There is a world of abstract realities. A world where the unity of consciousness is always in perfect accord with the diversity of space and form.
Where the Law forever maintains harmony and balance between spirit and matter. Where a peculiar quality of consciousness we call intellect discerns the apparent structure of the absolute or never changing sphere of existence as well as the relative or ever changing sphere of life.
And as we grow we come to realize on the basis of personal experience that what the mind experiences as separate or as a gap between the never moving and ever moving, the heart bridges or connects, proving the essential unity of all things.
These are some of the foundational teachings of the eternal wisdom traditions. One could elaborate forever on the nuances and paradoxes that flow from these simple basic statements of apparent truth.
We say “apparent” truth, because the timeless wisdom tradition invites us to understand that all “truth” is relative until one undergoes a transformation of consciousness that results in the dawning of a new order of reality within our awareness; one where we do not know Truth, but we become It.
In sum we can say for now that there is unmanifest spirit and manifest spirit, unmanifest form and manifest form, unmanifest matter and manifest matter, unmanifest intelligence and manifest intelligence …. and love is the conscious experience of the unity of them all.
And for completeness we can add that there is “something” prior to every concept and principle we have mentioned above. To talk about this ultimate state we have to use words, yet no words or descriptions or concepts can ever convey what it is.
We may say this “something prior” is really “no-thing”, a void or state that makes all things possible, but is none of its apparent expressions. It contains the possibility and includes the fullness of both spirit and matter within Itself, yet it is neither, yet both are a hypothetical speck within its inexpressible profundity.
This state then is the unknowable, at least in the ordinary sense of the word “know”. It cannot be described because it is unconditioned. Yet it can be known, but only on its own level. The wise say “It selects you, you don’t select It”. But these are only words. Absorption into the ultimate occurs when all that is false within consciousness has been transmuted allowing that which is True and Real in an ultimate sense to emerge of Its own accord.
This is a brief overview of ultimate reality as offered for individual consideration by the eternal wisdom traditions. In this blog over time we will explore in more detail the foundational principles that appear to govern Space and all it contains.
But now, let us begin to bring the eternal metaphysical teachings down to earth a bit and learn how we can on a practical level begin to remove the false in our own consciousness and, little by little, refine our character and move in the direction that allows the conscious experience of some measure of the abstract realities the wise of all ages invite us to pursue through disciplines of realization.
Most of us are well aware we have not experienced the ultimate of anything. Perhaps we have had a few hints and glimpses, but most of us are standing on the shore of a great ocean with the goal somewhere far across the great expanse, beyond the distant horizon. At least this is how it appears to most of us; if we can slip at any moment in any instant beneath our conditioning, we stand on all shores simultaneously. Ah but that is the great challenge isn’t it!
So all is and appears exactly as it should and must be, for the entire universe is governed by laws of nature.
Everything is inevitably what it is and as it is, because it is necessary and inevitable; it is per the operation of cosmic law. Anything that is necessary and therefore inevitable is philosophically speaking: “good”. Good in this sense does not necessarily mean that which is pleasant, enjoyable, convenient or comfortable. It means that which is inevitable as a result of immutable Law.
Our bodies, senses, minds, feelings and egos (in total all of the etheric parts of the soul) are under these laws, like everything else. All products of consciousness however coarse or refined, however material or ethereal, are under the laws of creation. Our ultimate essence however is not.
We are trying now to convey a sense of the journey we are all apparently undertaking. A journey where we gain the courage, faith and conviction to remove what is untrue within our consciousness, so what remains, whatever it is, can emerge to fulfill its own purposes through us. So we can serve wisely, spontaneously and intuitively the need of every moment; yet be simultaneously beyond change, forever free of bondage to the cycle of birth and death, free of the reflexive control of memories, habits and desires.
We can note here too that the sages convey there is nothing wrong with memories, habits and desires as long as we control them and not vice versa. Any function or quality of life that serves the power that gives rise to existence and furthers the expansion of consciousness is in service to the totality and not the false center of egoic awareness that believes it is separate from the whole, that believes it is an isolated fragment in a hostile world.
Mind, memories and desires are appropriate servants when serving the miracle of creation and its inherent purposes, but tyrannical masters when our identity is derived from investing them with a false sense of self.
The end of human suffering and selfishness will come only when we have clear insight into their causes. A primary goal of writing this blog is to convey over time (as best my understanding allows) a series of insights from metaphysics that when truly realized and applied (even if initially only to a tiny degree) can greatly assist anyone receptive in leading a life that is characterized by greater peace, serenity, wisdom, beauty, understanding and compassion.
