Chalkboard Musings

The other day I entered my classroom and saw the word ‘Anarchy’ written in large letters for all to see on the chalkboard. I silently crossed it out and wrote ‘Love, Peace, and Order’ underneath it. Some may crave anarchy, but I crave peace, continually striving for an inner silence which comes from deep within. That to me is freedom, not chaos. As someone sows, they will also reap and chaotic behavior soon reaps a whirlwind of negative repercussions; before long all one’s time and energy is spent trying to put out self-inflicted fires instead of moving in a worthwhile direction. This is especially true of one’s own mind. Chaotic thinking destroys one’s potential to accomplish anything of value. The world outside of us flows from what’s first within us, and our outer world is a mirror of our own thoughts, beliefs, and actions reflected back at us. As a person thinks, so they are, and the world around us is a collective product of how everyone thinks.  A lot of the problems we experience in life are simply reflections of our own inner chaos being cast back at us;  sadly, we lack self-awareness and don’t see this happening.

I want to talk a little bit about this mirror. It’s all similar to a Rorschach test, where a person is shown random inkblot splatters and are then asked by a psychologist what they see on the page. The images in and of themselves are nonsense, but if you give someone enough time, and keep flashing these inkblot images to them, their inner world will be projected onto those images, and then this inner dialog starts coming out of them.  Their joys, their fears, things they hate, people they’re mad at, things they desire, the list goes on.  This is exactly what we do each and every day with just about everything.

Life is like a giant Rorschach test.  When you wake up tomorrow morning, just stand in front of the bathroom mirror and stare at yourself for a moment.  Observe what happens within you.  Step outside your home and look at the neighborhood.  What happens inside of you?  Go to your job and for a brief moment, take a look at your coworkers, your desk, and your office breakroom.  What sort of thoughts happen within you?  For most people, some inner dialog starts.  What is it saying?  What is what you’re hearing telling you about yourself?  Even more importantly, where are these voices coming from?  Do you identify with them?  Do you have to identify with them?  Should you identify with them?  If a lot of what you’re hearing is negative and causing you to suffer, are the things these voices saying true?  Based on what?  Challenge them. Place your own thoughts and mind on a witness stand, like you’re in court.  Prosecute them.  Who are you?  Where do you come from?  You say these nasty things about me and others, but what proof do you have?  Why should I believe you?

I’ll give you all an example.  The other day I finished teaching and walked home from work.  As I was leaving the physics building, a thought entered my mind, “I don’t want to walk home.”  I then put it on the witness stand.  Who is this “I” who doesn’t want to walk home?  How do you know “I” do not want to walk home and would rather drive home?  It was silent.  Just as I thought.  I’m self-aware enough to realize these stupid mind-games my own brain likes to put me through. I then proceeded to walk home, the weather was nice outside, I enjoyed the breeze as it was cool out, and within 15~20 minutes I was home.  The walk was nice.  I didn’t suffer at all throughout the entire experience.  So who was this “I” who didn’t want to walk home?  It wasn’t me because I actually enjoyed the walk.  This thought had no idea what it was talking about, but I could’ve believed it and amplified its negativity in my mind, letting it brew the entire walk home, complaining within, and let it ruin my entire mood.  But why?  There was nothing waiting for me in the world that had suffering on its agenda, but crazy forces within me sure had plans to make me miserable.   They didn’t win that day.

I can give all kinds of other examples.  Oftentimes I’ll wake up in the morning and my mind will spew out, “I don’t want to go to work this morning.”  I put it on the same witness stand.  This thought sits defiantly in the booth, with its arms crossed, exclaiming, “I don’t want to go in today.”  What continues to baffle me is that this thought has the audacity to claim that it is me and that I feel this way!  Who’s it kidding?  I tell it to take its place and have a seat.  It doesn’t tell me who I am and who I am not, what I will and will not like, what to look forward to or what to dread.  It’s been wrong too many times to give it that kind of confidence.  The ONLY thing it has a right to do is propose certain ideas, and that’s it.  Propose.  Theorize.  Speculate.  And if I look into something it proposes and it’s flat wrong, I don’t pay those trains of thought any mind any longer.  When they arise I disavow them, let them pass, and do not give them my attention.  It can say “I” this, and “I” that all it wants, but it has nothing to do with me.

But anyway, this thought seemed to be telling me, in supposed advance foreknowledge, that I will dislike my day at work and that I shouldn’t go in.  A day at work is not worth experiencing.  For the first few days when I went into work at the university, I told this thought, “We’ll see.”  I gave it the benefit of the doubt, but then I actually observed my days at work without any emotional “coloring” from these inner random thoughts and the results were interesting.  I let the day itself make impressions on my emotions naturally, without interference from these made-up inner mental projections and I found that I do not hate going to work.  I do not mind teaching.  Many times when I’m joking around with students and I see them learning, I actually find it rewarding.   While at work, my own inner world goes from indifference, to bursts of a rewarding feeling, to a mild peaceful joy, and then oftentimes back to indifference, that is, if I’m not caught up in these inner mental projections.  So who was it that didn’t want to go to work?  Not me.  When I look at the evidence, the real me is indifferent to work at times, and enjoys it at other times.

Do you see how life is just like a Rorschach test?  Those inkblots do not contain any of the projections of the person looking into them.  In the same way, your life probably doesn’t contain half of the things you’re projecting into it either.

