The Overwhelmingness of Emptiness

The Overwhelmingness of Emptiness

Try to picture yourself floating in a dark, black room, with no sound, no smell, and no noticeable air friction. It is totally void of any substance that could trigger your senses. There is no background noise. That is hard enough as it is.

Then try to also get rid of everything you think, all your values, your desires, your fears, your plans, your expectations, your assumptions, your beliefs, and… well, you get the idea. Try to experience something like “true emptiness”.

 

This is so hard that Buddhist monks have to learn how to meditate on emptiness for years on end.

Our minds are busy organizers. They continuously shape our mental universe, our mindscape, into a meaningful whole.

You can see this in the way optical illusions work, and in the way the memory of witnesses of a crime lets itself be reshaped, making it susceptible to suggestion and prone to mistakes. You can see it in the way psychologists use varieties of the Rorschach Inkblot Test, where the minds of their clients see meaningful patterns into what in reality are just random patterns of inkblots on a piece of paper.

 

What does this suggest? Our minds want to create meaning. What psychology and other sciences reveal about this might just as well be the tip of the iceberg.

And natural sciences already  suggests a deeper level of reality where things are behaving counter-intuitively.

 

I would like to take it to another extreme: the “real” deeper level of reality is not in any way definite and is much more profound, non-dual and yet infinitely diverse, and unimaginably more fluid than we could ever perceive in our current state of mind. It is like an infinitely small and dense dot where timeless, spaceless reality is a coexistence of endless possibilities, that never take absolute form, but still are able to take meaningful forms and shape meaningful experiences.

Here in mindscape things are finite. We have limits, we die, things break apart, and time passes without ever repeating the same point on the grand scale of history. Here we see certain colors and discriminate them from a small set of others. We observe shapes and clearly recognize them as objective entities that are separate from others. But what if you really try to experience a greater depth in the things you see? If you see a place in nature with a lot of green colors, maybe your mind will notice a few shades, but that’s it. But what if you try to meditate on one shade of green, and then try to experience thousands if not millions of different shades and a kind of perception of “greenness” that connects them all in a kind of unlimited flow, like a never-ending rainbow?

This is just a first little step on the path to trying to understand and appreciate the overwhelming beauty of deeper reality.

 

And yet, it is empty. It is as empty as the dark black room I mentioned earlier, even emptier. That does not sound as beauty, does it? That does not sound like the overwhelming beauty of deeper reality.

The fault lies with your mind. By emptiness I mean the absence of substance of the mind. Absence of the mind is hardly possible, as we are still living in this current reality. But emptiness can be achieved. It requires us to surrender all our presumptions, beliefs, emotions, values, morals, ideas, shapes, percepts, knowledge, and our experience of space and time. It asks us to let go of everything that dictactes reality, everything that our mind tries to influence or control. And when surrendering this, at the same time we surrender ourselves to what lies beneath this “emptiness”, which is in reality overwhelming emptiness, as it is the very opposite of emptiness. Deeper reality is the fullness of emptiness, it is the screaming silence and the flashing darkness, it is shy humility that overpowers you with unimaginable force. It is the smiling diamond that is both fluid AND crystallized, it is every possible shape and percept AT THE SAME TIME, in a now, a present, that never ends. Of course, the words “time” and “end” do not apply, but such are the limitations of language, which is connected to the mind, being is bound to the same limits.

 

So, if surrendering to deeper reality is so wonderful, why is it so hard?

One word: EGO. Our mind is like an organism, it tries to survive and shape its environment. If fears the unknown, it fears chaos, it fears the unexpected and things it cannot comprehend. It fears this, because it means it cannot maintain its equilibrium, its order, its comfortable little universe that makes sense and gives meaning. But change IS inevitable, just as it is necessary. The comfortable mindscape is actually suffocating and it slowly dies, turning into a meaningless void, a psychological hell. Like in the theory of an expanding universe where the distance between stars will grow so vast, and the temperature and energy levels will decrease to such an extent, that it will become like a frozen void. Why is this? Why can’t the mind just create its own meaning? Because it is not FIT to create meaning. It gets its inspiration not from itself, but from deeper reality, which triggers the unconscious. The ego, the control center of the mind, does not want to acknowledge this, and so struggle and suffering are the logical consequences.

