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A New Reality


Antlerman

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It's an interesting time for me in this long road of searching that has taken me to this point now, an interesting transition rather. It happened relatively recently actually, and I find myself having difficulties even seeing the world through the same set of questions I used to ask.

 

I have always used debate and dialog to sift out the wheat from the chaff, so to speak. And even though that has been a useful tool for me, such pursuits as 'finding the Holy Grail', grabbing that prize brass ring of 'understanding' ultimately is realized in its reality when you see it, reach for it, and it merely blends into a new understanding that answers the question by negating it. The question is answered in dissolving it into a perspective that makes the question only important in order to transcend it into a more mature thought - not a question at all, nor an answer to it.

 

I was recently asked if I will ever feel my curiosity about the world will be satisfied. The answer I gave revealed something to me about where I have come to. My thirst for knowledge is not about finding 'truth', to know right from wrong in order to have some sense of assurance I'm on the right path or something. Rather I have that sense within me from - within me. My thirst for knowledge is to further wonder within the marvel of our existence, my existence as part of this staggering reality that we are awakened to!

 

This is a very different place than trying to 'be right'. The whole Christian experience, in fact it's very sweeping influence on our entire mindset, the entire framework of questions it creates, and all the schools of thought in response are all arguing the same questions! It was framed 2000 years ago in the formation of "Authority of Truth" in the dogma of religious Orthodoxy. And today it has become glaringly obvious to me that every argument in debate is in a challenge to that Authority, and so off it goes in saying no to them, yes to this, or yes to that as the Answer to our searching. Science, New Age, Eastern religions, Objectivism, Existentialism, Positivism, Materialism, etc. When so many of our culture look to these things, they look to them in reality as a replacement to Christianity as the New Orthodoxy, never quite grasping that that approach itself is what is broken. It's the same thought, just looking to a new Authority to answer reality for us, to tell us the truth, to find trust in so we can rest assured.

 

The question is existence. The question is not even "what is the meaning of life", as it is really "how do I become?" Become what? Who we are! How do we become who we are? What are we? What is that which I call me, and is that the total 'definition' of 'me'? It's as absurd as demanding to 'define God'. Is there a limit to us? Is there a limit to the nature of existence itself?

 

Ever since the Enlightenment in our awakening into the Age of Reason our questions have been about knowing the mechanics of the world, and then we translated the system of nature into some sort of "objective" understanding of ourselves as human. But we are internal creatures as well as material creatures. We are body and mind as well as 'soul', worlds of reality in themselves and with each other in interactive relationships. We are creative wellsprings of life expressed through our thoughts framed in languages and symbols. To deconstruct everything to the workings of the machine entirely ignores the reality of being 'in here'. And what is that reality?

 

Is it the ego, how we define "me" by those thoughts, this personality, these emotion sets, this career, this family, this mate, these children, house, material goods, and all these things? Do we define ourselves as "green eyes"? Then why should all these features of mind become the locus of our identity, if we don't identify ourselves with our left big toe the same way? Because we have outgrown identification with the body? What happens when we outgrow identification with the world of thoughts, and feelings in this sack of skin we call 'me', in this brain within my head? Is that possible? Yes! Oh, yes and again, yes.

 

But we are stuck in the mind that this is reality, and we look to the left, to the right, to this and not that, in order to support that locus of self identification. "This is who am I, and I want to know what is real in order to support this reality" - as we assume it is looking through that set of eyes - our eyes, as "us" in our world, in the shell of our ego. That world is real because it is where we have framed the limits of reality by assuming what we see is what is, and with the tools of our reason, by god! we will confirm this.

 

At each point of higher understanding what is seen takes on a whole new world of truth to it. But each present understanding understands itself as 'in touch' with truth. Our present mind is no different in that thought than those who assumed the same for their present mind seeing gods as the ultimate highest ideal of reality. And so it goes, each new realization errantly assuming itself as the highest realization, gradually, hopefully, the lesson learned is that of humility in the face of our infinite upward potential, and such ideals of system-centric views of the Absolute yield to true knowledge and wisdom. There is no Orthodox, "straight-thinking", only unfathomable Light of Reality beyond all our realities; the end of all questions.

 

Back to the initial point, I rather unexpectedly have found myself 'different' now, and in many regards it's somewhat disorienting while at the same time a place of curious beginnings. I'm not sure where to go with it to foster it, but what is a striking feature to me is that I have this acute sense of no-return. It's not like some eureka, ah-hah moment, not at all, but rather more like just waking up one morning and yourself and the entire world looks different. Now what? seems the question, but more a question of what it will look like, than 'what's the answer'. Whatever this place, I have peace.

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Yes, I think I understand what you are saying. There are transformations that occur where you cannot ever go back to the old way of thinking.

