WARNING! ANYWHERE YOU LOOK ON THIS PAGE, YOU WILL FIND SOME ENLIGHTENING BUT POTENT WORDS. IF IN A HURRY (and you shouldn't be), NO NEED FOR CONTINUATIVE READING. JUST SCROLL AT RANDOM AND POINT THE CURSOR: GOD WILL SPEAK TO YOU RIGHT THERE!

THIS PAGE FLOWS FROM THE RIVER OF WISDOM THE ORIGINAL SOURCE CANNOT CONTAIN

אמן -----YOUR GOD AT WORK----- آمين


...But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.
God's latest entry is last: so scroll down to bottom of page to read latest wisdom.

日曜日

 

~ YEAH, FOLKS, I'M WORKING AT IT!



I Am Your God, and working full time at it...

The evolution of the Universe occurs in the logical time of Eternity. You can contact Eternity if you are able to connect your emotions and thoughts into the reason-full, logical order of the Universe.

There is no time without reality.
How about that?

Reality is founded ultimately on the ontological levels.

The interaction of the ontological levels creates the logical time of Eternity.

LISTEN TO ME!
I should know.
I AM THE CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE
I AM THE BEGETTER OF ETERNITY


The paradox of your time in history is that you have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints. You spend more, but have less; you buy more, but enjoy less. You have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. You have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgement, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.

You drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom. You have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. You talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.

You've learned how to make a living, but not a life. You've added years to life not life to years. You've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbour. You conquered outer space but not inner space.

You've done larger things, but not better things. You've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. You've conquered the atom, but not your prejudice. You write more, but learn less. You plan more, but accomplish less.

You've learned to rush, but not to wait. You build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but you communicate less and less.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes.

These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill.


It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete.

Remember; spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever. Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.

Remember to give a warm hug to the one next to you because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn't cost a cent. Remember to say, "I love you" to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you. Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment, for some day that person will not be there again. Give time to love, give time to speak and give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.

AND ALWAYS REMEMBER
Life is not measured by the breaths you take,
But by the breath you hold in wonder!


AMEN
A[l] Me[lech] N[e'eman]
Lord God King Who is Trustworthy
Signore Dio Re Fiducia e Verità
So Be It そうそれがありなさい Cuma thîn craftag rîki
אמן amen آمين
Fader vår, du som er i himmelen
Amen Cosí Sia 如此假如是
So sei es 이렇게 그것 있으십시요
Ainsi que ce soit
Seja assim ele
Tan sea
Adonoy Eloheynu Adonoy Echod
Adonai Elohaynu Adonai Echad
Baruchj Shem k'vod makchuso l'olom vo-ed
Barukh Shem k'vod malkhuto l'olam va-ed
V-ohavto es Adonoy Eloecho b-chol l'vovcho u-v-chol naf'sh'cho u-v-chol m'odecho
V-ahavta et Adonai Elohecha b-chol l'vavcha u-v-chol naf'sh'cha u-v-chol m'odecha
V-hoyu ha-d'vorim ho-ayleh asher onochi m'tzav'cho ha-yom al-l'vovecho
V-hayu ha-d'varim ha-ayleh asher anochi m'tzav'cha ha-yom al l'vavecha
Ani Adonly Elohaychem, Adonoy Elohaychem emes
Ani Adonai Elohaychem, Adonai Elohaycham emet

אמן AMEN آمين








土曜日

 

~ Now have a read of My Prophetess' blurbs...




Once Upon a time, I have dreamt
I was a butterfly, fluttering hither
And thither, to all intents and
Purposes a butterfly…
Suddenly, I awake and there
I lay, myself again. Now I
Do not know whether I was then
A man dreaming I was a butterfly
Or whether I am now a butterfly
Dreaming I am a man.

Chuang Tzu, 4th century B.C. Chinese Philosopher


What do you hope for? What do you dream of? What would you like to happen?
Remember, you always get what you hope for, dream of, and wish for.
You create your future, not I.
But, you need to know who you are, in order to know who you would like to become. You need to know what you wish for, in order to wish for the best.
You need to know what you dream of, in order to be able to create your dream when you are awake.
Don’t ask me, who you are. Tell me who are you.

More a year ago, almost exactly a month before Steven, my son, almost died -- a few months before I had been kissed by an entity on top of the pyramid of Cithen Itza; and months before I met Sasa, my prophet, pupil, my savior, rescued, my friend, lover, enemy and enigma -- I was a woman with two names, and no identity.
Now, I am IT and like the whole I am part of, I have two distinct, yet connected sides. Like IT, I exist in corporeality and in ethereal dreams.

I am a woman: human, vulnerable, strong, independent, sassy, eccentric, shy, honest, passionate, compassionate, funny, intelligent, analytical, compulsive obsessive, perfectly flawed, flawlessly imperfect. I am independent, but I have needs. I have fallen, but I am not trapped. I am alone, but I am not lonely. I feel loved, by IT, the Universe…and sometimes, for a few days or hours at a time, I feel, I am in love, although, I have nobody to be in love with, and then, I feel, I am in love with myself, I am in love with the Universe, I am in love with life…Sometimes, I feel, I will burst with all the love inside me; sometimes, I feel I am love.

I would like a human relationship, although I do not know, if I know how to do it right, how to exist in corporeality and ethereal love, how to find the balance, but I am willing to learn, I am willing to try. I dream of a house on the corporeal beach of the corporeal ocean, with white picket fences, a garden, and a dog, and I would like to live there happily, content, and comfortable. I dream of a corporeal life, a corporeal man, with whom I would be sharing the joys and burdens of our human lives. I wish for friendship, companionship, confidante, support, human kisses, cuddles, and of course, great sex.
I wish for human love.
I dream of having human ambitions, plans, and hopes. I dream of participating in the Amazing Race through life, with challenges, and joys, and pain, tears and laughter. I ask questions, I seek answers, I seek Love, I seek IT. I reach for the stars, I fly to the Sun, I fall to the depths of hell, and I sink to the bottom of the ocean. I rise every time, I survive, I learn, I love, I play, I win, I loose, I born and I die. I am a human, dreaming of being an entity.

I am an entity, perfect and flawless: I am part of the Whole, and the Whole is part of me. I am complete, and I complete everything around me. I need nothing and nobody, yet I exist in everything and every living soul. I am IT, and IT is me. I am everywhere, and I am nowhere. I am the Ying and the Yen I am the Positive and Negative, Eros and Logos, Venus and Mars, I am the Darkness and I am the Light, I am Heaven and I am Earth, I am the Stars and I am the Sun, I am female, and I am male, I am the drop of the ocean that is the ocean, I am the speckle of sand that is the beach. I am the wind, I am the fire, I am the water, I am the air.
I love, because I am love. I live, because I am life. I am the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end. I am an agent of the Universe, I am the Universe, I am reality, and reality is me. I am an entity, dreaming of being a human.

This is who I am. This is what I am. This is my existence. I dream therefore I exist. I exist, therefore I dream.

In my dream of last night, once again, I felt myself enveloped, in IT, IT was I, and I was IT…and I flew like magnificent eagle with ruffled feathers, I flew over waters, lands, pyramids of Giza, I flew over cathedrals, skyscrapers and the Great Wall of China. I flew trough lives, realities, galaxies and universes. And, away, far, farther than life, I saw, I felt, I dreamed of a beautiful Being, a beautiful Entity, a beautiful heavenly Object comprising planets, cosmic dust that sparkled like diamonds, a beautiful sight…IT was living, pulsing, breathing, dreaming…IT was surrounded by the most beautiful Light.

Should I have been a human, I would have caught my breath, for I have never seen or felt such Beauty. Should I have been an entity, I would have known, the object in front of me was Me, it was Sasa, it was my children, it was my friends, it was my enemies, it was all of us, humans, and it was all of us entities, it was US, it was THEM, it was ALL that there is…and I, WE, The One were in eternity, We, The One were at Home.

Oh, what a beautiful butterfly…-I said, thought, or dreamed, and just like that, I was awake again, in my bed, it was morning, it was another day in this reality.


AMEN
A[l] Me[lech] N[e'eman]
Lord God King Who is Trustworthy
Signore Dio Re Fiducia e Verità
So Be It そうそれがありなさい Cuma thîn craftag rîki
אמן amen آمين
Fader vår, du som er i himmelen
Amen Cosí Sia 如此假如是
So sei es 이렇게 그것 있으십시요
Ainsi que ce soit
Seja assim ele
Tan sea
Adonoy Eloheynu Adonoy Echod
Adonai Elohaynu Adonai Echad
Baruchj Shem k'vod makchuso l'olom vo-ed
Barukh Shem k'vod malkhuto l'olam va-ed
V-ohavto es Adonoy Eloecho b-chol l'vovcho u-v-chol naf'sh'cho u-v-chol m'odecho
V-ahavta et Adonai Elohecha b-chol l'vavcha u-v-chol naf'sh'cha u-v-chol m'odecha
V-hoyu ha-d'vorim ho-ayleh asher onochi m'tzav'cho ha-yom al-l'vovecho
V-hayu ha-d'varim ha-ayleh asher anochi m'tzav'cha ha-yom al l'vavecha
Ani Adonly Elohaychem, Adonoy Elohaychem emes
Ani Adonai Elohaychem, Adonai Elohaycham emet

אמן AMEN آمين








金曜日

 

~ ... AND A STORY FROM HER:



I went to bed shortly after finishing my phone conversation with Cole, ready to meditate, eager to leave this world again, hoping to get another “audition” with God. Yet, in spite of my best efforts, I could not either fall asleep, or slip into “that place” again. I got increasingly frustrated, and confused: it has been so easy, even spontaneous the last few days to meditate, why could I not do it this time? Was it over now? Did I use up my last chips, was last night’s journey the last one, was I left on my own again? That could not be! I had so many questions, and I did not ask them all last night. Would I have known it was the last time I was allowed to see, hear, and understand, I would have asked more questions, I would have asked different questions, I would have stayed longer, I would have refused to come back…

What was I supposed to do now? What was the meaning of all this? Why did this happen to me, and why now? What did He want of me?! I was trying, oh so hard, not to get angry, or resentful, or upset: I knew that those emotions will make it only harder to connect with Him, besides, who was I to get angry at God? Surely ,if I gave in to my emotions, not only would I be shunned from heaven, from “that place” again, but I would be punished. The more I tried not to get upset, the more upset, afraid, confused I became. I felt rejected. God WAS mocking me, I thought: He had shown me a taste of heaven, just to lock me out of it again.