The more the ego resists, the more suffering it will cause, and the more rigid its little orderly universe will be in response. It will experience mental chaos as a result of fighting change, and at times it may give in and surrender, but without full-hearted surrender of the spiritual consciousness that actually falsely identifies itself with the mind, it is bound to return to its rigid state.

 

So, emptiness is beauty, and it requires our FULL surrender, which may take a lifetime to accomplish, but is fully and utterly worth it, because it is more than anything else in mindscape can ever be!

Teaser5: an Excerpt of my Fantasy Writing

 

Jasmine ran her fingers through her tousled red hair. In an unthinkably distant past, in a place that only existed in her imagination, it was impeccably groomed, clean and shiny, as if still uncontaminated by the horrors that took away her childhood and innocence. Separated by hundreds and hundreds of kilometers, her triplet sisters were doing the exact same thing.

“Jasmine?”

“Camilla! I’m glad you’re with me.”

“And I’m glad you finally let me in. I’ve missed you.”

“You’re a Lusor now.”

“I MIGHT BECOME a Lusor in the future, mastering the art is like a long and hazardous road. And even here, in Eccarius, those who should know better see me as a witch.”

“I need you to use whatever powers of ‘the Lusors’ art’ you currently have access to.”

“That can not be… it doesn’t work through you, from a distance.”

“You just need to feel what I feel… and interpret it. You can do that better than I can.”

“Jasmine, darling, that’s just my femininity, my sensitivity. That’s not ‘art’.”

“Whatever it is, I have a terrible feeling and I need some guidance.”

“Tell me. No, wait… let me. Let me feel you.”

Jasmine sighed and prepared herself for the emotional invasion.

I might never get used to my sisters violating the privary of my mind. Cursed be this special connection of ours!

“Jasmine…”

“Yes?”

“You have to accept it. You have to allow him to do as he plans.”

“What?! Turning me into a cold-blooded killer?! He said he would teach me everything, that I’d be like him, only better.”

“Are you sure this was all?”

“Uh… no… he said that I should not embrace it, that way, it would be more like an invisible hand directing me at the hours of need.”

“It is inevitable. It’s not about revenge, it’s about doing what is expected of you by the omniverse,  when you stand before a crossroads of destiny, where, under threat of greater darkness, only the lesser dark, not the brighter light can be chosen.”

“Now you sound cryptical! Melissa, what do you think?”

“Melissa?”

“It’s no use, Camilla, she’s playing hide ‘n seek behind her mental wall again.”

“I’m not hiding behind a wall!”

“Melissa!”

“Yes Jasmine, I understand your dilemma. You want my blessing, or what?”

“Your logic… you are the more rational of us.”

“Is that meant to mock me?”

“Does it sound that way to you?”

“No. Well… the logical answer is that… that Camilla’s usually right.”

“That does not sound like you! Not at all!”

“OK then! I think that logic does not matter anymore if half your family has been massacred, and the rest’s been tortured, maimed or otherwise damaged! If the world is sick like a rotten tooth, is my logic then the cure that can heal it, like nothing ever happened? No, a real surgeon must do what is necessary to prevent worse. If that means cutting out the rot, then so be it. If our lady Jasmine can be turned into the perfect weapon, mastering the art like no one else before her, that might just be what’s necessary to stop the world from decaying. At least it might give us an edge when the whole world is out to get us again. And…”

“And???”

“And you have us. We are ONE through our mystical connection. We will make sure that this beautiful, innocent core of yours will not be touched by whatever horrible deeds the invisible hand of fate will make you do.”

“That’s right!” Camilla said to the spiritual image of her triplet sister.

“Together three, together free!”

“TOGETHER THREE, TOGETHER FREE!”

 

And this time, when she ran her hands through her hair, he had turned on the light next to the mirror. Gradam, veteran and former assassin, was now standing beside her like a caring father. Her hair was not red, but silvery grey and her skin was as dark as the hard black stone which the Zartians always loved to incorporate into their buildings. The transformation was complete. She was now a Zartian, ready for the journey to Zartia. The dye also masked her many scars, just as the fake hair covered her bald, scarred skull, which always made her recall the fire and torture.

He had become a dark North-eastern man too, his height and proportions a bit unusual for the Zartian breed, but otherwise spotless.

“Ready?”

“Ready.”

His touch was warm and soft, but she trusted him not as she would trust her own father… and even her father had finally proven himself unworthy of her trust.

Gradam collapsed and spit out red saliva. His breathing sounded heavy, like a rattling machine.