 

To define things in terms of belief or disbelief (as Christians do) is to me a kindergarten way of thinking. To have "faith" is is all really rather behind me.

 

I confronted this in myself today when I attended the local Dharma center discussion group and the leader was discussing "faith" with regard to Padmasambhava (the person who introduced Buddhism into Tibet). She even actually used the word "relationship" in connection with this figure, which I can't believe was originally an aspect of this type of Buddhism, but is a product of the west.

 

Anyway, all this is quite childish sounding to me. It honestly sounded no different than Christianity. This leader I am talking about was reeling off a list of supposed "facts" about Padmasambhava and plainly looking in my direction. I said "so you say" which was all I could think of. No one really knows what happened 1,000 years ago.

 

What has stayed with me is the conviction that I am not my body, I am not my emotions, I am not my past, I am inconceivable and undefinable.

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I think what stands out to me, what I hear you also saying, is that there is a certain mode of thought that it becomes particular difficult if not outright impossible to overcome in communicating an understanding. I don't think its even necessarily just cultural differences, but rather a certain mindset, and particular way of thinking about things. I'm not entirely clear why a Buddhist group thinks in mythological terms as you described, unless other than as some symbolic way to visualize the teachings as sacred. But then, isn't that what Christianity does as well saying Jesus walked on water?

 

I recently have been reading about the Gnostic Christians in early Christianity and they scoffed at all the miracle tales as only necessary for children who had no actual knowledge of God, or the Divine, through direct experience. They were the mystics and did not take any of the stories literally, even though they made use of them in trying to talk about their approach. They made Jesus in their Gospels reject that people worship him and instead, for all intents and purposes, instructed them to become exactly like him as his equal in enlightenment. They chided the literalist, miracle-seeking masses for their immaturity in the faith.

 

The point is they saw a distinction between those who were basically not developed far enough in their spiritual awareness, or their higher consciousness if you will, to recognize that at that point it is unnecessary and even a distraction to be wrapped up in the literalness of the symbols. But here's the big caveat, in order for the religion to accommodate the simpler understanding, the common belief as it were, it had to be spoken of in more concrete and accessible terms. The mystics always find their homes within a parent religion, but they also always surpass their parent religion.

 

I'm kind of losing my point here, but I think maybe what I'm saying is that I'm finding it increasingly difficult to communicate to a trenchant dualistic mentality. I think maybe it comes to what you said as well that you are not your body, or your emotions, etc, that in that simple realization becomes a movement into a world of no-self that languages of dualism increasingly become answered in their transcendence. As I said elsewhere, forms of truth, not truth itself.

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Yes. I just don't quite comprehend at this point why people who have meditated for over 10 years or more don't see this simple fact that they are talking in mythological symbolic terms but not stating that the ARE symbolic but rather seem to be asking people to take this literally.

 

The "facts" are plainly symbolic to me - Padmasambhava was born on "the pistil of a lotus" and was 8 years old when he was born. That's only the beginning.

 

I was surprised that someone didn't say "this is to be taken symbolically." It never happened. It was as if all this is to be taken literally, without question. Someone in the group did say they would have left years ago and said "this is crazy" but then he had gotten to a certain point where he was able to remain...

 

I don't know.

 

I am not sure what to make of this, unless they are deliberately concealing something for their own purposes. I have been there 3 years observing - and I have never come across this before. I will keep going, just because it is interesting to watch.

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I hope you foster your "new reality" here!

 

For to long we have been set up by claiming too total a transformation for any one experience. What I take from what you have shared is a welcomed departure from the typical "conversionist/transformational terminology."

 

It's not like some eureka, ah-hah moment, not at all, but rather more like just waking up one morning and yourself and the entire world looks different.

 

The weakness of conversionist/transformational(for lack of better wording) terminology is that it seems to deny the process-nature of human experience. "New beginnings” is easily construed by most to mean that everything is instantly and totally altered and that the new bears no resemblance to the old.

 

I think Wilber has it right, that "all development is envelopment." "High states of consciousness act as a lubricant on the spiral of development, helping us to disidentify (not repress or deny but to envelop) with a lower stage so that the next higher stage can emerge, until we can stably remain at higher levels of awareness on an ongoing basis, whereupon a passing state has become a permanent trait within the territory" of our felt self. (That pretty much puts one-upmanship on a preconventional stage footing).

 

My curiosity about the world and human nature has led me to explore many praxes. Early on I realized that neither the religious nor the secular cultures, in which I have been jointly nurtured, have given me adequate categories to discern and interpret the sacred in the voice of the body (the physical/objective) and the language of the senses (the sensual/ subjective).

