More great questions…
My last post (in which I answered two questions submitted to me) generated such a positive response that I thought I’d post two more very interesting and pertinent questions and my answers. I think you’ll find both exchanges to be quite interesting and thought-provoking.
This first question is about one of the early lessons in the second of my three Life Principles Integration Process online courses. This second course is about metaphysical questions, spiritual practice and spiritual awakening, and other related topics. I had explained in this lesson, among other things that (contrary to what most people believe) the past does not create the future. This, you’ll probably agree, is a very interesting question.
So, are you saying that because the past does not create the future (unless we think it does), we can be anything we choose if we are consciously here, now? Does that mean that psychotherapy is a total waste of time? (which is largely my experience of it and why I prefer EFT)?
What about the evolution of the soul? Is that just another game we play with ourselves based on the concept of linear time?
Remember that there really is no past or future, except in your mind. It’s always now. The past and the future are just ideas created by and stored in your mind. Most people assume that the past creates whatever happens now, but that isn’t true. What you do now creates now. If, for instance, you were abused in the past in some way, or had some sort of traumatic experience, whenever you see or experience something that reminds you of that past experience, you’ll experience fear or some other unpleasant emotion. But you create that experience of fear now, by something you do in the present.
Let’s say that when you were a child your father yelled at you when you violated his rules, and then spanked you, and that he did this repeatedly during your childhood. Now, whenever a male authority figure raises his voice, you feel afraid. The common assumption would be that you feel afraid because of your past. However, the real reason you feel afraid is because of something you do in the present moment in response to that authority figure–you make certain internal representations of what you don’t want (probably abuse similar to what you experienced with your father).
You don’t want more abuse, you see it as a potential danger, and you quite naturally make internal representations of what you don’t want as a way of (hopefully) avoiding it. You probably aren’t aware of these internal representations as you make them, however–they happen outside your awareness.
It works like this: There is a trigger (the angry authority figure)—>you make certain internal representations of what you don’t want (more abuse)—>these internal representations of what you don’t want create (and sustain) a feeling of fear.
The step where you make the internal representations is where you have a choice. You have no choice about what some other person does (though you do, in many cases, have a choice about which people you end up being around, but that’s another topic). You always have a choice, though, in the present moment, about what internal representations you make in response to what you’re experiencing–IF (a big if) you’re aware enough to see yourself making them, and to see the consequences of making them (which include feeling bad in some way, and possibly unconsciously–and ironically–attracting more of the danger you seek to avoid).
These internal representations (not the authority figure, and not the past trauma) create your in-the-moment experience of the situation. If you responded by making different internal representations (for instance, internal representations of compassion for the authority figure, or internal representations of something you want instead of what you don’t want) you’d have a different experience.
So the past (which, again, is an IDEA you have in your mind, not a physical reality) can create your present experience IF you are unaware–if you are using your Internal Map of Reality to make internal representations UNconsciously and automatically. [“Internal Map of Reality” is my term for the collection of internal cogitive processes you use to create your experience of life.]
If you become aware of how you create the fear (which, again, you do by making internal representations of something you don’t want in response to some sort of trigger) the internal representations you make (and therefore what internal states you experience) become a choice. The aware person CHOOSES how she creates her present moment, or she at least creates her response to it.
A related question is why someone would more frequently end up interacting with abusive people. If (to use the same example of the angry authority figure) you believe–based on your past experience–that authority figures are abusive, you’ll unconsciously be drawn to such people, and you’ll give off cues that will unconsciously cause them to be drawn to you.
This happens because in order to avoid the danger posed (you think, based on past experience) by such people, you frequently make internal representations of that danger, which (ironically, since this isn’t your intention) causes your mind to treat such people and the danger they pose as a goal. The mind takes anything you repeatedly focus on as something to create or attract more of, and the mind is very effective in doing this.