She crouched beside him. “Your illness…”

“It’s nothing … we do not have time right now to find a healer.” With difficulty he stood up, but he had to lean with both hands against the wall.

When Jasmine got herself up on her feet, she knew something was wrong. Camilla’s mental apparition inside her head let out a pervasive scream. “HE’s COME! HE WHO BRINGS DESPAIR AND CHAOS!”

 

When she looked into the mirror, she saw it herself. Having human proportions, this creature was inhuman in every other way. It had an exoskeleton, four small white eyes and a blackish, transparent skin, just like the flying monsters called volosts. The summum of its fearsomeness, like in the case of the volost, was its second, shadowy body that floated just behind, as a kind of failed shadow or lost soul.

“YES HE IS HERE CAMILLA!”

“What do you mean?! I’m talking about the omnigentium, the foul, intelligent, immaterial beast of higher reality, that is seeking access to our world! It has found me here, while the Priests of Virtue would protect me, hide me from it!”

If Camilla does not see the same horrible creature…

She turned around. The creature bowed slightly, the four pupil-less eyes staring at her all the while. When he spoke, his voice sounded like a shrill echo in a hall with distorted acoustics. “I can help, old friend.”

She could not marry the kindness of words with the repulsiveness of voice and appearance.  Gradam carefully let go of the wall and turned, staggering on his legs.

“Vion an Chor. You are most unexpected, but all the more welcome. “

“They killed your noble volost.”

“So you already know.”

“We feel it. You would feel, if you’d worn your Phantom of Duritasa. It’s a shame the creature is dead.”

“Its physical embodiment is dead, the shadowbody still floats around, somewhere…”

“Volosts rarely die. The shadowbody of a volost is more powerful than you can imagine. Much more than the shadow body that contributed to your ‘cloak’. But first I must heal you.”

Jasmine had already seen a volost before and could therefore more easily get used to looking at this Orburironese man. “Sorry, I had never…”

“… seen an Orburironese man in all his glory? Don’t worry, little one, you’re one of the few who’ve ever been so lucky. Small wonder the other races all want to either exterminate, or isolate us. Which is why we ultimately did the latter ourselves. Isolating, I mean.”

“They said there will be a war.”

“The ‘war’ has never ended. Not from ‘your’ side, anyways. Your leaders seek only an excuse to do what their hearts most secretly desire.”

Competition in the Academic Jungle

The frontiers of science form a harsh world where competition is fierce and intrigues are not unheard of. The kings of this jungle pride themselves on more articles, more citations in more respected magazines.

This type of culture in my opinion leads to at least two things:

  1. Scientists focusing on publication in quantity, rather than on a sincere, qualitative search for significant answers to questions that matter.
  2. Possible data manipulation, favoritism, plagiarism and a kind of science pop culture, where groundbreaking, controversial and science-advancing theories with good methodological and empirical foundations might shatter, as ships on the stubborn stony shores of “science Hollywood”.

It might not be that extreme, and I admit that in many cases, flawed science gets filtered out, but it neither is as objective and definite as many of the uninformed public – including those who use science as a means to discard theological and pseudo-scientific ideas – would like to believe. That is not to say, however, that because of this, the scientific community is by no means equipped to disprove claims of such aforementioned ideas.

Notwithstanding the value of science, I strongly believe that there is a large subjective, political factor that cannot be cancelled out and unless you are in the trenches yourself, fighting for your own “fame” and accomplishment, you might mistakenly assume that science is just an objective road to truth. It is much more complicated than that.

We, who remain unscarred and unbled, or have never personally experienced the war of academic politics, need to be aware of this and cite and interpret scientific, or scientifically sounding ideas accordingly. And along the same lines, we really must be careful in assuming what information is just speculation, and how much significance a finding or theory has. Because the significance and explanatory power are usually only understood by those who actually work in the field. For the uninitiated, claiming something based on science we cannot verify for ourselves, is not very different from believing commercials, preachers, and whatever is written using popular media.

You Owe your Creative Child

Giving birth is one of the most profound and miraculous life experiences, something we men can only be a spectator of.

But for both fathers and mothers it is quite evident that raising a child is a life-changing responsibility. And when we marvel – during those times when our fears or frustrations do not overshadow everything – at the mysterious wonder that is continuously reinventing itself, you notice there is so much of you, so much of you both in there. Even if they grow up to develop very distinct features, you can still observe the traits – the annoying AND charming ones alike – that remind you of who you are and who you were.

