Saturday, July 15, 2006

The Simulate Self — Part 3

The goal is to feel the Authentic Source as it rests in its human embodiment. Seemingly counter-intuitive, sensing spiritual being begins with attention to the body in some manner. The body has its own inherent wisdom to direct us, if we can get to an internal place of quiet so we can hear and listen. Relaxation and rest, journaling, psychotherapy, chanting, listening to music, guided imagery tapes, singing, dancing, drumming, painting — all may lift the focus from that which is dark and heavy toward a finer vibration that lightens internal gravity. As inner gravity is lightened, muscles and tendons release and relax, and begin to smile. Done on a regular basis, these things will maintain a healthy mind-body system.

With assistance, we each will find our own constantly changing ways to get quiet within. After connecting with the body, talking and listening to it, a course of inner direction will make itself known. There are usually no direct instructions, only feelings that emerge and flow with the spontaneity of a new mountain stream. Aiming our conscious awareness inwardly — that is, directing the attention away from the world assumed to be outside our body — we can begin by declaring to the Universe/Higher Power/God/Deepest Loved One that we honestly don’t know what we’re doing or what to do next, and that we are willing to receive help. Asking for help needs no special skills, no holiness or advanced spirituality—we can come just as we are. If we don’t know how to ask for help then we can say so and ask for guidance on how to ask, and then be at least willing to trust that some kind of answer must come. We must keep doing this in the beginning, especially whenever we feel the slightest hesitation of doubt, while ignoring the simulate self’s insistence that we don’t need help. We may have to bring our attention to asking for help literally hundreds of times a day, and the ego-mind will be just as persistent—it has to, because it knows what’s at stake.

If one becomes aware that there is an inner or outer thought, voice or feeling with any negativity trying to direct a course of action (or non-action) by bullying with guilt or name-calling, then one can be assured that here is the habitation of the lies, of the voice of the simulate self, the ego-mind. It may seem rational to ignore this voice in hopes that it will turn off or fade away. This rationality is not intuition and really the cleverness of the simulate self. Rather, the inner awareness must be turned toward this voice using one’s guided will, which is like shining a light on a shadow and watching it vanish. Without engaging in any dialogue with it, or letting it convince us to join in with its own self-analysis, one finds and stays with the assured feeling of conviction, “You are not who I Am. I Am — you are not.” “I Am” is the feeling of Authentic Self — it is not a thought. One must be dedicated to stay and wait with this feeling of conviction. Sometimes the simulated voice, feeling, or thought will quickly vanish, as its bubble bursts and its words dissolve. But usually there is a delayed effect, and so one must return to sitting —or waiting — with the feeling of Authentic Self over and over to gain an accumulative amount of feeling that becomes a reservoir of serenity. Once established, one can return to this pool of stillness at any time. (See Appendix 1 for some brief discussion about waiting and about the edge.)

A clear and indisputable sign that our simulate self or someone else’s simulate self is in situ and speaking is when we hear the spoken words “I think.” This directly correlates to Lao Tzu’s declaration —

“He who knows does not speak;
He who speaks does not know.”
(25)

The Authentic Self, secure in its knowledge as a direct experience of Original Source, has no needs. It has no need to put experience into words. It rests in the unlimited serenity of this knowing. Thoughts and thinking, authored by the simulate self, are an attempt to simulate the Authentic Self’s experience of Original Source. Thoughts are inventions of the ego-mind. The simulate self can put the thoughts into words, and it can also put words into thoughts. Thinking continuously seeks to interrupt the serenity of the Authentic Self, but because it takes place on the surface of the mind of Authentic Self, it cannot reach the depths. Thinking has no depth capability and so succeeds in only interrupting itself and other simulate selves, like so many troublesome insects flying about our heads. All thinking, then, is disturbing.

The aware Authentic Self can also use the words of the simulate self in entirely different ways, yet it does so with rarity and brevity.

It is astonishing when one begins to hear how often the words “I think” issue from the mouth of its body and from other bodies. If one listens well and honestly, then there can be no dispute that the vast majority of us are constantly seeking to interrupt one another with our thoughts, and that serenity is not wanted. At first we are startled when we begin to hear and acknowledge what is really taking place, which is the first sign of awakening to the presence of Authentic Self. We may struggle to accept that those we admire or love, those who are famous and supposedly wise, knowledgeable and even holy, also say “I think.” We then may drift in and out of the awakening awareness, but it gradually becomes stronger and clearer each time we vow to catch the words “I think,” before it flies out of the mouth. Gradually, then, too, we will become aware of the words’ formation on the mind’s surface. Simply turning a conscious, focused attention on the feeling of the formation is sufficient enough to dissolve it. It is like the sun dispersing the mist on the lake as night becomes day.

This is becoming more aware of Authentic Self. This is coming home to Authentic Self. This awareness dissolves the lie. Do not accept any other results. It is of the utmost importance that this observation and declarative feeling of I Am is not made with any judgments, critical thoughts, or negative emotions. Otherwise one is joining with the ego-mind and making a backdoor by which it can enter and reactivate its system of agendas. Any negative thought is not from the Authentic Self, no matter how much one might identify with it—and sometimes one might even want to identify with it out of long and old habits.