If you’re aware that you have such a belief (in this case, that authority figures are potentially dangerous), and you watch yourself believe it–watch yourself seek “proof” that it is true by being unconsciously attracted to abusive authority figures–you’ll see what you are doing to yourself and you’ll stop doing it. Why? Because it isn’t resourceful, and you just can’t do something that isn’t resourceful AND do it with awareness. You can keep attracting such people as long as you do it (ie, focus on what you don’t want) outside your awareness. As before, when you are aware that you are doing it, as you do it, it becomes a choice, and you’ll always choose what is resourceful for yourself (and for others).
The idea that the past creates what happens now (or what happens in the future) is based on several flaws. One is that there is a past or future other than in your mind, and that these are more than just ideas. The second flaw is that the trigger (in my example, the yelling authority figure) creates your response, and that this response, because of your past experience, is beyond your control and “just happens.”
Your response, however, is only outside your control when it happens automatically, ie, when you don’t see how you’re creating it, as you do it. When I say that you create it I mean that it comes from something you do inside–something you could have choice about if you were aware of it. Of course no one creates negative outcomes for themselves intentionally.
So everyone creates, in the moment, 1) their feelings and other internal states, 2) their actions and behaviors, 3) which people and situations they attract or become attracted to, and 4) what meanings they assign to what happens around them. It’s just that most people do this automatically, without seeing HOW they do it, because they aren’t aware enough. Awareness, then, is the solution. Awareness creates choice where there previously seemed to be none.
One of the reasons Holosync is so powerful in changing a person’s experience of life is that it changes the brain in a way that creates more awareness. This causes you to begin to see what you are doing to create those four things I listed in the previous paragraph. To the degree that you see what you are creating, as you do it, you gain choice.
You asked about psychotherapy, which fits right in with what I’ve been saying here. Psychotherapy is valuable when it causes you to become more aware of how you create your response to life. Some people in psychotherapy, however, are determined to hang on to their present view (that their past made them the way they are, that they are a victim, and so on). A good therapist is skilled at getting you to see how you’re creating your response, and therefore your feelings, behaviors, which people and situations you attract or become attracted to, and what things mean.
Until you see how YOU create these things (which involves you seeing how you’re doing it, as you do it), the whole thing continues to run on automatic, as it does for 99% of people, and you keep automatically creating the same feelings, the same behaviors, attracting the same people and situations, and assuming that the events of your life have this or that meaning. See how you are doing all of this, though, and whatever doesn’t serve you falls away.
Once you see how you create your life you gain the ability to create whatever you want–to a certain degree. You certainly can be in charge of your responses to life: your feelings, your behaviors, most of the people and situations you draw into your life, and what meanings you assign on the events of your life.
However, there are certain things about life you can’t control, and never will be able to control (this is where I part company with the magical thinkers, such as some of the people in The Secret, who seem to think that you can control EVERYTHING with your mind). Among many other things, you’ll never control the weather, gravity, the sun, cosmic rays, and the behaviors of the 6.7 billion other people on Earth (who, you may have noticed, often have agendas that conflict with yours). And, you’ll never be able to do anything about the fact that in this universe all things are impermanent, that ultimately everything ends, passes away, or falls apart. That’s just the way it is.
But you can choose how you create your experience of all these things (again, if you are aware enough to see how you create that experience). And, that choice always happens NOW. If you want choice regarding your life, you must become more aware. As far as I know, there is no other way. Then, the question becomes how to do that. Though there are a number of ways to increase your awareness, the most effective way I’ve found is to use Holosync. Then, it also helps if you direct that awareness to those things that have the greatest effect on your experience of life, which is what I am teaching you in the first of these three Life Principles Integration Process online courses.
Finally, you asked about the soul. This is something we look at in the second course, but here are a few brief comments.
I don’t think there is a soul. I certainly have no evidence for the existence of a soul, other than certain other people believe that there is one (which isn’t really evidence). A “soul” is usually defined as something that is believed to survive the death of an individual organism and which somehow keeps going after the body is no more. Only in the sense that you could say that there is ONE soul, the entire going on if it all, do I think that it’s true that there is a soul.