Taking care of them is then, in a sense, taking care of yourself – or, at least, of a part of yourself.

 

However, this enchanting phenomenon is also a good metaphor for your creative children.

Creativity is a dynamic world where reality, centered around you, is continuously reinventing and redefining itself, similarly to how a child changes over time and becomes more complex and self-aware, with many layers of feelings, impressions and concepts. Parts of yourself are projected onto and into that painting, song, sculpture or story, they have a life of their own that is connected through an invisible umbilical cord to your very soul. You are interdependent, because it cannot live without feeding off your subconsciousness, and you, on the other hand, will learn that the uniqueness that emerges through its medium and being gives you a perspective that could not have existed without.

If it dies, together with its hopes and potentials, part of you, and your hopes and potentials, will die with it, or will at least be buried under the sands of the desert of forgetfulness.

 

There are those who sacrifice their children for what they perceive as a greater good, but the premise of interconnected love and consciousness predicts that this will lead to a weakening of the soul, a sickness of your being. You might be asked to let go of your most beloved ones, but only when it is asked by the omniverse, there being no other way, will you need to accept such a sacrifice. No self-aware being should voluntarily sacrifice life.

 

The life that lives in your art, the blood that flows through the pages or makes the paint and musical sounds come alive, is also dependent on you and unless circumstances force you to let go, it is unwise and even harmful to sacrifice your creative offspring. It will lead to a withering and wearing out of your spirit, because it is part of you that is sacrificed as well.

 

That’s why you should cherish and protect it like you would your own blood, stand in awe of it like you would at your breathing son or daughter’s latest accomplishments. And like children teach and change you, them being the ever-changing mirrors to your self that they are, so does your artistic progeny change you, forever!

Teachers do not Teach

Dictionaries have clear, but not so useful definitions of what teaching and learning are, and academics offer many theories about how, when and where learning takes place. I want to propose my own view.

Whether or not teachers (in both the specific and general sense) use structural and formal methods to teach and assess students, one can raise questions about the extent to which teachers can influence learning.

 

Communication is not digitalised in human beings, information is processed consciously and unconsciously. Signals from the environment trigger the senses which in turn trigger the brain. In the mind information bits are transformed into constructs and are incorporated into the concept of self. It has to make sense, understable in our own language and frame of reference, and has to provide meaning. The physical process is much more complex, but the point is, whether one sees it from a physical, a spiritual, or just a simplistic point of view, we do not simply receive, store and retrieve data like a computer.

 

Learning theories and common sense tell us that learning is highly influenced by motivation, attitude, curiosity, openness to experience, and previous learning experience. I think this is even more profound on a deeper level, where processing is related to the true self in the more definite reality where information and consciousness seem to be interconnected. More profound learning might take place on this level deeper than conscious experience.

 

Constructs inside the mind will help de learner find the necessary information to communicate and therewith reflect what is being taught. But if learning takes place on a deeper level, then there is no easy way to tell what the mind, in its unique mindverse (or mindscape, the thinking mind’s universe of perception) is actually experiencing when learning or retrieving these concepts.

 

Many teaching methods and conditions seem to make it more likely for the student to be triggered into learning, but it all depends on the readiness and processing mode of the mind. It is like deeper level (sub and/or un)consciousness has to be aroused into a certain state of readiness for meaningful learning to actually take place.

 

I honestly believe that on the deepest level of consciousness-accessible reality all information that may ever possibly exist is already there, undifferentiated, like a fluid flowing without taking a solid, finite state. And I think that this information is accessible if the true self is no longer hidden by the fabrications of the mind.

 

So that, to me, means that learning is just a form of remembering and re-connecting, rather than the acquiring of novelties, of new information.

 

All this, in my view, seems to support the notion that the mind teaches itself (and more notably, if applicable, the true self connects and becomes aware, at a deeper level), rather than that the person is being taught by an external agent. Teachers have little influence on the deeper personal learning experience and more specifically with regards to the forms it takes in the mind and self.

But teachers do have influence on the circumstances that trigger the self to “open up” for learning and that allow for the availability of information that can easily be processed. The mindverse will process consciously, but the true self will just become aware, if it is ready.

 

I think the best way to stimulate a positive learning environment is to let the teacher connect to the students’ mindverse and if possible, to the students’ deeper unconscious perception, that takes place at the level of the true self.