Speaking of which, I find that 95% of what goes through my head is nonsense if I actually call it out and make it prove itself.   I don’t hate going into work, I don’t mind walking home on certain days, and the list goes on.  For example, after going through same process in other thought areas, I soon realized that I don’t need or even desire half of the things the mind goes, claiming they’re the only tickets to happiness and a good life.  It goes on about career goals, relationship stuff, projections of what it thinks coworkers, students, faculty members, and others think of me, weird insecurities, things I should be angry about, things that would make me happy, things I desperately need to avoid, and so on, and at the end of the day, it’s just a giant onslaught of nonsense.  Almost all of it is garbage that isn’t worth paying attention to and these days I don’t.  I view it like a some sort of confused parrot hopping on my shoulder, saying things it doesn’t even grasp or understand, screaming it into my ear.  I playfully return its gaze and think, “Oh, you again?  You’ve been wrong 99 times out of 100.  Oh, you don’t say? Another one of your wild conjectures.  I wonder why it is I don’t believe you anymore?”

In the past, one of biggest forms of my own suffering was who I believed I was.  I used to have worries that I was a little human, trapped in a giant universe that doesn’t care about me at all.  I’m here today, gone tomorrow, and it’s all pointless as I’m just going to die and leave everything I work for behind.  However, I don’t feel that way today.  I kept looking into everything, and as I’m often told, if you seek, you will find.  I wanted to know who and what I am, and I kept digging.  What did I find?  No matter where I looked, I saw a world beyond time, and I kept seeing glimpses of infinity, infinity, infinity, over and over and over.  I studied Einstein’s general relativity and I saw universes springing into existence, big bang after big bang, like bubbles in a champagne bottle, bursting into existence from literally nothing, forever and ever (study eternal inflation).  I’m just in awe, so I try to look into things more close to Earth.  How about the dirt that I’m made out of?  I look into the nature of the physical matter and I see infinity once again, some sort of infinite branching of possibilities (Everett interpretation of quantum mechanics), or these probability clouds of infinite possibilities somehow collapsing and unfolding according to some source beyond anything I can grasp (Bohr interpretation), or maybe according to Bohm there is some sort of unfolding within the infinite mind of God giving rise to me.  Either way, infinity, infinity, infinity.  What a complete mystery!  I examine my brain and wonder about consciousness and why I experience what I do, and I have no answers.  I don’t know what I’m made out of, I don’t know what I am, I don’t know where I am, and I don’t know where all of this is going.  The more deeply I look into anything, I realize I know absolutely nothing, and if “I” should identify with anything, it’s this ignorance.  Even still, I try understand.  Maybe it’s futile.

But what tools am I going to use to understand all of this?  Thought?  Logic?  Where do “my” thoughts come from?  When I think a thought was there this giant catalog of all thoughts to choose from, and “I” browsed through them before each moment, and from this infinity of possibilities sit down and chose the thoughts I’m having?  No.  “I” was never presented this catalog nor can I recall a sensation of choosing any of these thoughts.  So do I even control what I think?  Maybe, at least I feel I can believe in or reject thoughts, such as when I thought, “I do not want to go to work”, but that’s not the same thing.  So who or what is the true “I” controlling all of this?  It seems to happen, just like everything else.  So who wrote this “script” of thought and action I’m experiencing?  “I” am at a loss.  I lack such self-awareness.  Whatever causes it all to go also causes me to go, that’s all I’m comfortable saying.

If you think “you” are doing it all, please tell me how you lift your arm?  Can you tell me what even a single atom in your arm is?  Can you describe it in its fullness?  I’m a physicist and I can tell you we have no idea what an atom is.  How are you moving countless numbers of them when you move your arm around?  Yet “you” can!  But who is this “you” doing it?  And how come?  And stranger still, this illusory mind we all have likes to take the credit, saying “I” lifted “my” arm.  It’s just another false mental projection.  The mind really has no idea what’s going on.  It sees some complicated happening, just like the ink blots, and it’s like, “Oh, ‘I’ know what’s going on!”  Right, sure you do!  “I” lifted my arm.  Uh huh. I can barely describe electrical currents to my students and yet this thought in my brain likes to say that “I” created bazillions of neural firings in my brain and arm, and conducted this energy down my arm, and contracted the muscles, and all the rest of it.  How?  I don’t even fully understand how it all works, even on a conceptual level.  I don’t know how the brain does what it does, I don’t understand how it’s all wired up, and I barely understand the biology of muscle tissue and how muscles even contract, much less how all the ion channels give rise to neural conduction and all the rest of it.  Yeah, “I” did that.  Give me a break.  That’s impossible.  What an incredible illusion believing that “I” am in control of anything.

So what is this “I”?  The brain seems to generate thoughts, and most of what it is says is stupid nonsense.  Most of what it has to say isn’t much better than radio static.  Some of the stupidest thoughts we have are those which try to tell us who and what we are, and those which attempt to interpret what is happening in this infinite unfoldment we call reality.  Not all the brain’s thoughts are nonsense, but be wary if you ask it anything deep or complicated.  Maybe I’m too hard on the human brain?

Whatever the universe is, I’m the same thing, I think, but maybe not?  Who knows.  But if so, does this make me a machine and my identity unreal?  That would be true IF this universe was a giant machine, just mechanically flowing deterministically one moment to the next, but is it?  I used to believe that to be the case, and maybe you believe it is that way as well, but from all I’ve studied I see no evidence that that’s how things work.  Quantum theory is our most fundamental description of the universe, and it doesn’t describe anything like that.  Also, how come I feel this subjective feeling of being “me”?  Oh, that’s the brain doing all that?  Ok.  Why would electricity flowing in the jelly of my brain give rise to that?  And like I pointed out, we don’t know what matter is, so how can you tell me what this brain even is?  I don’t know.  Consciousness is a complete mystery to science.  How come electrical currents in the brain give rise to me feeling sensations of hearing music, seeing colors on a television screen, or the sweetness of chocolate cake?  I don’t know.  I think I’m a lot more than “I” think I am.  My true identity is beyond my frail human brain’s comprehension.  But as I said earlier, I am more prone to identify with complete ignorance these days than to claim to know anything.  My mind is finite and anything finite trying to wrap itself around something that’s infinite isn’t going to fare well.

