THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM

 

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It’s hard to ignore. It’s always there. Lately, it seems to have taken on its own individual consciousness, become a self-aware, self-determined entity. Race. The idea that we are somehow inherently, and completely separated by the hue of our skin, our culture or religion. This soon led to the idea that we are genetically predisposed to a life with or without privilege, rights or dignity allotted to others of “normal” predisposition. Then came the belief that some are “human” while others are “less than human”. Even the term, “race” implies competition or a subsequent hierarchy inherent in the human species. Is the idea of “Race” a form of consciousness? Is it something that arose of itself or something that we breathed life into? Perhaps it is both. Perhaps it is a consciousness or an aberration thereof that we have allowed to flourish. In light of recent news events perhaps its prevalence is yet another alarm bell, an awakening siren, beckoning us to evolve a consciousness that has been stagnant for a millennia. What if the day comes when we finally realize that race is an idea that we created and in the grand scheme of things really does not exist? What if we finally realized that the only race is human, and that we have been killing ourselves all along? What if we developed true empathy, which extended beyond the idea of race, culture and religion? How would the world change?

 

For centuries, it seems, man has found one reason or another to annihilate himself. Land, money, power, fueled all sorts of horrors for the corporeal pursuits that lead to the elevation of self and ego. Later the pursuit of money became the virtue of the centuries. Empathy, however, could never be a part of this process. If you truly saw yourself in someone else, much like you see yourself in your child’s eyes, you could not destroy their way of life. One could not kill another’s child if they too had a child, right?. How could they? Well, I guess they could if their empathy bubble only extended to their child. If I were a sociopath my respect for life would only extend to my nose. You would be no more than a walking piece of meat, one that I mastered interacting with but could kill with no emotion. Sounds psychopathic? I guess it would depend on the extent of my empathy. What if my empathy extended past my nose to my family, kids, husband, but only that far? Is everyone else a piece of meat? Ok, then, how about extending it out to everyone that looks similar to me? That would mean I only valued another’s life if they looked similar in some way  to me. Is that psychopathic, or is it only psychopathic when it extends to just me? Are there degrees of crazy?

 

Maybe it’s not degrees of crazy but degrees of evolution. Maybe at one time in my evolution I was only able to extend my bubble to myself. Then later to my family. Then later to those that looked similar to me. But, what’s after that? Perhaps it would extend to those that are human. Then to all entities that are consciously, (no matter the degree), aware.  Then maybe go even further, to that which does not even resemble my idea of a life form, say the planet. How would the world look to one such as me? Would I be cool, with say, a zoo? Would oil spills concern me? Could I discern between a criminal and a bikini clad 15-year-old girl? Would I rush to shoot an unarmed teenager to death if first I saw myself in him? My child in him? Would I applaud the curing of a dog with Ebola while others were dying awaiting that cure? Would I allow Ebola to be a problem at all if I had the means to prevent it?  This lack of empathy appears to play a central role in most of the planets ills. This inability to connect, to see the connection to everything passed our noses is more than a psychosis; it’s an evolutionary stumbling block.

 

It seems to me that all the eco systems of the world survive by relying on their components cooperation.  Each member of that system works in harmony with the next.  It is only when something comes in and dominates the resources, hoarding them from the rest of the system, that the system suffers and dies. It’s as if the eco system is aware of its existence and the species within it are innately aware of their connection. When I look at the world today I see a lack of this connection, mostly on the side of the humans. I see a planet once teaming with species suddenly in the grips of an extinction.  I see a blatant disregard for our place in the ecosystem, or maybe an unrealized place.  I see an ever-present blindness to the lives of other people by people for no other reason than “those people” sit way outside of their empathy bubble.  I see an inability to discern, based in this blindness, that leads to the death of innocent children, unarmed men, and helpless homeless people.  I see a preponderance of fear generated by the inability to see ourselves in ourselves.  I see  spiritually un-evolved man.

Consciousness evolution, I believe, is mans next evolutionary step.  In order to achieve this, however, we must first realize that we are un-evolved, making us unaware of our unified consciousness.  Race, sex, and religion are all carefully manufactured labels, giving us the illusion of separateness.  We are each other, and  we are a part of a living entity;  the planet we occupy. It is easy to see that we have not evolved in this way for thousands of years and the planet and its inhabitants have suffered greatly because of it. Our technology is evolving much more rapidly.  Perhaps it was not diverted from its evolutionary path. Some say in the future our technology will become consciously aware. I wonder what that will be like. It’s already connected.