I was also getting increasingly angry at myself: what is the matter with you, I thought. Can’t you not be content with what you got? For heaven’s sake, how many people get even ONE experience like this? Can you not see how blessed you are? Why are you so demanding, why are you so needy? No wonder you can’t have a “healthy relationship” with men, if you can’t even have one with God. I laughed out, a sarcastic laugh. Yeah, behold, God is just like any man. Things have to be on HIS term. He is there when HE wants to be. He comes, He leaves, He shows love, He gives what He wants to give. He says, “I love you, I loved you since the beginning of time, and I will love you forever more. I am around you, I am in you, I am the drop of ocean that is the ocean, I am the speckle of sand that is the desert, I am the whips of air that is the wind. I am with you, I will never leave you, this time, I will stay with you until the end.” Then , just like any men I knew, God Almighty disappears into the ether, He does not answer His phone, He does not send e-mails, He wants me to sit and wait for Him to contact me, and He is not there when I need to talk to Him. Yes, He is just like any man...

This was not the first time He has “found” me, promised me the earth, the heavens, and ever lasting love. This is not the first time He has deserted me either. I had “experiences”, similar to what happened last time [see Tablet 4], although not as intense, since I was a small child. He seemed to like to wander in and out of my life always unannounced, and always at will. Well, He was God, after all. His Will. I did not know what His Will was. I could not understand His Will.

This is what I wanted to ask more than anything: what is the meaning of all this?

What is His Will?

I would be glad to follow His Will, if nothing else, because I have learned that doing anything else, having any other ambition, following any other advice, seeking any other goal is utterly useless. Nothing is possible against His Will, I knew that. But I did not know WHAT was His Will.

It was as if I was lost in a dark cave, or a labyrinth. I searched for a way out all my life, and every time I thought I was on the right path, I would find myself facing a dead end, God’s voice thundering: “I TOLD YOU NOT TO GO THIS WAY! Now, get ready to be punished!” Not only was I lost, but each time I had to find my way back to the beginning of the labyrinth, and start all over again.

He would punish me, I thought, for the wrong turns, but never give me instructions or guidance as to which way I was supposed to go. I should have asked last night more practical questions. Yeah, questions like Cole wants to know and wanted me to ask on his behalf: Should He get married? Who should he marry? Should he have children? Where should he live? What is he to do? Yes, those are the questions I should have asked, about Cole, about myself, about my children…practical questions concerning the present and future. Instead, once again, all I have done is, I tried to understand, validate and justify my past. I blew it again. Who knows when, if ever, the next opportunity would come…I blew it, and now, I could not even MEDITATE for God’s Sake, not if my life depended on it…and I had a feeling, somehow, my life indeed DEPENDED on this.

Finally, I gave up. This is it, I thought. It is over. I can’t do it. No more trips to the tunnel of lives. No more answers. No more Heavenly Love. Welcome back to earth, Gina. Welcome back to your life, to your “situation”. Finally, I drifted off to sleep, and found myself in a familiar dream, in a dream I did not want to dream ever again. I found myself on the Beach, facing the Mansion. I did not want to go in there. Not in this lifetime, not again. “They”, my angels, advisors, they sold me out too. I did not want to hear what did they have to say now. I was afraid, they would not say what I wanted to hear. I was afraid, they will give me another mission I do not like. I stood there for a long time, perhaps several thousand years, before I decided, I had no choice but to dream the dream I was given. This dream would not stop, until I have dreamed it to the end. I sighed, and gave permission for my spirit to enter the mansion.

Just as I dreaded it, as soon as I was “inside’, I found myself in front of the mirror again. If anything, I really did not want to look at the mirror. I have been here many times before, I saw myself and my life, past, present, and the future shown in this mirror, I have seen the “real me”, Amazon Woman, Goddess of Light revealed in this mirror, I have seen words unknown, I have seen universes and realities, aliens and gods in this mirror…In my –apparently unsuccessful- quest of the last few months of becoming “normal” again, I avoided this room and this mirror like the plague: the mirror, and whatever I saw in three, was anything that “normal”. I’ve spent a considerable effort on trying to make out something scientific, believable, tangible and explainable of my “experiences” in the Mansion, on the Beach, in the Void of Life. I wanted to make sense of the Technicolor Dreams and Surround Sound Messages, something, that could be explained away, and hopefully, GO AWAY with the right kind of medication, the right kind of therapy, the right kind of thinking… I did not want to look in the mirror. I had the feeling, whatever I would see there, would just confuse me again. I had the feeling, that whatever would happen, whatever I would see, like all the previous experiences, would be hard to explain away. Of course, once I was in here, I really did not have any choice, but to look. Free will did not seem to exist in this reality… then again, as I was reminded earlier, no one but my soul has forced me to enter this reality in the first place. I was here because I chose to be here, because I gave my permission… even if I did not remember doing so. Once in this room, there was nothing else to do, but to give in, and to see what “they” wanted to show me.

I stood in front of the mirror, and finally gave myself permission to see what I had to see. However, nothing seemed to happen for a long time: there was nothing to see on the surface of the mirror, but the surface itself: the “liquid” light, that was a mirror like reflective surface, yet, it had depth, like the clear waters of the Caribbean. The surface looked hard and tangible, like a divider between myself, and whatever was beyond… yet, I always felt, that it was not really there at all, that if I got closer, if I only thought of getting closer, I could cross, I could walk through the mirror, and like Alice in Wonderland, I would find myself in another, perhaps even more unbelievable, and unexplainable, maddening reality: a reality, that would no doubt make more sense, and would feel more normal, than the reality I had spent the last few months trying to come back to my “senses” and be normal again.

There was nothing to see in the mirror.

However, slowly, it started to grow, started to move, expand and: suddenly, I realized, I was suspended in a tunnel, and the “mirror” was all around me, it’s liquid like surface looking more than ever like the surface of the ocean, moving, alive…there was a strange noise, like a hiss of some kind, and rumbling that seemed to come from behind the surface… I felt apprehensive, and somewhat claustrophobic, being engulfed by this “thing”, that I felt was not a “thing” at all, but alive, thinking: an entity itself, and this entity was surrounding me, closing on in me: if I wanted to escape, there would be no way out but THROUGH the surface. I did not even want to start thinking what would happen, if I had to break through the Mirror.

Then, there was a loud, yet not frightening “pop”, and the surface of the mirror broke into a million, no, a billion little pieces, each becoming like a mirror in itself. Like in my “near death” experience decades ago, I was somehow able to see all the mirrors, around me, above me, beneath me, I saw them all at the same time, as clearly and distinctively as if I was focusing on the image in one. But… the particles were not mirrors after all; rather, they were like those webcams on the chat-lines, or monitors in a TV studio, or like the “picture on picture” images on TV, that allowed a person to watch one channel, but keep an eye on what was happening on all the other channels as well.

I took a “closer look”, and realized, it was my life that was played out in Technicolor, five dimension broadcast on all of these webcams… as I looked around, beneath and above me, I also realized that the place where I was suspended must have been the present; all the “shows” around me seemed to play out the present time. If I allowed myself to sink, I realized that I was able to move up and down in the tunnel at will, floating as if I was suspended in some kind of liquid, not air - I saw my past. I tried, and found I could also rise above my present, and see my life playing out on all the channels in the future. I wished I could remember the future when I went back to my “real life”, if I WOULD go back to my real life. After all, perhaps I was dead, and this was the “tunnel” those who had neardeath experiences would talk about. I'd never seen this tunnel the first time… but, it seemed like a good “rendition” of the tunnel others talked about. Yes, these webcams, these channels on the Cable Show of The Universe must have been the-all-so-famous life review everyone was talking about, and I must be having another neardeath experience, or perhaps, I am already dead. Where is the light?!

Yet, something was wrong. In all the “neardeath experiences” I have heard about, the images were of the life already lived… still pictures of the past, a “multimedia” presentation of the choices made in life, a review. This, whatever it was, this show was different: there was a future in front, or above me. If there was a future…I could not be dead, I could not be dying. Now, I heard the sound again, the hissing, tinkling sound…and with another loud POP, the pictures, the show changed again:

Before, there was ONE life, my life as I know it - played out beneath me, around me, above me…the life I knew, the life I remembered, and the life I not yet lived. Now, there were millions, billions of different lives! Utilizing my ability to see them all, yet focusing on each and every one of the webcams separately, I realized that while every one of these lives was completely different, they were all mine after all; they were different only because they represented and showed not only what happened, but what COULD have happened. On each of the channels, there was a different plot of the same person, based on the infinite number of possibilities, the choices I had made, or were made for me. In some of them, I was born into a different family altogether, and lived a childhood even more hellish, or much more idyllic than the one I had experienced. In others, I was born to the same parents, but they, my mother and my father, were different. Yet in other broadcasts, my parents were the same, but they ACTED differently, they made different decisions based on different choices. The circumstances that made up the stages of my life were different in each and every one of the splinters of this mirror.

Then again, I realized, that not only my circumstances, my parents, my life itself changed and played out differently on each of these channels: I was different in each and one of them, I thought differently, I had different talents, I made different choices, I reacted differently to the same things that happened to me… and based on these minuscule differences, my whole life changed… I went left instead of right. I ate eggs for breakfast instead of cereal. I took the car, instead of walking. I said Hi! to a stranger, instead of walking straight by him… and with each of these insignificant changes, my whole life changed as well. Suddenly, I realized, I’d remembered: these were ALL my lives, these were the variations of the same life, these were the infinite possibilities that could have played out, if I was different, if I acted different, if my choices were different…not only that, but these lives, these storylines ALL EXISTED and were lived out by a part of me, of my soul, they were all lived at the same time, simultaneously! Every one of them, the good, the bad, and the ugly; in some of my lives, I became a famous writer, in others, I was a homeless drug addict. In some of my lives, I had children, in others, I never got married. In some of the lives, I was successful, in others, I was as mediocre and insignificant as an ant, working, mating, and dying away unnoticed, unimportant, yet significant in the “whole picture” somehow. I also noticed that, just by “thinking” of yet another possibility, yet another choice, a new “channel” popped up, and the show in every and each of the other channels changed as well. Not only did each of these choices that I thought of, that I made, changed that one life, but it changed all the other lives as well. I realized with glee, and horror, that not only was I the star of each of these “movies”, some a comedy, some a drama, and yet others straight out of the worst horror movies imaginable -- but I was writing the script, I was choosing the actors for the supportive roles, I was directing the show. I was in full control, and I could not go wrong, make a bad decision, as I was making ALL the decisions, and I was living ALL the possibilities. I had it ALL. I lived it ALL.