Even all my worries about who and what I am, and my ultimate destiny, those fears were just Rorschach projections of a human mind, reflecting on the tiny handful of events that happened to its body.  Strangely, I live far more mindlessly than ever before, thinking less and less, and I’ve never been happier.  I just have reserved my thinking power for issues that are more interesting and worth investing time into.  If I have some goal to work on, I apply my mind toward that, but as for all these worthless mental projections, nah.  I’m done with all that.

Does The Mind Survive Death?

For years I’ve wondered if there is any hard evidence of the mind surviving bodily death.  Is there any convincing proof to demonstrate this?  Doing some research over the past month or so, I think I’ve found evidence of this kind.  This is going to get a bit strange.

Imagine you’re newly married and you look into your wife’s loving eyes and you both decide to have a child.  Two or three years later, you have a little toddler running around your home just barely able to speak.  However, something strange starts to take place.  The toddler starts telling you that you’re not his real father and your wife is not his real mother.  This young boy claims he’s from another family, that he has a wife and children,  and that he has some skilled occupation, at least before he died.  He tells you his former name, exactly how he died, where you can find all these former family members, gives you the names of his father, his mother, his aunts and uncles, his cousins, their children, the relationship dynamics between all these people, where they live, what they do for their occupations, and the whole nine yards.  Naturally you’re getting frustrated and tell the kid to stop with the delusions but the young guy just doubles down.

Then it gets even more creepy.  The child exclaims, “Why won’t you believe me?”  You’re living in Kentucky USA and this child is going on about some distant family in a remote village in India.    Out of nowhere, the kid starts writing down phone numbers and tells you to call these people!  A two and a half year old!   Do you make the call?  Are these numbers real?

You finally decide to try the phone numbers, out of curiosity.  A man from India answers the phone.  You then start asking about these people this young child has been going on about.  “Yes, that is me.  Oh, and that is my wife.”  It’s just as the toddler described, that was his “parents” phone number after all.  It wasn’t a delusion, this is all getting real.  Then without you asking, the man starts telling you about his son, and describes that he had a son who died in the exact manner your toddler also described.  Whoa!

Then you decide to get even braver.  You take this toddler on a sort of vacation, hop on an airplane, and fly to this Indian village.  As you get near there, the toddler starts navigating you around the city, telling you where to go.  “Oh, my brother lives there.”  “This is where my aunt used to live.”  “This is where we used to swim as kids.”  Then you go up to the doors of these places and ask who lives there.  Turns out it really is this “brother” who lives there, and if you ask this “brother” about swimming in that river, at that spot, it is all confirmed.  Then the toddler leads you to his “parents” home and there’s even more confirmation.  Everything you’ve been told is verified.

If this happened to you, would there be any doubt that some sort of soul, or call it what you will, survived death and had reincarnated into your toddler?  It’d be very difficult to dispute.  The only way to squirm out of it would be to flat-out deny it, dispute the reliability of the witnesses and the testimony, and claim none of it really happened.  It’s all made up for attention, etc.

But what if I told you that this sort of thing has happened many many times and it’s all been thoroughly documented by experts with PhDs from highly respected universities?  What if I told you it’s happening all over the world and the evidence for it is overwhelming?  What if I told you these researchers have confirmed these accounts using lawyer like methodical processes to conduct the interviews, deep background investigations, etc.  Would you believe me?

I ask you to read some of the works of Dr. Ian Stevenson, a PhD trained professor of psychiatry; in fact, he was the chair of their entire department at the University of Virginia.  He’s the top authority on this subject in the entire world.

This isn’t some new-age psychic trying to peddle you Tarot sessions and pretty crystal necklaces.  You talk to him and he’s a trained professional, dedicated to the scientific method, and armed with a multi-million dollar grant from one of the founders of the Xerox corporation.  Turns out the Xerox founder’s wife was wondering about reincarnation, so her husband hired a team of the best, most credible investigators to see if there’s any merit to the idea.  This lead to the formation of the Division of Perceptual Studies.

Before long these highly decorated investigators built a huge database of possible leads and were traveling to India, Brazil, Alaska, Lebanon, and other locations, all over the world, following up.  This huge grant was used for travel expenses, recording devices, hiring translators, etc.  What did they find?  Countless stories, just like I described earlier.  And Dr. Stevenson documented it all, like a lawyer getting ready for a huge court case, anticipating all your objections and making iron-clad arguments suggestive that these children did in fact reincarnate from a previous life.  One of their first publications was this book.

I’m a skeptical person and unless there’s some powerful evidence, I don’t tend to believe what I hear.  When I first was reading this book, I was thinking that these people could easily be making it all up, having gotten together beforehand and sort of ironed out some story for attention, etc.  But then I read through this and realized, oh wow, there’s no way that can be the case.

Take some of the strongest cases.  I found no other explanation other than that the child really did reincarnate from another life.  Any other explanation seemed to require me to put my head in the sand and plug my ears, just ignoring what I’d read.  Dr. Stevenson would hear about some child in a poor Indian village who claimed to be reincarnated from a former family of some distant place.  This family lacked the resources to confirm or deny what the child had been telling them so they were naturally happy to have someone with resources come in to look into this because they were tired of hearing their child yap on about it.  Dr. Stevenson and his team had to travel to some distant land to meet the supposed reincarnated child’s family, and it turned out that everything the child had been telling his new family was true.  Nobody had verified or even believed the young child before this.

