Only Be In Silence

Quote shared from Mystic Path to Cosmic Consciousness

“You need not go to heaven to see God;

nor need you speak loud, as if God were far away;

nor need you cry for wings like a dove to fly to Him.

Only be in silence, and you will come upon God within yourself.”

~ Saint Teresa of Avila

I had just spouted my doubt on the historical accuracy of the Bible, and here I am quoting a Catholic Nun who was born in 1515 and died in 1582. But it’s appropriate, because Saint Teresa was controversial in her day for many reasons (many of which I mentioned in my previous post); and I likely first heard of her from one of Caroline Myss’ books because Myss was very into the Catholic mystic known as Saint Teresa of Avila, and I’ve read nearly everything written by Caroline Myss.

Here is Caroline’s take of Saint Teresa’s influence on her own personal life.

(From Myss’ website on Saint Teresa of Avila): “I believe that the divine is everywhere and exists within even the most intimate details of our lives. All that we experience today has its purpose in tomorrow’s events; sometimes, the purpose is not evident for years of tomorrows. Yet, God prepares you for your spiritual journey, no matter how complicated, painful, or demanding it might become. For this reason, patience, trust, and faith must become constants for you; you cannot, and indeed you must not, even attempt to believe you know what is best for you. The divine will reveal its plan for you; you have to be open to receive it. With this bit of advice, let me now share why and how I came to fall in love with Teresa of Avila, whose life’s work with the soul is the foundation of ‘Entering the Castle,’ as well as my personal spiritual journey and practice.” – Caroline Myss   

Myss’ book on this subject is officially called Entering the Castle: Finding the Inner Path to God and Your Soul’s Purpose– (January 1, 2008)

***

Some general background on Saint Teresa of Avila (from Wiki):

Teresa of Ávila, born Teresa Sánchez de Cepeda y Ahumada, also called Saint Teresa of Jesus (28 March 1515 – 4 or 15 October 1582)[a], was a Spanish noblewoman who felt called to convent life in the Catholic Church. A Carmelite nun, prominent Spanish mystic, religious reformer, author, theologian of the contemplative life and of mental prayer, she earned the rare distinction of being declared a Doctor of the Church, but not until over four centuries after her death.[b] Active during the Catholic Reformation, she reformed the Carmelite Orders of both women and men.[4]

…Teresa, who had been a social celebrity in her home province, was dogged by early family losses and ill health. In her mature years, she became the central figure of a movement of spiritual and monastic renewal borne out of an inner conviction and honed by ascetic practice. She was also at the center of deep ecclesiastical controversy as she took on the pervasive laxity in her order against the background of the Protestant reformation sweeping over Europe and the Spanish Inquisition asserting church discipline in her home country. The consequences were to last well beyond her life. One papal legate described her as a ‘restless wanderer, disobedient, and stubborn femina who, under the title of devotion, invented bad doctrines, moving outside the cloister against the rules of the Council of Trent and her prelates; teaching as a master against Saint Paul‘s orders that women should not teach.’[6] (Special note: St. Paul was actually Saul of Tarsus, the tax collector, a Jewish Pharisee who never met Jesus in person except for his instant conversion on the road to Damascus when Saul said that the spirit of Jesus suddenly appeared before him and ‘showed him the Light’–by temporarily blinding him. Saul did not meet the original disciples of Jesus until after that conversion, although he was present for the martyrdom–the stoning– of St. Stephen–a fancy way of saying that he had attended the killing of St. Stephen and that he had also been a major persecutor of all followers of Jesus prior to his “conversion”. )

…Her written contributions, which include her autobiography, The Life of Teresa of Jesus and her seminal work The Interior Castle, are today an integral part of Spanish Renaissance literature. Together with The Way of Perfection, her works form part of the literary canon of Christian mysticism and Christian meditation practice, and continue to attract interest from people both within and outside the Catholic Church….”

***

So again, I can say that spiritual inspiration comes in many forms from many places.  And after a recent ‘discussion’ with someone dear to me who was questioning my personal beliefs with:  ‘What are they? …I know you aren’t Christian.  So what is it DO you believe in?’

I can easily point to the Saint Teresa of Avila quote above and say… “THAT!  I believe in THAT.” — heartfelt words spoken by a Catholic Saint.

The Peace of Wild Things

Ecological Consciousness:

“When we speak of Nature it is wrong to forget that we are ourselves a part of Nature.” — Henri Matisse

Amen.

I Believe…

Anytime I elaborate on the subject of “beliefs” I know that I run the risk of offending others, but I truly think we all need to better examine WHY we believe what we do at this point in our lives.

I myself was born and raised in the Heartland of America—Baptized Lutheran as a baby and I sporadically attended that same church in my youth, as well as a Baptist church that was closer to home.

