Tag Archive | philosophy

All As Truth – Wisdom from Story Waters

Rainbow-2
Freedom is not superior to limitation;
with this realization I am able to choose freedom.

Happiness is not superior to suffering;
with this realization I am able to let go of suffering

Abundance is not superior to poverty;
with this realization my abundance flows.

Nothing is superior to anything;
with this knowing I step out from
hierarchy, competition and struggle.

In this state I do not judge life;
therefore I do not feel separate from it.

I am so glad of the diversity in the world;
in its reflection I see my own freedom
to be whatever I wish to be.

We are not here to be one;
we are here to be many.

Through seeing that beyond this illusion we are all one,
we free ourselves to be the many.

I am not tied to any singular path to be a certain way.

I am diverse.

I am ever changing.

I am an explorer of All As Truth

~Story Waters

Questions You Can’t Ask in Sunday School: Where did God Come From?

Galaxy

This would have been a blasphemous question at one time, and there is always part of me that loves these kinds of questions.  If it was once blasphemous, and it still can’t be asked in Sunday school, then it must be onto something.  Growing up in a traditional religious fashion, this was one of my earliest questions – if God created everything, then who or what created God?  I remember hearing a story once about a culture of people who believed that the earth rested on the back of a giant turtle.  When an anthropologist asked what the turtle was standing on, the reply was – ‘that’s easy, it’s turtles all the way down.’  I’m not even sure this is a true story but is illustrates my point – the elephant in the room of all thinking about any God, or turtles holding up the earth – is where did they come from in the first place?  What creates them?  What is the origin?  Then, as I grew spiritually and begin to see God as consciousness itself, as consciousness which is the creative force behind all things and is also in all things including me and you, the question of where did God come from also becomes the question of where did we come from, where did everything come from?  What was the original impetus that created all there is?  Just as scientists struggle to explain the beginning of the universe, we begin to realize it is all the same question.  How did the Universe, or God, come into being in the first place, and why?

So, what does science tell us about where it all came from?  We know there was the big bang, but where did the energy for the big bang come from?  The answer is (drum roll please…) from nothing.  From nothing, came everything.  The truth is, scientists don’t really understand what banged or what caused it to bang, and all the evidence suggests that before there was everything, there was nothing.  The big bang was the creation of time itself, of matter, energy and space, none of which existed before the big bang.  So, as we grabble with the scientific explanation, let’s turn to religion to see what it has to say.  I’m no biblical scholar and I rarely quote the Bible (for me the truest scripture is within), but there are some gems in there and I always liked the first line of the book of John which describes the beginning of creation – it says – “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  Everything was made through Him and without Him was not anything made.”  The “Word,” used in this sense, is the essence of creation itself.  It is the impetus, the vibration that has awakened consciousness and existence.  The Word is with God and is God.  “With” God implies outside of God – as something that is with something else is separate from it, even though it is with it.  But the Word also is God.  So God is simultaneously along side of creation (“with” it) and creation itself, and creation itself happens at the beginning – which must be the beginning of time.  God is both the subject and object of creation.

Furthermore, and here’s the kicker for me – “…without God was not anything made”.  It is the term “without” that strikes me here.  “Without” implying the lack of existence of God.  So, without God, there was nothing, with God, there was everything.  So, from nothing, came everything.  Sounding familiar?  This is what the science tells us as well, as strange as it is – everything came from nothing.  This first sentence in the Bible is not implying that God existed before creation, but that God was, and is, creation itself.  God is the big bang.  God is everything that exists.  God is the word, the word is creation, creation is God, and so on in an eternal loop.  There are others who will interpret this differently, but I believe this is a valid interpretation that is in harmony with what science tells us – that nothing, not even time, or God, existed “before” the moment of creation, and that everything, including time, and God, existed and was created at the moment of creation or what we call the big bang.  God popped into existence out of nothing.  God is creator and the creation itself.  The beginning and the end.  Ultimately, neither science nor the Bible give any specific cause for creation.  It seems that it simply happened.  The Universe has no cause.  But really this is not a surprise, after all the concept of ‘God’ would be the one who has no cause, but is the cause itself.  It appears the last turtle is standing on itself, and thus it is, in fact, turtles all the way down.

This is something I was spurred to write in response to Seven Hawking’s assertion that there is no God because there was nothing before the moment of creation – there was no energy, matter, space or time before the big bang, so there could not be a God.  He’s both right and wrong in my opinion, and much of it hinges on your perception of God.  Since I see God and creation as one, I see no conflict between the science of the big bang and the philosophy of God as creation itself and the creative force within creation.

