17 September 2008

Lost in the Story of "Me"

One moment I am deeply absorbed in the story of "me" and "mine," so
deep into it that it doesn't feel like a story, it feels like truth.
The next moment I have fallen right out of the story. The story is
still there, but like seeing words on a page, the story of "me" is
seen as a story. I am no longer absorbed by the story, no longer
identified with it, no longer feel like a character in it. Belief in
it has disappeared. It has lost its spell.

Everything that I have always taken to be "me" is seen as a fiction
invented in the brain. And who then am I if not this story that used
to be my entire sense of "me?" With what am I now identified? Where
is the boundary of me? It is gone. The story of me is still here. The
body still appears to be here. The apparent trajectory of the body
through life is still here. But none of that is "me" anymore. I just
can't find any "me" to identify with all of that. It just is, without
a "me" at the center. Who am I? I simply can not truthfully answer
that question. There does not seem to be any "I" anymore, even though
everything remains essentially the same as before. I am whatever it
is that formerly was spinning the story of "me" and was totally
captivated by the story, and now is no longer. This "I am" still
finds the story interesting, but is not absorbed wholly into it.

In recent weeks something has been looking at the story of "me" and
"the world" and trying to find some place in the narrative that will
captivate it again, captivate it in that old way so that it becomes
completely absorbed in the story, completely lost in the images and
meanings that are part of the story. I don't understand what it is
that is doing this. Some nostalgic part of the brain I guess. It
seems to think that getting lost in the story again will be some kind
of homecoming.

It's not going to happen, not for long anyway. Once the story is seen
through, there is no going back to the suspension of disbelief that
the story requires. The story of "me" is so very compelling, until it
is seen through, until the words are seen on the page and the images
and meanings collapse. You fall right out of the page, and there is
no hope then of ever knowing who you are, no hope of identifying with
anything.

Not that anyone really falls out of anything. It's just that the
story of "me" no longer works as a means of identification, as an
adequate description of what I know I am. The stories we tell
ourselves about ourselves just aren't true. The image we have of
ourselves and the world, everything we know, is completely fictional.
And nothing more so than the sense of being a separate "me." Who we
are, there's no other way to say it, is everything. We are the dance
of everything. There are no separate selves. I was raised a Christian
so I know what heresy this is within that context, although I think
you can find hints that this is exactly what Jesus was talking about.
There is no "self" that is separate from God and needs to return to
God and be accepted or saved by God. There is only God. God is
everything. That separate self thing is a story invented and
constantly revised and maintained in the brain. A fictional character.

But let it be known, that to see the nature of the story of "me" as a
story, to really see it and not just have an idea about it, is to
fall away from everything that drives humans to do the things we
normally do. All our striving is born out of uncompromising belief in
the story of the separate self. When that story no longer captivates,
when it is seen clearly for the fiction that it is, well, there's no
telling what might happen.

07 September 2008

Belief is a sword

Belief is a sword that we draw to defend ourselves from the truth.
The truth is simply this that is right now. Alive. Untamable.
Unbelievable. Any belief about it diminishes its grandeur. Any
opinion about it divides its wholeness.

When belief and opinion appear, as they will, know that you are
wielding a weapon that cuts and diminishes reality. Set them aside as
quickly as you can without doing further violence. Know that the
weapon drawn to cut another down to size also cuts you. Divides you
from your true self.

There is nothing wrong with disagreement. Disagreement can be
creative . Disagreement helps one to see beyond the horizon of the
known and familiar.

But when I am committed to being right, and I am committed to making
you wrong, when I have to cut you down to build myself up, that is
when the truth, the living truth, is shredded.

It is perfectly possible to disagree, and challenge each other,
without needing to win the argument, without needing desperately to
be right. But that requires a sense of self that is not in any way
dependent on particular beliefs and opinions. It requires a deep love
for reality, for this that is as it is right now. That love does not
come from the mind, which is divisive by nature, but from reality
itself.

And so we know that the truth is love. Reality is love. Reality is
welcoming of everyone and everything. Reality does not take sides,
except to take both sides!

When the individual prefers reality to anything the mind can create,
then that love can permeate even the individual mind or "self." But
the starting place is not to try to wrestle the mind into compliance,
but to take the perspective of reality, which is perfectly happy with
things exactly as they are (which is not to say that anything will
stay as it is!).

Can we live in the dynamic fullness of this that is as it is? Can we
live in the paradox that reality is perfectly comfortable with
conflict, and that being fully embraced by reality, and fully
accepting that embrace, has a tendency to reduce conflict? Conflict
comes from the belief in separation. Holding such a belief is part of
the real, but the underlying truth is that reality is an unbroken
whole, and to accept the embrace of reality is to return to
wholeness. Embraced by the whole truth, how can any partial truth
survive for more than a little while?

Beliefs and opinions are having a field day, but no one ever believes
anything without someone else believing the opposite, so a kind of
temporary balance is struck that hints at the underlying wholeness
that is never truly broken and can be recalled at any moment.