I can’t begin to tell anyone who will listen how much I absolutely hated that forced church attendance of my childhood because those who I met in those two churches were some of the largest hypocrites that I’ve ever encountered in one location for the entire remainder of my life.

Even as a kid I could tell that these Sunday morning “lecturers” and children’s Sunday School teachers were not actually living the tenets of what they were preaching to me; to which I questioned my mother back then as to WHY I had to listen to them.  Her answer was insufficient, but overall she felt that it was her motherly duty to instill some kind of belief system into me and the local churches offered a standard “acceptable version” of belief for our area, even if she had no desire to attend the services herself.

By my teens I had successfully argued on Sunday mornings that “If YOU aren’t going to church, then why should I?”  And she caved to my resistance.

By college I was enthusiastically enrolling in a “Religions of the World” class because I felt there had to be SOME belief that I could get into, even if I hadn’t yet found one. The class was interesting and mind broadening; and I began to see that other paths existed for folks who couldn’t get into the standard local faiths.  But still, …nothing that I read about in the class seemed right for me.  So I just let the “need for belief” subject kind of fade away as I entered my young adulthood, marriage, and the general trials and tribulations of LIFE itself, including facing the eventual mortality of my parents.

When my husband and I moved to Southwest Missouri to a ranch/farm where I spent a lot of time isolated from everyone but nature and the animals that we raised, I began to frequent the local library where I pretty much devoured anything of interest in a short time and began requesting book loans from the larger town in our area. Our librarian was patient and actually eager to help a local rural resident explore all that she had available on any requested subject. 

One day while browsing the local library, Adam Smith’s book Powers of Mind literally fell off the shelf in front of me, and jump-started my interest in ‘all things mind-expanding.’  He offered a reading list of subject matter on consciousness and current trends, and one book led to another until the local librarian was quite sick of seeing me because everything that I wanted was somewhere else in the state library system and she was forced to put in ‘special requests’ for all of them.  

By then I was hooked on exploring and better understanding WHY are we here? What is our purpose for existing? Who am I?  Etc., etc.  So for the next few decades no matter where I lived, I read just about everything I could wade through on beliefs and expanded mental abilities, and about what LIFE was really about to those who ventured beyond the standard belief systems.

I read about various forms of Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Taoism; read about meditation and how best to do it; read about energy healing and psychic abilities; read about shamanism and paganism; and read about how the earliest forms of Christianity branched into different directions with various interpretations of the Bible and even different versions of the Bible. 

That Christian path divergence puzzled me, so I eventually read the entire Bible cover to cover, just to see for myself how I interpreted it. I found the book to be somewhat interesting and confusing, all in one; and I immediately questioned the historical accuracy of the claims made within it.  I mean supposedly it is the “Word of God,” but it appeared to me to be more like a collection of conflicting stories told by many different folks who claimed to speak for God; and who I doubted even more than I had as a child, actually did.

Even the Bible’s God of the Old Testament was not the same as the God of the New Testament, unless HE had a personality transplant.  The Old Testament’s God of vengeance and violence was not the God of Love that Jesus described, so why was that?  Which version of God was the correct one?  Maybe it depended on which church you attended.

What I eventually noticed in all my religious/spiritual explorations was that ‘BELIEF’ itself depended on how willing we were to accept the opinions of others.  And for someone as independent and contrary as I naturally am, placing my faith in someone else’s interpretation of LIFE and the importance of how we interact with it, was not within my capacity.

So I chose my own path and eventually found my own TRUTH, at least as I currently know it.

That is why I strongly encourage others to do the same—find your own version of faith and belief—find your own personal TRUTH that makes the most sense to you.

For me I’ve always found my TRUTH in silence and nature, and even more so by ‘being silent in nature’ and allowing the surrounding world to ‘speak to me’ however it wished to do.  

All that was required of me was to listen to it.  

Beyond the Illusion of Separateness

“A mystic sees beyond the illusion of separateness into the intricate web of life in which all things are expressions of a single Whole. You can call this web ‘God, the Tao, Nature, the Great Spirit, the Infinite Mystery, Mother or Father,’ (B. Fuller often called it “UNIVERSE.”) but it can be known only as Love…” – Joan Borysenko  

Clearly I’m often on the same wave-length as the Tao & Zen folks as this was today’s post.  That’s likely why I follow them, as I do with Nassim Haramein who evidently shares my love for Albert Einstein, Buckminster Fuller, Nikola Tesla, and science in general.  

Or occasionally I will share an Eckhart Tolle utterance (even if I can only aspire to that level of higher awareness).  Today’s is:  “You forgive yourself by realizing that nobody can act beyond their level of consciousness.” – Eckhart Tolle

But overall for MY part, I just want to reassure readers out there that there really are people in this world who share your views who are unity-focused and ‘higher-consciousness’ centered.