I realize that many people are strongly attached to their belief that there IS a soul, because 1) thinking that what they perceive to be “me” might not go on creeps people out, and 2) if there isn’t a soul, it might call into question other aspects of what their church or religious approach believes, and that also scares people. People want to think that someone “knows,” even if they don’t, and the thought that ultimately NO ONE DOES KNOW ABOUT CERTAIN THINGS, also creeps people out.
The way I look at it, everything in the universe is interconnected and interrelated, in the same way that every molecule in the ocean is interconnected and interrelated. Because everything affects everything else, and nothing can act independently of the whole, there are no truly separate things (things that act or exist separately from everything else), including separate souls. You might say that there’s just one infinitely big soul, and it just keeps going, playing all roles (which are constantly flowing and changing) at once. Whether that one thing is actually going anywhere in particular, that it has some goal in mind, is debatable, though a lot of people find it comforting to think that this is the case (and find the thought that things aren’t particularly going somewhere in particular to be scary).
A very famous Eastern saint once said, “Life is a meaningless energy, going nowhere, for no reason.” Most people take this to be a negative statement about life, but he didn’t mean it that way at all. He used the word “meaningless” not in the sense of insignificance, but rather in the sense that everything just “is”, and that meanings are assigned to things from the outside (have you noticed that different people assign different meanings to the same thing or the same event?). Meanings are created by the mind and added to things and events–there is no intrinsic meaning to anything.
He meant that life is “going nowhere” partly in the sense that if you are everything and everywhere (if you’re the whole going-on-of-it-all), where would you go? You’re already everywhere. If anything, the action of this whole going-on-of-it-all is more like a child playing and exploring, just for the fun of it, with no particular end in mind, as when you walk down a path in the forest just to see where it goes, but with no particular destination. Or, in the same way we play music, where the goal isn’t to get to the end of the piece, but rather to experience the music as it happens.
He also mean this in the sense that things are just flowing along, going wherever they go, and that no goal or set destination is needed–other than that the idea that things are going somewhere, and that this somewhere will be something “good” is comforting to people.
Finally he said that all of this is happening for no reason. What reason could there be? Reasons are like meanings. They’re added by the mind, and aren’t intrinsic to anything. Humans, though, like to add meanings and reasons. It gives life spice and makes it interesting, and I’m all for it. The aware person, the awakened person, also adds meanings and reasons to life. Without them, life would be dry and uninteresting. The awakened person, however, knows that he or she is adding these meanings–that, like feeling and behaviors, meanings are a choice, if you are aware enough–and she knows that she’s making them up. And, in fact, what fun it is to make them up! (And, quite often, what suffering it creates when we make them up unconsciously.)
Here’s the second question (from someone whose name is Harris, just to create a little bit of added confusion):
This [the second course of the Life Principles Integration Process online courses] could be considered my initiation in the Spiritual realm of the mind, since up to now all my efforts were towards figuring out how to be happy, peaceful and successful, setting goals etc.
These are the most prevalent questions I have about Lesson 1:
First, you state that we are the oneness but you haven’t addressed the fact that we still must feed ourselves, and we are still vulnerable in this world (at least in the physical form). The mind creates the suffering and the unhappiness but we are going to be hungry and thirsty if we don’t provide for ourselves.
I wonder what the yogis (and anyone who shares this point of view) think when they feel hungry. Or even worse, if they were subjected to tremendous torture, the kinds that the Jews were subjected to by the Nazis for example, would they still feel that they, and the person who tortures them are this oneness? Or, if someone unfairly took the person they love most, their wives or their teacher.
I am saying this because sometimes, it seems as if they are some kind of armchair experts, but how deeply they believe what they believe if something terrible shakes their ground?
Second, if I am not lacking anything, how come I am listening to you and your LPIP? You said in previous courses that the reason we are listening to you is because we want to be happy, peaceful and succesful all the time, but we aren’t. This need has not been met and therefore we do not feel complete, we lack.
At this stage, I can’t grasp what you are saying, even if it is true. I am still, at Lesson 1 though and at an early stage in Holosync, so hopefully I will truly understand one day.
