It is the first day of a new beginning. Time for celebration, or to follow up on resolutions made?
How about we make a toast to pain? What we might be celebrating is in fact a life that haunts us every step, a life that enslaves us rather than sets us free: we try to fit in with our social circles, keep up with the Joneses (or Kardashians), stay up to date through social media, follow our “true” passions, make needed career changes, get married, ask for that promotion, become an entrepreneur, listen to our parents, surround ourselves with comforts we think we need, escape sorrow by means of indulgences, try to change the world, or go on a quest to find our true self.
I say, let the the sirens of today’s madness sing of wants and needs, let the ghosts of yesterday wail of regrets and the demons of tomorrow threaten with fears. I say, sit down and let them howl, rage, pull at you, and attempt to tear you to pieces. Could this instead be the moment you choose change, and through change freedom?
All those voices from inside your head and from the influential social environment, telling you what to want and what to need in order to achieve happiness, assert themselves as being indispensable to a free life, yet they are the very opposite: they are Machiavellian creatures seeking domination over you by exploiting your biggest weakness: pain.
There, I said it. Suffering. Let it summarize all that you try to avoid and fear to acknowledge: guilt, tragedy, insecurities, trauma, fear, loss, mistrust, loneliness and other psychological turmoil. Breathe it in, bravely endure it, and even embrace it like you would your true soulmate. Let all hell break loose in your head but do not identify with any of it: it all comes, makes an awful lot of noise, but eventually passes. You are NOT your pain, but it is crucial that you go through it. I am not just telling you, I am urging myself to do the same, as it has always been my challenge too.
Then do something wild and creative: write, draw, paint, sing, dance, or do whatever makes you feel a free soul for the moment it lasts – as long as it does not harm yourself or others. Let all the pain be the energy that drives you to new extremes, until a thing of beauty emerges, a rare gem that would otherwise have been lost to mankind. Do not rationalize it, choreograph it, formalize it, describe it, or in any other way allow it to confine the untamed primitive flame: just go wherever it guides you. And when the dust has settled, exhaustion has finally caught up with the wild intoxication, and wet pearls trickle down the worn landscape of your tormented face, only then start trying to make sense of it all, and the result, a true masterpiece beyond any externally imposed standards – as it just IS – should be the perfect equilibrium between that wild untamed freedom that lies behind all that pain and the orderly form of you that exists in a relatively orderly universe.
Do not fear your pain, as the world is full of those who cannot handle their own pain and therefore seek to exploit your pain, and your pain will set you free, raise you to new heights of creativity and self-realization. And again, you will not need to dwell in pain indefinitely, but the sea of sorrow must be crossed to reach the other side.
“Invention, it must be humbly admitted, does not consist in creating out of void, but out of chaos.” Words attributed to Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein.
Sleep seems a vague reference to a faint idea masked as a memory of what should
have been a real thing. Now wakefulness is your reality, your ONLY reality.
Family, friends and sanity have long abandoned you, as you lost touch with
hope. Days and nights you spend glued to the luminescent screen of that
relentless monstrosity of a laptop, doing ghostwriting jobs – receiving zero
recognition – by the virtue of which you can continue paying the bills and that
pitiful excuse for a condo
you call home. You are nothing more than a machine, just waiting for the
latest updates in order to be allowed to shut down . . . forever.
imagine fear. You are a fugitive, on the run for the long arm of the law,
representing the ignorance of the crowd. Only you know the true value of the
secrets they are trying to take from you. Who can you trust, with assassins
lurking behind every corner? Even your once formidable reasoning skills are
starting to desert your cause, leaving you high and dry. And all of a sudden
the men in white coats finally take you by surprise, wrestle you into a van,
and with vicious intent bring you to their agency, which they euphemistically
call “mental hospital”. When they force dangerous chemicals into your
bloodstream, and you are sure it is a truth serum that will allow them to
finally get the information you had been protecting all this time, they call it
“treatment.” You wake up after a rough night of sweating, swearing, and
screaming. What that so called psychiatrist calls “schizophrenia” is now
starting to become a state of total confusion, fear, and desperation.