Namaste

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The Wink

God the Father 01Who is God, or better yet, (and even more profound), ‘what’ is He?  The other day as I sat on my deck contemplating the meaning of the present moment, I thought about my first glimpse at ‘something’ that unbeknownst to me at the time, would be the starting point of my spiritual journey in later years.  I didn’t know it then but what I experienced was a ‘wink’, a hint of things to come, things that at that time I had not even begun to contemplate.  That one moment changed the way I viewed my existence, and over the years validated my latent awe at something, which prior to that seemed so trivial.  Why I received the ‘wink’ then I am not sure, but I remember it often when I find myself caught in the drudgery of a material based existence, and frustrated with my identification with it.

I was young.  Not that I am old now, but younger at that time.  My son was maybe 3 years old and I was living in a small 2 bedroom house with my mother in the city.  Our lives were hectic.  I worked ungodly shifts at the hospital while my mom tried to make a comfortable home for me and my son.  Money wasn’t a problem since our expenses were relatively low, but time was a commodity.  Mom sometimes worked as a substitute teacher and tutor for math so she kept a lot of math materials around the house.  One day she brought home this gigantic poster of numbers; the multiplication table, starting with 1 x1 and ending with 12 x12.  The numbers were a bright orange on a black background of tiny stars.  She hung it on the wall of our computer room, which was more like an unused hallway lined with book shelves, a tiny desk, and of course a computer.  At night when I couldn’t sleep, I would go into the tiny darkened room and web surf.

Multiplication

One night, I got up to do my usual surfing when the computer suddenly went down, (the blue screen of death they called it), so I turned it off to reboot.  Awaiting the reboot I swung around my chair and stared up at the wall behind me.  There, in the darkness stood the bright orange numbers of the table, appearing to hover in space.  As I looked at them, I noticed immediately the pattern that emerged. The numbers complemented each other in every direction; up, down, left, right, they seemed to add up and form a pattern no matter how I looked at them.  I forgot about the computer and stared at the table in awe of the patterns and how the numbers interacted so logically.  Now, I know I had seen this many times before, but this time I saw something different.  This time I saw intelligence.  My mind shifted.

You see, the numbers weren’t really what I was looking at.  It was the “that” behind them.  The numbers themselves were not ‘things’. Sure they could apply to things; cars, apples, oranges, but they themselves were not ‘things’.  Yet, they had a pattern, a direction, and a ‘formlessness’ that I had never seen before.  Though they applied to everything, they weren’t anything.  My body went numb. Wink!

I think of that moment often, and search for it even more.  I saw something, something real, yet not a ‘thing’ at all.  Something unimaginable for me at the time, but a little closer to me now.  The labels we apply to ‘It’ may be our way of relating to ‘It’, or pointing to ‘It’ from where we are. We even try to personify ‘It’, quantify ‘It’, and attribute things to ‘It’, but what ‘It’ is still eludes us.  All I know is that ‘It’, ‘God’, ‘Consciousness’ only points the way, never describes. You cannot name, describe, or quantify that which is not a thing, yet how then can we know ‘It’?  I guess we have to look closely, step outside this material box, and recognize the wink.  Trick is, you can’t always see it  just by looking with your eyes.  The formless you intuitively glimpse, then feel, like a breeze brushing your soul.

Namaste

A Nod and a Wink

Blood Cell Mediation

Seven Chakras

I was talking to a friend the other day about the current state of affairs regarding human conflict, the big ones, that have lasted generations.  She appeared quite upset, sighting a more recent event that belied her faith in humanity as a whole.  She wanted to vent to me about it, and after revealing both sides of the dispute, asked my opinion, or rather, which side I would most likely take.  I thought on this a moment ‘cause I knew my answer could be misconstrued by one so passionate.  Then I told her that I would take neither side of the dispute, as to me both arguments were mute.  She didn’t take that very well.  She began to argue the point from the perspective of the victim and challenged me to find any argument that would justify my ambivalence.  She felt I had to see the wrong that was done regardless of my spiritual beliefs, and she couldn’t believe that this did not upset me.  I told her that though it appeared so, I was not ambivalent at all. I was upset, but not for the reason she thought.  I saw the wrong and the right in the conflict, I just found their points to be mute in the larger context.  Her dubious look told me I had to explain another way, so I told her what I felt was a kind of joke, though I’m not sure if it helped…

There was this guy who went to the doctor’s office after a long period of illness.