With the Joan Borysenko’s quote above I’m trying to remember what of hers I’ve actually read. Likely it was Minding the Body, Mending the Mind, or 7 Paths to God; or an audio recording from a few years back when they (and she) were more popular.

But each author or online poster that I mentioned here offers their personal take on these same subjects of how we are intricately interconnected by that unfathomable web of consciousness that we all share.  And Borysenko goes a bit further in her quote declaring that interconnecting WEB to be “LOVE.”

‘That’s nice,’ you might say.  ‘Sort of sappy nice.’

Well actually she’s probably right to some extent because that feeling of LOVE is a particularly high level of electro-magnetic, light-wave frequency.  Tracking brainwave patterns can reveal what are called ‘Bliss States’ –or Delta Brain Waves for meditators.  “Delta waves are high amplitude neural oscillations with a frequency between 0.5 and 4 hertz. Delta waves, like other brain waves, can be recorded with electroencephalography (EEG) and are usually associated with the deep stage 3 of NREM sleep, also known as slow-wave sleep (SWS), and aid in characterizing the depth of sleep.” (wiki) 

Delta Waves are also associated with Bliss States or Ecstasy States.

It is also believed by devout meditators who can actually reach those more-advanced brain-wave states while awake, that they are called the ‘UNION with Grand Consciousness’ connection—the ONENESS connection.  It’s when they can actually tap into God-consciousness and survive to attempt to describe it to others.

The name ‘YOGA’ means ‘UNION,’ so it’s not surprising that many of the greatest yogi adepts were said to have direct connection into the highest consciousness possible that our human bodies can physically handle without frying our brains and neural networks.  (Think I’m kidding?  Read Gopi Krishna’s  Kundalini: The Evolutionary Energy in Man where he describes what happens when you have a sudden ‘Kundalini Awakening’ and think/feel like you’ve completely lost your mind.) 

Short quote from his wiki bio:

“The illumination grew brighter and brighter, the roaring louder, I experienced a rocking sensation and then felt myself slipping out of my body, entirely enveloped in a halo of light…I felt the point of consciousness that was myself growing wider, surrounded by waves of light…I was now all consciousness, without any outline, without any idea of a corporeal appendage, without any feeling or sensation coming from the senses, immersed in a sea of light simultaneously conscious and aware of every point, spread out, as it were, in all directions without any barrier or material obstruction…bathed in light and in a state of exaltation and happiness impossible to describe.”

His biographer recalls: “By his own account, Gopi Krishna’s initial experience triggered a transformative process that lasted for twelve years. During this time, the sensations of light, splendor and joy alternated with – and were often completely overshadowed by – sensations of fire, unbearable heat and bleak depression  

So as one who has personally ‘been there, done that’ with my own Kundalini Awakening, I offer this as a cautionary tale to others: That who we appear to be on the surface, cannot fathom the depths of our actual potential; and the people who we are capable of evolving into in the near future, is far more limitless than we can even imagine.

So you can believe in LOVE as the Unifying Force of Consciousness—the sappy version of LOVE or the ecstatic, bliss-state, brainwave frequency of LOVE; and you won’t be wrong in doing so.

The Quest for Meaning

As a voracious reader, when the library that I frequent had shut down for the second time due to local Covid 19 outbreaks, it forced me to review some oldies on my own book shelves.  My previous posts on self-realization etc., reminded me that one of my earliest experiences with that subject had to be when I read Paramahansa Yogananda’s  Autobiography of a Yogi.  Loved that book—still do. His quiet, unpretentious personality gently flows from the pages long after his death in 1952.

It’s a very different ‘feel’ from reading Jiddu Krisnamurti or Ramana Maharshi or Swami Muktananda, or even Anandamayi Ma. The subtle energy emitted from reading the words of Yogananda were both soothing and reassuring to me.  The book inspired me to further explorations into the yogic traditions of those previously-mentioned others above.

Through his gentle words recounting his simple and yet miraculous life, he introduced me to his personal journey of self-discovery and his own quest for life’s true meaning.

I can’t say that I understood everything about the Hindu culture or focus, or that I could even begin to comprehend the extreme sacrifice that many personally made to achieve those unbelievable levels of higher consciousness, but I did know that I wanted to learn more about their experiences and HOW they reached those amazing heights of cosmic union and spiritual ecstasy.

This recent remembrance of Yogananda’s early influence led me to the book I’m reviewing at present, which I also enjoyed immensely at the time because it explained a bit of the ‘yogic mystique’ that I had failed to grasp in the other reads—primarily because it was told by a Westerner who was also a practicing psychotherapist teaching at Kripalu Yoga Institute in Massachusetts.  I highly recommend this book:  The Wisdom of Yoga: A Seeker’s Guide to Extraordinary Living by Stephen Cope.