In other cases the families had nothing to gain from any of this.  For example, in another Indian Hindu family, the reincarnated child claimed to have come from another family which belonged to a different caste and the two castes despised one another.  Even before meeting or hearing about this other family, you have a toddler crossing its arms, talking down to his biological mother and father, refusing to play with other kids, refusing to eat certain dishes, strangely claiming, “I’m a Brahmin.  I won’t affiliate with any of this.”  Out of nowhere, we have the world’s most haughty three year old.  Then the biological family breaks down, takes the toddler to this other family, and the child knows who everyone is, knows things only a member of that Brahmin family would know, knows his way around town, etc.  Now for more drama.  Both families claimed rights as to how the child should be raised, diet, education, and the rest of it. The former wife of the deceased, along with the former mother, exclaimed, “If you think I’m going to stand by and let my husband/son be raised by a filthy peasant farm family when he should be well educated in our well-off Brahmin family, they have another thing coming!”   You can imagine this strange drama unfolding.  Why would this family make all this up with absolutely nothing to gain?  Nothing but fighting, drama, and problems.

These same toddlers will tell you that after they died, their spirit left their body and they were met by guides, or spiritual figures, and these beings gave them a life review, and all the rest of it, just like in near death experiences.  People often argue that near-death experiencers are just hallucinating, are on power medications, seeing strange things when being revived by doctors in the hospital, etc.  But if that were true, then how do we explain something like this?  And why would these toddlers speak of the same sort of events as near-death experiences, knowing nothing about them?

This also lines up with the sorts of accounts you hear about when people are put under deep hypnosis and begin to remember the life they lived before their current one, the between lives area, meeting spiritual guides, having their life reviewed, etc.  Why would all these things point to similar events if there was nothing to it?  Why would everyone hallucinate the same sorts of things?

I ask you to withhold judgement and read books like ’20 Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation’, a 400 page tome covering just 20 reincarnation accounts, and come to your own conclusion.  It lines up with all the strange things I’ve researched, even bizarre Gnostic texts speaking of all of this in detail.

The False “I”

I want to spend a little time today talking about Ramana Maharshi’s method of Self-Enquiry, and what it has done for me personally.  The ideas contained in this passage have profoundly changed me.  If someone was to ask me to share with them the most powerful teachings I’ve ever came across, this passage would be toward the top of the list.  This is an extremely direct method of finding out who or what you truly are, along with ridding your mind of everything else that’s unreal, leaving you with peace of mind.   Maybe by sharing how I’ve used the method, it can help lend insights to some of you into how you can better understand yourselves.   I’ll begin by simply quoting from his book on Self-Enquiry.

“Disciple: Master! What is the means to gain the state of eternal bliss, ever devoid of misery?

Master: Apart from the statement in the Veda that wherever there is body there is misery, this is also the direct experience of all people; therefore, one should enquire into one’s true nature which is ever bodiless, and one should remain as such. This is the means to gaining that state.

D: What is meant by saying that one should enquire into one’s true nature and understand it?

M: Experiences such as “I went; I came; I was; I did” come naturally to everyone. From these experiences, does it not appear that the consciousness “I” is the subject of those various acts? Enquiry into the true nature of that consciousness, and remaining as oneself is the way to understand, through enquiry, one’s true nature.

D: How is one to enquire: “Who am I?”

M: Actions such as ‘going’ and ‘coming’ belong only to the body. And so, when one says “I went, I came”, it amounts to saying that the body is “I”. But, can the body be said to be the consciousness “I”, since the body was not before it was born, is made up of the five elements, is non-existent in the state of deep sleep, and becomes a corpse when dead? Can this body which is inert like a log of wood be said to shine as “I” “I”? Therefore, the “I” consciousness which at first arises in respect of the body is referred to variously as self-conceit (tarbodham), egoity (ahankara), nescience (avidya), maya, impurity (mala), and individual soul (jiva) . Can we remain without enquiring into this? Is it not for our redemption through enquiry that all the scriptures declare that the destruction of “self-conceit” is release (mukti)? Therefore, making the corpse-body remain as a corpse, and not even uttering the word “I”, one should enquire keenly thus: “Now, what is it that rises as ‘I’”. Then, there would shine in the Heart a kind of wordless illumination of the form ‘I’ ‘I’. That is, there would shine of its own accord the pure consciousness which is unlimited and one, the limited and the many thoughts having disappeared. If one remains quiescent without abandoning that (experience), the egoity, the individual sense, of the form ‘I am the body’ will be totally destroyed, and at the end the final thought, viz. the ‘I’- form also will be quenched like the fire that burns camphor (*without leaving any sediment). The great sages and scriptures declare that this alone is release.

If you read my blog frequently, what Maharshi calls ‘I’ ‘I’, I called standing “above” my thoughts and emotions in my post Reflections On Spirtuality.  I had no words for the experience.  It’s an incredible place to focus your conscious attention, and few of us even know it’s there and always available to us.

So first of all, what is it?  I can’t really describe it as it has no describable properties.  What I can tell you is that when you find it, it’ll be self-evident to you.  It’s clearly perceived when your mind is silent.  It won’t be any kind of form, or a sound, or even a thought.  The only words for it might be, “I AM”, or something to that effect.   Christian scriptures speak of it when they say, “Be still and know that I am God.”  This observer, this presence, this… YOU… is there.  It’s not outside, nor is it inside.   It never changes, despite everything going on around you.  Within every moment and every experience, this ‘I AM’ is there.  When you find it, you can place your attention there and just rest.