Now, I was excited… I wanted to see, feel, and experience, what would really happen, if I lived differently… I wanted to see, if my decisions were the right decisions, if I made a mistake coming to Canada, if it was the right decision getting divorced, if there was any way to save Andrew from killing himself… I wanted to see, feel, experience, LIVE these different lives, and I found that I could!

Any time I focused on one “storyline”, just as one gets sucked into a good movie, and becomes a part of the story, forgetting time, reality - forgetting it is nothing but a movie played out by actors - I got sucked into these different lives as well. I “lived” perhaps a hundred of these lives in what on earth might have taken a few hours, or minutes even. I got involved in the story, and for a shorter or longer time, I forgot who I really was, I forgot I was an entity suspended inside of a tunnel of mirrors. I forgot I was not really living these lives at all, but acted in some kind of ethereal, interactive virtual reality: a videogame. In each of the lives I lived, in each present life, I was always a 45 year old white female - same age as now - but sometimes fat, sometimes skinny, sometimes married, sometimes single, sometimes rich, other times poor, confident or diffident… I was Gina in all my present dreams, entirely different yes, and yet somehow still the very same.

It became harder and harder to “jerk” myself out of these lives, as I entered my current storylines; in some of the lives, I only spent a minute or so, in others I participated for weeks, or even years, before I could realize I was in the “wrong life”. I am not sure how, or when this dream ended. All I know, I woke up a few hours later in “real time”, and I found myself disoriented in my bed, in my room. It took a few minutes to reconstruct what life I was in, who I was, where I was, and what was I doing here. Strange dream, I thought… then, it hit me:

What if I am NOT in the right life? What if I did not return to the “right” life at all? What if I am still in the tunnel? What if I am not who I think I am, what if I am but a dream, what if I wake up in a minute, or in a year, and I find myself in a life entirely different… Did I choose this partcular life to come back to, of all the lives possible… if yes, why? If only I could remember the future of this life... If only I could remember why I chose to come back here, and what choices I must make to get to where I am supposed to be… but… where, which future am I supposed to be in?


There were so many futures, an infinite number of them, and although I remember vaguely some of them, I can not recall EXACTLY what those future lives were or involved. All I know, all I remember is that, just like the past, some of those futures were quite sad. I also remember that some of the storylines started out rather happy, to then turn into horror later, and others were quite frightening, unhappy lives, but somehow turning out to be all right, or even better later on.

I guess, I have to trust that SELF of mine, the one who is suspended in the Tunnel, the one who Knows, the one who Remembers, the one who is scripting, directing and living my lives according to some big PLAN... I have to trust that she knows and remembers what this Plan is, and that she gets me to return to the right life.

Then again, maybe it does not matter to her at all: ultimately, she can, and she IS, living all the lives at the same time: why should she, or would she care, if she was in the wrong one, the horror movie reality? In another life, she is a happily married, beautiful, successful, confident, Amazon Woman. She might not even give a shit if this particular life of hers will not turn out exactly as she has planned, or dreamed of. She might not care at all, why should she? She has all the infinite number of possibilities to live out, she has access to all the lives - she does not care if she “screws up” a few of the choices, a few of the lives… she does not care.

Hey, it's me! It's my "I" who has to LIVE here now, God!

I realize that I am right to be afraid to look into that mirror again.

Then all my efforts of getting to be normal, to think normal, to explain, justify and live the experiences, the dreams, the visions in the “right” , the normal, the socially acceptable way - are for naught. I took a trip to the mansion, I looked into the Magic Mirror, and now, now I am more abnormal, crazier, delusional than ever! Before, I did not trust in God, the Entities, IT, “They”, the Universe, Fate, Karma, whatever was on my side. Now, I am not sure, am I for myself? Am I on MY side? Before this last trip, I did not trust that God, the Universe and Everything really existed anywhere but in my distraught mind.

Now, I am not sure: do I exist at all, am I real? or am I just a variation of a story, a variation of a character -- thought up, imagined, scripted, dreamed, created, manifested in the frantic mind of a woman, who did not even exist originally… perhaps, she is nothing, but a deranged dream, a character, a delusion of The Universal Mind, God suspended in yet another tunnel, a tunnel of mirrors showing the lives of ALL those who ever lived, live and will live… perhaps He, God, is trying desperately to be NORMAL, trying desperately to be like all the other gods, trying desperately to make sense of His Being, of His Life, of His Existence…perhaps I was/I am nobody, not even a dream, but a delusion of the Universally Chaotic Mind.


Let it all out!
Oh yeah:
Explode, baby!
Come on
It's good for you...

But do not implode:
Let me be the receiving End
I AM your GOD
I Am The Dude
I Am He
I am That I Am, babe
Indeed I Am, I Exist, I Be
Yeah, oh yeah, ye ye yeyeyeyeyeyeyeyeyeeeeeee!!!
I AM THE ONE
AND ONLY
GOD
THE GREATEST
THE BEST
THE UNIQUE
THE UNIVERSAL
THE UNCREATED
THE ETERNAL
THE EVERYWHERE
THE EVERTHERE
THE EVERLASTING
THE EVERPRESENT
G-O-D-D-D-D-D-D-D-D-D-D-D-D
YES SIREE
YUP
Yeah
yes-yes-yes-yes-yes-yes-yes-yesssssssssssSSS
YOUR
VERY
GOD
COME ON, FOLKS, JUST SAY IT: GOD
OH FANTASTIC!
GOD, YE GOD, YE GOD, GOD, GOD, GOD
PLAY THE MUSIC
PLAY TO IT, MAN
THAT'S THE WAY
I AM THE WAY
I AM THE ALPHA AND THE OMEGA
I AM THE only WAY
WAY OUT, MAN
WAYYYYYY OUT, YEAH!
I AM
IAMIAMIAMIAMIAMIAMIAMIAMIAMIAMIAMIAMIAMIAMIAMIAM
IAMIAMIAMIAMIAMIAMIAMIAMIAMIAMIAMIAMIAMIAMIAMIAM
IAMIAMIAMIAMIAMIAMIAMIAMIAMIAMIAMIAMIAMIAMIAMIAM
IAMIAMIAMIAMIAMIAMIAMIAMIAMIAMIAMIAMIAMIAMIAMIAM
Super, yes, super
this is too much for you, ain't it?
Your God and His Rhythm
godgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgod
godgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgod
godgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgod
godgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgod
godgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgod
godgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgod
godgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgod
godgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgodgod
Oh, boy, Am I God!
No doG either
DoGoD
WOW!
Yeah

I AM GOD
YOUR GOD

GOD

AMEN
A[l] Me[lech] N[e'eman]
Lord God King Who is Trustworthy
Signore Dio Re Fiducia e Verità
So Be It そうそれがありなさい Cuma thîn craftag rîki
אמן amen آمين
Fader vår, du som er i himmelen
Amen Cosí Sia 如此假如是
So sei es 이렇게 그것 있으십시요
Ainsi que ce soit
Seja assim ele
Tan sea
Adonoy Eloheynu Adonoy Echod
Adonai Elohaynu Adonai Echad
Baruchj Shem k'vod makchuso l'olom vo-ed
Barukh Shem k'vod malkhuto l'olam va-ed
V-ohavto es Adonoy Eloecho b-chol l'vovcho u-v-chol naf'sh'cho u-v-chol m'odecho
V-ahavta et Adonai Elohecha b-chol l'vavcha u-v-chol naf'sh'cha u-v-chol m'odecha
V-hoyu ha-d'vorim ho-ayleh asher onochi m'tzav'cho ha-yom al-l'vovecho
V-hayu ha-d'varim ha-ayleh asher anochi m'tzav'cha ha-yom al l'vavecha
Ani Adonly Elohaychem, Adonoy Elohaychem emes
Ani Adonai Elohaychem, Adonai Elohaycham emet

אמן AMEN آمين








木曜日

 

~ MAKING SOME ZEN-SE



There is something in Zen which we never meet anywhere else in the history of human thought and culture. It begins with rationalism since it deals with religio-philosophical concepts as being and non-being, truth and falsehood, the Buddha and nirvana; but after the beginning is once made, the matter is strangely switched off in a most unexpected direction. To judge Zen by the ordinary standard of reasoning is altogether out of place, for that standard is simply inapplicable. We must acknowledge that our Western world view is limited and that there is a much wider world beyond our mentality. -—Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki


Zen is . . . difficult to talk about. So alien, indeed, is Zen to the analytical Western mind that it is perhaps easier to say what it is not. Zen is not a faith because it doesn’t urge the acceptance of any form of dogma, creed, or object of worship. Nor is it antireligious or atheistic; it simply makes no comment on the matter. Zen is not a philosophy or even, to the Western mind, a form of mysticism. As we normally understand it, mysticism starts with a separation of subject and object and has as its goal the unification or reconciliation of this antithesis. But Zen does not teach absorption, identification, or union of any kind because all of these labels are derived ultimately from a dualistic conception of life. If a label is needed that best approximates to the spirit of Zen then “dynamic intuition” is perhaps as close as we can come.

There is a saying in Zen: “The instant you speak about a thing you miss the mark.” So, presumably, this saying has also missed the mark — and this one, too. Our endless analysis can lead us into all sorts of difficulties. But how can we break free of it? Living in a world of words and concepts and inherited beliefs, says Zen, we have lost the power to grasp reality directly. Our minds are permeated with notions of cause and effect, subject and object, being and nonbeing, life and death. Inevitably this leads to conflict and a feeling of personal detachment and alienation from the world. Zen’s whole emphasis is on the experience of reality as it is, rather than the solution of problems that, in the end, arise merely from our mistaken beliefs.

Because it eschews the use of the intellect, Zen can appear nihilistic (which it is not) and elusive (which it is). Certainly, it would be hard to conceive of a system that stood in greater contrast with the logical, symbol-based formulations of contemporary science. More than any other product of the Oriental mind, Zen is convinced that no language or symbolic mapping of the world can come close to expressing the ultimate truth. As one of its famous exponents, Master Tokusan said: “All our understanding of the abstractions of philosophy is like a single hair in the vastness of space.”

Zen claims no thought system of its own. Yet it is undeniably Buddhist in origin and essence. And so before trying to appreciate its final flowering, it is worthwhile digging down to examine Zen’s roots — roots which are set firmly in Indian soil, in the fertile ground of Mahayana Buddhism.