From Cope’s book I realized that there are other forms of yoga besides ‘hatha’—the physical body focus on stretching poses. What appealed more so to me was Rāja yoga—or Royal Road of Yoga—the exploration of ‘consciousness’ itself.  Cope explores the metaphoric, symbolic, and literal embodiments of Patanjali’s ‘Yoga Sutras’ as he slowly narrates his own quest for better understanding them.  Here are a few early quotes:

“…Patanjali views every aspect of living as an opportunity for practicing WISDOM. He is concerned with how we think and act, how we breathe, move, sleep, dream, and speak. Every aspect of our motivation, cognition, and behavior is of interest to Patanjali. …”

“….a little bit of study reveals a stunningly clear exposition of the structure of human consciousness, and the path of optimal living.” (xvi-xxviii)

“…Wisdom is a knowledge or understanding that we gain as a result of having seen or perceived the world directly. It is understanding gained through careful examination of direct experiences. Above all, WISDOM is a practical knowledge about how things work—how LIFE works.”

“…All wisdom traditions insist upon a healthy mistrust of other people’s answers—or even the revealed experiences of others. Yoga, at its truest, insists upon not giving us answers but ‘a way’ to find our own answers. …”(xxxi)

“…Shiva (the Transformer) is an embodiment of the central discovery of the Strivers; the world is NOT as it appears to be. Hidden beneath the veil of our ordinary lives lie astonishing potentials of mind and body. … (xxxiii)

***

Anyway, I could go on and on but my main point is that I highly recommend Stephen Cope’s book for his amazing narrative skills on how he LIVED the Yoga Sutras explanations; and how as a practicing psychotherapist he saw the examples playing out all around him while he reached for a greater understanding of YOGA itself.  

Adornment Versus Composition

“Morning dew on a dragonfly,”
Image by Lasse Andersson

As a former Graphic Artist I can easily appreciate a good image, and I find dragonflies interesting in their own right; but a bejeweled dragonfly is even more so.

At first glance the dragonfly appears to be composed of water droplets intricately connected and dispersed throughout the entire physical structure. But in our minds, we know that the insect is not “composed” of those same water droplets—we know that those droplets are instead “adorning” its exterior structure.

This realization stirred another within me: Who we actually are is often different from how we appear to be.  Or reversed: How we appear to be and what we do, does not always reflect who we truly are.

Maybe I’ll leave it at that for now.

Who Believes in TRUTH?

I think this graphic was from the “Tao and Zen” Facebook site.  Of course since I’d just been writing about TRUTH in general, I was interested in it and in reading some of the extensive comments posted under it.

Fascinating!  Even the statement within the graphic created controversy.

Comments were verbose and varied.  This was a graphic magnet for conflicting iron filings creating very strange patterns as they scattered about below the image frame.  One guy even said “This belief/statement is neither Buddhist nor Taoist.  Why are YOU posting it?”

I mean there were commenters who declared that there was NO TRUTH. There were those who declared the subjectivity/relativity of TRUTH.  There were some who commented on religious versions of truth, and some who took a shot at our current politics—to which an entire string of counter-comments followed—many hot and hateful—which is neither Buddhist nor Taoist.

There were even those who declared the Seinfeld/George Costanza’s quote, “Just remember. It’s not a lie, if you believe it”.  Not surprisingly this actually drew some agreements, and then more political comments, etc, etc.

Clearly lots of folks had diverse opinions on TRUTH itself and the ability of others to recognize it, IF there actually was such a thing as TRUTH.

Personally, my two-cents worth is that for our life experience in its current form, there are personal truths and collective truths.  And this blog is about helping/supporting you in “Finding Your Truth” so I DO believe there is subjectivity to truth in one sense, but I also believe there are “collective” TRUTHs that we all share—often called ‘Common TRUTHs.’

And I’m fairly sure that there are such things as “absolute” truths that we may never be able to comprehend due to our current, restricted recognition abilities, so within our human limitations during this life experience we may only be capable of recognizing “relative” truths—relative to the dimension of existence that we inhabit and to the TIME-frame that we follow.

Therefore in my own universe’s dominion, how does a “relative” truth differ from a “subjective” truth?

As I mentioned earlier, “subjective” is personal to your own experience. Everyone may have experienced childhood in whatever manner that it occurred for them, but NOT everyone experienced the SAME childhood situations or challenges.  So YOUR truth in that respect is personal and subjective to how you view it or experienced it.

When I position “relative” truth against “absolute” truth, I am saying that there is a “COMMON COLLECTIVE TRUTH” that we all share, but that common truth is “relative” to living in our shared dimension called LIFE during this phase of TIME.  Beyond this dimension, that same TRUTH may not apply. But as long as we exist here in this limited-awareness dimension, the best we can comprehend will be “relative” to our Common Collective TRUTH, besides adding our “subjective” versions of how our lives play out for us. 

Clear as mud, right? Yeah.