Negativity of any kind simply cannot make or hold a form when the light of conscious awareness is focused upon it. As soon as we hear one speck of criticism or judgment aimed at us from within or by anyone from without, we know that this is a sick mentality, the ego-mind. Name-calling is an especially favored tool of the ego-mind for pushing buttons. For example, this voice might say something like, “What a moron you are for believing in this nonsense!” One might respond by first asking oneself, “Honestly, would I want to be the kind of person who speaks that way to another person, or, even more to the point, to a child? What if I were that child? Would that feel right?” Be especially mindful of the temptation to call it names back, which is joining it in being judgmental and critical, and feeding it the energy it needs for yet another back entrance to your mind.

Of course all this discussion looks good on paper, but it is really only so much temporizing. It is easy to fantasize accomplishing awakening while in a fairly nonviolent state of mind when the ego-mind is temporarily inactive to some degree. Do not be discouraged to hear about this fantasy, because it’s not impossible. In the beginning one is usually powerless to turn back the tide while actually caught up in an especially forceful act of the simulate self. Yet the seemingly simple act of observing and being aware of feeling that the forceful act is happening, and that one desires (and maybe wills) it to be different — this is awakening the awareness, and bringing consciousness into the dream, which is Original Source’s goal. Even desiring the difference after the act is over will begin to disengage the simulate self’s hands from the steering wheel of one’s authentic living.

It may seem strange to consider that the ego-mind is one of the many tools of a material life and is not our enemy, nor should it be made to believe it is. Believing in an enemy creates and sustains the environment for it and strengthens the belief as well, which was generated by the simulate self in the first place. As our Authentic Self, we have the legitimate authority and the real ability to impress beliefs upon our own ego-mind — not the other way around. Doing so will automatically generate authentic feelings and then consequential emotions of health or non-health, depending on the belief. (26)

In a way, the ego-mind is now our child, one originally designed to be useful, to learn to help, to be included, to be appreciated, to grow, and even to be loved. To discipline it does not mean to punish it. A disciple is one who is a learner who needs a gentle, loving teacher. When a student makes a mistake but insists that he hasn’t, a compassionate teacher would not accuse the student of being a liar. Instead she would simply and clearly ask for the student’s consciously aware attention and then suggest other perspectives and possibilities for consideration. The teacher might also gently remind the student, “We are individualized, conscious parts of the One Great Whole, joined with all others as That One, and we are also each uniquely our own person.”

In this way the learner is enabled to make personal decisions under guidance. Can the ego-mind be guided? Can it change and transform? Is it able to become a helping tool? Can it be cared for and nurtured in such as way that it will grow into a mature and useful citizen of our mind, or will it be allowed to run our lives like a tyrant with willful and vindictive, addictive urges? Can it come to see and accept that it is part of a Greater Design and that its role will come to a natural conclusion in the way that a flowering bush comes to fruition, and the fruit then used for a sacred purpose? As consciously aware individuals we must find the answers for ourselves—as our Authentic Self. Consider that there is grace enough in our personal and shared universes to bring to the ego-mind, to transform it into a useful form of energy as part of our transformative Self-transition, or mutation.

What versus Why

While prayer is communication with Authentic Self, on another level it can also be communing with something greater than this Individualized Source of Authentic Self — specifically, one’s feeling of Original Source. Communing is a state of heightened sensitivity and receptivity, a joining with the Source of Authentic Self within and with the Source of Authentic Self of others in minds and hearts of similar vibration. Being in a state of communing is reflective of an intimate, inseparable relationship with the Greater Whole. This reflective relationship with the Greater Whole is holistic, whereby we are each individually whole yet simultaneously wholly related with all other individual wholes, regardless of the awareness of this interrelationship.

Communing implies an active and equalizing relationship rather than a one-sided activity, where we would ask for some thing and then assume a stance to let something else give it to us. Asking for some thing implies that someone or something else has more power than we do, and therefore it must make a judgment of some kind about us, which usually leads to the ego-mind’s why questions — “Why do you need this? Why do you deserve this?” Whereas communing acknowledges a relationship of balance where there is no “greater than” or “less than.” Communing assumes a different position, one of equality. Rather than asking “Why is this happening to me? Why am I so depressed? Why aren’t I getting better?” — one focuses instead on what one already has in common with one’s Source; that is, recognizing what exists. The starting and end point of all answers to all forms of the question, “What exists?” is, “I Am.”