Does the world stop when you enter such a place?  No.  Do you have to be sitting idle, meditating, to enter such a place?  No.  Do you see some amazing vision of infinity when you come to this place?  No.  You’ll be exactly where you are, in the exact same circumstance you’re in.  So wait, then what changes?  Everything!  Hahaha, I know it sounds absurd, but bear with me!  I’m waiting for all of your puzzled looks!

Ok, so if I can’t describe it, how does one get there?  If, everytime you have a thought, and you hear the word, “I”, such as, “I need to get a drink”, or “I’m so sick of this”, or “I need a vacation”, you ask, “Who or what is saying these things?  Who is this ‘I’?  Show yourself to me.” It may then respond, “I am the consciousness of the brain”, if you’re a materialist.  Then you press further, “Who is it who thinks its this consciousness of this brain?”  If you trace the thoughts and responses, and keep pressing, “Who is this?  Who says that?”, it eventually comes down to a self-evident response of, “I AM” .  It’s curt, to the point, and self-evident.  It’s a weird feeling when you focus on this… focal point of attention.  You’re looking outward with your eyes, seeing the bedroom or whatever it is you’re looking at, all the while, the attention is inward focused on this “I AM”, sorta “located” at the center of all conscious perception.  There isn’t words for it.  You ask, “What are you exactly?”  The response?  “I AM”.  I can TRY to put it into words.  It might go something along the lines of, “I AM the infinite observer, capable of observing any shape, form, time, emotion, anything, and I AM right NOW in your present moment, I AM”.  Notice something.  This happened when YOU traced your own thoughts of what “I” is.  Do this method, and it will be self-evident.

Why is this so powerful?  What good does this do anybody?  The key is realizing that this is the real you.  You’re not your body, you’re not your emotions, you’re not your thoughts, you are this I AM.  When you identify with this, after all kinds of questioning, asking, “Who thinks this thought?”  “Who is it who feels this way?”  “Who is it who wonders about this topic?”, you trace things back, and again and again you’ll come to this ‘root’, this ‘I AM’.  Everything else changes.  Thoughts come and go.  Feelings come and go.  Forms come and go.  All experience is fleeting, but this ‘I AM’ never goes anywhere.  It’s the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Now here’s the key, so listen up!  Make this your focal point of observation, if that makes sense.  Root yourself there, and watch all the things in your life, all the thoughts, all the emotions, all the comings and goings, and realize, “A ha!  I am none of these things!  These things come and go, but I AM something that never goes.  I never change.”  And now you’ve got it!  If that clicked in your head, I want to dance around you in circles like those little children do on the playground.  How wonderful this realization!

When I “got” this realization, my mind, which in many respects was a cesspool, was flushed like a clogged up toilet.  Then you want to run around and tell everyone, “My burdens washed away!”, but people look at you crazy like, “What drug’s this guy on?”

Here’s real examples from my own life, and how this changed me.

There was a time, not too long ago, where I felt like I was a bit awkward.  That wherever I’d go, I didn’t fit in.  I wasn’t particularly trying to fit in, but it often would get frustrating to me, never encountering people who thought about the things I thought about, or had the same hobbies I had, or liked the same things I did.  Then I used Maharshi’s method, and I said, “Who is it who feels this awkwardness?  Who is it who feels this feeling of not fitting in?”, and from the ‘I AM’ vantage point, I watched such feelings; from this static point, the feelings came, and they went.  Ah ha!  They’re illusions!  They’re imposters!  I was mistakenly identifying with them.  Thoughts have happened, but I’m not such thoughts.  Feelings of enjoying some activity have happened, but I’m not such feelings, and activities have happened but I am not the activities.  These things change, but I don’t change.  And here’s the key point.  Now that I no longer identified with any of these things, all of this was shaken loose from me, the whole cycle ended, and I feel comfortable and happy around everyone, country bumpkins to brilliant physicists, Republicans to Democrats, men, women, old, young, some stray dog wagging its tail at me while I’m out for a walk, it’s all the same to me friend!

How about another example.  At the university, I didn’t start until I was 27, and didn’t graduate until I was nearly 36 or so.  I was always an older student, who I felt had already been out there fighting in the real world, built a business, and done these things.  Some of the students’ personalities came across to me as childish, though I didn’t dislike that.  I just felt out of place.  It’s like they all had ADD or something.  I just felt like tapping many of them on the shoulder and saying, “Calm down.”  When I was nearing my graduation, I was nearly twice the age of some of the students.  I felt that I was old and that I didn’t relate to these younger students anymore.  “I don’t understand them” was a common thought.  Social media, the obsessions with phones and tech stuff, getting offended and wanting to ban everyone, I didn’t get it.  But wait.  Let’s go back to Maharshi’s method.  When those thoughts and feelings arise, you ask yourself, “Who is it who feels old?  Who is it who feels and thinks these things about not understanding these younger students?”  Ooooohhh.  Guess what?  From the ‘I AM’ point, such things come, and such things go.  ‘I AM’ never changes, so what’s this talk about getting old?  Those feelings I was having were illusions!  I AM not old, nor AM I something that emotionally relates to anything, young, old, or even alien.  “I” don’t even relate to a flow of time.  All of those things are things that change.

This changed the entire dynamic with students.  For whatever reason, the background feelings within the ‘I AM’ focal point is love, peace, and joy.  It’s your true nature, as Maharshi says.  And that’s how I became toward all the students!  When I sat at the ‘I AM’ place, this flowed out of me.  All of the false “I” notions which were separating me from the students, making me feel some dualistic antagonism toward them died.  No more separation.  You, me, we’re here, let’s enjoy our time together.  And then things go so well and you think, “Why didn’t I do this before?”  But when you’re in delusion, in stupidity, in ridiculousness, you can’t see such simple truths.  If you read my last post, ‘How It All Works‘, where I spoke of my model of reality, I was now at the point of surrender.  The False ‘I’ was dead, and now, I AM.  If you read my other post, ‘Reflections on Spirtuality‘, this same dynamic Christ-consciousness.   Remember that diagram I shared?