It took a long time for me to differentiate the distinctions I’m explaining here, so I’m sorry if this initially confuses you, but I’m pretty sure it’s fairly accurate per what I’ve seen with my own eyes and heard from my clients during my hypnosis Past-Life Explorations and Spirit-world Explorations sessions that I’ve personally conducted.  It is truly amazing (and sometimes jaw-dropping) how pliable what we call ‘REALITY’ can be.

So until you have an experience that helps you better understand my attempted definitions above, I guess you’ll just have to decide for yourself whether or not YOU believe in such a thing as TRUTH.

And then determine how that TRUTH plays out for you in your own life.

Common Understandings

I’m big into self-realization and self-actualization, and even had a division in my own company, Foundations of Light, LLC, that was called “True-Self Actualization”—meaning that I conducted classes on teaching others how to recognize and actualize their True Self.

I know. These are just words. They mean little if you can’t even get your head around them.

So I’ll offer a little explanation here of the differences among them and why they are important to anyone hoping to discover your own personal TRUTH on LIFE (or hope to make better sense of your life experiences to date).

***

These definitions are from Wikipedia:

“…Self-realization is an expression used in Western psychology, philosophy, and spirituality; and in Indian religions. In the Western understanding it is the ‘fulfillment by oneself of the possibilities of one’s character or personality’ (see also self-actualization).[1] In the Indian understanding, self-realization is liberating knowledge of the true Self, either as the permanent undying atman, or as the absence (sunyata) of such a permanent Self.” …

“,,,Self-actualization, in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, is the highest level of psychological development where the ‘actualization’ of full personal potential is achieved, which occurs usually after basic bodily and ego needs have been fulfilled.

Self-actualization was coined by the organismic theorist Kurt Goldstein for the motive to realize one’s full potential: ‘the tendency to actualize itself as fully as possible is the basic drive … the drive of self-actualization.’[1] Carl Rogers similarly wrote of ‘the curative force in psychotherapy – man’s tendency to actualize himself, to become his potentialities … to express and activate all the capacities of the organism.’[2] “  ….

True-self:

“…Ātman (/ˈɑːtmən/; Sanskrit: आत्मन्) is a Sanskrit word that means inner self, spirit, or soul.[1][2] In Hindu philosophy, especially in the Vedanta school of Hinduism, Ātman is the first principle:[3] the true self of an individual beyond identification with phenomena, is the essence of an individual….”

***

So to me, True-self discovery means to finally unlock WHO you truly are—it is your ‘soul essence’ revealed to you at last.

And when I say True-self Actualization, I mean to live your life from your true ‘Soul Essence’—to actualize your full potential as a spiritually-connected, Divine being.  (Spiritual here does NOT mean Religious—there is a big difference there.  This has nothing to do with doctrines and dogma.)

My view of the process of discovering and then actually living your life through your TRUE-SELF—your higher ‘soul essence’—is to shift your mental perspective and your self-concept from the superficial, people-pleasing false-self (your projected false public persona), to WHO you really are at your inner core (the sensitive part that we often try to hide and protect from the harsher world around us)—to your True-self—a loving, compassionate being who sees others as merely different versions of herself and who considers all as equals and fellow community members, rather than competing combatants vying for scarce resources and attention/validation from others.  That can be a very hard perspective and behavioral shift to make—going from your false-self to your True-self.

And that is NOT an easy journey of discovery to take I might add, to find and then cultivate your True-self connection—to live life from your True ‘Soul Essence’.

So I want to add just a little more general info:  Abraham Maslow wrote extensively on his concepts of Self-Actualization, and his promotion of what he called Humanistic Psychology. He went even further than that and coined what he and others together named ‘Transpersonal Psychology’:

“Transpersonal psychology (Wiki)

“…During the 1960s Maslow founded with Stanislav Grof, Viktor Frankl, James Fadiman, Anthony Sutich, Miles Vich and Michael Murphy, the school of transpersonal psychology. Maslow had concluded that humanistic psychology was incapable of explaining all aspects of human experience. He identified various mystical, ecstatic, or spiritual states known as ‘peak experiencesas experiences beyond self-actualization. Maslow called these experiences ‘a fourth force in psychology’, which he named transpersonal psychology.

Transpersonal psychology was concerned with the ‘empirical, scientific study of, and responsible implementation of the finding relevant to, becoming, mystical, ecstatic, and spiritual states’ (Olson & Hergenhahn, 2011)….”[61]        ***

Now while this might seem a bit TMI to some, it is the basis for psychology taking a different, more expansive turn for awhile to assess what people were actually experiencing in the world around them, and how those more unusual experiences affected and defined their concept of ‘reality’.

Stanislav Grof mentioned prior was very much into exploring ‘non-ordinary states of consciousness’—mystical states, hallucinogenic states, altered states, etc..  And in doing so, he described what some folks had experienced, himself included, during altered states of consciousness where ordinary reality merges with some really strange stuff.