Everything is falling apart . . . even your conception of self, your identity as
a world-class spy.
can all imagine such scenarios because of the movies we see and, I would say,
more profoundly due to the novels we read. Though it is not likely that our
lives resemble those of the main characters in these two short narratives, I assume
that you have had periods in life when your felt “stuck”, and periods when you
felt “confused.” You might have had a monotonous job with no perspective, but
which you could not give up because of financial reasons. Or you might have
been overwhelmed by all the new responsibilities and challenges as a new
the case, and whatever the extent, those fluctuations between what I would call
“order” and “chaos”, are very common.
concept of chaos has its roots in Ancient Greek philosophy, possibly starting
with Orpheus introducing the term, “Chaos condenses into the giant Cosmic Egg,
whose rupture resulted in the creation of Phanes and Ouranos and of all the
gods who symbolise the creation of the Universe.”
they have a nature that can be interpreted, for in all chaos there is a cosmos,
in all disorder a secret order, in all caprice a fixed law, for everything that
works is grounded on its opposite,” Carl Jung said in Archetypes of the
concepts of chaos and order are also familiar to physicists, like for instance
in thermodynamics where it is referred to as entropy. There is a distinct field
called Chaos Theory, which has been very helpful to me in more methodologically
describing the ideas which I have already wrestled with philosophically and
Let’s describe it in more imaginative terms, as I have done in an earlier blog post. On the extreme left side of the spectrum you may imagine a perfect block of ice, completely inert. On the more extreme right visualize a wild stream, a ferocious river, a waterfall if you will. The block of ice represents order, a static state of being, unchangeable (for the sake of the argument, refrain from thinking about the possibility of melting or other exceptions). The wild river represents chaos, it is never the same, ever changing.
if you would carefully examine snow flakes from up-close, you might marvel at
their wonderfully complex pattern, which is unique and intricate, but with a
sense of order to it that clearly distinguishes it from randomness. That
snowflake represents complexity, the optimal mean (resplendent, as it is so
miraculous, if you think about it) between order and chaos, between inertia and
flakes are just snow flakes, however, ice blocks are nothing more than ice
blocks, and rivers, however important for the sustenance of life, are merely
rivers. Complexity in our universe is infinitely more profound – and I think it
even describes things like intelligence and conscious growth – so why should we
care about the different states of H2O? Because it can help us understand the
three concepts which I want to use to describe not only natural phenomena, as
is the domain of physicists, but also psychological growth, the dynamics of
society, and the spiritual – though the latter requires quite a leap of faith.
in a static universe is just that: complexity. However, movement, and change,
are an inextricable part of existence. In a system that allows for change and
movement, order might also mean “cyclic”, “linear”, “predictable” or
“continuous”, whereas chaos (which I intellectually conveniently, but perhaps
incorrectly, equal to “disorder”) might also mean “random”, “alinear”,
“unpredictable”, or “discontinuous”. In the same way, complexity might be
called “growth” or “dynamics” in such a system.
dynamics, and growth are, as I said, the optimal mean (a moving equilibrium if
you will) between order and chaos (between continuity and discontinuity). This
is the hot spot where miracles happen: intelligent life that evolves, and all
else that is complex and dynamic. In its most optimal form, it is the ideal
path, the resplendent path (Yes, I know it sounds like your average new age
fluff, but bear with me).
you use such denominations, it is easier to apply them to other fields, like
the ones I mentioned earlier – which is, of course, a mere intellectual
exercise of imagination, if not warranted by sound argumentation and proof. In the
book which I am currently working on, I will establish more sound reasoning to
back up my claims where possible and desirable. Backed by science and
philosophy or not, I am confident that such intellectual exercises are very
helpful in approaching the many challenges which people, from individuals to
societies as a whole, are facing every single day.
I will just share various examples for the three different aspects of complexity, for different fields: psychology, sociology, the spiritual. Just the terms, as I want you to draw your own conclusions.