“Hey, Doc,” the guy says. “I’ve been sick for a long while and can’t seem to shake it.  Can you help me out?”

Doc says, “Sure.  We’ll run some tests and find out what the problem is.”

Guy says, “Fine”.  He goes to the lab and they run some tests.

Later the Doc calls him back into the office.  “Well,” the doc says, “it seems your red blood cells are attacking your white blood cells.”

The guy looks at him a minute, then smiles.  “Really? Is that all?”

“Well…yes” the doc says, a little bemused.  “Why are you smiling?”

“Because!” he says, “The problem is solved!  All we have to do is get rid of the red blood cells, right?”

“Well, no”, the doctor says, “You can’t do that.  You see, the red blood cells are a part of the body and have a specific function.  Without them the body dies”.

Consciousness Awakening on Vimeo by Ralph Buckley

Consciousness Awakening

The guy looks a little confused, then smiles again. “No problem, then Doc!” he says. “We just get rid of the white blood cells and again, problem solved!”

The doc starts to become a little annoyed. “Absolutely not!” he says. “The white blood cells are a part of the body too.  Why, without them, and their specific function, the body will also die!”

“Can we mediate?”

“Between who?”

“The cells of course!”

The doc stares at the guy a moment. thinking maybe he has a certified nut in his office, then he tries again.  “Look…” he says, “mediation is mute for obvious reasons.  What we like to do in this situation is to determine the disease or dysfunction that is causing the fight, then find ways to destroy that.”

The guy for once is speechless.  After a long moment of silence he says. “Gee doc, you’re a genius! But tell me, why didn’t the other docs tell me this in the beginning”

“Simple…,” The Doc says, “You have no insurance”.

 

Of course I found the joke a little funny.  My friend—not so much.  She said she was still a bit upset, though not for the reason she thought.

Namaste

Statuesque

Unattachment vs Love

Attachment

I‘ve read much on attachments and how they are the essential root of suffering.  Though, I intellectualized the meaning of this concept, again one must experience it in order to fully appreciate it.  The usual culprits of material possessions, appearance, position, I thought I understood.  But what of relationships, hopes and dreams?  This, though I accepted as attachment, I could not fully conceive.   I mean after all, how can one not be attached to such things as a child, a lover, or even ones lifelong vocation?  I found, (quite painfully, as mirrors usually are), that it was not only ones attachment to such things that will inevitably cause suffering, but the value placed on them in relation to ones presumed identity, particularly at the threat of their loss.  Therein lies the pain and suffering spoken about.  Suffering not only inflicted on the self, but on others as well.  The trick is observing its subtlety.

Joy-roseshamrockthistle

It’s difficult not to take pride in ones profession. Years and years of practice and experience finally culminating in the extensive knowledge and respect that you feel you have earned. Of course this identity that you have procured is not your true self. Who you have become is never who you are. Even so, if this self is threatened,– say by one more advanced, sharper, or just ‘new’,– what would you do to protect the self you have procured? I have seen many go far; spreading rumors, dropping innuendo, even discouraging others in the pursuit of their illusory self. The damage caused can be witnessed in the toxic work environment, where all denigrate the other for no other reason than to prevent the relinquishment of their idea of self.  All Suffer.

A lover grips one in a whirlwind of possibility for the illusory self. They tell us of our worth and meaning, who we are as a man or woman, the magic we have on the emotions of another. We fall deeply into this state of being, breathing in fully the pleasures of being the focus of someone’s life and emotion. We quickly self identify. Attachment— for the self. Then, as if moved by the wind, your paths diverge. Their interests change or they move on to pursue another “life lesson”. How far would you go to prevent this pursuit, or deny this disinterest to maintain the illusory self? Again, many have gone far. And even after their efforts were to no avail, they remain trapped by the loss of the illusory self they created. Suffering.

"The mother"

A mother will be forever possessed by her child, and rightly so. Can it be possible to experience suffering on a subtle level by something so innate and selfless as the love of a mother and child? Only if we attach for the self– the identity that we expect to be fulfilled. I have suffered this in the form of guilt, blame, feelings of inadequacy. All illusory. All Suffering.

