Two Things In Common

Every human being on the planet has two things in common: birth and death. We are all born and we will all die. Beyond that, whatever else our lives might share in common depends on our culture and conditioning, and there will be very little consistency in this area when you consider that there are almost eight billion of us.

Actually, there are three things that we all have in common: birth, death, and consciousness. The beauty of consciousness is that it isn’t subject to the laws of time and space. Our body-minds are born into a world, live for a period of time, and then perish. But consciousness is always present, and therefore is never born and never dies.

And what is this consciousness? It’s that element of our being that knows all experience, but is not itself an experience. The element of our being that allows us to say unconditionally, I am, or I exist. The element of our being that knows the coming and going of all things, yet doesn’t come and go with them.

Most importantly, consciousness is the element of our being that exists prior to our being, and then manifests as a body-mind, allowing us to experience thinking, feeling, sensing, and to perceive the world through sights, sounds, tastes, textures, and smells.

And what a world it is! As manifestations of consciousness, we have this unique moment in time and space to think myriad thoughts, feel intense emotions, sense pleasure and pain, and see, hear, taste, touch, and smell the extraordinary world around us.

And then it will be gone. Not consciousness, but the body-mind, with all of its fantastic abilities, limited as they may be, and the world, with all of its wonders.

Consciousness, as it is everywhere and, therefore, everything, never goes anywhere. It never appears or disappears. It just is. Can you find any place, any object or thing, any self, where consciousness is not present? No. It would be like saying you can find a wave without an ocean.  

Look at your experience and recognize that consciousness is not in you, us, but that you, we, are in consciousness. Therefore, none of us are ever born and we will never die. Yes, our body-minds appear at birth and disappear at death, but the stuff we are made of, consciousness, is ever-present and unchanging. Infinite and eternal.

As you, I, we, are that . . .

. . . be that.

All that is.

Be The Changeless

The phrase ‘Be the change you want to see in the world,’ commonly attributed to Mahatma Gandhi, is often heard around self-help and self-actualization groups, as well as in numerous spiritual and political circles. It’s a wonderful concept: instead of trying to change others to lead a better, more conscious life, change yourself first and lead, inspire, by example.

But change is just that, change. In other words, we change the image or behavior of ourself in the hopes that it will rub off on others. Who is to say that our ‘change for the better’ is good for someone else? And if we can change once, what’s to say that we won’t change again, perhaps in another direction?

For a more stable and conscious society, shouldn’t we be trying to locate that unchanging element which is common to all of us? Something that we can all relate to as a neutral starting point for dialogue and action?

Our body-minds, made up of mortal flesh and bone, are a constantly changing flow of thoughts, feelings, sensations, sights, sounds, tastes, textures, and smells. Granted, some changes are imperceptible or gradual, and others more obvious, but there is constant change, nonetheless.

But there is an unchanging element to our experience, an unchanging element to our being that has been with every one of us for our entire lives, and is with us now at this very moment.

What is this changeless element? How do we identify it? How do we identify anything? We acknowledge its presence and observe its behavior.

With a simple investigation, you can discover for yourself the changeless element to your being. Sit quietly for a moment. Notice a thought as it comes to your attention, lingers for a short time, and then disappears. The thought comes and goes, but that which notices the thought remains.

This changeless element is that which notices all experience of the body, mind, and world, but is not itself an actual experience. All experiences come and go, but that which knows all experience doesn’t come and go with them. This is the changeless element to our being.

Once we identify this changeless element to our being, we might think that it is unique to our personal self. But upon further investigation, we discover that this changeless element is not in our personal self, our individual body-mind, but that our individual body-mind, our so-called separate self, is in this changeless element.

You can check the validity of this for yourself. Ask yourself, can anything exist outside of this changeless element? If you say yes, where would it come from? If you look carefully, no boundary can be found to that which knows all experience, and there is no time when it is not present. In other words, it is infinite and eternal. We have to conclude that nothing can exist or come from outside of this changeless element, and, this being the case, we can further conclude that we all must be made out of it. We are all unique manifestations of the same limitless, timeless stuff. All one. Not two. 