I write is not new or revolutionary, it might even be rooted in the very
ancient foundations or western culture and philosophy, like for example the origins
of the concept of chaos I have referred to earlier.
what I do hope to have demonstrated through this writing – and I will do so in
much more details in my upcoming book – , is that these ideas, although à
première vue they might seem overly
simplistic, are an amazingly helpful framework to approach the complex issues
in psychological development (and pathology), in the dynamics of society, and
perhaps even spiritual growth.
might even go as far as to say that the ancient question “What is the meaning
of life?” may simply be answered with: “To find and follow the golden mean
between order and chaos: the resplendent path, where miracles happen and
everything falls into place.”
On November 18, 1978, the charismatic cult leader Jim Jones successfully convinced hundreds of cult members of the People’s Temple to commit “revolutionary suicide” through the intake of a mixture containing, as one of the lethal ingredients, cyanide. Victims included more than 200 hundred children. Hence, it became known as the “Jonestown Massacre.” More information about this man-made tragedy can be found online, including audio recordings of the final moments before the suicide. However, I do want to caution you: they will be shocking.
The mind is an awe-inspiring phenomenon, beautiful yet terrible. It is the most dangerous weapon in the world. If wielded benevolently, it may lead to Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9 in E minor, the internet, or frozen yogurt. If wielded malevolently, it may lead to the Spanish Inquisition, the atomic bomb, or the Jerry Springer Show.
mind which can turn evil and cause catastrophes is an extremity, but the core
problem is the difference between what I call “the higher self” and “the
thinking mind.” The thinking mind might also be called “the ego”, however there
are so many conceptions and definitions, that this would be misleading. The
higher self has spiritual connotations, which relate to the ideas I discuss in
other writing, be it blog posts or books.
thinking mind is a unity of self, or rather an experience of a consistent perspective
of perceptions and concepts related to a sense of self and identity, which
involves believing in the narratives told about this self.
mind is what it believes it is, what it thinks itself to be. It is like an
impostor, claiming to be the creator of its own existence and narrative, even
if those narratives (science may have proven this) are derived from other
people’s narratives about the applicable person.
Acts like a “god” within, a divine “I”,
originator of its own unique self and ideas;
Takes credit for ideas which come
from beyond the thinking mind, like a boss who writes his name under the work
of an employee;
Manipulates and deceives for gain
like a con artist;
Is self-righteous and charismatic,
like the leader of a cult;
Forcibly supresses opposition and
brutally resists change like a narcissistic dictator.
thinking mind, however, fails miserably, like a clown with Alzheimer, in
perfectly performing its tricks. It suffers from biases, is fooled by optical
illusions, falls pray to stereotyped and irrational thinking, follows flawed
heuristics, has a low capacity short term memory, and an unreliable long term
memory storage and retrieval system which is susceptible to suggestions.
powers are mainly derived by conviction and belief: as long as the higher self
believes the (self-)narratives and identifies with the constructs of the
thinking mind, it grows, like a totalitarian state with propaganda.
things may happen when beliefs are taken too far in the direction of
glorification of the individual self, for instance when the spiritual,
pantheistic idea of “everything is identical with divinity” leads the self to
identify itself as a god, mixing intuitive spiritual experiences with
individuality, a sense of self, and other dualistic ideas. That’s when the ego,
the thinking mind, takes over as divine soevereign. That might even be the
origin of evil, although this would be a very bold statement.
higher self is indeed majestic, however, it is not a self in the sense of an
individual entity with a clearly defined identity. It is not a godly figure, not
the “divine I,” but rather something beyond the world of individual forms of manifested
existence, the great indescribable mystery, or the void of emptiness in which
everything dissolves, but from which everything also emerges, in endless possibilities
of limitless conceptions, with infinite characteristics.
you allow yourself to be sucked into that black hole of apparent silence,
inertia and nonexistence, showing the willingness to sacrifice your noisy,
pretentious souvereign called the thinking mind, including everything it is
identified with, you will be struck with horror upon disintegration, after
which you will reemerge integrated with a smile on your face, as you have then
looked into the eyes of truth, the higher reality of your higher self.
than being lured into a trap set by your thinking mind, allowing yourself to be
convinced to consume the cyanide of ignorance, you will awaken with a clear
awareness, steering clear of the manipulated realities and conceptions of the
thinking mind, with absolute confidence.