What then can we do? Maybe, instead of trying to find out who we can become or should be, we should look instead for who we already are. We are what is necessary. We are what is sublime. We are that which we search for, not our jobs, our possessions, or our relationships. Our situations are our lessons, but they are not us. Every now and then, as a Fledgling Mystic, I detach, releasing all of it just to observe. The situations quickly fade away, obliterated by the beauty, complexity and wonder that embodies each unique expression of a supreme consciousness, and I know that all of it, every moving, breathing piece of it, is me.
Un-attachment is not being without love. It is love at its most sublime.

Namaste

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HOME OF A TRILLION BUDDAHS

Colorful Buddhas

As a child, I always wondered why people in general could not really get along. I often watched from the sidelines as people bickered and balked in their attempts to do something as simple as working side by side. In school, I learned that man was in fact a social being requiring the presence of others for survival, yet in groups or as nations conflict seemed to be the primary form of communication. This often troubled me, as being an only child I wanted to be in the company of many, but could not stomach the constant conflict.

Now as an adult, I have learned to deal with it, although I resent having to. Intermingling has become a sort of social dance, a necessary caveat to keeping a job, maintaining a relationship and educating my child. All the attachment to ones individual identity, leading to the protection of said identity, has lead to a myriad of social ills that must be strategically navigated in order to survive.

In an effort to do something of use to improve the human condition, I chose nursing as a career. I expected this innately altruistic profession to be filled with like minded individuals, but that was not the case–exactly. Undaunted, I continued, content with my initial intensions and hoping that I too would not fall prey to the ego endowed bravado that sometimes inundated even the most purest of ideals. Ego, unfortunately, is an inherent part of us all, and I fell prey to mine well before I knew I could control it. My ego, however, did not turn on others for protection but instead turned on its source, clawing and scraping from within. I had to find a different focus, something on which my monster could grind it teeth and lose its need for self aggrandizing. I looked closer at the vessel which housed it, the human body. It was there I found the most amazing thing about human existence.

My grandmother used to say, “As above, so below”. She used this interesting phrase to characterize the seemingly random events of life, adding that even a simple flower mimicked the ethereal, being attached in some way, mirroring the laws of the universe. I pondered this as I looked at the human body and likened its intricate functions to human existence. I delved as far ‘below’ as I could to try and find some link between the microscopic world of our bodies and us. I found that though individual and operating separately, many of the body’s cells worked in quiet unison to maintain the life of the whole. Packed

Cells stained for keratin and DNA: such parts ...

Cells stained for keratin and DNA: such parts of life exist because of the whole, but also to sustain it (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

tightly and separated by membrane, they acted together to produce an organ with its own individual structure and function. Some cells did not belong to a particular organ but instead flowed independently through the circulatory or limbic system, carrying on varying functions that either protected the other cells or nourished them. Others flowed out of their respective systems to protect other areas of the body, like the skin or the lungs. Still others gathered together to form barriers against infection or to repair areas that experienced trauma. The organs formed by the many cells performed their own functions and assisted the functions of others organs, all of which the body needed for survival. Trillions of individual cells living in one large space without the advent of conflict, competition for space, resources, or even the occasional hermit. Each Individual, all working together for the whole, no one greater or more important than the other. Could it be that these tiny beings realized they were part of a greater being? Were they aware at some level that they were in fact One, and that the actions of each of them affected the whole no matter where in the body they were? Were they acting as one consciousness, or did they pursue their own agendas? It occurred to me that perhaps they did know. Perhaps they were all tiny Buddhas.

Sunset over The Pacific Ocean, at Acapulco

A young kid at work talked to me one day about an upcoming election and his aversion to the candidates. He said that man will always have a dictator, or some other such guy, who will try to rule everyone else. It was in mans’ nature to want power. I told him I didn’t think so, that it was not in mans’ nature to be violent or seek dominance over the many. We argued the point for a long while until I pointed out the heaven within him. “Your body is home to a trillion Buddhas”, I said. “The kingdom of heaven is practically there within you. No one is maligning the other. There is no dictator. All are important. All have a role. If it weren’t so, you wouldn’t survive, as we will not”. He cast me a dubious glance. I believe what I told him.

I’m not sure, though, why man is out of sync with nature. Perhaps, unlike the cells in our bodies, man does not yet realize he is part of something bigger. For some reason he concentrates on the ‘individual’ part and not the ‘whole’ part, gathering all and sharing nothing. One other cell does this, and as a result the body dies and so does the cell.
“As above so below”, my grandmother used to say. I look above and I see majesty, beauty and cooperation. Where then are we?

Namaste

LotusEmerging0041