I appreciate what you are trying to teach to us, and I have made a commitment to master your material and proceed deeper all the way with my Holosync meditation.
You ask some good questions.
One of the more advanced teachings involving awakening and enlightenment has to do with the fact that even though you might awaken to who you really are (in other words, enter permanently into a state where you’re always aware that there is one thing/event in the world, and that this is who you really are) if the organism having that experience is to survive, you’ll still have to deal with the relative world. You’ll still have to eat, sleep, deal with physical pain, and so forth, just as you so astutely noted.
When someone has a powerful awakening experience, the relative world suddenly seems less important than it did prior to that awakening. If something goes wrong in your life, it doesn’t bother you in the same way it would have prior to the awakening because now you have a MUCH larger perspective–it’s quite clear, for instance, that ultimately it doesn’t matter whether your particular organism survives, because the entire going on if it all will always survive, and that is who you really are.
You become more like a wave on the ocean who no longer sees the prospect of the wave ultimately sinking back into the ocean as a serious problem because it realizes that it IS the ocean. This doesn’t mean, however, that you don’t still feel physical pain, get hungry, or experience all the discomforts that come with being alive. In fact, it doesn’t mean that you aren’t still attached to life and that the thought of death doesn’t at least leave you with a somewhat bittersweet feeling. You do, however, look at it in a different way once you’ve had a deep, experiential insight into who you really are–what is sometimes called awakening, or one of several other names: satori, kensho, enlightenment, recognizing one’s true nature, Buddhahood, Christ Consciousness, etc.). I’m speaking here about something more than a momentary glimpse of this. I’m talking about fully embodying the experience, where this feeling of oneness (for want of a better term) is constantly with you and you no longer need to do something to periodically experience it.
Many people (especially in the Hindu world) think that this relationship, this feeling of being one with everything, is the highest attainment, and that it provides a final and total escape from suffering.
However, such a person, as you say, is still subject to cause and effect and to the fact that everything in this universe is impermanent. Many of these awakened Hindu gurus have devoted followers who take care of the guru, feed him (or her), and otherwise insulate the guru from many of the effects of the world. This allows the guru to float along in his blissful state without the intrusion of the effects of the relative world. Without this outside help and insulation, though, the relative world eventually (usually sooner rather than later) bites a person in the ass. So you are correct. If the organism is to survive, we do have to eat, seek shelter, and so forth.
This problem of being human is seen in a much different way, however, after a person has had this sort of awakening. The suffering of the world, including one’s own suffering, is much more bearable once a person experientially realizes his or her true nature (this, however, is another much deeper topic, for another time–I’ll just say that though your ability to bear suffering is greater, your perception of and ability to feel the suffering of other beings is greatly increased, too, and without your awareness of the transcendent it would be unbearable).
I think, though, that you are making a common, but false, assumption about this “oneness” business. Having an experience of oneness, and even fully embodying it, doesn’t mean that you aren’t human anymore, or that you would necessarily love someone who tortures you (for instance). “Feeling this oneness” isn’t necessarily about loving everything. I think people in the West assume this because Jesus is portrayed in this way, and whether or not we’re Christians, Western culture is steeped in Christian ideas.
Rather than necessarily being about being loving toward everyone (though an awakened person probably is more likely to be loving because he doesn’t feel at odds with or separate from the rest of it all), awakening is about seeing and experiencing that everything does, indeed, “go together,” that nothing exists separately from anything else. This has nothing to do with what you like or dislike about anyone or anything, or about how you behave. Because you see how everything goes together and that it’s all really one infinitely big thing/event, you’re more likely to treat others with kindness and compassion, but compassion (as all parents know) can also, at times, involve “tough love,” which often doesn’t look, at first glance, like loving kindness.
Another characteristic of awakening is an experience of being (not having, but being) what some call “pure awareness”. Though there’s really no adequate way to describe this, pure awareness could be described as awareness without content, awareness without the mind being involved in thinking about the contents of awareness.