Instead of being the change that you want to see in the world, discover the changeless being that you want to see in the world – the open-hearted, clear-seeing, right-acting being that we all are at our core. Maybe, just maybe, this might inspire someone else to do the same.

Meet Divine Awareness

‘The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware,  

joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware.’  

~ Henry Miller (1891-1980) 

Not just ‘to be aware,’ as that infers that we might be something other than that, but to recognize that we are awareness itself.

You, I, we, are divinely aware of all things that come and go, yet this divine awareness, our essential being in which all appearances arise, are known by, and made of, doesn’t come and go with them.

To be aware is to be our self – our indivisible, unchangeable, ever-present self. And it is the same for all of us. Everyone on the planet is a manifestation of this Divine Awareness.

Look into the eyes of a stranger and say to yourself, ‘Divine Awareness, meet Divine Awareness.’

*Thanks to good friend Steve Donoso for sharing this quote.

By All Appearances

By all appearances, there is an individual self, a ‘me’ made up of a body-mind, in here, and a ‘world’ of people, places, and things out there.

By all appearances.

And then there’s that other old nugget: appearances can be deceiving.

By all appearances, it looks like there are two or more things going on – me and you, us and them, inside and outside, this and that, etc. But is this our actual experience?

Not only can appearances be deceiving, they are deceiving.

Just as a magician pulls a coin from behind your ear and then makes it disappear in his hand, all appearances of the mind, body, and world appear and disappear. Deception at its finest!

Check it out. Thoughts come and go. Feelings come and go. Sensations come and go. Perceptions of the world are constantly coming and going. But what one thing does not come and go with them?

The presence with which they are known.

Ask yourself the question, who or what is this knowing presence that is aware of the coming and going of all things – thoughts, emotions, sensations, and perceptions of the world – yet doesn’t come and go with them?

You don’t have to search for this knowing presence, because you are this knowing presence. Relax in this, your essential nature, and its qualities of peace, love, and happiness will permeate your entire life, especially when it comes to relationships and actions.

A Knotted Rope

Your essential being is ever-present Awareness that only knows itself.

You exist prior to anything manifest in the phenomenal world.

Anything you can observe, you are not.

You exist prior to your heartbeat, during your heartbeat, and in the space before the next heartbeat.

You exist prior to space.

You are before the are that you think you are.

Just as a knotted rope is still a rope, a tangled Awareness is still Awareness.

You can tie a hundred knots in a rope and it’s still a rope, just as you can flood our shared essential being, the infinite and eternal space of Awareness, with countless objects – from fleeting thoughts and painful feelings to flowing rivers and shooting stars – and it’s still Awareness.

What we crave most is going home to love.

Love loving Love.

E Pluribus Unum

During Hillary Clinton’s acceptance speech for presidential candidate she talked about ‘working together so we can rise together.’ She said, ‘Our country’s motto is E Pluribus Unum: out of many, we are one. Will we stay true to that motto?’

If we do stay true to that motto there will be a problem. Or, more accurately, the ongoing (for millennia) condition of worldwide divisiveness and conflict will continue to be a problem.

With a slight shift in perspective, we flip the motto to E Unum Pluribus – out of the One comes the many. Isn’t this closer to our actual experience? In fact, isn’t this our actual experience?

We are not the many coming together to create oneness, be it of thought, word, and deed, or the pursuit of happiness. We are each a manifestation of oneness, or, as the sage might say to erase all confusion, we are each a manifestation of that which is not two.

As long as there is an individual self who holds a belief, opinion, or position over another individual self, the human race will remain on its dubious and often desperate path.

Look at your experience and see that there is no division between self and other – where is the borderline between not two? – and you quickly see that working together, rising together, is not a problem. It’s no longer a joint effort. In fact, it is no effort – it is oneness being oneness. Love loving love.

In closing, our candidate for President of the Universe and Beyond implores us to ‘Vote today, and every moment, for E Unum Pluribus!’

Such Is Life

A dear old friend died recently, and when the news was relayed to a mutual friend, he said, ‘Such is life.’