The Indian mind was, and is, different in character from the Chinese or Japanese. It is more expansive, more austerely intellectual, less concerned with practical, everyday affairs, and more inclined to complex exposition and exploration of ideas. Nowhere is this more evident than in the writings of the monk-philosopher Nagarjuna, a central figure in the development of Mahayana Buddhism and the founder, during the second century A.D., of the Madhyamika (“Middle Path”) school. Nagarjuna wrote two key treatises, Madhyamika Sastra and The Discourse of Twelve Sections, in which he probes the nature of reality with remarkably sophisticated dialectic and rigorous arguments. In a dazzling display of polemic against the prevailing metaphysical ideas of his time, he argued strongly that the basic quality of existence is relational. There is no soul, no thing, no concept independent of its context; all things are devoid of absolute reality and exist only relative to conditions. In Nagarjuna’s view, the universe is a true unity of interpenetrating processes: a continuous, interpenetrating flux.

Through such deep, technically brilliant philosophical inquiries, Buddhism acquired a rich intellectual base. Profound questions were asked about the nature of the body and of the mind. Possible solutions were considered from many angles, not dogmatically but critically — and they were discarded if found to be unsatisfactory. The data for these theoretical studies came from what might be called “subjective empiricism” or, alternatively, “participatory observation” — that is, a methodical, progressive, introspective inquiry into the domain of direct, nonsensory experience.

Parallels may be discerned, then, between the goals, the rigorous application of technique, and the lively skepticism of Buddhist “researchers” on the one hand and, on the other, modern scientists. Both arrive at tentative conclusions and build theories based on experience, and both reject or modify those theories as further experience demands. But we Westerners are not so inclined to give credence to the results of subjective inquiry — in fact, we instinctively react to them with downright suspicion. In the West, the emphasis is almost exclusively on objective methods, on the primacy of what is taken to be an independently existing outer world, and on the dualistic logic of Aristotle as later formalized by Descartes and Galileo. We tend to suppose that this is the best and proper way of acquiring systematic knowledge. Yet the sole reason for this is that it is the way to which we are accustomed. Our lifelong conditioning makes us balk at the very different, subjective approach that has been favored in the East and that is unique to Asian culture. Participatory observation is simply not a recognized part of the experimental model of contemporary science. However, to dismiss the Eastern approach as being either ill-founded or illogical would be a mistake equivalent, say, to rejecting non-Euclidean geometry (which provides our current relativistic description of gravity and spacetime) on the grounds that it falls outside the familiar, “common sense” axioms of Euclid. The logic and methodology of Buddhism, and other related philosophies, may appear alien, and perhaps even impenetrable, upon first contact. But a careful reading of the classic mystical literature, as well as recent studies of altered states of awareness, leads to the conclusion that the terrain of subjective phenomena is genuinely scientific. It contains within it lawful processes pertaining to a mode of consciousness that is as valid and mature as the one to which we are accustomed. If our Western logic and system of thought is Aristotelian, then that of Buddhism is non-Aristotelian, but no less worthy of our serious attention.

Of course, the pioneers and patriarchs of Buddhism had no access to high technology. They lacked the powerful, sensitive instruments and well-equipped laboratories of modern science. Nor did they know much, by today’s standards, about mathematics. However, such facilities would not have been helpful in the quest upon which they were embarked. Their monasteries were their laboratories, their own minds were the only equipment they needed for their studies. Their method of research was not to focus on some particular aspect of the outer world but to turn inward, to systematically explore states of consciousness to a depth virtually unknown in the West. And it was as a result of this intense and highly disciplined introspective investigation, carried out over a period of many centuries, that the central tenets of the Buddhist worldview, which amount to a genuine science of consciousness, came about.

Among the notable features of Buddhist cosmology is the doctrine of Dharmadhatu the Universal Realm or Field of Reality. In this scheme there are no dividing boundaries between things, no separation between subject and object; every entity is seen to interpenetrate every other — a view strikingly in keeping with the ideas of interconnectedness that have emerged from modern quantum mechanics. Here, for example, are two descriptions, one by a Buddhist philosopher, the other by a quantum physicist:

The world thus appears as a complicated tissue of events, in which connections of different kinds alternate or overlap or combine and thereby determine the texture of the whole.

Things derive their being and nature by mutual dependence and are nothing in themselves.

But which is which? The first quote is actually from Werner Heisenberg’s book Physics and Philosophy, the second, almost two thousand years earlier, from Nagarjuna. Coming from two very different directions, using very different techniques, Buddhism and quantum mechanics have converged on virtually the same underlying description of reality.

Buddhist belief is also remarkably in sympathy with our modern, macroscopic conceptions of space and time. Eastern philosophy, unlike that of the Greeks, has always maintained that space and time are constructs of the mind. A passage in the Madhyamika Sastra, for example, reads:

[T]he past, the future, physical space . . . and individuals are nothing but names, forms of thought, words of common usage, merely superficial realities.

The French physicist Louis de Broglie, outlining the new view of the universe as revealed by relativity theory, holds out a similar concept:

In space-time, everything which for each of us constitutes the past, the present, and the future is given en bloc . . . Each observer, as his time passes, discovers, so to speak, new slices of space-time which appear to him as successive aspects of the material world, though in reality the ensemble of events constituting space-time exists prior to his knowledge of it.

Both these commentaries point out the essential unreality of the present moment and the passage of time. There is no “now,” no real barrier between the past and the future, and no flow of time outside the observer’s ego-centered awareness. These are concepts relevant only within the context of our personal, I-focused existence. Upon this, both Buddhism and the general theory of relativity agree, and both espouse a much grander, four-dimensional scheme of the universe in which space and time, in a sense, already exist — past, present, and future laid out in complete topographical detail for anyone who can command the vantage point from which to see. Einstein himself well understood our personal limitations in coming to grips with the true nature of reality. Indeed, he might have been acting as a spokesman either for mysticism or for physics when he said:

A human being is part of the whole, called by us “Universe”; a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest — a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. The delusion is a prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely but the striving for such achievement is, in itself, a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security.

Einstein grasped what other visionary minds have done before: that a principal aspiration of mankind should be to see beyond ourselves, beyond the parochial self-oriented here and now, to a wider, cosmic panorama. But how to do this? The very reason human thought has progressed as far as it has is by virtue of having access to a sophisticated language. And all of human language, Oriental and Occidental alike, hinges upon the use of words, names, labels, and symbols — the purposeful fragmentation of the whole and the substitution of tokens for the pieces into which we have broken reality. Removal of the wall between ourselves and the cosmos at large, dissolution of the subject-object barrier, can only come with the cessation of thought based on language. Yet, try as we might, we cannot stop thinking. The very act of attempting to shut out thought involves thought, so that this approach is defeated from the start. If we apply our intellect to block our intellect we only make matters worse — we simply end up distancing ourselves further from an innocent awareness of how things actually are.

All human beings the world over face this same dilemma. Evolution has made us into inherently self-centered individuals bent on survival. But our conscious experience of selfhood, of our individuality — which is ultimately the creation of language and rational thought — can lead to suffering and anxiety and, in particular, a preoccupation with death. Easterners harbor the same concerns about self, survival, and mortality as we do. Yet, in the West, our difficulty is made more acute by the belief in the supremacy of the intellect. Our immediate reaction to any problem is always to try to think or reason our way to a solution: an approach that, being predicated on the notion that the self is separate from the world, can never in itself lead to the experience of selflessness. Our dogged objective probing of the world has finally led, it is true, to the discovery that at the subatomic level all divisions and boundaries imposed by us on the universe are in fact illusory — including the split between mind and matter. But although we have discerned this at an intellectual level, we still feel ourselves to be apart from, rather than a part of, the universe as a whole.

Philosophers everywhere have long known that the human mind is capable of two contrasting modes of consciousness, the rational and the intuitive. But whereas the West has favored the former, in the East the latter has always been given priority. Buddhism, as a case in point, reveals this bias in its distinction (made in the sacred texts known as the Upanishads) between “higher” knowledge, or prajna, also referred to as “transcendental” or “absolute” awareness, and “lower” knowledge, or vijnana, identified with analytical or scientific thought. Thus, although Buddhism has a rich intellectual base and body of philosophical teachings, it uses these not as an end in itself but as a way of pointing to the greater truth that can only be attained by a suspension of logic and symbolism.

As that branch of Buddhism known as Mahayana (Sanskrit for “Great Vehicle”) spread out of its original homeland into neighboring China, two main developments took place. On the one hand, the translation of the Buddhist sutras, or expository texts, stimulated Chinese thinkers to interpret the Indian teachings in the light of their own philosophies. On the other hand, the more pragmatic Chinese mentality fused the abstruse spiritual disciplines — the meditation techniques — of Indian Buddhism with Taoism to give birth to the system known as Ch’an. (Ch’an is the Chinese transliteration of the Sanskrit word “dhyana,” which signifies the mystical experience in which subjectivity and objectivity merge. Zen is the transliteration into Japanese of Ch’an.) This, in turn, was acquired by the Japanese around 1200 A.D. and reached its final fruition in Zen.

In a sense, what modern physics is to the history of Western thought, Zen is to the development of the Eastern worldview: the ultimate refinement of more than two thousand years of incisive debate, discussion, and critical development. Yet the difference between the two could hardly be more marked. Whereas physics is interested above all in theories, concepts, and formulas, Zen values only the concrete and the simple. Zen wants facts — not in the Western sense of things that are measurable and numerical (which are, in fact, abstractions!) but as living, immediate, and tangible. Its approach to understanding is not to theorize because it recognizes that previously accumulated ideas and knowledge — in other words, memories of all kinds — block the direct perception of reality. Therefore, Zen adopts an unusual approach. Its buildup involves language — which is unavoidable. Any method, even if it turns out to be an antimethod, has first to convey some background in order to be effective. But the way Zen uses language is always to point beyond language, beyond concepts to the concrete.

Two major schools of Zen exist in Japan: the Rinzai and the Soto. Both have the same goal, of seeing the world unmediated, but their approaches are different. In the Soto school, the emphasis is on quiet contemplation in a seated position (zazen) without a particular focus for thought. The method in the Rinzai school, however, is to put the intellect to work on problems that have no logical resolution. Such problems are known as koans, from the Chinese kung-an meaning “public announcement.” Some are mere questions, for example: “When your mind is not dwelling on the dualism of good and evil, what is your original face before you were born?” Others are set in a question-and-answer (mondo) form, like: “What is the Buddha?” Answer: “Three pounds of flax” or “The cypress tree in the courtyard” (to name but two of the classic responses). According to tradition there are seventeen hundred such conundrums in the Zen repertoire. And their common aim is to induce a kind of intellectual catastrophe, a sudden jump which lifts the individual out of the domain of words and reason into a direct, nonmediated experience known as satori.