(Wiki): “…Grof distinguishes between two modes of consciousness: the hylotropic and the holotropic.[6] The hylotropic mode relates to ‘the normal, everyday experience of consensus reality’.[7]  The holotropic has to do with states which aim towards wholeness and the totality of existence. The holotropic is characteristic of non-ordinary states of consciousness such as meditative, mystical, or psychedelic experiences.[8] According to Grof, contemporary psychiatry often categorizes these non-ordinary states as psychotic.[8] Grof connects the hylotropic to the Buddhist conception of namarupa (‘name and form’), the separate, individual, illusory self. He connects the holotropic to the Hindu conception of Atman-Brahman, the divine, true nature of the self(to him they were NOT psychotic episodes, they were non-ordinary but still valid experiences) .”

***

What does this mean to you?  Good question.  It might mean nothing, or it might help to explain a few things for you.

If it doesn’t interest you, you quit reading long ago. If it does interest you, it gives you a few additional sources of information to further pursue. And that’s the point of my listing them here.  I like to share information sources.

To me, Finding Your Truth involves much of what these pioneers explored and the theories that they developed about better understanding the totality of the human experience—including the capabilities of WHO we really can be.  

We are far from knowing all there is to know about the world that we interact with and how to put those strange personal experiences into the correct context for understanding how they might fully affect us; but as the world culture expands to include all aspects of world society and those vastly different perspectives on life, we need to open our minds to there being a bit more about this thing called ‘LIFE’ than we had previously acknowledged; and that it’s easier for all as a world society if we explore this world together rather than staying burrowed into our own little hide-aways stuck in pre-set modes of behavior and limited to specific “acceptable” beliefs about ourselves and the people around us.

Let’s do that Zappa thing: Open our parachutes and our minds to what can be rather than to what currently IS, because that “IS” right now seems pretty odorous.

Wordless TRUTH

From Mystic Path to Cosmic Consciousness

“..the truth cannot be put into words; all we can do is make an effort to render the mystery of life intelligible to our minds.”   – Inayat Khan

Normally I would expound on this “mystery of life” type of TRUTH because that is one of my favorite subjects.  

LIFE’s TRUTH is likely something we may only hope to uncover—IF we are capable of handling the answers that we might find.  Those magnificently-elusive LIFE TRUTHs are wordless to us because we have no comprehensive comparisons to evaluate them in our minds—at least not within our current world-as-we-know-it context. 

So for times like those when we face the still “Unknown” aspects about LIFE in general and the likely “Unknowable-to-some-degree” facets of same said LIFE, we may be stymied at how to describe the experience to others or how to even make some sense of it to our own minds.  I know I’ve had experiences like those, and they were both unbelievably awesome and quite terrifying at the same time. There were NO words that could accurately describe to others those “wordless” experiences.  (I still can’t describe them because I have no context in which to consider them.)

But then there are other times in our collective daily world when expected words also might fail us.  And for me, this is pretty much one of those times because I’m feeling the kind of negative emotions and energies that I really don’t want to feel.  I am furious right now and I’m sure that I am not alone in this feeling.

In fact, I bet that many are feeling what I am at present—teeth-grinding, fist-pounding fury at the stupidity of this entire situation that has engulfed all of us—all because of so many people/news outlets/political opportunists who have been, and still are, spreading blatant lies—lies spread all because of one insane man’s desperate attempt to try to hang on to his dwindling powerbase as the ‘real world’ starts infringing on his malignant fantasies.  

To many people who support this man, there will soon come a time of facing TRUTH in all its disconcerting discomfort.  It simply IS what it is. And this IS the TIME we are in—a TIME for facing TRUTH.

And the only way through the horrors of life as we are now experiencing them, is to stop in our tracks and face down some very uncomfortable and inconvenient TRUTHs.

I personally think that when (and it’s only a matter of time now) many people finally do realize how they have been intentionally deceived, manipulated, and even financially shafted by the very people (or the person) they had wanted so much to trust and emulate, they will become very, very angry—and hopefully they will direct that anger where it is most deserved—at the folks who have been so despicably lying to them since the election results were declared—lying to them TO TAKE THEIR WILLING DONATIONS—THEIR HARD-EARNED CASH TO FILL HIS PRIVATE COFFERS—TO PROP UP A REPREHENSIBLE FRAUD AND HIS BOTTOMLESS NEED FOR GREED.  He has been and still is, using you. That’s what he does—that’s WHO he is. THAT is TRUTH. You will eventually see that for yourselves.

Perhaps when some eyes finally do open and some ears finally do hear TRUTH, no matter how unpleasant it might be to them; they may feel so deceived— so used—so violated, that many may never trust a politician again. And actually that’s not a bad thing.