Image: The Death of Caesar, by Jean-Léon Gérôme [Public domain]
has supposedly said something along those lines. In Ancient Greek: Ἓν
We live in an age of strong beliefs, values, and judgments, fiercely fought over on battlefields real and digital.
Social media are engineered to transform healthy communication into addictive connection and appraisal seeking; and rational into irrational, highly emotional decision making. Even to the extent that it influences voting outcomes.
Beauty standards taken to extremes, with digital retouching creating demigods and goddesses setting unobtainable goals for unfortunate souls who seek to resemble them.
wealth and the prestige of fake selves and fake lives are forming the
foundations of a new religion, lacking, however, meaning and purpose, damaging
the environment, and increasing the gap between the rich and poor.
increasing disconnectedness of digital connectivity and the meaninglessness of
many 21st century endeavours create a void that is filled by fake
news, fake beliefs, unfounded claims, and fancy cults that pretend to aid
humanity but in fact hide a network for sexual abuse and exploitation.
religious people dressing like religious people, without the heart of virtuous people, promising those who do follow
them extrinsic rewards before or after death, but preaching hell and damnation
for those skeptical minds who seek the intrinsic reward of pure truth and
virtue by becoming virtuous for the sake of becoming virtuous.
void of meaninglessness is also filled with the claims of spiritual people who
pretend to be “scientific”, without really understanding science.
even scientists seeking prestige or needing funding commit intellectual sins by
publishing “fake” science funded by stakeholders, or science without meeting proper
The lonely voice voicing rare truths cries out but is overwhelmed and silenced by the majority of voices who seek only the confirmation of beliefs they are invested in too much.
We are deafened by the shouts and noises of irrational manifestations, the suppressing totalitarian regime of the fake and judgmental, and the pretensions of ignorance.
in the silence of the acknowledgment of ignorance, the knowledge of not knowing
or pretending to know anything, do we find the clarity of consciousness to
answer the question: what do we truly know? For although we may well be
inclined to believe many things – and to some extent rightfully so – we are
ignorant of many, if not all things predicating by truthfulness and reality.
might have known a thing or two, but never claimed to know what he did not
actually know. He challenged people with fixed beliefs who claimed to know what
they did not know. And he was, if we may believe Plato’s narrative, poisoned
Descartes came to cogito, ergo sum. Only knowing that he existed through his thinking, starting from an almost nihilistic standpoint of not knowing anything.
may learn many things, but shouldn’t we be skeptical, be humble about what we truly
world is full of stakeholders that want us to belief something, because they
make money out of it, because it increases their status, or because it makes
them feel more elevated as a social, religious, or spiritual idol.
return to the void, and keep asking yourself the question: what can I truly
know, and how does it – whatever it is – truly benefit me and others?
Painting: François-Xavier Fabre – Museum of Art and History, Geneva
We mortals seem to be doomed to live our lives as slaves, ruled by the ruthless slaver called emotional response, a relentless beast that gets a firmer grip on our well-being the more painful experiences are added to our experience.
Are we destined to suffer the life of slaves, the life of agony? Are we programmed to get angry every time we hit heavy traffic or encounter a case of severe weather when it is least opportune to us, even though part of us knows it is pointless?
If you read about the science of the brain and free will, you might come to such a mortifying conclusion.
That, however, does not take into account the superpower of acceptance.Generations of philosophers and countless mystic traditions have inspired us to find that power, but most of us take no heed. I was no different. Always got frustrated, depressed or scared when life lashed out with its whip of confrontation. I finally figured out that there are only two choices: be a puppet of pain, or a superhero; be enslaved, or free.
Whatever we resist, becomes a blockade, which drains us of energy, spirit and creativity, and eventually can lead to chaos: a disruption of the system in the form of psychological illness and misbehavior. We either shut down in depression, explode into fury, or tremble out of fear.