But the teacher can only make this connection by becoming aware of, and expressing his or her own true self and deeper experience.

A teacher who is blind to the true self’s experience or whose consciousness is distorted by emotions, desires, conceptions and other fabrications of the thinking mind, will have to deal with a classroom of students who are also less able to connect to the ideal vibe for learning and growing.

A teacher who is aware, unhindered by the thinking mind, and in a state of acceptance, peace and love, will connect and will allow the students to also more easily open up to learning – depending on the willingness of their own thinking mind and deeper self.

The Problem with Faith

You need to have faith.

Preachers of the various creeds and their countless followers make it sound seem so easy. Too many claim to have it, but need comforting images inside their mind or convincing logic to help them justify that. Some just pay lipservice.  They enact their faith through their mind, justify it with their mind and by doing so also make themselves vulnerable to all kinds of criticism.

Most discussions between “believers” and “non-believers” are more like arguments between two stubborn children; they do not lead to real new insights and in too many cases make them loose respect for the “other side”.

We live in a perceived world both shaped and explained by science, a scientific mindset that involves both logic and experimental testing. It also involves imagination and prior understanding, as it begins with coming up with a theory (about how something works in nature). The theory, if it is to be of any use scientifically, makes predictions that can be tested and either falsified (which means that it is not true) or verified. But verification only means that it is true until it is falsified by later insights and experiments. In a way, this is a humble attitude toward existence, as a true scientist, in my experience, will rarely claim to know “the final truth” for sure – although already discarded theories of course are hard, if not impossible, to reinstate.

These theories, when surviving falsification, will enter common knowledge (sometimes they enter common knowledge even if science has proven them wrong, though) and will also help us shape the world around us, and the advanced technology which we use in our daily lives stands as a testimony to the use of scientific thinking. Those who do not believe in any god or spirituality are part of this modern reality, but those who do believe are just as much part of it – in most cases. Few question it, although there are those who try to avoid inconvenient theories like evolution and the descent of man from an ape-like common ancestor.

Regardless of this, we can ask ourselves what reality we live in, that can be explained by science and also fosters millions who believe in another type of reality. Does consistency and the evolution of man and technology mean that it is an absolute real – objective – reality that we can probe through our consciousness? Or is it a perceived reality that only has the convincing consistency, complexity and continuity of a true reality, but only because our mind cannot distinguish it from something else? Psychologically we may feel part of an objective reality and it holds up to scrutiny because it can be tested, changed and we seem to grow in our understanding of it. Does this mean that it absolutely has to be more than a perceived reality, more than a sophisticated illusion? Is there any way for the mind to tell whether it is some sort of simulation, any way to look beyond the mind-horizons beyond which something more real might be waiting?

Or could it be that the objective reality really exists, and can be probed by us? Even if this is true, the way our senses and brains translate signals into a comprehensible whole, seems by no means without flaws and the deeper reality (like the “quantum world”) suggested by modern scientific findings is very counter-intuitive. Our pasts are reconstructions and our futures predictions, it always has to make sense to us. So even if we can probe and discover, mere data does not satisfy most of us. We still need to translate it into language, images and understanding.

How do we know where it ends? How far can we really reach with the length or our arms of logic, fingers of perception and the mind that puts together all the bits of information? What if there is a horizon of this perceived reality beyond which neither the senses, nor our logic can ever hope to sail, simply because they are part of that same perceived reality?

If it is sophisticated self-perception, is it possible that there is a way to become aware, to awaken, and see beyond the mind-horizon, to experience what some call “spiritual enlightenment”?

So if we believe in this consistent and understandable world we perceive every day and we accept it as a final reality, this could mean that we just “have faith” in the reach of our minds. Do we all personally check every bit of scientific research, both statistically and experimentally, about everything we experience that is important to us? Do we even have the capability to test the translation from the data of everything “science has confirmed so far” into a world which actually makes sense to us and can be lived as a human being? It seems to me that a little trust and faith is always involved, even if it does not refer to any gods or spiritual realities. Our minds CAN be fooled, we could live in a endless loop without ever being aware of it, because every time it reaches the turning point where the cycle starts all over, we also loose our memory and start like a newborn, a tabula rasa. Sure, reality seems very consistent and sophisticated, and we seem to be able to make choices that affect it, but how sure can we be that the choices were not already made at a deeper, subconscious level, without us ever being aware of that?