To me trust must be earned, never demanded by others, nor is it easily given without evidence of valid reasoning for doing so.  I think it was Emerson who said something to the effect, “What you are doing speaks so loudly, I cannot hear what you are saying.”

So I’m all for TRUTH.  I don’t always enjoy hearing it either, but I do know that the only solid ground that we all have to stand on is TRUTH—it is our only common base of understanding.

And I also know that sometimes being “wordless” is a necessary thing, because self-realization is so hard to master.   

Inconvenient Truth

“…TRUTH, for most people, is a secondary consideration.”  Bertrand Russell

This was an easier graphic to grab than the one I preferred, but I can’t make a stationary image produce the same effect as an animated GIF in motion.

On this first day of the year that we all hope is far better than the one left behind, I saw a planetary GIF reminder of what a TRUE year in the normal life of earth is as it travels through space spiral-orbiting an ever-in-motion sun that itself spirals through the Milky Way Galaxy.  The Resonance Science post said simply “Happy Helix Day” while showing all planets spiraling in helix formation around a large in-motion sun.

And I got it—a perspective shift—a TRUTH that we rarely consider, but that is as incomprehensible to most of us as a dog with six legs or a politician without a personal agenda. Our lives don’t follow straight lines to the future—we spiral through our timelines.

And yet, …that ever-spiraling motion of the sun and all those spiral-orbiting planets around it is very much a daily TRUTH that we often ignore because it makes your head hurt to think about all those laws of physics and planetary motion and galaxy evolution in general.  

Too much information!  And yet it is TRUTH.

But back to the real importance of Russell’s quote being here:

“The first thing to realize, if you wish to become a philosopher, is that most people go through life with a whole world of beliefs that have no sort of rational justification, and that one man’s world of beliefs is apt to be incompatible with another man’s, so that they cannot both be right. People’s opinions are mainly designed to make them feel comfortable; TRUTH, for most people is a secondary consideration.”    ― Bertrand Russell, “The Art of Philosophizing and other Essays” (1942)

To repeat: “…People’s opinions are mainly designed to make them feel comfortable; truth, for most people is a secondary consideration.”

And this is how we spend most of our days: throwing opinions at each other with little need for fact.  Fact, for most of us, is often dependent on what we BELIEVE (the context through which we view our world); and that BELIEF is not necessarily dependent on TRUTH, but is something more akin to what we WISH were truth for us.

I mention this here because people have to learn to be more comfortable with the importance of TRUTH over BELIEFS if we are ever going to get along with each other in this world, because TRUTH is the only thing we ALL have in common if we are simply open-minded enough to recognize it.  

The Mind As Parachute

Must be soap-box time for me.

The holidays seem to bring out all the latent philosophers with slogans and well-wishes, and ….how can I say this gently?  Preachiness.  And of course, I am no different.

So when I revert to quoting Frank Zappa, … one of the most controversial, free-spirited and free-wheeling musical/film-directing artists of his day rather than the standard fare like Lao Tzu or Einstein, etc., then something somewhere must be askew.

And yet, the mastermind behind the epic album: “Freak Out!” is the one who best captures today’s moment for me, or as the graphic above states:  “A mind is like a parachute. It doesn’t work if it is not open.”   Frank Zappa

A simple morning comment about how intentionally ‘psychologically-appropriate’ I thought the President-Elect is by restraining himself during his comments on the Toddler-in-Chief’s current dereliction of duty during his waning days in office (or actually golfing at his resort in Florida while the rest of the country is under pandemic lock-downs and nearly starving, while he refuses to sign the relief bill to prevent people from being evicted penniless from their homes and apartments during the holidays—mid-winter no less), and it quickly reverted to my partner’s theological declaration of how deeply the President-Elect is steeped in his Faith to handle things the way that he is.   Uhm… no.

“I think that is how YOU are choosing to interpret the restraint that ‘the P-E’ is showing by not laying into Mr. Ineptness like you or I would be doing because we have less personal control of our tempers,” I said confidently, slurping more coffee, again citing the clever, behavioral-restraint counter-measurers ‘the P-E’ is deftly employing against a sociopathic, power-hungry, malignant narcissist who is currently controlling the United States nuclear codes and who has his oversized shorts in a bunch over the election results not favoring him.

To which was calmly replied. “He (the P-E) is a man of deep Faith and he demonstrates that Faith in his actions.”

I shook my head. Continuing this discussion would go nowhere good, very fast. So I shut my mouth and swallowed my responses. But not for long—that’s why I have this blog.

To me this ‘BELIEF-dependency’ is part of the problem we have as a collective presence in the world today, because WHICH belief is the one that YOU (or whoever is in power at the time) follow to make all your group-dependent decisions where lives are at stake and world economies precariously teeter?