Acceptance is the only way to go, and in intercourse with other beings, but even in relation to the whole of existence – which is all interconnected – forgiveness is a power not to be reckoned with. The MORE you can accept AND forgive, the more FREEDOM you will attain! You can abide in traffic like a wise master, and sit out a violent storm like an enlightened being, by virtue of the elegant power of acceptance.
Emotions are intentions, directions, masters of their own, but struggling in endless conflict with their irrational opposites and extremes, and with the impossibility of their realisation. Freedom lies not in want or will, it lies in an absence of want, the blissful void of acceptance.
Acceptance of yourself and of small setbacks leads to a small state of flow, like when playing tennis. Acceptance of all the exists and happens, even the most horrific truths and immeasurable agony, is the key to ultimate freedom, the path to be truly human, superhuman.
Conquering the final frontier of existential bondage, the serfdom that binds us to our experiential overlords, is the only true freedom that can be acquired in mankind’s tragic existence.
The question is, do you want to serve, or rule? Use your superpower or be subdued by it?The choice, albeit a hard one, is yours to make.
People lie all the time, they lie socially, professionally, or even in the name of a religion.
Your eyes (in reality it concerns the parts of your brain dealing with vision) lie, when pretending to represent a consistent visual reality, which can easily be disproved through experiments with optical illusions.
The memory of a crime suspect lies, when interrogators use too “convincing” techniques to force a confession.
Similarly, the brain of a psychiatric patient lies, when remembering child abuse that did not actually take place, but was suggested with ample psychological conviction and influence by a therapist.
Even a photon, one of the many sent on a light-speed journey from the Sun to Earth, lies, if it claims to be a particle, rather than a wave, or the other way around. At least it is the instrument causing the interference in the quantum state, that lies, or the brain of the person operating it. I am far from well-versed in the intricacies of physics, let alone astrophysics, yet these ideas seem significant to me in this context.
Big, manifest things like trees lie, while actually being collections of cells, which are actually organised molecules, which are actually atoms – with unimaginably large voids of seeming nothingness separating them – which are actually protons, neutrons and electrons, which are actually quarks (as “strange” and “charming” they may portray themselves), which are things we can hardly visualize at all in our imagination.
The whole universe lies, pretending to be rich and full, hundreds of billions of galaxies each oozing with the light and life of hundreds of billions of stars – and presumed planets, while actually expanding toward a state of emptiness so vast it can never be bridged.
Even science, though it may humble us enough to sacrifice other lies, may lead to its own lies, if its adherents claim to have come close to an understanding of the deepest layers of truth, while it may never be proven, through traditional science, how the reality we all share and call the universe, is rooted into the more definite reality which must lie beyond, and which we may never fully understand. Who is to say we can ever escape the biases ingrained in our very being, the fact that we were already born into a certain predetermination toward order, the laws and inclinations that made life possible, and that somehow emerged out of the soup of chaos that was the early universe. There is no range of parallel universes available to us – with current abilities and understanding – to do a control experiment, by means of which we could see if our perceived state of our own universe could be generated from random and varying conditions at conception.
All that is manifest and to which we attach ourselves is a mere lie if we take it for granted and fail to see the mystery and uncertainty behind “existence”, the majesty of the unknown, the chaos that is actually the very origin of order.
Yet, most self-proclaimed truths are impostors who do an awfully convincing job of letting us believe they are our salvation, rather than our doom.
The unknown, the pit of nothingness, which many of us fear, is the true source of existence, the Higher Reality where there are no restraints, limits, boundaries, discriminations, flaws, definites, absolutes, paradoxes, irrationalities, vanities, concepts, percepts, or any forms that might show the faintest trace of persistence.
That is the One Truth, the very source of wonders we need to embrace, a fearsome, yet immeasurably magnificent ocean, unbound by the ruthless masters of space and time, where we, as individual drops, loose all the ignorance of individuality and ego, but acquire the kind of freedom that does not exist in ordinary reality.
Only in true surrender, true acceptance, true sacrifice, and true humility, can this truth be obtained, if it can ever be obtained to its fullest. Plunging into the deep can be frightening, having to drown first and loose everything, but it will be ever so rewarding, once we are reborn and refurnished as a more enlightened being.