Zen differs from other meditative forms, including other schools of Buddhism, in that it does not start from where we are and gradually lead us to a clear view of the true way of the world. The sole purpose of studying Zen is to have Zen experiences — sudden moments, like flashes of lightning, when the intellect is short-circuited and there is no longer a barrier between the experiencer and reality. Sometimes its methods can seem bizarre and even startling. To catch the flavor, if a Zen master found you reading this book he might grab it from you and hit you over the head with it, saying: “Here’s something else for you to think about!” Such shock tactics, however, are intended not to offend but rather to wake us up from our normal symbol-bound frame of mind.

Zen may seem chaotic and irrational (often unfuriatingly so!). Yet traditionally it is pursued and imparted in a highly formal, doctrinal way. Students at a Japanese Rinzai monastery must abide by strict rules and follow a precisely prescribed path of development, involving regular periods of meditation and private interviews with the Zen master (roshi), in which koans are given and discussed. When the student attains, in the master’s judgment, the correct insight into a koan, he or she will be given a new koan designed to open up a further appreciation of the true nature of reality. In this sense, enlightenment comes as a result of a succession of satoris, some more profound than others.

Zen uses language to point beyond language, which is what poets and playwrights and musicians do. But, less obviously, it is also what modern science does if the intuitive leap is taken beyond its abstract formalism. The deep, latent message of quantum mechanics, for instance, codified in the language of mathematics, is that there is a reality beyond our senses which eludes verbal comprehension or logical analysis. And this is best exemplified in the central idea of “complementarity” — an idea introduced by Niels Bohr to account for the fact that two different conditions of observations could lead to conclusions that were conceptually incompatible. In one experiment, for example, light might behave as if it were made of particles, in another as if it were made of waves. Bohr proposed, however, there is no intrinsic incompatibility between these results because they are functions of different conditions of observation; no experiment could be devised that would demonstrate both aspects of a single condition. The wave and particle natures of light and matter are not mutually exclusive; they are mutually inclusive — necessary, complementary aspects of reality. Bohr gained his inspiration for this concept from Eastern philosophy, in particular from the Taoist concept of the dynamic interplay of opposites, yin and yang. And so, one of the central principles of modern physics is coincident with, and actually derived from, one of the most basic doctrines of the Eastern worldview.

Intuition has ever been the handmaiden of science. And although science represents its theories and conclusions in a “respectable” symbolic form, its greatest advances have always come initially not from the application of reason but from intuitive leaps — sudden flashes of inspiration very much akin to Zen experiences.

Zen and physics, then, seemingly so different, are not so different after all. They are themselves complementary — the waves of Zen to the particles of physics. And the truth of this symbiosis is further revealed by the fact that the branch of physics that is closest to the bedrock of reality, quantum mechanics, now appears to be as profoundly paradoxical and enigmatic as Zen. Physics even poses riddles that, like koans, make a mockery of our lgic: “Does a particle that is not watched exist?” Trees, like everything else, are made of subatomic particles. So, does an unwatched tree exist? If it falls in a forest, when no one is around to “observe it into being,” can it meaningful be said to make a sound? Physics and Zen, pragmatism and poetry, conceptualization and creativity, meet at such points — and become one.

But what does this mean for the ordinary man and woman? We cannot all sit cross-legged in Japanese monasteries, hour after hour, day after day, year after year, preparing our mind for the flash of Zen lightning that will hopefully show us the meaning of life, the universe, and everything. Nor can we all immerse ourselves for a similar lengthy period in the complexities of higher mathematics and quantum field theory so that we might someday fully appreciate the new scientific vision of a unified cosmos. We have children to raise, jobs to go to, mortgages to pay. How can we, in our everyday lives, discover our true place in the universe? How can we see beyond the narrow confines of our individual existence to the timeless, deathless, frontierless place that, the sages of both the East and the West now tell us, is the one true reality?

TRANSCENDENCE

Our normal waking consciousness, rational consciousness as we call it, is but one special type of consciousness, whilst all about it, parted from it by the filmiest of screens, there lie potential forms of consciousness entirely different.-—William James

Through out history, and in many different situations, people of all backgrounds and beliefs have enjoyed spontaneous mystical experiences. Suddenly the individual feels, beyond any shadow of doubt, fundamentally one with the universe. The sense of identity expands to embrace the cosmos as a whole.

To a Zen practitioner it would be satori, the flash of lightning. A Muslim might have recognized it as “the Supreme Identity.” And there are other names: nirvana, Tao, enlightenment, zoning, bliss. So widespread is this fundamental mystical feeling that it has, along with the doctrines that purport to explain it, been called “The Perennial Philosophy.” For some, it comes only after years of asceticism, study, and devotion to some particular religious or meditation system. But for most ordinary folk, it arrives out of the blue, unbidden and unsought. In fact, the very act of seeking may block or hinder the experience of enlightenment. The problem is that one tries to rekindle the feeling through an effort of intellect and of self-will, whereas the original experience arose spontaneously as a result of a freak series of events — a long period of relaxation, followed by complete exhaustion and, finally, an enigmatic biblical quotation (like a koan) — which caught one's reasoning mind off guard.

The experience is way beyond description.

And this sums up the difficulty people have always faced in trying to convey to others this ultimate state of selfless being: by its nature it is ineffable. The whole point about transcendence is that it is the experience of reality, pure and simple, without any of the symbolic interpretation normally placed upon it by the rationalizing human mind. It is not something amenable to linguistic or logical analysis. This impossibility of putting the transcendent into language is why the different forms of religious instruction that have sprung up around the world vary so much. It is also why so much superfluous dogma has become attached to what is basically a very straightforward message: stop thinking and start experiencing.

All the most prominent sages throughout human history, including Buddha, Lao-tzu, Jesus, Muhammad, and Isaiah, apparently saw through the artificiality of the world of symbols to the true ground of existence. And subsequently, they each strove to put their experience and their method of achieving it into words that others might understand. The feeling of transcendent unity is the same for everyone when it happens, since there is only one reality. However, problems ensue in translating this feeling into words. Even greater difficulties arise when others, who have not had the experience themselves, try to convey secondhand or thirdhand what the fundamental teaching consisted of. And so, for instance, from the reasonably clear and simple message of Gautama Buddha, the vast and intricate system of religious philosophy that is Buddhism has sprung. Thousands of books and many millions of words have been set down on the subject, often in a style that only a lifetime devotee or learned academic could penetrate. But the irony is that language and symbolism are anathema to the basic message of Buddha, which is all about direct experience, unadulterated being. And the same is true of Christianity. The central teaching of Jesus — who, if he was any one man, was surely a flesh-and-blood human being like you and me — is to forget yourself and get in touch with the real world.

Every principal religion and moral code from around the world has this notion at its core: that we should aspire to be selfless. The admonition to “do as you would be done by” or “love thy neighbor as thy self” or “be as little children” is universal. To achieve the best, most natural, most worthwhile, state of existence we are urged to lose ourselves and merge with the whole. As the Christian mystic Meister Eckehart said:

As long as I am this or that, or have this or that, I am not all things and I have not all things. Become pure till you neither are nor have either this or that; then you are omnipresent and, being neither this nor that, are all things.

Another great mystic put it this way:

Still there are moments when one feels free from one’s own identification with human limitations and inadequacies. At such moments, one imagines that one stands on some spot of a small planet, gazing in amazement at the cold yet profoundly moving beauty of the eternal, the unfathomable: life and death flow into one, and there is neither evolution nor destiny; only being.

His name was Albert Einstein.

The true and sole aim of all deep religion and of all deep science is the same — to point past the personal, survival-oriented self to the boundless reality that has always been there. Jesus said, “The Kingdom of Heaven is within you.” Buddha said, “Look within, thou art the Buddha.” And what they meant was the same.

When the brain is relaxed enough to take time out from projecting the self, we become, in those brief mystical interludes, aware suddenly of a greater world stretching away on all sides beyond our small, personal, finite lives. The writer Aldous Huxley frequently expressed his view that the function of the human nervous system is to filter and limit the amount and intensity of the experience that our minds have to deal with. To him the brain was actually an impediment, a “reducing valve,” that restricted what we would otherwise be able to see. And in The Doors of Perception, published in 1954, he described his personal attempts to open up the reducing valve in his head using the hallucinogen mescaline.

Psychedelic drugs, most notably LSD, have been regarded by some as shortcuts to higher states of consciousness, as have the extreme states of exhaustion induced, for instance, by repetitive, anaerobic forms of dance. Nor is this a recent trend. Whether it be through eating magic mushrooms, licking the psychoactive secretions of certain types of toad, walking on red-hot coals, whirling like dervishes, or simply imbibing alcohol, people have been seeking artificially induced transcendent experiences for thousands of years. For others, music, poetry, prayer, quiet contemplation, or a walk in the woods or the hills can trigger the same effect. In a remarkable variety of ways, it seems that we all at times try to break free from our normal mode of self-centered awareness.

One of the most interestingly consistent times at which a very profound transcendent experience is reported to occur is when people come near to death. Studies and surveys reveal that the so-called near-death experience (NDE) is surprisingly common and, in its essential elements, is remarkably consistent. Many millions of individuals around the world claim to have had NDEs and, although interest in the phenomenon is greater today than it has ever been before, descriptions of such experiences are to be found in diverse records going back hundreds and even thousands of years.

Among the most common elements of NDEs are the sensation of leaving and floating away from the body, traveling down a tunnel toward an intensely bright light, an all-pervasive feeling of rapture and love, and seeing one’s life recapitulated in vivid detail. Most significantly, NDEers often relate having had a most extraordinary feeling of unity, an acute awareness of everything being there all at once, with a concomitant loss of self-boundaries. Subjects sometimes recall having felt as if they were really alive for the first time. And this, remember, during a period when, objectively, their bodies and brains were totally inert. Indeed, in some cases, profound transcendent experiences apparently took place after the person had been pronounced clinically dead.

It is possible to explain some aspects of the NDE, including the tunnel and the light, in terms of hallucinatory-type events taking placed in the distressed brain (though other explanations cannot yet be discounted). But conventional neurological wisdom is at a loss to account for the astonishing broadening and deepening of consciousness reported by people who have, albeit temporarily, crossed over the threshold from life into death. Some of these individuals went through all of the stages of dying up to and including cardiac arrest and the cessation of breathing for several minutes or more. They entered briefly into that uncharted region where all of us are destined eventually to go — but then, thanks in the main to modern resuscitation procedures, came back to tell their tale. Except that there should not have been any tale to tell. How can a brain in which virtually all neurological activity has ground to a halt be capable of giving rise to an awareness of unprecedented depth and acuity?