 

Where does one go for expression and support in a world where the metaphysics of the wisdom traditions have been “trashed” by both modernist and postmodernist epistemologies, and there has risen nothing compelling to take their place?

 

Antlerman I do hope you foster your new reality in ways that ordinary men and women can be able to "see" with ordinary, mundane eyes the "wonder within the marvel of our existence" and celebrate!

 

Any work toward that endeavor is far more authentic as a process for giving gifts than for earning applause.

 

By the way, I can’t be sure but I think it was Carlyle Marney who gave me the words that best describe my “new reality”--“break through to the already.”

 

Many thanks for your words

 

saner

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Thank you for your words Asanerman! You have given me some food for thought to digest. One of the things that stood out to me from reading Wilber, which it appear you are familiar in areas of his thoughts I am not yet, is that of peak experience and structural adaption. I can't recall if that's exactly how he states it, but it was something I came to understand that helped me in recognizing the role of these higher states of consciousness in the whole process. I'm still processing it, and what you said above gives a great illustration and example of the 'how' that works.

 

I was visualizing it as a 'downward causation', that higher states influence the emergence of lower levels to higher levels, and what you described above explains that in a way that meshes with this as I have been coming to recognize this. We can unexpectedly punch through to realize that Divine in ourselves, ourselves in the world as That, but it is not long before we settle back to the familiar. And that is the structural support level for where we are able to not lose our minds frankly because we are unable to sustain and process that realization in our daily lives. We can't sustain a Satori realization because we have not yet mastered a broad enough foundation in order to live a 'higher' understanding, that Enlightened Mind.

 

Interestingly, those who have these 'see the face of God' moments will often process it within their context of present development, or adaptation. I had been studying about a 'prophet' in the beginning of the 20th Century who started a Utopian city here in America, because my great grandfather had joined it the first year of its creation in 1901. The 'prophet', was truly someone with a genuine vision, and inspired individual who to me appears to have had some genuine experiences of some level. But how he took it and interpreted it and acted upon it fit his current frame of reference, where he was able to translate his experiences within the context of Biblical mythology. He was "called by God" in his reasoning, to build the new Zion. Which in fact he did. Zion, Illinois.

 

For myself, like you it sounds, there was no available context to try to fit it into. It blew a hole right through the roof of any and all frames of reference, and stood alone as a complete opening of the Universe in me, through me, to me, in everyone and everything, indivisible and radiant in All. It serves as the 'lubricant' as you put it to draw me up to it. And all that has followed, over many years of pursuit, is to realize it in all that I see and experience, to connect with that, to once again and permanently, be That.

 

So it serves, or rather stands as the Omega point. It always has. Even in my prior unawareness in the slumber of the mind in its fabricated world of illusions, as it were. But the growth into that is not these spectacular 'pulling back the veil' moments, but rather more like just moving beyond that veil a little at time, only to realize that it is a progress of now. It is a progress of coming to see it in the present. It is there, now, in where we are at. And there is more to come. Each is just seeing what is there always, just in new discoveries of it - not just in seeing it, but in experiencing it. Experience it as a child, a young adult, a grown adult, a sage, etc. It's like spirit trying on a new set of clothes and saying, "this is the world like this!" :)

 

Anyway, the 'ah hah' moments are cracks through our present ceilings, but it is a glimpse into who we are beyond who we are now. Never be dissatisfied with now, but consume it, revel in it, breath it in and out, and know that there is yet more to realize as we reach from inside to what compels us to Itself. This to me is living life in That. It is a matter of becoming That in our conscious Mind.

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Antlerman I find much "medicine" in what you say! Strangely, I've found a great deal of "good medicine" lately. Many thanks!

 

The quote which follows from Douglas Harding I find, for whatever reason, succoring in terms of "be-comings."

 

Running counter to the resurgence of fundamentalism (what a misnomer!) and superstition of every kind, a great simplification is going on. It is a movement away from the outward forms of religion — from their magical observances, their dogmas as incredible as they are ingenious (but still cruelly divisive), from massive ecclesiastical machinery creaking and stalling — a movement, away from all this obfuscation, towards the beatific vision that lurks at the core of the great religious traditions, towards the simple, patient, strongly beating heart of them all. Here is a transparently honest and anti-sectarian spirituality founded on direct experience instead of dogma and hearsay.

 

I suggest that it’s no accident that the cave in Nag Hammadi held onto its treasure for some seventeen hundred years. and only gave it up when men and women had — in sufficient numbers to change history — become skeptical and sober enough to crack its secret code, revealing what is, after all, perfectly obvious. In any case, thanks partly to the Jesus of [the Gospel of] Thomas, it’s becoming more and more difficult to deny that we are the very opposite of the little. opaque. un-luminous perishers we appear to be.

(My words in brackets)

 

A friend

 

saner

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