The First Insight: we as individuals are invited to seek what is of true Value in life. To seek and give our allegiance to that which is of greatest importance. To that which brings individual well-being yet simultaneously contributes equally to collective well-being.
The sages in all ages have taught that it isn’t so much divine strength and universal law that holds the universe together, but infinite love. It is valid to say that law is love and love is law, that they are two sides of one coin, yet the rationalization of our convictions are often best sustained by the great power of emotional devotion which is the bond of affection that holds the fabric of existence together.
We are invited then to consider that initially what is of greatest value is Love, and to seek daily or hourly an experience of the universal benevolence that ties all life together.
It is an experience we are seeking, not an idea, image or concept.
Why is it that every plant on earth rises from decayed organic matter to meet the sunlight. If we are intuitively open we can sense a beautiful truth – the flower or tree can’t become fruitful without first falling in love with the light.
Whatever a breeze touches it loves. Snow and rain bear no ill will, they fall lovingly no matter their intensity.
Doesn’t a bird sing from its heart its contentment and love of being.
The caring, tenderness and compassion we offer or witness one human to another is a reflection of spirit in motion – which is Love.
The first insight then is simply that the world is filled with endless opportunities to experience universal love. This love is an eternal blessing, a protecting and guiding presence.
What we come to know is that even though people, birds, trees and flowers go through the inevitable processes of birth, growth, maturity and decay….the love that sends all of them into expression is eternal. For this we are ever grateful; it is love that has an eternal integrity, not the ever changing form that is its momentary expression.
Love is often defined in the wisdom traditions as an experience of the unity of life. It is not a belief in the unity of things, but a direct conscious experience that your essence and my essence are not separate but one; and even a stone, insect, fish or planet share in the root awareness.
An experience of this level of Love is of greatest value on the way to the ultimate, that state which makes Love itself possible. This level of love is experienced as a result of purification within of what is false, crude, primitive, immature and unreasonable. Such purification is the result of self-discipline and meditation, of practicing the metaphysical disciplines of realization.
The first of these disciplines is conveyed in the second insight.
The Second Insight: hardness, intolerance and anger in ourselves stimulate the same in the world around us. And the negativity in others will excite the same negative energies in our consciousness, unless we have transmuted these energies so they have limited or ideally no reflexive control over our thoughts, feelings or behaviors.
In other words the world will soften only as we soften. The world will become peaceful, tolerant and forgiving only when we are tolerant and forgiving.
We must remember a simple truth: the only one we can change is our self. Other people are going to do what they do, say what they will; be sensitive and caring or be cruel and hurtful. In all cases we have no ultimate control over their inner and outer states, thoughts or behaviors.
As imperfect creatures ourselves, generally the best we can do is reduce our own contributions to the misery and problems of the world.
This we do by dissolving the negativity and errors in ourselves; at the least we can start the process.
This is accomplished in large part by witnessing every emotional state we experience.
In practice it works like this. Someone says or does something that makes you Annoyed or irritated. Angry or even livid. Embarrassed or humiliated. Hurt and betrayed. Dumb or stupid. Jealous or envious. Prideful and superior. Weak or inferior. Ashamed or guilty.
The spectrum of potential feelings of superiority, shame, annoyance, betrayal or anger are endless of course. We’ve all experienced countless versions of these, at least to one degree or another.
The important point: when any of these mental or emotional states arise in you, you are at least momentarily in their grip. They represent mental and emotional conditioning – in you and in another.
They are energy states stored within your subjective nature and in the subjective nature of someone you are interacting with. They are excited as a result of a kind of resonance that takes place between energies in your magnetic field and those of similar frequency or nature in the other.
When a conditioned energy state is excited for any reason in another person, any similar state in you, no matter how dormant it may have been, is to some degree excited. It is evidence of a capacity yet within you to think, feel or act in the same way as the person who is upsetting you. Such excitations exert a measure of involuntary control over your thoughts, feelings, speech and behavior, for some period of time, however short or long.
Such excitations in you (which cause a loss of inner serenity, harmony and peace of mind) are an invitation from the universe to become aware of conditioning within you that needs dissolution.
It may well be that the conditioning and energy states in the other person need transmuting also, but only the other person can decide for himself or herself whether they wish to engage in the process. You are responsible for transmuting falsehoods and dysfunction in yourself alone; your evolving state may in time be an inspiration that causes others to begin the process in themselves. But only they can bring about a transformation of their consciousness, no one else can do it for them.