I went from this…

To this…

It’s NOT a place of inactivity.  It’s not an attempt to escape the world.  It’s not running from anything.  It’s some sort of flow.   I don’t get why the flow is happening, but it is, and I AM is there in every “frame” of this movie we’re living, and always will be there.

How about more examples.  Guilt!  Oh there’s a big one.  This isn’t something I’ve personally dealt with much, but I’ve met some who feel very badly about how they were as a mother, or how they were as a father, or how they were as a husband.  I should have been better to my niece.  I should’ve spent more time with my daughter, I should’ve done this, I should’ve done that.  Let’s bring out Maharshi.  Who is it who feels these things?  Who is it who feels they should’ve been better to so and so?  Who is it who feels they should’ve made more time to whomever?  Trace it out.  Is that the unchanging?  Is that the ‘I AM’?  No.  I AM doesn’t feel one way today, then badly tomorrow, and then feel better upon acts of retribution.  More illusions.  More false I’s, more comings and goings.  It’s not you.  This new identification with ‘I AM’ is the real meaning behind, “My sins have been washed away.”  But then you think, “What are you saying?  Should I not feel guilty about anything I do!?”  Who is that “I” who should or shouldn’t feel guilt and other things?  Is that the ‘I AM’?  No.  You’re not feelings which change based on what happens.  Another false I.  Root yourself in ‘I AM’, who I often call the Holy Spirit, and the natural flow of things will be love, peace, and joy, for you, and for those you encounter.  They may still be mad about what happened, but you won’t be, and you won’t be angry at yourself, and this new nature which will flow out of you will give you the best chance to mend things.

How about the reverse, such as deep-seated angers, or those seeking revenge?  Somebody did you wrong and you’re going to get back at them.  You’re no pushover.  You’ll show them!  Once again, let’s break out Maharshi.  Who is it who feels these desires for revenge?  Are they the unchanging ‘I AM’?  No.  ‘I AM’ is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and is always love, peace, and joy, which becomes you when you make it your focal point.  But what about all this revenge nonsense?  It’s not the ‘I AM’.  The real you isn’t seeking revenge.  The body is generating feelings of anger, based on memories in its brain, and you’re focusing attention on these feelings, instead of letting it pass.  You identify with these thoughts and feelings, and that energizes them, keeping it all in existence.  I’ve known some who play these mental loops of misery like tape-recorders, just on and on, the same old, same old.  My ex-girlfriend, blah blah blah.  My parents and what they did to me as a child, blah blah blah.  My ex-boss and how he fired me unjustly, blah blah blah.  “I am so angry.”  You give these past event importance, like that helps you or something.   But you know what you’re failing to realize?  Did that ex-girlfriend hold the keys to your happiness?  Did your childhood permanently break you?  Is that job the only chance you had to live a good life?  There’s a belief in your mind that they do, but in reality they do not.

As long as you feel something “outside” is your only ticket to peace and happiness, and that’s been taken away from you, you will always be frustrated and angry.  The more things you think your happiness depends on in this life, the more you’re setting yourself up to fail.  The world did you wrong!  “How unfair it all is!  Someone’s life is so much better than my own, how come!”  But who says these things, and are they true?  Who is it who feels this way?  Search it out.  The real you is not these thoughts.  If you do the self-enquiry, and think about it, you’ll realize this to be the case.  Become self-aware of these false I’s and their false promises, their frustrations, and their ignorance.  Is it the ‘I AM’?  No.  Those things all came and went, like everything in the world, but I AM is still here.  Root yourself in the I AM and forgiveness will automatically be your nature.  Why?  Because loving is your new nature, and joy now is unconditional.  Nobody can steal anything from you, so what’s there to be angry about?

This is why I’ve largely stopped worrying about politics.  I’m aware of stupid things going on, but it doesn’t bother me.  The world of ever-shifting forms isn’t my source of happiness, so there’s no reason to get upset at what Donald Trump is doing, or Hillary Clinton, or the news casters on TV, or what have you.  Just more passing forms and events.  The reason people get so nasty to one another is because they think their happiness depends on some state of the world.  They believe some change in public policy will change the world in that direction, and if all goes according to plan, they will have conditions more conducive to their happiness.  But oh to those who take away that perceived chance at happiness!  How dare you!  People will fight for what they believe will make them happy.  What else do you think this is all about?

I saw a video of Alex Jones the other day, the big conspiracy theorist of the internet, coming into a restaurant and he starts yelling at this group of people at another table because they’re on the “left”.  “You bunch of F–ing LIBTARDS!  I’M NOT GOING TO LET YOU RUIN THIS COUNTRY”, and those on the opposing end are sitting there with smug faces, throwing equally nasty insults at him, “So when are you going to give birth, Alex?”

This is what happens when people think someone “out there” holds their happiness, when it’s really within them.  “I’m not happy with things, I’m not content, and IT’S BECAUSE OF YOU!  YOU’RE RUINING EVERYTHING!”  We could fast-forward to some amazing future in the year 3500, a world filled with comforts and entertainment far beyond what we can imagine, and I can still imagine this same dynamic going on.  “I WON’T LET YOU RUIN THIS WORLD”, and they’re fighting over something we’d perceive as very trivial.  They live in perfect health, immortal bodies, with super brains which store all human knowledge, but still, it’s not enough.  I could see some peasant farmer in ancient Egypt looking at our lives now and thinking, “What in the world do you have to complain about?”  But as you can see, did improved conditions fix things entirely?  Is it ever enough?  You start blaming others and external situations for your own lack of self-perception, and it never ends.

