I believe song writers are the modern day poets and the best of those are prophets living among us. I’ve done a lot of contemplating, beginning in the 1970’s, of the writings of Cat Stevens. As usual, the less popular songs are better than the one’s that make the charts. Tis not an opinion. Shallow is more popular than deep. One such song goes: Oh, if I make a mark in time, I can’t say the mark is mine. I’m only the underline of the Word. This is gibberish to most folks, but for people like me, I could write a book on it. Cat (now Yousef) is saying that our ideas are an echo of the wisdom floating on the breeze for anyone to seize and release as their own original thought. I’ve learned through practice to ponder every thought I allegedly come up with by asking a follow-up question: Where did that come from? This is reiterated in Jonathan Livingston Seagull when, believing he had died and gone to heaven thinks to himself, “Why am I so tired all at once? Gulls in heaven aren’t supposed to be tired or to sleep….Where did I hear that?…” Back on earth, of course. Is it true or is it all opinion based on other opinions base on zero proof?
Yousef entitled one of his albums, IZITSO? Cool title. I try to ask myself that after every single judgment call I make. These might be called, Thoughts on thinking. Would you then qualify them with further thoughts on thoughts on thinking? Where does it end? It ends when you’re satisfied you’ve taken an idea as far as you can go with it, and by you I mean me. I doubt that one in a thousand people know about this procedure, much less become practiced in it. The more time passes, the more homo sapiens devolves into a thinking machine that lets thoughts fly by like frames of a movie without any pondering on validity. Substance, to modern man, doesn’t matter. Life has transformed into a fantasy within a fantasy where all that matters is, Am I entertained? If not, lets move on to the next frame.
Let me take you on a short tour of my fantasy world. Wait a tick…. wouldn’t it be more appropriate in this context to talk about reality? Sure it would, but I don’t presume I know a lot about reality. What do we know about the world that’s beyond the five senses and how much time do we spend there, not counting sleep time? Don’t most people consider the world we experience through the five senses the real world? Don’t you? IZITSO? I think not. I call this earth-bound experience the feel world. Some mystics and experimenters with mind altering drugs and most artists have sensed another world that is apart from the five-sense world and afterwards referred to the feel world as an illusion. It’s a reflection as in a mirror and the origin of the reflection isn’t visible. The reflection in the mirror is neither real nor unreal, but illusory. It calls a certain reality its own but it’s deceptive in its portrayal of truth. The viewer must be aware that it’s only a reflection in order to see the truth, otherwise, you fall into the snare of the magician.
Mirrors? I suppose you’re going to talk about smoke at some point as well. As a matter of fact….
The magician uses smoke to shield something that’s changing in an ordinary way to make it appear like something appeared, disappeared or transformed in an extra-ordinary way. Likewise, when I think something, there is a great deal of smoke shielding what may be the truth of the matter. I call them mental or human filters. The whole gamut of conditioned thinking, preconceived notions, misconceived notions, personal preferences and hopes can all blow smoke in my face to shield my thinking from the reality going on in the background.
If the entire physical world is a deception, then where did that elephant go that appeared to vanish in a flash? Or, was it never there to begin with? As you’re trying to work it out logically – the magician disappears, then the stage. You grab on to a pillar and close your eyes. You were content in the feel world as it seemed to wrap around you like a blanket and now, knowing it’s smoke and mirrors, you feel it all slipping away. Are you next? Is the role you play lost in the illusion too? If your humanity is a role, who is playing the part of you? Who, or what is the real entity watching you perform as a human; standing behind you amused by your temporal expression full of fears and attachments? When the curtain falls and the play is over, will the watcher leave your cold corpse and move on?
Regarding everything I’ve said so far. . . Izitso? Where did I discover this invisible watcher? It appears that I’ve been alive for six decades but I can prove that that guy isn’t me. There is no debate that Eternity is real. There is no point in time to call “the beginning” and none shall be the end. If there was a beginning point to the universe, what happened before that moment? Knowing that guarantees that I was here throughout eternity passed. It doesn’t matter what form I took, if I had one at all. Wherever and whenever I am conscious, I exist. If it were possible to “not exist” I couldn’t be there could I?
Other telltale signs that I’m an eternal being is my speech. I own a car. It’s my car. I am not the car; I have a car. I also say, “my body” meaning that I am not the body; I have a body. It’s another vehicle. What about my mind? Apparently, I have a mind, so I am not the mind either. My spirit? Who is this person who claims to own every part of me I can think of? Who is doing the thinking? Is it me… or him?