There are thousands of world religions right now—all with offshoots and tributaries, not to mention diverging cult-like facsimiles that bear little resemblance to the founder of the original religion’s intentions and premises.

So WHICH BELIEF-SYSTEM do you adopt as the epitome of cultural and behavioral norms to follow as you govern a world culture?

Please tell me how tacking a religious label on a standard of behavior or a descriptor of moral character becomes anything but divisive to those who stand against that particular religion in favor of the one that they instead follow.  

So maybe it’s time to get our heads out of our own particular BELIEFs, and to lean toward universal behavioral standards in order to live in peace with each other.

Let’s open our minds as we parachute into a new way of thinking and acting toward each other.

Or we could do as Frank Zappa previously suggested: Just “Freak Out!”

Happiness Is A Mindstate

Yearend assessments are often the necessary precursor to developing a New Year’s Resolution, so after determining first that I had certainly blown my 2020’s NY Resolution of “Having More Fun This Year!” my next year’s attempt would have to be scaled back a bit to account for our current and near-future situations with the pandemic limitations.

So then I thought well, maybe I could just resolve to “Be Happy” like my zen-cat hadsuggested’ to me which led to another lengthy analysis on what “Being Happy” actually meant.   Was I ever happy in the past or AM I happy now?  (Hard to believe I have to ask this but I do.)

What would it take to BE HAPPY?  And then of course, that required that I define ‘happiness.’

Doing that brought me to the epitome descriptor of how you recognize HAPPINESS, which I believe to be JOY.  And assessing JOY reminded me that somewhere in my many posts, I think I had once tried to do that. Here is that excerpt from January 18, 2020:

“…Recognizing ‘Relativity’ in Your Life

“…Emotional and mental pains linger in our lives well beyond dictates of reason and logic—they just do.  And since they are often linked to childhood issues, we’ve all been living with them for a very long time. That makes them harder to gauge in terms of their relativity to your overall life functioning.

Joy might be considered similarly relative except it is an even harder scale to gauge than pain might be. Sometimes JOY might be considered as the absence of PAIN, which is a bit sad to not recognize it for its own sake. But yet for many, the absence of PAIN is definitely a JOY, as are other similar circumstances:

  • Having sufficient food to eat is a JOY. 
  • Having a warm, safe and secure home to reside in when the temps are near zero and the snows are swirling, is a JOY.
  • Having loving companionship to face a difficult day or night, is a JOY.
  • Having your health and enough money to live without hardship, is a JOY.

There are truly delicious events and circumstances that raise our spirits and bring smiles to our faces, and may even erupt into a laugh if we allow it; and without a doubt those are joyful experiences and we can easily recognize them as such.

But to always find some JOY in the less desirable circumstances of our lives or in the smallest of kindnesses that we may receive from others, is to understand the true relativity of our life experience and to celebrate the more joyful moments whenever and wherever we can find them.“

***

Yes!  HAPPINESS and JOY are always close cousins though not necessarily interchangeable, but still intimately related; and happiness represents what I would call a ‘Mindstate’—a way of viewing the world around you—a perspective on LIFE in general. It pertains to how you make sense of your world and how you see yourself interacting within it.

While we might associate both HAPPINESS and JOY to an emotional-body energy expression, I would also declare them dependent first on a mental-body energy prerequisite prior to the emotional-body’s heightened energy frequency. Meaning it has to be first a mindstate perception/recognition before it becomes an outward emotional expression.

So this morning in my journal as I’m hashing about on whether ‘happiness’ is a mental state of mind or an emotional state, I asked myself the question:

“So, am I HAPPY? …Hmm, I’m comfortable, but not joyous, but I do lean toward optimism and enjoying the best aspect of every moment. So I think ‘happiness’ is a scale of enjoyment in the moment and the appreciation of every blessing received; and of the deeply-felt appreciation for moments without some kind of sadness or pain.

In other words, ‘happiness’ is often relative to the situation experienced—but it’s more so an attitudean outlooka determination to see the world around you in a certain way no matter how LIFE may actually be treating you.

HAPPINESS is a specific ‘perspective’ on life.

When you know from personal suffering how bad your life experiences can be or how bad it HAS BEEN for you in some way, then you can better appreciate the finer moments of JOY—the better times of love and abundance. It often takes living through the bad times to better appreciate the good ones.

JOY, to me, represents the aspirational high-point of ‘happiness.’ It is the peak experience—the point at which all others pale in comparison. When you know true ‘JOY’, then you know what ‘happiness’ actually ‘feels’ like without asking these stupid questions.

I think that pure JOY itself is rare, but you can have ‘joyful’ moments throughout the day or year. And a few of those are definitely better than none at all.”

So, am I happy?

I think I’m as ‘happy’ as I choose to be at any given moment. And considering all those lesser choices out there, without a doubt, I choose to be HAPPY!

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