Like I said before, learning this was like flushing the toilet-bowl which was my mind.  All the crap, it just flushed away and I was left with clarity, flesh clean water.  When the clean water pours in and the stench leaves, and you’re made new, you don’t want any more crap in your bowl.  I’ve been let down by so many things in life, but when I found that when I locked in on this Holy Spirit, this eternal I AM, I want everything else that’s false to flush away.

How It All Works

I’m going to do my best to try to explain what this experience we all call “life” is.  This is my best simple model as of today.

For the moment, I would like all of you to entertain a thought.  Imagine that you really are not a weak little human, living on Earth, in a big, hostile, vast cosmos.  In actuality, the fullness of your being is something much greater.  Try to imagine that you’re an infinite being, full of bliss and joy, living in a timeless perfection, omnipotent (all powerful) and omniscient (can see all possibilities simultaneously).  You’ve always been and always will be, containing all that has, can, or ever will be.

But, if you’re this incredible being, all powerful and the rest of it, that means you have to have the power to temporarily delude yourself that you’re a much weaker, more limited being.  If not, how could you be capable of experiencing any possibility?  You couldn’t do this permanently.  Why? Because you must always have the power to restore your power, but it must be within your power to limit your own power temporarily.  How would such a super-being go about that?

You couldn’t actually take away your power, your knowledge, your bliss.  That’s who you are.  That always has been and always will be.  What is, is.  BUT, what if there was a way to hide yourself from yourself?  It’s like you’re a floating eye living in this vast infinity which is your body, and to accomplish this delusion of being a puny human, you get a big black blanket and cover over the rest of your body.  Then you fly over this blanket with your eye and look through little holes, seeing only a portion of yourself, pinhole by pinhole.  By looking through the pinholes in just the right order, one by one, similar to how you see frames in a movie, you could maybe temporarily delude yourself that you’re a limited form, with limited knowledge, in a flow of time.   With this concept in mind, I introduce you to my model of reality, illustrated in this figure.

Looking at the figure, you see a box, then there are things outside the box.  Outside the box is the true you, your true consciousness.  You exist as a timeless infinity, where all possibilities exist, nothing ever changes, and the background is love, peace, and bliss.  If you study near-death experiences, this will be confirmed to you.  Also, many yogis and saints focus their attention inward through meditation and prayer, reversing their spiritual eye’s direction entirely, and behold infinite bliss, nirvana, perfection.  It’s possible to anyone.

Outside the box you also see a kid’s ViewMaster toy, with a set of goggles and little image frame-wheels.  You load the circular film wheels into the device and you can view them one by one, the rest of your vision obscured.  Notice that all possible movie reels already exist, all their frames just lying there, ready to be loaded into the ViewMaster.  A more sophisticated analogy may be virtual reality goggles.

You can see just outside the box, I have a child (a child of God), putting on the virtual reality goggles, hiding herself from herself, to more fully immerse herself in the experience.  The being was God beforehand, but once the veil is placed on, this focal point of attention, within God, becomes a child of God.  That is the veil, the black blanket and the floating eye I spoke of earlier.  In my figure, the outer box is a representation of the veil.  The veil is a mechanism to hide the rest of yourself from yourself, a sort of distraction mechanism, a way to help hold a focus of attention on one particular possibility of all the infinite possibilities available to you.

Notice that within the box there are two domains.  The first domain is that of thought, sensation, and emotion.  In this model, thought is a subset of all-knowledge.  There is a database of all knowledge within you, but this particular “thought” you’re having in this frame is a projection of a small portion of that database of all knowledge.  The same applies to sensation and emotions.  You have at your disposal all sensations, and all emotional states, but you’re covering the rest of your sensational and emotional possibilities up, and only viewing a portion of them.

This veil, this covering up of your normal state of being, is an uncomfortable process.  It’s sort of like cramming yourself in the trunk of a car.  It’s cramped and isn’t what you’re used to.  This in turn creates desire.  A desire for what?  For more.  Something will always seem lacking, always.  “Is this all there is?”  The second you start this process of hiding yourself from yourself, it immediately creates a desire within yourself to find your former fullness, along with the peace, love, and bliss.  You want to take off the ViewMaster, but you sort of commit to experience it for a limited amount of “time”, no matter how crazy the experience may get within the limited vision you’re about create for yourself.

So how does one go about creating the illusion of incarnating into a body?  When constructing the mental “filmstrip” you’re loading into the ViewMaster, choose frames where the bodily forms, such as your legs, arms, torso, head, feet, etc., are always projected “close” to the viewer.  To complement this, within these same frames, if say some external object, such as a chair, bumps into the “your” body’s leg, arm, etc., you place a corresponding sensation to accompany it.   You do not create this sensation otherwise.  For example, if a rock falls down a cliff and smashes something below, you feel no pain, because this didn’t happen to “your” body.   This sort of trick is used to create the illusion of an “internal” world vs an “external” world.  Now, as for all these “external” objects, they always rotate around the viewer, but the viewer’s body largely remains consistent, outside of a degree of head rotation, etc.

