mix of “let me get some wealth, power, and social status” and a sprinkle of believing that “we have plenty of time to live.”
The level of conditioning of most human beings is outstanding: Many were born to work repetitive, non-challenging jobs for most of their lives and their aim in Life is to “buy things,” and start a family just like themselves: Unable to observe the “Matrix” around them. Completely trapped in it. As long as there are countless ways to get entertainment, these individuals are “happy,” although; they will never know the actual experiential meaning of happiness.
Observe this: There are many people facing hunger around the world. Humans will not lift a finger to help “thy neighbor” unless there is money flowing. What is money? Fancy paper without real value, as it used to have when the World had the gold standard. Humans are so trapped in their own game of coins and papers, and will remain oblivious of the suffering of their own kind. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/09/world-richest-millions-starving-wfp-200918090724645.html
It is hard to convey to someone trapped in that game, about the intricacies of ego and greed; when their game dictates that “they must acquire and keep for themselves and only give when there is profit.” Their whole conditioning doesn’t allow them to see others as themselves, but there is a constant separation, a constant division which perpetuates suffering. It is “me” vs “you” and the “survival of the fittest,” just like those animals in the wild with the difference that for an animal there is no thinking involved; so there is no motive to kill and exterminate others. Their way keeps a balance of species within Nature. On the other hand, humans extinguish species. Humans have a clear objective, a plan and that makes their activity completely ego-centered, greedy for there is no harmony with Nature and the common good. Thinking is unable to feel harmony.
When we are so attached to this “game” we cannot become aware of what is going on. While in the game, we can only believe that everything will get better if the economic conditions are alright. We can only see at a superficial level. We believe that we can teach someone to be honest, to have values, when we are not honest. That is the greatest mirage. “Teaching” values is not the same as teaching math. I wonder why we haven’t figured that one out? We are immersed in the thinking “game.”
To observe society from a different perspective, we need to be outside the game. That observation requires solitude and independence from the influence of the “game” for a long time.
Someone who is used to eat sugar, may hear that sugar is “bad for you” but still eat it in many ways. When that person is no longer exposed to sugar for a long time, then if the person tastes sugar again, then he will be in shock due to too much sweetness. Similarly is the process of being able to observe the “game,” it can thoroughly be done once we are out of it. That step of courage isn’t made through joining a religion or some spiritual group. Life chooses the time, according to our readiness.
Just like the word “energy,” when the word “feeling” is mentioned, that word can mean many things.
We feel pain. We feel love. We feel the breeze of the air. We feel anxiety. We feel cold. We feel fulfilled. All those “feelings” do not have anything in common. Some are related with physical senses, others with the mind and yet others are mostly subjective, according to personal experience such is the case with love or peace.
What do we mean when we say that we could relate with Life through feelings and not the mind?
That is a hard question to answer for it depends on our experience and observation of the mind. Most humans at this time, are completely plugged in with their minds, completely identified with it as “I,” thus Life will be only experienced through their mind.
Therefore, someone who only “knows” and experiences Life through ideals, definitions, explanations and concepts, is not able to feel in Life, for feeling is not of the mind.
Some have made a separation between the mind and the “heart,” identifying the heart as the center of feelings. However, this has brought further misunderstanding, as many think the heart is a romantic place left for artists, which is disconnected from ‘reality.’
There is the feeling of emotions which is the typical center of perception of artists, and there is the feeling of sentiments, which are not part of duality. In short, an emotion is duality a sentiment is not.
When we look at the innocent face of a baby or when we reconnect with someone who we haven’t seen for a long time, there is an unrehearsed “feeling” which will feed us, that is we will feel “good” and wholesome for a moment until the mind appears with thoughts and inner chatter. That sensation which is unexpected, legitimately unrehearsed could be a description of a feeling.
Why is it so important to feel? Because fulfillment in Life is through feeling. The mind is not capable of being fulfilled. Humans are looking for fulfillment in Life. That is the basic premise of living.
Our actions, our responses are utterly conditioned. “Hi! How u doing? Good? Great! Good to see ya!” For most that common interaction is completely coming from the mind. Typically, we do not mean what we say but it is a rehearsed, accepted, socially correct and desired behavior.
Feeling through sentiments brings calmness, well being in connecting with another and Life.
We may need to be aware of this to reduce the influence of the mind, for otherwise; we may live a completely unfulfilled life. Although we may have accomplished many things in society, our minds will not allow us to sense fulfillment. The mind is driven to go for more. To accomplish the ultimate experience, believing that once we arrive there, then we will be happy. But that time never arrives, and that is a blessing for an overworked mind, for otherwise a mental breakdown may appear. “I arrived but it is not as I thought. I wasted my Life. I ‘feel’ empty handed.”
Another name for “feeling” could be “No-mind.” When there is an experience of no-mind, the “problems” created by our minds are not. Thus, we can observe with freshness and without the filter, or veil of worries and unfulfilled wishes. Through no-mind, the fulfillment of the moment (now) has satisfaction, while our anxiety for “solutions” in the mind world remains. Observing that contrast will show us our path.
Reasoning kills our feelings. Have we observed that?
For many seekers, the ego is some sort of individual entity tagged with the word “I,” and offered an extension of its influence through the word “mine.” That description is easy to grasp, but not enough.
A seeker should not be comfortable with a description, which only brings mental understanding of the idea; but a seeker may need to observe that ego in action, become conscious when it is being displayed as it happens in “real time.”
We may discover that the inner chattering of the mind is part of that “I” and the outcome of our conditioning. When we identify with that voice as “Me,” that is the second when action is the outcome of pure conditioning. Therefore, where is our “free will”? Some trying to make a distinction between the ego and that which is “really me,” may say that the voice of the chattering mind is not me, but the one hearing it, is truly “me.” However, the voice and the one who listens are both the mind, where different faces of ego come from.
Our society encourages the cementing of ego as that brings individuality. Our society is made under the premise that we are all separate; therefore our minds will bring that understanding of Life which brings as consequence, the perception of conflict to preserve that “I” when dealing with others.
Individuality is merely an aspect of the experience of Life. Because we are unable to observe how connected we are with Life, we encourage division, competition: The “I” with its many identities will fight with other “I’s” for supremacy.
What are those identities of the “I”? A profession, social status, a team, a political party, a religion, a belief, an ideal, a country. Observe that those identities are idealistic, nevertheless; those are “real” in our mind world. For example, burning a flag may be considered a criminal act for the ideal it represents when in reality, a flag is a piece of colored cloth which encourages human division.
How is it possible for someone to observe without bias his own ego,while still trapped in some identity? It is a very limited scope of observation.
It is an interesting exercise to read the world news and observe the extension of identification of humans with different ideals which will make up their egos and how the mechanics of conflict will be unavoidably there; which are usually dealt with violence. That is in a nutshell the history of mankind, thus we are born with that legacy. That is our conditioning.
What is the way out ? It is not through some social agreement or structure or law, as those are other ways we have invented to deal with conflict in society. Those methods are meant to “do something about the problem;” and we have changed things around superficially throughout History, although psychologically man is the same. There is constant division within and with others.
As a species we are highly conditioned to use only the mind to deal with society’s problems, thus we can only perceive Life though a mental position, which is empty of fulfillment. The “normal” man is an unfulfilled creature who is constantly searching for meaning.
The issue is the overused ego driven mind. Is there another way of connecting with Life besides the mind? Yes. There is. With Feeling. Fulfillment is there. That is the journey seldom walked by the “normal” man.