So, for some reason, most of us believe in a reality that is continuous, not a loop of meaningless self-deception. So I call that faith, or trust. There are things that are hard to prove, things that we even do not want to prove. If we have a healthy romantic relationship, we will not stalk our spouse every minute of the day to see if he or she really doesn’t cheat on us. We will not bring this loved one to the hospital every other day to have her or his brain scanned and reveal whether the right areas light up when she looks into our loving eyes – to prove that it is real love. We simply let go of that need to prove love, because we want to be free of obsession, develop a healthy relationship and sail by the inspiring winds of trust. Trust brings joy, happiness and meaning to our lives.

If we want to open our stubborn, self-serving mind to other possibilities, like a higher spiritual reality, then this also requires a kind of trust, a letting go, coupled with some courage. It is like sailing into the stormy sea of the unknown, but trusting the ship will hold together and we will live to see the lands that lie beyond the horizon. Storm means fear, suffering and almost drowning. It is beyond doubt that life can be painful and deadly, but that does not mean we will die in the possible realities that hide beyond what we perceive. Since the tools we use in this perceived reality, even if it has some kind of objective existence, only work in that specific reality, because they were born from it, we cannot use them to travel beyond. So there is no way to avoid the storms of change, no way to avoid letting go, no way to avoid trust and “faith”.

Why do we need to have faith? Because it is the only way to convince us to find the courage to step into the dark without aids. Whenever we ask for aids, whenever we ask for proofs and evidence of that other reality, we are only inviting ourselves back into the perceived reality, not into the ocean that leads to the reality beyond. Our mind only accepts miracles it can understand and it only understands what it is familiar with in some way – and it is only familiar with the perceived reality.

So acquiring faith is a long journey, it is the most difficult task of man, and it will most likely lead to suffering. Suffering does not mean that a malevolent conscious being is punishing or playing with us. Suffering is traveling through the winds of change and we bleed and die because we loose parts of the mind-reality that keeps us trapped on this side. It is just the consequence of change, but the more we fight it, the more we cling to the mind-reality, the more we struggle and suffer. But as inevitable it is and as horrible this may seem, it eventually is only perceived suffering, not absolute as our mind tries to convince us. The moment we reach “the other side”, or even “start to get glimpses of it”, we will feel better. But that may take time.

When hardships are met along the way, the mind feels threatened in its continuation, and will fight back. If religion is used as a path to reach the other reality, the mind might convince us that hardships are punishments, or that to believe in God or gods is stupid, because why would He or they allow pain and sorrow? I think that is as much a misconception as the many stories you here from believers about how their God punishes the sinners for their lack of faith – while failing to explain how a young child with a serious illness can be considered a sinner, or why even atheists who live righteous lives, but never had good reasons to embrace faith, should burn in hell. I do not claim to know the final truth about these things, but I strongly believe that there must be a way for all of us, whatever our creed – or lack thereof – may be, to grow and discover whatever wonders await us on the other side of perceived reality.

We need to be really careful with any statement, any representation or any image – even any word – about this other reality. Who truly knows? Who knows God? If we, believers and non-believers alike, humble ourselves in the face of the enigma of existence, it might well reveal itself to us, if we but find our own type of faith, any faith that resonates with our true selves, that helps us let go and embrace whatever is out there. Embrace it with courage, trust and love.

Is humility really a virtue?

The world sings about and praises humility.

Saint Augustine has been referred to as saying: “Do you wish to rise? Begin by descending. You plan a tower that will pierce the clouds? Lay first the foundation of humility.”

Humility is also expressed during prostration in prayer.

And all you need to do is look for “quotes about humility” on the internet. Does that make you feel content? Does that make you happy? Is it really that simple? Sounds like there is a catch, that humility is a pitfall – and you might fall in if you don’t watch your step.

 

Robin Morgan, according to brainyquote.com, seemed to have recognized one of the pitfalls: “Knowledge is power. Information is power. The secreting or hoarding of knowledge or information may be an act of tyranny camouflaged as humility.”

 

Many powerhouses of intellectual and spiritual wisdom claim that humility is the true path to virtue, self-enlightenment or even greatness.

 

But how can we grasp it?

Many who practice it seek social affirmation and praise, or have secret agendas – maybe even unbeknownst to themselves. In a way, their EGO’s are seeking a different, hidden way to express and project their pride and the belief in the reality they shape around them.