The most reasonable explanation is that the unity feeling which is the central mystery of the NDE is not a product of brain activity at all. It results instead from the removal of the brain’s restricting influence. For the first time in a person’s life, at the moment of death the selecting and limiting effect of the brain is eliminated, the psychological walls of the self are broken down, and the individual is set free to meld again with the whole unbroken field of reality.

If it were but one aspect of experience that pointed to a cosmic dimension of consciousness then we might easily choose to ignore it. But there is now compelling evidence from physics, psychology, Eastern philosophies, and numerous reported episodes of transcendental awareness in ordinary people for us to take this matter very seriously indeed. What is being suggested is not a new scientific paradigm, but a revolution in the metaphysical underpinnings of our worldview. The simple materialistic notion that consciousness can continue only as long as there is a brain to support it is becoming increasingly untenable. Quantum mechanics and our modern conception of space-time has made nonsense of the Newtonian mechanistic cosmos in which man was effectively divorced from the processes going on around him. We now know — and every experiment quantum physicists carry out further bolsters our knowledge — that we are deeply, intrinsically bound up with reality as a whole. Subject and object are one. The only reason we see it differently is that the self puts up artificial barriers, and creates the feeling of difference and distance between itself and the rest of the nature.

This same core truth was appreciated directly by those mystic-philosophers, principally in the East, who, through circumventing the self, saw directly the way things really are. And this same truth, it is clear, does not even require special training or effort for it to be grasped. At any moment, for one reason or another, a person can suddenly come into direct, unmediated contact with the cosmos — can, to all intents, become the cosmos.


AMEN
A[l] Me[lech] N[e'eman]
Lord God King Who is Trustworthy
Signore Dio Re Fiducia e Verità
So Be It そうそれがありなさい Cuma thîn craftag rîki
אמן amen آمين
Fader vår, du som er i himmelen
Amen Cosí Sia 如此假如是
So sei es 이렇게 그것 있으십시요
Ainsi que ce soit
Seja assim ele
Tan sea
Adonoy Eloheynu Adonoy Echod
Adonai Elohaynu Adonai Echad
Baruchj Shem k'vod makchuso l'olom vo-ed
Barukh Shem k'vod malkhuto l'olam va-ed
V-ohavto es Adonoy Eloecho b-chol l'vovcho u-v-chol naf'sh'cho u-v-chol m'odecho
V-ahavta et Adonai Elohecha b-chol l'vavcha u-v-chol naf'sh'cha u-v-chol m'odecha
V-hoyu ha-d'vorim ho-ayleh asher onochi m'tzav'cho ha-yom al-l'vovecho
V-hayu ha-d'varim ha-ayleh asher anochi m'tzav'cha ha-yom al l'vavecha
Ani Adonly Elohaychem, Adonoy Elohaychem emes
Ani Adonai Elohaychem, Adonai Elohaycham emet

אמן AMEN آمين








 

~ FEAR DEATH


I believe that there is some incredible mystery about it. What does life mean: firstly coming-to-be, then finally ceasing-to-be? We find ourselves here in this wonderful rich and vivid conscious experience and it goes on through life, but is that the end?... Is this present life all to finish in death or can we have hope that there will be a further meaning to be discovered? -—Karl Popper

Men fear Death as children fear to go in the dark; and as that natural fear in children is increased with tales, so is the other.-—Francis Bacon

Human kind cannot bear very much reality. -—T. S. Eliot

When life is full and you are young, a bright world surrounds you, open to inquiry. Only in the far distance is there a speck of darkness, a missing point of the picture. But as you age, this speck grows larger. As your lives draw to a close, this region of darkness fills the ground before you like the opening of a forbidding cave. Others have entered that cave before you — billions of others, including your relatives and friends — and it is claimed even that some have returned from a brief sortie across its threshold during so-called near-death experiences (NDEs) or, less convincingly, as ghosts.

Yet, despite what comfort you may choose to draw from accounts of NDEs, tales of spiritual manifestations, or the reassurances of various religions, most of you remain deeply uncertain, and afraid, as to what lies ahead. Death is the great question mark at the end of life, the mystery you long to solve but seem unable to. And yet it is an event, a transition, a portal, you must go through sooner or later.

Is it not true?
Be afraid, be very afraid!

DEATH? What a question, eh?

It is a question that, in the end, holds an answer for every one of you human beings.

Your death became a future fact at the moment a particular sperm cell from your father united with a particular ovum inside your mother. At that instant your personal hourglass was upturned and the sands of your life began to fall. Now no matter how hard you try to stay vigorous in body and mind, it will not affect the final outcome. No amount of progress to combat the effects of aging, through drugs, surgery, or other means, can do more than briefly postpone the inevitable. Your body is destined progressively to wear out and ultimately to fail. And then?

Ah-haa!...

As soon as a person's heart stops beating, gravity takes hold. Within minutes a purple-red stain starts to appear on the lowermost parts of the body, where blood quickly settles. The skin and muscles sag, the body cools, and within two to six hours rigor mortis sets in. Beginning with a stiffening of the eyelids, the rigidity extends inexorably to all parts of the body and may last for between one and four days before the muscles finally relax.

Two or three days after death, a greenish discoloration of the skin on the right side of the lower abdomen above the cecum (the part of the large intestine nearest the surface) provides the first visible sign of decay. This gradually spreads over the whole abdomen and then on to the chest and upper thighs, the color being simply a result of sulfur-containing gases from the intestines reacting with hemoglobin liberated from the blood in the vessels of the abdominal wall. By the end of the first week, most of the body is tinged green, a green that steadily darkens and changes to purple and finally to black. Blood-colored blisters, two to three inches across, develop on the skin, the merest touch being sufficient to cause their top layer to slide off.

By the end of the second week the abdomen is bloated. The lungs rupture because of bacterial attack in the air passages, and the resulting release of gas pressure from within the body forces a blood-stained fluid from the nose and mouth — a startling effect that helped to spawn many a vampire legend among peasants who had witnessed exhumations in medieval Europe. The eyes bulge and the tongue swells to fill the mouth and protrude beyond the teeth. After three to four weeks, the hair, nails, and teeth loosen, and the internal organs disintegrate before turning to liquid.

On average, it takes ten to twelve years for an unembalmed adult body buried six feet deep in ordinary soil without a coffin to be completely reduced to a skeleton. This period may shrink dramatically to between a few months and a year if the grave is shallow, since the body is then more accessible to maggots and worms. However, soil chemistry, humidity, and other ambient factors have a powerful effect on the rate of decomposition. Acid water and the almost complete absence of oxygen in peat, for instance, make it an outstanding preservative. From Danish peat bogs alone, more than 150 well-kept bodies up to five thousand years old have been recovered in the last two centuries. And likewise, astonishingly fresh after five millennia was "Otzi the Iceman," found in 1991, complete with skin tattoos and Bronze Age tool kit, trapped in a glacier in the Otztal Alps on the Austro-Italian border.

Accidental preservations aside, people throughout the ages have frequently gone to surprising lengths to ensure that their corpses remained in good shape. Most famously, the ancient Egyptians were obsessed by corporeal preservation, to the extent of mummifying not just themselves but also many kinds of animals which they held to be sacred. The underground labyrinths of Tuna-el-Gebel, for instance, are eerily crowded with the mummies of baboons and ibis. Incredibly, at least four million of the latter went through the elaborate embalming process — a process that made copious use of the dehydrating salt natron, excavated from around the Nile and parched desert lakes.

All mummies preserved by the old Egyptian method are very long dead — with one bizarre exception. In 1995, the Egyptologist and philosopher Robert Brier of Long Island University completed the first mummification in this traditional style in more than 2,000 years. His subject was a seventy-six-year-old American who had given his body to science. Brier went to great pains to follow the old methods, traveling to Egypt to harvest his natron (principally a mixture of sodium carbonate and bicarbonate) from the dry shores of Wadi Natrun, and using authentic replicas of embalming tools from the first millennium B.C. Just as the mortician-priests of the pharaonic tombs would have done, Brier drew out the man's brain (The Egyptians discarded the brain because they drew no connection between it and the person's mind or soul. Mental life, they believed, was concentrated in the heart. To us this seems odd since it "feels" as if thought takes place inside our heads. If we concentrate hard for too long our head aches. Did the Egyptians experience "heartache" instead?) by way of the nostrils, extracted the major organs before storing them individually in canopic jars, and finally left the body for several weeks to completely dehydrate, swaddled and packed in the special salt. Only the subject's feet were visible, wrapped in blue surgical booties. Rejecting criticisms that his research was in poor taste, Brier claimed the experiment had shown beyond doubt that it is the action of natron, more than any other factor, that affords mummies their well-kept look.

Isn't that a reassuringly useless fact?
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!

The Romans, too, were familiar with the drying and preservative properties of certain chemicals. So-called plaster burials, in which lime or chalk (both drying agents) or gypsum (a natural antiseptic) was packed around the body in the coffin, have turned up in Roman cemeteries in Britain and North Africa.

More recently, wealthy Victorians went to enormous trouble to carefully dispose of their corpses. Burial in crypts and catacombs came into fashion — and not only because it gave the well-heeled, through the ostentatious grandeur of family vaults, a way to display their social standing. There were more sinister reasons to try to ensure a safe place for burial. Locked doors were a deterrent to body snatchers who might otherwise hawk your remains for illegal medical dissection or, worse, pry out your teeth for use in making dentures. Also, the Victorians had an acute fear of being buried alive — better, they reasoned, to revive in a room with some chance of escape than in a horribly cramped coffin piled over with earth.

It is no coincidence that the average interval between death and burial in Britain lengthened from about five days in the late eighteenth century to eight days in the early nineteenth century. The object was to allow plenty of time for obvious signs of decay to develop, which would serve a dual purpose: to reassure relatives that their loved one was indeed dead and also to render the body less desirable to thieves.

People at this time often included in their wills bizarre requests concerning the disposal of their bodies. They would ask, for instance, that bells be attached to their corpse or that a razor be used to cut into the flesh of their foot to make absolutely sure they were not still alive before being interred. And in Imperial Russia perhaps the most wonderfully eccentric precaution of all was dreamed up to counter the possibility of premature burial. In 1897, having witnessed the remarkable revival of a young girl during her funeral, Count Karnice-Karnicki, chamberlain to the czar, patented his "life-signaling coffin." The slightest movement of the occupant's chest would trigger a spring-loaded ball, causing a box on the surface connected to the spring by a tube to open, thereby letting light and air into the coffin. The spring was also designed to release a flag on the surface, a bell that would ring for half an hour, and a lamp that would burn after sunset. Alas, history does not record if the count's ingenious invention ever left the drawing board.

You are a funny being, let me tell you, quite funny...