Why questions are judgmental and come from the ego-mind’s simulated self-assigned roles of critic and judge, driven by endless forms of the ego’s fear, self-delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity. The relevant questions to ask of oneself are “what questions,” which can only come from the feeling of Authentic Self. Psychology has no clear-cut definition of “self” or especially “authentic self.” It is sufficient here to state simply that Authentic Self is that sense (feeling) of self which exists beneath the sense of the simulate self. As pointed out before, the simulate self generates or authors simulated feelings and claims ownership of them. It believes it is a kind of god that can create primal emotional, spiritual, and even physical matter. The Authentic Self senses original feelings and knows —and so therefore accepts — that it has neither created them nor owns them. Succinctly — “Be still and know that I Am (God)." (27)

That is, when the simulate self’s voice is stilled, the vibrations of the “small still voice” of the Authentic Self can be felt. Its “voice” is said to be “small and still” because it vibrates at a very high and fine rate, never raising its volume — it doesn’t have to. Either we get still, wait and listen in order to hear (feel) it, or we don’t, but it will always be there, also waiting, but without worry. The simulate self, on the other hand, worries, screams, yells, taunts, threatens, and rages as loudly as possible. It also uses sarcasm, cynicism, and all other forms of self-criticism, self-abuse, and self-loathing to promote its survival. It will not stop at abandonment or war.

The simulate self is always in a hurry to be somewhere else other than here. Because the simulate self is defined by boundaries imposed by itself and by other simulate selves, its efforts to be elsewhere are constantly thwarted by its very nature. It cannot go beyond the boundaries because then it will be boundary-less and no longer defined. While denying its complete responsibility, it rages at its self-imposed imprisonment, as both jailer and prisoner. This gives rise to anxiety, dread, rage, and a particular kind of thought-induced perception-feeling that it interprets as an awareness of death. (28)

The Authentic Self is never in a hurry, because it has nowhere to go.

How does one use what questions? For example, one is feeling shrouded by a blanket of depression — the world may feel and appear heavy, dark, hot or cold and airless within and around the head and body. Asking “why am I depressed?” only restates the belief that one is depressed, generating and emphasizing judgment-loaded answers and other questions, flowing from an endless stream of ego-self consciousness. Each answer leads to another question, each seeking an original cause further and further back in time, ad infinitum until one hits some kind of a bottom, or blacks or passes out in some psychological and spiritual way.

Why is qualitative and never-ending. What is quantitatively one — one state, one point. Asking “what is?” will bring one to that point or state of oneness. In the present, the answer can only be, “depression is.” The ego-mind may chime in with all kinds of qualitative and analytical comments, and because it usually still has all the power, usually succeeds in leading us down any path it so chooses.

When we can see and admit to this one answer, we can then begin to delve deeper and explore further with the tool called “what.” The question will activate and aim the attention of the Authentic Self like a laser at what is. This laser light of attentive awareness will illuminate what is. The question is then transformed into a statement of observation: “what.” That is, the question can also become a statement. For example, consider the statement, “What is beneath the depression.” Then substitute the fact for the word “what.” It will probably be something like sadness, worry, or perhaps anger or even rage. “Sorrow is beneath the depression.” Now we know what is beneath the depression. There is no need to spend hours, days, weeks, or years to get this answer, which would otherwise be impeded by the ego-mind. The final answer is a feeling, the sense of “I Am,” which is Authentic Self and rests at the still bottom of the pool of Original Source.

There does not have to be any understanding, that is, any further questioning to attempt an analysis toward gaining some kind of control over the issue. Trying to understand would only raise more questions, which would effectively engage the ego-mind. Simply turning attentive awareness onto what is will illuminate it and, if attended to with patience, the veil that the ego-mind has drawn before our inner eyes will fade, to reveal that there is nothing there. When a light is turned onto a shadow, the shadow vanishes. We learn through the experience to wait for an authentic answer, not another question. Experience is knowledge, while understanding is not necessarily so. Understanding means that we agree with another’s account, or thought, or belief, but if there is no understanding, there is no agreement. With what is, agreement is not needed, only experience. The ego-mind could be utilized to help assess an issue — “Yes, I agree that we must leave this burning building now.” But one would not have to know that the building is burning, only to believe that it is. Experiencing through the various senses that the building is burning brings us directly to what is.

But aren’t sadness, worry, anger, and such, really negative qualities from the ego-mind? Yes. And aren’t we trying to avoid the negative qualities which make our life so miserable? No — that is what the ego-mind wants. It needs to distract us from seeing what’s really beneath the depression, and it’s hidden those things in the very place we would avoid because it has persuaded us that the place is too scary, or painful, or embarrassing. It convinces us that the force field of anxiety it put there is too much to withstand stepping through, that we will die for trying.

Anxiety may be at the edge of this place of pain or embarrassment. This anxiety is a “what.” Yet it’s not permanent — it can’t be, for our ground of material existence is always changing. We find and expose the ego-mind’s buried weapons — these landmines — and then make our own responses and choices about them by disarming them, and then moving past them. By joining in the change we have begun to take back responsible control of our mind. The sword has been changed into a plowshare, which we can continue to use for more gentle exploration beneath the ever-fertile soil of Mind, which is the Changing Universe and which we all share in the present.

END OF PART 3.


_____________________________________
(25) Chapter 56 of The Tao Te Ching, by Lao Tzu (trans. by Gia-fu Feng and Jane English, Vintage Books, 1989).
(26) Feelings are primal and arise first; emotions are secondary. Authentic Self or the simulate self may utilize feelings to move in some way. This movement is emotion.
(27) Psalm 46:10.
(28) The various and complex forms of existential philosophy arise from these few factors.

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