In a way, one could say, most of us are actually seeking the celebration of the self, a certain pride, out of being humble. We WANT to be great and know that being humble scores better socially, than being arrogant. So our outward expression of humility may actually be the inward expression of its opposite, transformed into a socially desirable euphemism.

 

How can we be sure of this?

If we still struggle with ourselves at times, with our self-confidence, with our self-acceptance, then most likely we still value what others think about us, our identity and all the transient things in this world. In this condition, we need the praise and affirmation of others. So, as long as we struggle, our acts of humility are most likely just expressions of the EGO that seeks social approval.

Another sign of insincere humility is when we are most likely to express it toward people among which we still feel insecure, to whose opinion we are still very much susceptible.

 

Doesn’t that make most humble people hypocrites? That is a strong statement, but there is some truth to it. However, it is a long and natural process, and judging people (or even ourselves) for being partially or even wholly insincere in our humbleness is in itself also a sign of spiritual and intellectual immaturity.

 

So how can we be truly and sincerely humble?

I honestly believe that there is no such thing as a binary distinction in two categories: humble versus proud. A better way to visualize it is as a dimension, from very proud, through insincerely humble to approximately humble.

How can we move upwards on the dimension of humility?

By being true to ourselves and getting to know our true selves. Because the true self is the only self that understands the concept of humility, as it understands its connection to everything else and its humble place in that unimaginably complex whole.

Your true self does not need to (over)stretch its intellectual abilities to understand what that means. It JUST KNOWS.

How do you know you’ve found your true self? A good indicator is when you no longer need to ask that question, and when the answer is something you KNOW FOR SURE, without any need for confirmation, evidence or explanation.

 

These articles may help you on your way:

 

http://www.marcelvandelft.eu/uncategorized/how-can-you-learn-to-accept-yourself/

http://www.marcelvandelft.eu/uncategorized/how-to-find-your-true-authentic-self/

Photography: Eva Habets

How to practice real forgiveness?

There are many interesting quotes made by even more interesting figures in history, but will those quotes actually change you?

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I’m going to make a blunt statement. Most acts of forgiveness are not acts of forgiveness, but acts of social manipulation. By social manipulation I do not mean anything passive-aggressive, but any type of social influence in general, aimed at removing the obstacle of conflict caused by the behavior that begs for forgiveness.

Most of us are just trying to get on with life, the stress triggered by undesirable behavior stands in our way to self-fulfillment – all the needs we think we have concerning our future.

Forgiveness is not just a moral code taught by educators and religious people. It touches the core of existence in the highest possible reality of one’s self, the reality where self no longer is that self. It is a way of letting go that directly relates to the flow of spiritual expression, on the plane where duality, time, space and individuality resolve into oneness.

But we do not experience this “other” world. We have emotions. We are oceans with currents of desire, waves of anger, depths of sadness and inescapable tides of attraction and disgust. We play the tragedy of a life full of mistakes and regrets on the stage of broken dreams. We forgive others, we forgive ourselves, but we wonder why we still cannot let go and why nothing really changes.

Emotions are chaos, they disturb our desirable predictability and sometimes become dangerous creatures of eros and thanatos, demons that possess us and fill us with energies of sex and death. So we try to fight them, hide from them or we even hate our selves, but to no avail. And even if we do seem to be able to contain them for some time, we also kill their more positive counterparts – for they are ONE.

There lies the key. We flee from our shadows, but fail to realize that they are just the other side of the same coin and to throw it away is to throw away the coin altogether. What expresses itself as emotions, both the good and the bad, is in reality just the expression of spiritual energy, but translated from oneness into duality, from the world of connectedness into the world of separateness and contrast.

The only way, literally the ONLY WAY to get rid of the suffering caused by our shadows and the confusion caused by our emotions and instincts, is to fully allow them to be. Neither approving, nor opposing them, in no way judging them. It is not letting go, it is letting be. And letting be is not ignoring or forgetting behavior of ourselves or others, it is letting flow of every aspect of our consciousness.

So what is forgiveness? Forgiveness is the mere act of awareness of the reality BEHIND all behavior – wrong or right – in which there is no judgment, and no emotional value of any kind apart from a feeling of energetic being and peace. It is an act of acknowledgment of the spiritual energies that lie behind all our behavior. We do not approve of the negative things we think, do or say, or what others do or say, but it is giving up resistance of any kind and going with the flow of the energies behind it all.