Love and light

Rhea Jamil

Discovering Self-Worth

Rumi-quoteYou are divine, therefore your worth is inherent.  You do not need to prove anything, because you already are the proof of divine love.  There is nothing you need to become in order to be ‘worthy.’  The challenge of being human is to reconcile your divinity with your humanity.  Your divinity is the perfection you were made with.   Your humanity is the suffering you have endured, it is the journey you have taken and the scars you have accumulated along the way.   We are perfection, we are made in perfection, then we go through human lifetimes which have both joy and suffering, and we get a little beat up.  We become, on the surface, less than perfect.  We may even be quite damaged, so that the world when it sees us, it no longer recognizes our perfection.  Humans are often not valued by the world, or we may think that our only value is in some tiny part of us that the world sees as valuable, like having a big house or great job.  However, our true value is always in our whole being, scars and all.  The world does not have the final say on what is worthy, because the world is the illusion of separateness, and through this illusion it sees duality instead of unity.  It creates a dichotomy which makes you then believe that what you are is not enough, but that you need to be something else, or something more.  If someone criticized the sky for being blue, or criticized a fish for being unable to fly, you would think them insane.  And yet we do this to ourselves and others all the time.  We decide we are not enough, that we are somehow not alright as we are, and then we project that onto others as well, and likewise others project their own perceived shortcomings onto us.  This is a state of madness.  The way out of this madness is to rediscover the connectedness to divine reality.  Remove the veil of illusion, the veil which makes you believe that you not divine, and you see the perfection, the inherent worth, in yourself, and in others. 

The journey has caused you to be a little beaten up, but the inherent perfection in you is intact, and now in addition, you have a tremendous story, you have the value of your wondrous journey through life as well and the scars to prove it.  Your perfection and your worth are never diminished no matter how many battle scars, no matter how much the world devalues you.  In fact, your worth increases with suffering by virtue of what you learn and what the universe learns through you.  If the world does not recognize your worth, it is not because your worth is not there.  If you feel imperfect, it is not because the perfection you were made with is not there.  What you are and where you are right now, in this moment, is what you are meant to be.  You do not need to justify yourself, or your place in this world, to anyone else.  You can simply be exactly what you are, knowing your value even if no one else sees it.  True self worth is one of those things that the world cannot give you, but that you must give to yourself.  Once you release the need for the world to acknowledge your worth, then you become the person you were meant to be.

Namaste,

Rhea Jamil

Choice vs. Victimhood

choice-sign

Everything in your life is a choice.  What you have created in life is what you have attracted to you, by virtue of your own choosing.  The unconscious or ‘unenlightened’ state is one of being unaware of this fact, and believing instead that you are a victim of the world.  For many of us, it is difficult to come to terms with the idea that we have chosen all of our suffering.  We often feel like victims, and indeed we wonder ‘why on earth would I have chosen that? No one in their right mind would choose that!’  Let me offer an example to help reconcile this paradox.  Imagine you are in a car with some friends and you are driving.  Your friends tell you to drive faster, and you do.  They continue to egg you on to drive faster and you comply.  Then, a cop pulls you over.  Who gets the ticket?  You do. You are the one who pays the consequence (endures the suffering) because you are ultimately the one who’s foot was on the accelerator and thus it was your decision.  However there is another point of view that would say that your friends are to blame, because if they had not told you to go faster, you would not have.  This is also true, however your friends are not the ones who suffer the consequences.  From this perspective, you look more like the victim.  There is also a way in which you are both.  Yes, you should not have listened to your friends, but your friends should not have been egging you on either.  You and your friends co-created the situation, but you did have a choice.  In this analogy, your friends are the larger influence of the unconscious world driven by ego.  We are here to learn to stand up for our truth and say to our ‘friends’ ‘no – I’m not going to drive faster.  This is the speed I want to go, this is my truth.’  It can be very difficult when you friends are yelling in your ear and if you believe your friends are the final authority on everything, i.e. if you believe the power in the world is greater than the power in you, you are very likely to go along.  It is only when the consequences start showing up that we begin to learn that we need to stand in our own truth, even if it takes us out of our ‘comfort zone’ at the time.  When you learn to do this, it will be uncomfortable for a while, because you will have to withstand the ‘friends’ onslaught while standing by your truth.  However, you know that they are not the ultimate authority, and this gives you the strength to do this.  

The world (by which I specifically mean the illusionary world which is driven by ego) will try to push you in directions that do not feel right to you, it will try to convince you that it is the ultimate authority and the ultimate reality.  It can be very convincing.   You could decide to blame the world, as in the above scenario you would blame your friends.  You can decide that you are the victim.  That decision is not entirely untrue as in the example above, from a certain perspective yes, you are the victim, however that is also the position in which you negate your own power.  If you focus on the power the world has over you and decide you are the victim, you give away your own power.  At the end of the day, you – your essential, highest self – is the one who has the power.  You are the only one who can stand in your truth, you are the only one who can control your perception, your reaction, your inner state.  The key is finding your inner knowing, the part of you that is capable of withstanding peer pressure is also the part of you that knows your own truth and knows your own power.  It is the part that knows you are the one in control, no matter what the rest of the world is trying to convince you of.