Your choice of whether to be buried or not may be made on purely aesthetic grounds. You may be somewhat comforted by the idea of your bodies returning to nature as part of the grand recycling process. Alternatively, you may find the thought of being consumed by insects and bacteria too revolting to contemplate and, as a result, opt for a less organic mode of disposal. But, for some people, burial after death is important for religious reasons. Most obviously, according to Christian doctrine, there will be a resurrection of the dead on the Last Day of Judgment. The graves will be opened, say the scriptures, and saints and sinners will stand before the Son of God and be judged. Interpreted literally, this might suggest you should do your best to try to preserve whatever you can of your erstwhile selves so that there is at least something left of you to resurrect. And yet, in all honesty, it is hardly a realistic ambition. Whatever precautions you take to have your remains securely interred, nothing of your bodies — not even your bones — will survive the many millions of years that lie ahead in the Earth's future.

By contrast with burial, today's most common mode of disposal, cremation, annihilates a corpse at tremendous speed. In less than an hour, in a gas fire at temperatures of between 1100 and 1750 degrees Fahrenheit, the body reduces to just a few pounds of white ash, which can then be stored or dispersed according to whim — scattered over a favorite hillside perhaps, or, in the most exotic way imaginable, jettisoned into space from a rocket to boldly go where Gene Roddenberry, creator of Star Trek, has gone before.

Alternatively, organs of the body may be bequeathed so that they go on serving a useful function, other than as fertilizer, inside someone still alive.

The basic materialist view of death, now widely held by scientists and layfolk alike, seems, on the face of it, bleak beyond despair. "You" — your minds — appear to be nothing more than outgrowths of your living brains, so that inevitably you must expire at the moment your neural support structures collapse. Death, from this perspective, amounts to a total, permanent cessation of consciousness and feeling — the end of the individual. Considering how anxious most of you are at the thought of losing merely your jobs or possessions, it is hardly surprising that, in an increasingly secular society, the fear of death — of losing everything, including yourselves — has become so deep and widespread. Yet exactly what are you afraid of?
Epicurus pointed out the irrationality of fearing the end of consciousness in his Letter to Menoeceus:

Become accustomed to the belief that death is nothing to us. For all good and evil consists in sensation, but death is deprivation of sensation. And therefore a right understanding that death is nothing to us makes the mortality of life enjoyable, not because it takes away the craving for immortality. For there is nothing terrible in life for the man who has truly comprehended that there is nothing terrible in not living.

Others have echoed this view, including Ludwig Wittgenstein: "We do not experience death," he insisted; "Our life has no end in just the way in which our visual field has no limit." To use a mathematical analogy, just as an asymptotic curve comes closer and closer to a line but never actually touches it, so you move closer toward death throughout life but never actually reach death in experience (if by death we mean the end of an individual's consciousness).

Ironically, one of the possibilities you tend to dread the most — that death represents a one-way trip to oblivion — turns out to be something you need have no fear of at all. Socrates even enjoined you to look forward to it. In his Apology he explained:

Death is one of two things. Either it is an annihilation, and the dead have no consciousness of anything, or . . . it is really a change — a migration of the soul from this place to another. Now if there is no consciousness but only a dreamless sleep, death must be a marvelous gain . . . because the whole of time . . . can be regarded as no more than a single night.

I can put it even more dramatically than this. If death marks a permanent end of your consciousness, then from your point of view when you die, the entire future of the universe (running into tens of billions of years or more) must telescope down not just into a night, as Socrates described, but into a fleeting instant. Even if the universe were to go through other cycles of expansion and contraction, then all of these cycles as far as you are concerned would happen in zero time. What conceivable basis for fear could there be in such an absence of experience? You may as well be afraid of the gap between one thought and the next.

Marcus Aurelius was among those who offered another way to come to grips with the prospect of nonbeing: the period after death, he pointed out, is like the period before birth. You didn't spend the billions of years before you were born in a state of anxiety and apprehension, because there was no "you" to be aware of anything. Looking back now, it doesn't seem frightening that there was once a time when you were not conscious. Why then should you be concerned about returning to that nonexistent, nonconscious state when you die?

On a purely academic level, you can follow these arguments and appreciate the logic in them. And yet, for most of you, they ring hollow. They fail utterly to dispel the visceral dread we have of plunging into the terminal darkness, alone. The fear of death, timor mortis, the horror of the ultimate abyss that waits to claim you all, is far too deeply ingrained in your nature to be alleviated by mere rhetoric. Indeed, it is a fear whose origins go back to the very dawn of your planet.

On Earth, at least, you say life began as molecules of increasing complexity came together purely by chance in the primitive terrestrial ocean. In one scenario, a rich chemical broth activated by unshielded high-energy radiation from the sun and powerful lightning strikes gave rise to the first molecules that could make copies of themselves — the precursors of today's DNA. There is no mystery about this. Any assortment of objects, especially "sticky" objects like molecules, randomly stirred for long enough will give rise to every conceivable possible combination. Over millions and millions of years, the simple atomic and molecular units bumping into one another, under energetically favorable conditions, must have come together in all sorts of different ways. Most of these complicated associations would have been unstable. And even if they had been stable under normal conditions, a hard enough collision with some other particle or a well-aimed ultraviolet ray would have broken them apart. Eventually, however, a certain formation of molecular units combined to give a supermolecule that, by chance, could act as the template and docking station for making precise copies of itself. No sooner did this happen then the supermolecule spread rapidly throughout the waters of the young Earth. Possibly there were several variants of such self-replicating substances which competed for resources. Not that there was any thought of competition at the time; there was as yet no substrate for thought at all. But in the chance emergence of self-copying molecules you can discern, from your future vantage point, the first stirrings of life, the beginnings of the struggle to survive in a potentially hostile world — and the origins of self.

Nature lays down no boundaries between life and nonlife. What you choose to call living is your own affair. Is an intricate self-replicating molecule alive? What if the molecule, through natural selection, acquires a kind of protective skin? The point at which you want to say that life has developed from nonlife is open to interpretation and debate since it is purely a human issue — a question of labels.

In reality, self-copying materials just became progressively more effective at surviving, more elaborate, and more capable through a process of blind, natural competition. Having internalized, as it were, their own blueprint, they became subject to random mutation. Struck by a penetrating photon from the sun or possibly a cosmic ray, a self-replicator risked its internal code being minutely altered. And, if this happened, then in the next generation an individual built according to a slightly different design would be created (providing the change had not altogether impaired the assembly mechanism). Most commonly such a mutant would prove less effective than its parent at staying in one piece long enough to have offspring of its own. But very occasionally a mutant would be born with an advantage over its parent and peers — the ability, for instance, to make copies of itself more rapidly, or to better resist attack from competitors.

In general terms, then, there is no problem in understanding how a variety of competing life-forms — primitive but steadily evolving toward greater sophistication — appeared on Earth long ago. None of these early creatures was anything more than a bundle of biochemicals wrapped up in a membrane bag. Even so, in their makeup and activity, we can recognize the inception of a new quality in the universe. These ancient gelatinous specks of matter showed the beginnings of self-interest and purpose. They had established barriers, definite, sustainable boundaries between themselves and the outside world. And although the heady heights of human intellect and introspection lay almost four billion years away, even the most elementary of life-forms harbored information at some level about what was part of their own constitution and what was not. They were, at least chemically, self-aware. Thus, the foundations for dualism — the belief in the separation of self and the rest of the world — were laid.

What you see from your biased viewpoint to be the most significant advance in evolution is the movement toward increased cerebration — the development of bigger, more elaborate brains and nervous systems. The ability of a creature to retain within itself a sophisticated representation of the world outside is held by you in high regard. But the greatest accolade of all you reserve for yourselves and the capacity you alone seem to have to be conscious of yourselves as free agents in a world amenable to your control.

Natural selection gives no vector of progress. There was never any master plan to build bigger, better brains. But with hindsight, it seems almost inevitable that once life had become established it would develop in the direction of increased self-awareness. To be aware of yourself is to have an effective knowledge of where you end and the rest of the universe begins, so you know precisely on which battle line to fight. And being an individual in the wild is a battle, a continual, desperate struggle to stay alive. Any number of events can destroy you. A terrifying array of predators are out there trying to make you their next meal. Or, if you are not sufficiently aware of what is going on around you, you may fall victim to some other unfortunate accident. Or you may simply not find enough to eat. And no one is going to help you. On the contrary, your equally determined adversaries will take full advantage of any sign of weakness that you display. Given such perilous circumstances, the stronger your sense and skills of self-preservation, the better it is for you. Indeed, being and remaining an individual necessitates that you be uncompromisingly selfish.

You sometimes wonder how humans can be so cruel and ruthless, how they can lay waste to the planet with impunity, how they can exterminate other species and kill one another in alarming numbers. But such acts are not difficult after four billion years' practice. To stay alive at any cost, at anyone else's expense, is in your nature. It is the prime directive of your genes.

My, my, my -- aren't you attached to life...!

You are driven relentlessly to survive. And to aid you in this quest you have become equipped with the most remarkable survival organ in the known universe — the human brain. Such is the brain's power that it can construct and maintain a vivid sense of its own identity, its own unique selfhood. And yet it can also, with equal ease, cast its thoughts into the future and see its own inevitable demise.

Here, then, is the source of your greatest fear. You know full well that the brain and body will eventually break down. Yet such is your urge to carry on living that you cannot come to grips with the notion that the self presently associated with this doomed receptacle may similarly come to an abrupt end. The world and other selves will survive your personal death, you know. But this seems like small consolation if the particular selves that are "you" cannot, at least in some recognizable form, continue indefinitely.

Perhaps it was bound to happen that your race would go through this stage of uncertainty in its development. You think that maybe all creatures in the universe who become self-aware pass through a lengthy phase when they wrestle with the potentially devastating contradiction of a self-conscious survival machine that knows beyond all doubt that it cannot survive. But your combined intellect is formidable, capable of revealing deep, unexpected truths about the origin and nature of the cosmos. And there are no grounds a priori to suppose that it cannot also penetrate the more personal mysteries of the human self and mortality.

So, my human friend, this is likely to be a testing time for you, not least because you are beginning to discover that the universe is entirely natural.

WOW, and WHOA, YEEPEE and WOW again!
Wake up and open your eyes wide...

Human self and mortality: what a complex mystery!
At least, you think.

But the only reality that exists, it is becoming clear to you, is right in front of you; nothing is hidden, nothing is beyond your ken. As Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote: "Other world! There is no other world! Here or nowhere is the whole fact."