This is a very powerful experience (to say the least). It isn’t a state, though, that someone could be in permanently and still take care of themselves (this is where the Hindu guru’s followers come in). In the Zen tradition the idea is to go beyond this stage (which is often mistakenly assumed to be the ultimate awakening) to an integration of the transcendent, the world of pure awareness, with the ordinary relative world. See my blog for two articles about this: The Five Stages of Waking Up, and There You Are, Enlightened. The “I am pure awareness” stage is actually the third of five stages, while the fully integrated place is the fifth stage. There are other scales involving ten stages (in Zen, the Ten Oxherding Pictures, for instance).
Your next question is a great one: if you don’t lack anything, then why are you taking this course? Why, indeed. This would be a question for you to answer. Why ARE you taking it? Obviously you must THINK you’re lacking something. The ultimate joke in all this spiritual stuff is that when you “attain awakening” you don’t really attain anything. You just realize what already is true. As I say in one of the lessons in the second Life Principles Integration Process online course, “If you’re tall, but you don’t know you’re tall, aren’t you still tall?” Waking up is the experiential realization of what already is. You are already Christ, or Buddha, or whatever name you want to give to it. Your awareness, your perspective, expands to the point where you see/experience what was always there, but which you weren’t previously aware of.
You ask about being happy and peaceful. Ultimately, the way to be happy and peaceful is to stop resisting what is, which also means you have to stop being deluded about what is. If you really think (and experience) that you’re somehow separate from the rest of the whole (which is what most people think), then you’ll likely create a lot of negative feelings (if you think you’re separate you’ll likely feel afraid, for instance, feel that you’re lacking something, feel alienated, etc.), and you’ll try to resist what seem to be the consequences of this delusion of separation.
There are many things in life that, awakened or not, you can’t do anything about. One is that all things are impermanent, which means everything eventually ends, falls apart, or in some way goes away. Much of human suffering comes from resisting this fact of life. To the degree that one has, and embodies, a powerful experience of the transcendent, one is less bothered by this. If you experientially know that you are the whole going on of it all, you’re much better able to let it be okay that different aspects of the whole (including what you used to see as your “separate self”) come and go.
The second thing you can’t do anything about is that you are subject to cause and effect. You have little or no control over cosmic events (stars, galaxies, cosmic rays, whether an asteroid blows up the world, etc), geological events (volcanos, earthquakes, weather, etc), and the fact that many of the 6.7 billion people on Earth (not to mention the animals and other creatures) have agendas that conflict with yours. For this reason you sometimes get what you don’t want or fail to get what you do want. Though you have some influence about these things, it is limited.
What you can do, however, is see things the way they really are (which includes acknowledging the above), stop resisting the way things are (since such resistance is responsible for a huge part of your suffering and lack of peace), and become aware enough that you don’t keep putting yourself in the firing line of the cause and effect events you might otherwise avoid. Of course, you can never avoid them all. There are too many of them, and no one is aware enough to sidestep them all.
I hope this helps. Contrary to popular metaphysical lore, the awakened person isn’t blissfully happy all the time, because he’s subject to all the stuff I mentioned above. And he doesn’t necessarily love everyone, or feel okay with being abused.
He does, however, see the human situation for what it is. At the same time, he stops trying to “solve” what most people see as “the problem of being human” (which puts us in a double bind, where we’re trying to solve an insoluble problem–something I’ll talk about later in this course).
Some of what we don’t like about being human can’t be solved. Ending our resistance to that which can’t be solved creates the ultimate inner peace. As I say many times in this course, the awakened person hasn’t solved the problem of life–he’s just stopped seeing life as a problem to be solved.
Before I let you go, if you are a Holosync user, and you’re ready to advance to the next deeper level of Holosync, please go check out the huge discount I’m temporarily offering. Just go to www.centerpointe.com/participants.
And, if you’re interested in my LPIP online courses, for a limited time you can enroll for half price. Just go to www.centerpointe.com/life/preview.
Until next time, be well.
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