Such is life. Impermanent. Fleeting. Our body-mind is made up of temporary thoughts, feelings, sensations, and perceptions, all bound by the limits of time and space.

Not so Awareness.

If we look closely at our experience, there is an unchanging presence from which we actually view this life. A presence that cannot be denied. An unchanging presence, without beginning or end, without limits or boundaries. An unchanging ever-present knowing that is infinite and eternal.

While alive, or as Mooji likes to say, ‘while our body is still warm,’ recognize this Awareness, this being-ness that exists prior to, during, and after ‘life’ as we know it begins and ends.

Acknowledge the aware presence that knows the coming and going of all things – including the body-mind with its ephemeral qualities and so-called birth/life/death cycle – but doesn’t come and go with them.

Everyone’s essential being is this unchanging, knowing, aware presence that exists even before we utter the words ‘I am.’ Recognize this, and then discard the notion of any presence, even the thought ‘I am’, as ultimately we are prior to the idea of . . . anything.

Whatever

Whatever you perceive you are not.

You perceive a body that experiences pleasure and pain.

You are not.

You perceive a mind filled with thoughts, images, and memories.

You are not.

You perceive a world outside full of beings and objects.

You are not.

You perceive the wonders and horrors of humanity and beasts, nature and the universe.

You are not.

You perceive the observer of all these things.

You are not.

If you are not any of the above, what remains?

You.

All Good Things

All good things must come to an end. So the old proverb tells us, and we appreciate its wisdom. What it doesn’t tell is us that all the bad, sublime, and ugly things must also come to an end.

All that we perceive, all that is experienced – thoughts, strong emotions, bodily sensations, or anything else that can be named – must come to an end. In other words, all ‘things’ come to an end. But that which is not a thing, that which knows all things, in fact, that from which all things arise, does not come to an end with them.

If you know the coming and going of all things, yet don’t come and go with them – for example, a thought comes and goes, yet you who are aware of the thought remains – who are you? What are you?

You can’t be a temporary body-mind made up of fleeting thoughts, feelings, sensations, and perceptions, as these all come and go. If you look closely at your experience, there is something about you that is aware of the coming and going of all things, yet doesn’t come and go with them.

Become aware of the ‘you’ that exists prior to, during, and after a thought, feeling, sensation, or perception has come and gone. This knowing presence is unchanged by anything that comes and goes in its field of awareness, and its essence is that of peace, happiness, and love.

Understand that this knowing presence, the awareness with which you know any ‘thing’, is all that can be found when we look for the background of our experience. Then recognize its limitless, ageless nature – for no edge or boundary, beginning or end, can be found – and realize that there can be only one.

Therefore, we must conclude, and rightly so, that you, I, we, are each a unique manifestation of this one infinite and eternal source.

One source for all appearances, all things.

Not two.

 

Scrambled Or Fried?

(Conversations with Rad Dad)

Q: I can’t seem to rid my mind of negative thoughts.

RD: Scrambled or fried?

Q: Huh?

RD: How do you like your eggs?

Q: What?

RD: Over easy or sunny side up?

Q: I don’t like eggs that much.

RD: Everybody likes eggs. Hard or soft boiled?

Q: This isn’t very helpful.

RD: Poached or basted?

Q: Okay, I’m leaving. Basted?

RD: Cook sunny side up, add a tablespoon of water and cover. How about an omelet or frittata?

Q: Frittata?

RD: Quiche?

Q: Okay, okay, okay! What do eggs have to do with my question?

RD: You are the egg.

Q: I am the egg?

RD: The yoke and albumen in a shell – an egg.

Q: And?

RD: No matter how you fix the egg – scrambled, fried, poached, or boiled – it’s still an egg.

Q: What does that have to do with ridding my mind of negative thoughts?

RD: It’s really quite simple. Let me give you an eggs-ample. Our timeless and limitless essential being is like the egg in its shell. Your negative thoughts are like the scrambled egg. Ergo, all egg. Nothing to get rid of!

Q: Ergo?

RD: Eggo!

Q: Grrrrrrr!

RD: Perhaps I’ve laid an egg?