There is a very real way in which the human race is like a teenager who is finally growing up and realizing, “hey, I know who I am, I know what I’m about, I don’t need to give into pressure from others, from the outside world, or from the ego, I do have my own power, within me.”  We are waking up from the ‘victim’ mode of being and beginning to find our power, which we had the whole time we just did not realize it.  We are like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, who had the power to go home the whole time, she just didn’t realize it.  However by the same token, if she had realized it and gone home immediately, she would not have learned the valuable lessons that she needed to – about her own mind, heart, and courage – reflected back to her by her friends the scarecrow, tin man and lion.  So, we needed to learn some things, and we found the perfect reflections in each life to learn what we needed to, but we have had the power to enlighten ourselves (go home) the whole time, we are just finally waking up and growing into it. 

-Rhea Jamil

The infinite moment

infinity

When I was a child I became fascinated the concept of forever. I tried to imaging it – forever – something that never ends. Since I grew up with the notion that eternity in heaven awaits us, I would try and imagine that. I tried to imagine existing in heaven, or in any form, forever. I tried to imagine a timeline stretching out into space and going on and on forever. And try as I might, I just could not. It even frightened me a little. How can something go on forever? Have no beginning and no end? If you really put your mind to that question it is bound to drive you a little insane. That is because we are wired to think in a linear manner. If you are thinking linearly, there is no way to understand the infinite. A line has to have a beginning and an end. Something has to come before, then after, then again after that, etc. The infinite is non-linear, it does not have a before and an after. In fact it does not have any quantity at all. You cannot add or subtract from infinity. What is infinity minus 1, or infinity minus a zillion? There is no such number. Even a zillion is still a set quantity, large as it is, it is not infinite. There is no number in existence that can express the infinite, because there are no quantities in the infinite, it simply is.  To help begin to grasp this concept let’s look at something which is infinite which is part of your common experience: the moment that we refer to as “now.” When did that ‘now’ moment begin? You could say, well, it began a second ago. But that is not the case, because that second is now in the past, it is no longer now. When does now end? You could say it will end in a second, but again, that second is in the future, it is not now. In reality, now has no beginning, and it has no end. You cannot add or subtract from the moment we call now. It is infinite. It is the only moment in existence. It is the only moment you ever have creative access to, so it is all there is.  Past and future are only in the mind.

Physics even tells us that time is an illusion.  Physicists cannot come up with any ‘proof’ that time exists.  In truth there really is no time, there is only now. However, what we perceive as time is actually the space in which evolution occurs.   Evolution can only go in one direction, thus our perception of the linear nature of time.  The past is therefore the space that contains our earlier forms, it contains the progression of evolution of your being to what you are.  The past can be learned from, but does not need to influence your Now.  The Now moment is a new creation, an opportunity to evolve and to release what needs to be released.  Quantum leaps are possible and happen all the time, former ways of being do not need to be clung to in order to evolve, in fact clinging is what impedes evolution.  In actuality the past has no bearing on the Now other than what we give it. 

The future, like the past, does not really exist, however the ‘future’ is about trusting within the Now moment, which means living without fear.  Future is where fear lives for most of us.  When we learn to live in trust instead of fear is when we begin to awaken to the infinite Now, and that is when those quantum leaps of insight, awareness or inspiration become possible.  We cannot cross the gap with fear, it will always block our path.  Trust is the only way forward.  That is when we embrace the moment and harness its creative power, without needing the past to tell us what to do or how to do it.  Are you an athlete who has experienced the ‘zone’, or an artist who has become completely consumed in your art form to the point you lose track of anything but your own self expression?  Have you ever had a lightning bolt of insight or inspiration that just ‘comes’ to you? These are the experiences of knowing the infinite moment.  You have no fear in those moments, you also have nothing from the past which holds you back.  You are connected to the infinite.   Meditation is the quickest way to find this space intentionally.  Sit quietly and observe your breath.  Let all thoughts that come to you pass through without judgment.  Observe your thoughts without becoming or identifying with them.  Find the awareness behind your thoughts.  Slowly the stillness will seep in and in that stillness, you will find the infinite Now. 