My own sufferings, though perhaps modest in comparison to those of others, mostly left me furious, and full of doubt and disappointment. But one thing I know for sure now – as sure as a man can be in a subjective universe – is that I learned something in every single troublesome period of my life, a necessity of experience and insight that I would never have been able to acquire had I not suffered the way I did.
I am not going to preach here – let’s leave out religious opinions that so commonly ignite fires of disagreement or even are a cause for contempt – just going to share my experience and insights. I have struggled with cancer and with loads of personal and family drama, but I do not regret having experienced those things. What I DO regret, is that I was unable to accept everything the way it was, that I resisted, fought, and over-analyzed everything. But even that has, on the long run, helped me gain knowledge and tools that are very useful now.
But enough about me, let’s try to see it from a different perspective. Imagine you have a child that is suffering from cancer. Mayhaps a daughter, a charming little five-year-old daughter. She still has a long, beautiful life ahead of her, many friends to make, smiles to show and tears to shed. But all of that will be taken away, because that horrible sickness is devouring her every molecule of hope and livelihood. To make things worse, the monster that’s eating her up also makes her suffer, her every waking breath one of agonizing pain.
Now here comes the clue. There is a treatment. It is a proven treatment, will leave her fully cured and with no risk involved, because the doctors know what they’re doing, and they are one hundred percent dedicated to your lovely little girl. There is only one problem: it is very painful. It will make her scream, she will have nightmares and at night she will wake up and curse you and the doctors for doing that to her. But it is the only way, and once that short, but horrible treatment is over, she will be healthy, strong, and, as a side-effect, she will also forget what she went through, a no-trauma guarantee.
Suffering she will, even without the treatment. But without the treatment, there is no hope. With the treatment, she will go through a hell of pain and fear, but after that it will be like she’s reborn.
The question is: what would you choose as a parent?
Short, severe, suffering, with the prospect and certainty of having a perfectly healthy happy daughter afterwards?
Or call off the treatment, but let her slowly die a death that leaves her without any hope of betterment, of happiness, of life?
If she resists the treatment, she will suffer longer, but eventually, she will cure. The only thing needed is for you to sign the parental consent form, for she is underage.
What would you do?
Some spiritual truths, whether we believe in them or not, are very counter-intuitive, very hard to swallow, even disgusting in our common sense of morality. But I believe, in the greater perspective of the higher realm of reality, where there are no absolute differences, where there exists no absolute suffering, and where there are no absolute time or space, it all makes sense. And suffering makes sense too, but only if we submit, accept and reach a higher plain of insight, where the little events of daily material life, that haunt us all the time, seem insignificantly small and meaningless.
I have learned personally that suffering made me wiser, and also happier. It left me with scars, but the scars healed and eventually made me a more multi-dimensional person. Whenever I was able to submit, and let go, the suffering was short and less painful, but each time I got upset and resisted, it left me cursing and crying in agony and self-pity. And the times when I SHOULD have received some trials, and they did not appear, I became a lesser me, with some of my resolve and wisdom dissolved, and it created problems I could have avoided otherwise.
For me, and maybe also for you, suffering is actually beneficial, it is the treatment that, while enduring it, might seem like unfair and horrible, but which, once you submit to it and let it heal you, will make you a better you, a stronger you!
Of course that does not mean that you should seek out suffering, and especially not affect others with it. The beneficial type of suffering is the one that comes uninvited, throught the agency of life events that all play a roll in the greater script, the drama script of the omniverse of the higher reality.
After digesting too much mainstream news, you cannot feel but helpless and pessimistic. If you try to follow stories and sources that supposedly expose the falsity or at least incompleteness of mainstream news, you get an ever grimmer view on this world.
It seems like exploitation, corruption, fraud, theft and oppression is everywhere. It is not a thing of the barbaric past. Neither is it something that only occurs in poor, over-stereotyped developing countries. It is a global, omnipresent “thing”.
I did not write this article to reveal the many secrets (or, for those who believe, conspiracies) that prevent the general public from learning the horrible truths that keep a civilized future just that: a mere “future ideal”. It is up to you to dig and try to figure out how deep down the rabbit hole you’d like to go.