Since the mind, the body and my car were created, there was a time before they were created when they did not exist. If I’ve always existed then ”I” am an awareness that can’t be created or destroyed. It is not attached to any body, intellect or form of any type. What we call spirit comes close to this unseen observer but we must take care not to create a personal spirit. That’s just turning the uncreated into another created thing. The popular religious concept of a spirit that is basically a ghost of our human personality is an obvious ploy to hang on to our humanity for eternity. What we need to do if we want to leave our fantasies behind and perceive our true identity and act from there is to become unattached to our temporary self.
If we want to participate in what’s next after unity awareness, the forerunner to that consciousness is to become less self-centered and embrace the rest of humanity as well as everything else in the universe as having a value equal to this body we seem to be inhabiting. I believe I am not Vin Libassi, correct? I am only looking out through that window in this scene from a play. So, there’s no point in seeing you as part of me. You are just another vehicle in the physical world, but equal in value to the vehicle called Vin. My path is to leave all of it where it belongs and embrace reality – where you and I as separate creatures are part of the scenery. I am the silent, invisible observer of the scene. This perspective breaks down the selfishness that recreates the personal ego and makes it stronger. If I do as the text said and treat you as well as I treat myself, I’m demonstrating that I’m not a slave to this ego that needs so much attention and validation and protection all the time. The more you can deny the ego’s demands and put it in its place as a servant instead of a master, the more you will operate out of a place of unity and encourage that in the world.
Our human capacities are necessary to our everyday experience but they need not be in the foreground of it. The essential shift in awareness is to begin to watch the ego instead of being the ego. Part of it is the idea of thinking about what you’re thinking. Question the reasons you do what you do regularly. Why do I want to tell my friend that? Is it so she’ll have a higher regard for me? Why am I helping this cause? Is it because I want some reward? What is the real point to this argument I’m in the middle of? Try to dig to the source of everything you react to in your standard way. Look for every opportunity to become detached from the process you’re going through and from the result it’s supposed to produce. Be alert to everything that makes the ego prouder, more powerful or just look better to others.
The spirit-directed life would include less analysis and planning, replaced by admitting that you don’t know everything and looking instead to the inspiration of the observer. The more time spent inquiring of the soul to create opportunities for a fulfilling life, the more that will be our experience. What seems like coincidences, good luck and serendipity will become more frequent occurrences. If we ask the question, we should expect an answer. But don’t ask your ego! Sit quietly and think about your purpose in life. Focus on what you are here to give! A voice speaking words inside your head is probably not going to happen, but by faith know that it is you you are communing with. You are asking your divine Self to orchestrate and balance your life. Of course you are going to give yourself that gift! We don’t need to verbalize a detailed, specific description of everything. You already know what you know. The point is to express your overall desires to get the creative process started. For example, don’t ask for a new home. Ask instead that your needs be taken care of so that you can spend all your energy in service to others. Do you know that a new home will be a blessing? Maybe there’s something more profound that you have no knowledge of at this time. Bow to the design of the One Spirit. To ensure creation, align your wants with the plans of the all-knowing Spirit. Be basic. Align with compassion and edification.
Once you make your intentions plain, there is nothing more to do with it than be alert to the doors that spontaneously open. Of course, when the door opens you must go through it. But if you repeatedly labor over a request, it shows that your faith is weak. You don’t need to send a letter twice. Affirm that the Spirit fulfilled the request when you asked it, even though it is still in the invisible. Once a Buddhist rishi was telling western reporters of a great ashram he was going to build. It was a lavish group of buildings with many amenities. Someone asked him where the money for this was coming from. He simply answered, “From wherever it is right now.”
The unity, the oneness, the wholeness that is already real lying beyond our senses, is waiting as pure potential to be released into form as soon as we participate as the creators that we are. To set the music of the spheres playing, we detach from all our vehicles – the intellect, the body, all our other possessions and go within to realize our true person. There is only one. I am, you are, they are all one consciousness. With the man out of the way, we reunite our full attention with our universal, unlimited, pure Self. Now there is no more “we”. There is no more “them” – there is only the great I Am. I realize that all is finished in the spirit. All I need to do is ask the Self what I am here to do. I call into existence all the tools, and all the co-creators who are purposed to the same mission. I acknowledge that what I create is for the good of all, or for the good of one or more others. Now I breathe deeply and rest, knowing it is already conceived. I wait for it to appear from the womb of creation with all confidence that no force on earth can stop it now. It is done.
Stay tuned for Part 3.