-Rhea Jamil

 

Taming the Ego

woman-horse-mystical   What is this Ego which creates the illusion of separateness?  Ego is multi-faceted, which makes it tricky to define. Eckart Tolle defines the Ego simply as an identification with the mind. I agree, but also I think this is just one aspect of the Ego. The identification with thought and with the mind is indeed the root of suffering. The mind always exists in the past, and can only predict future events based on past experiences. Identification with the mind keeps you stuck in loops, in cycles of self-destruction, in circular thinking. Releasing your identification with the mind is key in the process of enlightenment. The essential self (also referred to as the ‘higher self’), is the part of you that sees life from the highest perspective, is connected to the unified whole essence of creation, can see the biggest picture and knows without needing the mind.  This is what one should be identified with, not the mind. The mind should just be a tool, for the role of the mind should be exclusively to receive information from this essential self. Instead most of us have put the mind in the driver’s seat and thus we repeat the past over and over because that is all the mind can do. The essential self only exists in the now moment, not in the past or future. What you call your ‘intuition’ is a direct link to this essential self. When you have had moments of just ‘knowing’ something, without interference from the logical mind, at that moment you are connecting with your essential self and bypassing the logical mind. The key is to do this more often than not, to be connected to that knowing which is beyond the realm of mind and does not need the past to make decisions in the now. Everything we associate with clairvoyance stems from being in this state, and all humans are capable of it.
     Thus, ego is in one sense this identification with the mind. This is why the quickest way to enlightenment is to stop thinking. When you stop thought, your pure, essential self can be expressed. Most of us think that we are our thoughts. We subscribe to the philosophy “I think, therefore I am.” This is not the case. Thought is what gets in the way of who you are. Thought is what creates the illusion in the first place. Thought creates the idea of “you” which is separate from “me” and separate from the rest of the universe. When you get outside of thought, you are the universe. Thus, Tolle is not wrong, however there is another aspect to Ego which should also be acknowledged. Ego is also that which allows you to perceive yourself as a separate being. Without ego, we would be one unified wholeness, as we were in the beginning. For some, that is the goal. But there is a way in which the wholeness also longs for separateness, since it is only in being separate that we can share in love. It is only in separateness that we can experience the divine lover / beloved relationship. This is Ego’s gift. This is the aspect of Ego which can be maintained even when identification with mind is gone and connection with the essential self is achieved. As long as you are in a human body, you can never fully let go of this aspect of the Ego, except perhaps in moments, but this does not mean that enlightenment cannot be obtained, it is just the opposite. You can be fully aware of your essential self and how it is connected to the unified whole, and yet maintain a separate identity which allows you to continue to be human and to share in love. This is a beautiful state of being. As my Sufi teacher Alim Thompson once explained to me, the goal is not to get rid of the Ego, the goal is to tame the ego. I began to think of the ego as a horse. It can be a bucking bronco, completely in control of you and tossing you around in life. This is the scenario of being totally identified with the mind and unaware of your essential self. The goal is to take the bucking bronco and turn it into a well trained thoroughbred, one which willingly follows your direction out of love and respect for you. Riding such a thoroughbred through life will be exhilarating and fun.
-Rhea Jamil

Here is a video from Bashar lays out the role of the essential, or higher, self more clearly than anything else I’ve come across:

Child of the Universe

thThe impetus of creation was the universe’s desire to know itself, to create itself and live through many different forms. When you think about it, it is somewhat like having a child. One of the reasons people have children, though not the only reason, is that they have the opportunity to live through them, to re-experience childhood. Suddenly Disney World is fun again because you get to experience it through your children’s eyes. It awakens a remembering of the magic you experienced in your childhood, so in a certain way you are living vicariously through your children. This is not a perfect analogy, but it is similar to how the universe creates you in order to experience itself from another perspective, to see itself through new eyes. However, as we know with children, they also have free will. At some point, they may turn and say “screw you mom and dad” and go their own way. Then, you will have to watch them as they make bad decisions and suffer the consequences of those bad decisions. And though you are always there willing to guide them, if they do not want to be guided there is not much you can do. In the end, you have to let them learn through the experience because you cannot control them (no matter how much you might want to). At some point, if they begin to realize the mistakes they’ve made, they may come back to you, at which most parents will be there with open arms. A parent capable of unconditional love will understand that the bad decisions they made were part of their growing process and necessary to help them find wisdom, rather a personal insult to the parent’s world view. For this parent, welcoming the “prodigal son” back home is a no-brainer, it is as natural as breathing. The bible and other Judeo-Christian texts are full of “parent child” analogies to God and self, to the point that God is commonly referred to as “father.” This analogy works to a point because it is very reflective of this relationship. We do have free will and can turn from our source. When we do, we learn lessons which then bring us back to that source, which could be seen as a parent. The downfall of the parent-child analogy of God and self is that it also can make God into an authority figure, one who punishes, when in actuality God and self are equals. The difference is that “self” has free will, but no matter how far “self” strays into the illusion of separateness, God is always waiting with open arms, and will always be there for guidance, as a quiet voice within.

-Rhea Jamil