Perhaps it is one of the definitive signs of a sentient species reaching maturity when it finally manages to let go of the security blanket of the supernatural. This you are gradually starting to do. You have peered inside yourself, into the depths of the human brain, in search of a soul and have found . . . nothing.

You don’t have a soul.
You have a brain. You have brains...
And therefore a MIND.

There is no deeper, further fact to being a person than being a thinking brain — a mind: a small, temporary whirlpool of memories and thoughts in the larger river of life. And science and religion, despite superficial appearances, actually agree on this point: science quite clearly, but religion, too, quietly and insistently. No major religion, from Christianity to Buddhism, professes in its core a belief in the existence of personal souls. On the contrary, the aim of all sincere religion is, and always has been, to go beyond the self and its putative spiritual counterpart — both of which are seen as illusory — to the boundless consciousness of reality. The core message of the world’s great religio-philosophical systems, Eastern and Western, is to forget about yourself, lose yourself, and so, in the process, make contact with the much more important truth of the timeless awareness of the universe.

If this sounds more than a little mystical and starry-eyed, then let it be so.
For you (and I mean it! YOU), the universe is one and to see it is as such is the goal of mysticism, as well as of science. And your eyes are indeed starry, being composed of atoms whose nuclei were manufactured inside the intensely hot cores of giant stars that exploded in the remote past. Waxing lyrical about your relationship with the cosmos is entirely appropriate at a time when science, religion, and mysticism are finally converging on a unified worldview, by contrast with which your old anthropocentric perspectives are going to seem extraordinarily parochial. You are nothing less than the universe in dialogue with itself and your words do sometimes need to rise above the prosaic, the practical, and the scientifically correct to catch a hint of the drama of your situation. This is why music and poetry so often touch you more deeply than the anodyne pronouncements of reductionist science, why so often you choose to rely upon intuition and unspoken feelings above intellect. You know inside what the truth is, without being told. Even a hardened pragmatist like J. B. S. Haldane felt moved to write that

If death will probably be the end of me as a finite individual mind, that does not mean that it will be the end of me altogether. It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere by-product of matter. . . .
But as regards my own very finite and imperfect mind, I can see, by studying the effects on it of drugs, alcohol, disease, and so on, that its limitations are largely at least due to my body.

Without that body it may perish altogether, but it seems to me quite as probable that it will lose its limitations and be merged into an infinite mind or something analogous to a mind which I have reason to suspect probably exists behind nature. How this might be accomplished I have no idea.

But I notice that when I think logically and scientifically or act morally my thoughts and actions become those of any intelligent or moral being in the same position; in fact, I am already identifying my mind with an absolute or unconditioned mind.

Only in so far as I do this can I see any probability of my survival, and the more I do so the less I am interested in my private affairs and the less desire do I feel for personal immortality. The belief in my own eternity seems to me indeed a piece of unwarranted self-glorification, and the desire for it gives concession to selfishness.

In so far as I set my heart on things that will not perish with me, I automatically remove the sting from my death.

After death the feeling of being a self continues. This can be thought of as a form of reincarnation: the death of one brain followed by the birth of another being functionally and experientially equivalent to a person in life forgetting who they are and subsequently remembering they are someone else. How can this conclusion be squared with the idea that at death we effectively rejoin the unbroken sea of consciousness that lies outside you? Surely, when you die, there can be only one outcome.

But, in fact, there is no incompatibility. You simply need to appreciate that you are dealing with two complementary aspects of the universe. And I use the word "complementary" here advisedly to highlight a comparison with the wave-particle complementarity of modern physics and the subject-object complementarity of Eastern philosophies. The cosmos exists en bloc and yet within it individual selves have evolved. The one does not preclude the other; in fact, the two are in an extraordinary, intimate symbiosis, the significance of which will doubtless become clearer as your species further matures.

New selves emerge as new brains emerge, because what a brain does is to act as a funnel, a filter, a limiter of consciousness, and therefore a shaper of self — a separator of subject and object. The brain effectively pinches off a little bubble of introverted awareness and stores and manipulates information relevant exclusively to the survival needs of the individual so created. Using its archived memories, the brain builds and subtends the myth of personality and self, its onboard programming working ceaselessly to substantiate and immortalize this phantasmic inner being. And such a fine job does it do that the projected self not only feels itself to be tangible, but it fails to appreciate, or even suspect, that it is never the same from one moment to the next.

Selves come and go, as brains come and go. And at the subjective, human level what this amounts to is a continuous state of "being you". "You" don’t have to worry about dying, because the moment you stop being associated with a particular brain and a particular narrative, the feeling of being you reemerges in a new guise. It has happened before and it will happen again. And it is not a case of you becoming someone else in the traditional sense of transmigrating souls. You have to see that “being you” is just a general phenomenon. There is no actual, objective link that determines who you will become. You will not become anyone. There is just a continuously experienced condition of you-ness.

Through such ongoing reincarnation — if you choose to use this term — the human race evolves, the efforts and achievements of individuals being stored both extrasomatically and in the living memories of others so that in every life we each contribute, to a greater or lesser extent, to humanity’s overall progress. Viewed in this way, it is true that you appear to be far from master of your situation. Your brains are in thrall to the automatically encoded programs in your genes, and “you” are shaped not by your own efforts but by the influence of your brains and your environments. It is a sobering realization that, in an important sense, you don’t really own or exert will over your bodies and minds: you are simply part of an endlessly unfolding process. It is sobering, and yet it is also strangely exhilarating and liberating to think that there is more to you than brief, solitary lives.

Do you feel exhilarated?

Each of you, in the broader scheme of nature, is the latest representative of a lineage of individuals that stretches back to the dawn of mankind and before, and will continue, indefinitely, into the future. Moreover, if you can embrace a still wider panorama, you can begin to see that the differences between your selves are so slight and the similarities so great that all of you alive today are really just minor variations on the same person. The fragmentation or plurality of consciousness is only an appearance, like the hundreds of little pictures that a multifaceted crystal reflects without multiplying the object in reality. The physicist Erwin Schrödinger understood this well when he wrote:

Thus you can throw yourself flat on the ground, stretched out upon Mother Earth with the certain conviction that you are one with her and she with you. You are as firmly established, as invulnerable as she — and more so. As surely as she will engulf you tomorrow, so surely she will bring you forth, just as every day she engulfs you a thousand times over.

You have a future, then, beyond death, as new individuals — as participants in “I-mode” continuity, or what amounts to secular reincarnation.

However, standing behind this is the unfragmented consciousness of the universe. And, in some ways, this is the ideal and only genuine state in which to exist. It is that to which we ultimately aspire — the timeless, all-knowing condition in which subject and object, life and death, you and I, God and man, are one.

In his novel Childhood’s End, Arthur C. Clarke referred enigmatically to the “overmind” — a higher entity with which, he speculated, the individual minds of many advanced species, at some crucial, metamorphic point in their development, begin spontaneously to merge. And it is at least interesting to speculate that, in this particular instance, fact may be on an intercept course with fiction.

Death of the self is seen as the gateway to what Buddhism calls nirvana and Christianity refers to as heaven. Buddhism urges you to escape the Wheel of Life, the cycle of death and rebirth, by achieving enlightenment through meditation — by becoming a new Buddha. Zen goes a step further and tells you, effectively, not to even bother trying to escape; you should simply stop thinking about it, because there has never been a time when you haven’t been free. In Christianity, the same message is couched in different terms. All you need do, it says, is become like little children (whose selves are not yet well defined) in order to enter God’s kingdom.

Every deep moral and religious system around the world has intuitively grasped this truth — that you must endeavour to transcend the self. Death of the self, either through the physical death of the brain or the bypassing of its analytical mode during life, breaks down the psychological walls that contain you, leaving you free to meld again with the whole unbroken field of consciousness.

You may not think you want this to happen. The idea of being, at one moment, a small speck of humanity in the vastness of space and, at the next, becoming one with the universe may seem terrifying. But this is only because you are compelled to try to understand everything from your limited personal perspective. The plain fact is you are already one with the universe; you have never really been apart from it. And only the presence of the self prevents you from seeing this. Through techniques such as Zen, which bring a temporary halt to thought, you can directly experience the consciousness of the cosmos — have a taste, as it were, of death during life. Or a transcendent awareness may, for one reason or another, simply happen. Or, without having any dramatic experiences, you may simply, through quiet contemplation, become accustomed to the idea of who you really are. As Bertrand Russell wrote:

The best way to overcome [the fear of death] — so it seems to me — is to make your interests gradually wider and more impersonal, until bit by bit the walls of the ego recede, and your life becomes increasingly merged in the universal life. An individual human existence should be like a river — small at first, narrowly contained within its banks, and rushing passionately past boulders and over waterfalls. Gradually the river grows wider, the banks recede, the water flows more quietly, and in the end, without any visible break, they become merged in the sea, and painlessly lose their individual being. The man who, in old age, can see his life in this way, will not suffer from the fear of death, since the things he cares for will continue. And if, with the decay of vitality, weariness increases, the thought of rest will not be unwelcome.

Death is not the end. In the truest sense, it is the essential prelude to change and new life. Death is the point where the individual and the cosmos meet, where differences are reconciled, and where body and mind merge effortlessly in a realm beyond words and thought.

Our revels are now ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits and
Are melted into air . . .
. . . We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
I rounded with a sleep.
-—Shakespeare, The Tempest


To die will be an awfully big adventure. -—James Barrie, Peter Pan

AMEN
A[l] Me[lech] N[e'eman]
Lord God King Who is Trustworthy
Signore Dio Re Fiducia e Verità
So Be It そうそれがありなさい Cuma thîn craftag rîki
אמן amen آمين
Fader vår, du som er i himmelen
Amen Cosí Sia 如此假如是
So sei es 이렇게 그것 있으십시요
Ainsi que ce soit
Seja assim ele
Tan sea
Adonoy Eloheynu Adonoy Echod
Adonai Elohaynu Adonai Echad
Baruchj Shem k'vod makchuso l'olom vo-ed
Barukh Shem k'vod malkhuto l'olam va-ed
V-ohavto es Adonoy Eloecho b-chol l'vovcho u-v-chol naf'sh'cho u-v-chol m'odecho
V-ahavta et Adonai Elohecha b-chol l'vavcha u-v-chol naf'sh'cha u-v-chol m'odecha
V-hoyu ha-d'vorim ho-ayleh asher onochi m'tzav'cho ha-yom al-l'vovecho
V-hayu ha-d'varim ha-ayleh asher anochi m'tzav'cha ha-yom al l'vavecha
Ani Adonly Elohaychem, Adonoy Elohaychem emes
Ani Adonai Elohaychem, Adonai Elohaycham emet

אמן AMEN آمين









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