In these periods then where reflexes are controlling your thoughts and feelings, you are not acting based on reason or intuition, but on the influence of generally unconscious emotional patterns stored in that part of your ego structure that houses memories, habits and beliefs…all of which form conditioned, repetitive response patterns that arise in you when stimulated by life events.
During these events you inevitably experience the stimulation of some set of conscious or subconscious memories that relate to early or prior life conditioning experiences. These experiences frequently involve major issues relating to trust, responsibility, integrity, physical or emotional trauma, tyranny, abandonment or betrayal. The details change from event to event, but the fundamental dysfunctional or wounding theme can seemingly repeat forever.
Here’s some examples: perhaps you never got along with your mother or father; sister or brother; or authority figures in general. You marry someone who is in effect an incarnation of one of these figures. They push the same buttons as the earlier versions: perhaps they are too controlling, too withholding, too cold or insensitive, too smothering, to limiting, too irresponsible or too critical.
Whatever the theme or core issue, they re-excite the core wound. They may never change what they say or do, though you certainly can ask them to. In the end you generally learn or are invited to learn that the only one who can change the dynamic or the effect you experience within….is you.
When any scenario akin to this occurs, you are under the control of your fictional self. The “self” in you that is conditioned by past experiences. These past experiences include earlier experiences from this life; as well as what can be called karmic habits, trauma and reflexes developed and stored during previous lifetimes.
In sum we can say the reactions you feel are the result of mental and emotional reflexes stored in the bundle of memories that constitute the bulk of your ego nature. These conditioned reflexes of anger or shame or humiliation or pride are not “you”. They are not your essential nature. They are part of the nature of a false self within you. This is what the wisdom traditions invite you to recognize and begin to transmute.
Transmutation starts by witnessing all emotional states that disrupt your inner experience of tranquility. Any experience that destroys your inner calm and serenity is one that is giving rise to a conditioned energy state in you.
And this conditioned state has some degree of control of your thoughts and behavior until you allow it to dissipate. When you are no longer under the grip of such a reflexive state, your intuition can guide you to the right action needed in the moment. This is the beginning of the operation of true free will.
This is the goal. Dissolution of the control of one’s behavior by conditioned mental and emotional reflexes and the restoration of control of one’s life to the spirit within, which will generate an intuitive response to any circumstance in life; a response based on guidance from one’s higher soul nature.
This is a state where ultimately the unconditioned mind has spontaneous leadership over every phase and moment of life.
To recap: all humans are effectively a bundle of conditioned memories, habits and beliefs. These give rise to who we believe we are, but this is not who we “really” are. These form a false or fictitious self that is fundamentally ignorant of divine purpose and divine love. Our essence is unconditioned; our current conscious allegiance is not to it but to the ego structure.
The sages of all ages invite us to learn the disciplines of realization that allow one to lessen the grip of these conditioned states within us. These disciplines ultimately lead to dissolution of what is false in our minds and hearts; this allows what is true and real in this universe (and beyond) to reveal itself spontaneously.
This process is greatly facilitated by doing our best to not act while in the grip of a mental or emotional reflex. But in any situation where events and circumstances are pushing our buttons, causing us to lose our natural state of calm and serenity, we are invited to do the following: before acting, speaking or responding … simply witness our feelings first, and when equilibrium is restored, then act to the degree we reasonably can from a state of intuitive calm, allowing our natural resourcefulness, awareness, creativity, vision and comprehension to meet the needs of the moment.
Through this processes, we don’t deny, bury or resist any emotional state that comes into our awareness. We simply feel it and witness it until it begins to dissolve. We can have anger and a feeling we’d like to dent the other person’s head with a two by four; and that’s fine as long as we don’t act on it. The teaching is: have any feelings that bubble up in you, but don’t act on them until you are calm and your intuition so guides you.
Through this process of witnessing, we will slowly lessen the grip our conditioned reflexes have on us and dissolve the false egoic nature we are out of ignorance identified with.
The key insight: we are not our minds, we are not thoughts, we are not memories, we are not conditioned emotional reflexes, we are not habits, we are not beliefs or concepts. We are in our essence unconditioned spirit, eternally blissful and contented, that forever serves the universe out of love; something beyond what we think we are, yet something that makes all conditioned existence possible. Life and Truth are a mystery and unity that can only reveal their ultimate nature to themselves. We can be the witness to the process. Ultimately we can become the unknowable itself. The invitation is to unravel the mystery through disciplines of realization.
More insights and examples of how to apply metaphysical principles to improve the quality of one’s individual life, as well as planetary life, in the next post.