Forgiveness is a spiritual ripening or maturation in which the energy blockades dissolve and the flow of being becomes unhindered, until full realization, awareness and delight can emerge. It is one of the most difficult things to attain, hence the abundance of failed attempts all around us.

Forgiveness is a slippery road on a steep mountain, but nothing is comparable to the view you get from the summit.

What we all should know about woman abuse

In ancient times, archaeologists and historians seem to agree, European societies were matriarchal and divinity was associated with femininity. In some cultures, female fertility was worshiped and sometimes even the vagina.
woman suffers from headache, migraine, emotional stress, insomnia or sleeplessness with messy hair and facial expression
And now? To talk about vaginas is taboo, women are (still) suffering from inequality and to make things worse: girls and women are being exploited and abused on an enormous scale!
There is something wrong with the way we treat those once revered human beings!
To give you an idea of the scale of this mistreatment, let me share with you some statistics (sources are provided below).
There are 26,250,000 arranged marriages worldwide, which comprises more than 50% of all marriages.
More than 11 million girls are forced to marry before the age of 18 and 11% of all girls in developing countries are forced to marry before the age of 15.
More than 5000 women die each year because of honor killings.
The fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world is the trafficking of women and children for sexual exploitation. Almost 21 million adults and children worldwide are sold into sexual servitude or forced labor and 2 million of these victims are children. Women and girls make up 95% of the victims.
In the US alone, between 300,000 (lowest estimate) and 1.3 million (highest estimate) women are raped EVERY YEAR. The chance that a woman gets raped is estimated at 1 in 5! Many more statistics about other countries can be found on the internet.
People might oppose feminism, or complain that men are victims of these crimes too, but it is hard to ignore the statistics which demonstrate that women are suffering on a much larger scale!
So don’t turn a blind eye to this shameful reality and do whatever can be done.
There are organizations that support victims of human trafficking:
Sources used:

Never Underestimate the Quiet Ones

Never underestimate the quiet ones.

Why?

Mahatma Gandhi has often been quoted saying, “In a gentle way, you can shake the world.”

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Look at this Latin phrase:

“Quod flumen placidum est, forsan latet altius unda.”

It means something along the lines of: “Who is silent, melancholic, or shun, perchance the quiet rivers run deep.”

It is taken from The Distichs of Dionysius Cato, an unknown author from the 3rd or 4th century AD.

You could compare it to the English proverb “Still waters run deep.”

 

Parents of a ‘quiet’ child are often worried, is he or she sad or are there psychological problems? Why is my child not participating in social activities, like other children?

If psychological challenges, bullying and other possible problems have been accounted for, these concerned moms and dads are left with a child that just seems to be quiet, often living inside his or her own mind.

Still they want to change him or her, hoping that the child will eventually be like ‘the others’.

If you are such a parent, please DON’T.

Quiet people just have different wiring than what we could call ‘noisy people’. As a result, their friendships are intenser and longer lasting, they, on average, tend to be smarter, can achieve great things due to spending so much time in their ‘inner worlds’ and often try to use those talents to change the world, rather than solely seeking personal gain. The few, but loyal friends they have often experience them as being empathic and they can enjoy meaningful conversations based on mutual respect.

It is true that they are challenged by being sensitive to stress, and big crowds; and that they’d rather spend time alone than indulge in chitchat, but when they take their alone time they are quietly helping to change the world for the better.

Look at this list of some famous “quiet achievers”:

Michael Jordan, Gwyneth Paltrow, Harrison Ford, Bill Gates, David Letterman, Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep, Steve Martin, Van Gogh, J.K. Rowling, Bill Gates, Abraham Lincoln, Christina Aguilera, Eleanor Roosevelt, Courteney Cox, Albert Einstein, Emma Watson, Mahatma Gandhi, Laura Bush, Rosa Parks, Audrey Hepburn, Warren Buffett, Roy Rogers, Candice Bergen, George Stephanopoulos.

If you want to learn more about the powers of introverts, a good read is  the NY Times bestseller “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking”, by author Susan Cain, in which she, an introvert herself, explores the myths and truths of introversion and extroversion.

 

Sources used:

http://sites.fas.harvard.edu/~chaucer/special/authors/cato/cato-bk4.html

http://thenewdaily.com.au/life/wellbeing/2013/12/17/introverts-vs-extroverts/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/08/15/famous-introverts_n_3733400.html

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