The illusion of time requires memory of the past frames viewed, but if you could view all the past frames simultaneously, you’d quickly catch on that you’re a timeless being.  So how do we create an illusion of a limited present?  What you do is carry over parts of the past frames into the “present” frame, but keep it all kinda blurry and fuzzy, fragmented and dimly lit.  I illustrated this in my figure by two beams going off to the right and the left, highlighting past and future in light cones.  You want the present frame to overpower these a great deal.  So for example, say you’re out for a walk, and there’s some object in the background, like a swingset. To create the illusion of time, that “present” frame has a layered image superimposed on top of it of when your mother took you to the park as a child, swinging back and forth.  We call this “memory”.  This may also be accompanied by illusory thoughts of, “Oh how things change.”  “I miss those days.”, etc.  You’re not actually remembering, nor is this “I” you keep hearing in your head “real”.  Well, it is you but is also isn’t, not in the way you perceive it to be.  It’s a sound within you, accompanied by this memory I just explained.  It’s a phony sound in your head, loaded into the frame which the real eternal, infinite you is viewing.  You’re viewing super-imposed carry-overs of “past” frames into the present.  In reality, it’s all present.  It’s all now.

Planning for the so-called future works the same way.  It’s more information loaded into the present frame that’s dimly-lit, showing other possible configurations of forms and sensations, but all less fleshed out than the present moment in terms of clarity and detail.  You’re not planning anything.  God wrote the script, God is doing everything, and this illusory “Jason” is just a form, the world outside of me is other projected forms, and all of this is accompanied accompanied by projections of thoughts from the Almighty.

This explains my problems understanding freewill for so long.  I used to wonder, how in the world do I lift my arm?  Think of the bazillions of atoms I had to move, all the blood I had to pump, all the electrical signals within nerves which had to fire.  “I” didn’t do that.  Yet, when I go to lift my arm, it feels so much like I was the one who chose to lift the arm.  But how can this be?

The key to solving this riddle is to distinguish between the false “I” and the real I (which is God).  “Jason” did not lift the arm.   How could a form within a frame change its own timeless, unchanging frame?  It’s nonsense.  “Jason” is not choosing the frames, and the thoughts “Jason” is having within the frames are also not his own.  They’re given by God, to Himself, as clues to Himself, for His own game.  “Jason” is a bodily form projected up close to God’s spiritual eye viewpoint, along with projections of God’s infinite thoughts and emotions into those frames.  God did it all.

Scientists, working in labs all over, who are also inserted forms into the frames of God’s experience, look at the brain and try to understand free will, and say, “How could this ever work?  Wouldn’t it all be deterministic, according to the laws of physics?”  They’re kind of right yet also kind of wrong.  “Jason” is an illusion, just as neuroscientists say.  But God, operating within me, is no illusion.  The frames are chosen to where all the perceived forms flow and move according to set patterns, chosen by God when building the filmstrip.  Also, the frames are chosen to where when electrical patterns flow in the brain in such and such a way, the corresponding sensations happen as well.  God wanted to see this orderly flow of events, from the perspective of “Jason”.   That’s where physics comes from, even though in reality the forms don’t have to follow physics as we know it at all.   The freewill problem only comes from incorrect dualistic thinking.  Freewill exists, and this whole play of events is also all “deterministic” (meaning those frames will follow rules, one to the next, as God planned), and there’s no contradiction at all.  “You” (in actuality a child of God) are choosing your destiny, while it’s also all fated to happen from a pre-written script (written by the same being), and there’s no problems whatsoever.  But if within the frames, God loaded in thoughts of, “I want this”, and that doesn’t happen in future frames, does that mean God is not omnipotent?  No, God chose that for his own illusion to experience.

There are also safety mechanisms within this movie.  God is all powerful, so if God says this film is going to play, it’s going to play.  But what if when God is viewing the play, he doesn’t like what He is experiencing?  That’s where the point of surrender comes in.  It’s a fascinating thing that I (Jason) only discovered within the last two years or so.  If you follow say Ramana Maharshi’s enquiry into the self, you eventually end up at the Point of Surrender, as far as I can tell.  If you’ve never been there, it will be difficult to describe, but I will try.  It’s basically an inward focus of attention, away from the world, away from the mind within the veil, and back toward the true Self, which is hiding Itself.  And you just sit there.  Bliss and peace seeps through the veil at this point, since this is the point where the spiritual eye of God is viewing the entire play God wrote, and one can simply keep their focus of attention there.  One still has thoughts and still perceives the events of the world around him, but the emotional drama of the entire thing doesn’t affect one at this point.  A peace that only God can give resides here, as the scriptures say.  This person’s burdens have been cast onto the infinite God, so the child of God can just peacefully and happily ride through any event, as long as they’re focused on this point.

Notice that within this model, everything and everyone you encounter is yourself.  Everything is God, everything is you, and there is no difference.  That’s why you are to even love your enemies.  They’re inserts God put in there, to experience adventures, trials, tribulations, and other things.  When you see your best friend, or a desert highway on your way home from work, it’s as if you’re looking at your big toe’s thumbnail, and later a wrinkle on your index finger.  It’s all you.  It also makes no sense to try to chase “more” experience because you took on this play in order to view limitation.  I think that’s why the experience becomes far more pleasant when we focus on the present.

There’s also no evolution a child of God must undergo.  No purification.  There’s no need to earn salvation.  If “karma” exists, it’s simply the child of God requesting another go.  If you want to, go for it.  These illusions can’t, in any way, affect the real you.  At least, that’s how I see things.  I will probably write a part 2 to this post, going over a lot of other important things, but I don’t want this post to get too long.

A Message From Ms Tutz Honeychurch

This was in my work inbox this morning.

You can’t help but wonder where things like this come from.  What thought process or algorithm produces… this?   It has to be a bot, but the text itself is something to marvel.  I can imagine this on display at a modern art museum, hanging next to a disgusting, sweat-stained bed-pillow with several cigarette burns in it.  Above them both, in big spray-painted letters the artist writes “SoCieTy” in very poor handwriting.

A hipster in very big black glasses walks by with his girlfriend and laments, “Lust, rage, filth, this is neoliberal capitalism.”  She tilts her head, taking in the work, “It has a destabilizing presence.”