I wrote this to talk more about the “omnipresent thing”. What thing? The craving for power, and all that is related to it (like the temptation of money). What follows is my take on it, my 2 cents.
If you have ever heard or read about chaos theory and the theory of complexity, than you might have an understanding of dynamic systems. I am not an expert, but it has influenced my thinking a lot. My idea is that we live in a world that is always changing. The only way for systems to continue their existence, is to adapt, to be dynamic. Otherwise they perish in chaos. Our thinking mind (see previous articles for more information about the thinking mind), which we may also call the Ego, is also like a system. It tries to maintain itself, and to experience a level of comfort while doing so.
What does the Ego need? It needs to be able to (or live under the suggestion that it can) exert control; it needs resources like people, self-worth, emotional resources, basic and higher levels of comfort, wealth and money, and energy; it needs the position to be able to leverage between resources, control and the environment.
The problems? There is competition, especially at the top of (let’s call it) the pyramid of social existence; resources are depletable and can only be renewed slowly; it is not possible to maintain control of an environment that is constantly changing without changing tactics, or “cheat”.
What does the Ego do? It fights the competition by socially acceptable means, or by other means (manipulation, cheating, corruption, extortion, etc.); it is greedy and takes more resources than it actually needs, lowering the chances of the “competition”; it fights a psychological war, by acquiring social or material status; it gains power in its environment and inspires fear into the competition. However, the thinking mind is not the real essence of being. The (let’s call it) soul-mind is the real source of life and consciousness and this pure source has to be intimidated into following the plans and ideas of the Ego, for actually the soul-mind (read more on the soul-mind in earlier articles) does not need the things that the Ego needs. So it has to use trickery in order to survive in its actual form. The Ego feels threatened in its existence and this perceived threat is greater, the higher it is on the ladder of status and power. It will let the soul-mind experience greater fear, and stronger levels of greed, desire for control and need for status.
At the same time, it will become insensitive to things that matter to the soul-mind (like the suffering of other beings, compassion,and empathy) and will offer “the easy way” for any perceived problem. To continue its manipulation and self-affirmation, it can also inspire religious justification for things that are actually more of a political and psychological nature.
We see many examples of such justification and manipulation around us, or on “the news”. But it has got nothing to do with spirituality, or even religion.
Is there an alternative? Yes! Power and material fortune, especially when acquired by less humane means, only go so far as to maintain the perceived comfort and control of the Ego. And although fear and greed will keep inspiring to continue on this negative path, the Ego cannot really offer anything lasting and deeply satisfying, it cannot give peace and meaning. The alternatives can, but the Ego feels threatened by them and will do anything to hide them from the soul-mind, its actual real essence. That’s why most people can easily be fooled, manipulated, brainwashed, indoctrinated and tempted.
But if they become aware of the false identification with the thinking mind, with the Ego, then they might learn how to let go and find something rewarding and peaceful that no worldy power or money could ever offer. And it is infinite, completely free and available to all!
People who embrace both their true soul-mind, who ignore (but not repress or fight) the illusions of the Ego, and who welcome change and the unknown of the real world that lies beyond this misleading, material one, those people will stop being victims of whatever manipulations or use of power they may be confronted with. It will affect their bodies, but not their soul-minds, and they will not feel the least threatened by it. Because nothing really holds power over us, unless we give it that power by identifying it as such and believing in its effects on us.
The reality that we are served every day by our Ego and the thinking minds of “the competition”, is limited by what can be perceived and constructed in the limited thinking mind world. However, those who partake in it will do anything to further their agendas. Those agendas will only cause suffering to people who still identify with the “thinking mind world”.
If you can ignore the screaming tantrums of the brutal, loud and childish thinking mind, the Ego, then you enter a realm of calm and peace. It is this realm that will allow you to see beyond, to welcome the definite reality where all true power and truth reside, where everything is clear and meaningful. In that state of being, the crazy craving for power is transformed in gratefulness and the admiration of the endless beauty of the omnipotent, the omnipresent and the omniscient being of oneness.
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!