Life often gives us examples of how we are connected to everything. I once read a story about a man who could “tap” another person and cause them to turn around, even though twenty feet or more separated them! Is this even possible? In the story it was stated that, out of forty people who passed by, only four failed to turn around when this man mentally “tapped” them. That is remarkable! (From The Lost Season by Jeffry Beers)
“Part of life’s beauty is that we are all connected, so that beauty is in me as well”
When we try to avoid an emotional reaction we are likely to exacerbate the problem because we are not dealing directly with it.
“The most common error that deters the development of both individuals and society is to create a positionality that demonizes the ego, and then compound the error by trying to dissolve the ego by attacking it with guilt, shame, and negative self-judgments.” – David Hawkins
According to David Hawkins, demonizing the ego merely gives it more energy. Furthermore, not only does it occur in the individual, the same thing applies to interactions between people, and society in general. To add clarity, lets look at the influence other individuals have on our psyche.
All “things” are connected through space, and are only divided by the perceived barriers in the physical realm. So, by meditating on the space we can go to a place where we feel part of something much bigger than the self.
It is helpful to remember that religious ideology is meant to show us how to transcend the ego and come from a place of pure awareness, which is the center of the Universe, and in each of us and every conscious being. Letting go of the ego – giving up the self – is the way to travel at the speed of life and follow the Universal flow. It is coming from a place of open acceptance and receiving, rather than a place of going and getting and achieving. Indeed, what is there to achieve outside the eyes of humanity?
“I am not what you think I am. You are what you think I am.”
When we judge another we are actually feeling a part of our self, deep in our subconscious, that the conscious mind does not like. Indeed, Carl Jung once said, “Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” The tension we feel when another irritates us, then, is coming from the conscious mind in disagreement with the subconscious mind. In psychology, this phenomenon is referred to as cognitive dissonance. To remedy the situation all we need do is feel the tension in the body and allow it to relax, while at the same time, letting go of the thoughts associated with it. Then the “split mind” becomes one in the silent stillness of the present moment.
To be “of one mind,” then, is to have awareness centered in the now, rather than in the past/future reasoning of the egoic, “split mind” of dualistic thinking; of good and bad, black and white, right and wrong, etc. This is the place between thoughts, the silent stillness of aware presence that lies beneath the level of the mind. It is where we find “the peace that passeth all understanding.” And why does it go beyond understanding? Simple. It goes beyond thinking itself. And how do we get there? Get in the gap between thoughts, and be here now!
“Even when walking in the company of two other men, I am bound to be able to learn from them. The good points of the one I copy; the bad points of the other I correct in myself.”
Based on this quote by Confucius, I decided that when I observed what appeared to be a weakness in others I would look to find it in myself. Once I started this practice, it never seemed to take long before I found it. For example, one night I felt uncomfortable around my former girlfriend’s family because of fear of being judged.
Later, upon reflecting on the evening, I could see that in no way did they act judgmentally toward my daughter or me. Indeed, it was clear to me that I was the one doing the judging, if in no other way than judging them as those who would judge.
Judgement in action
Once, as I was biking home from campus, I heard a car alarm going off. Normally I become a little annoyed at such a disturbance, but this time I simply observed it. As I approached the car I noticed three men, who appeared to be in their twenty’s, and were obviously quite annoyed by this particular event.
I heard one of them say, in a rather agitated voice, “All you have to do is put the key in the ignition and turn!”
“If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.”
One night I was sitting in the hot tub gazing at the nearly full moon when suddenly I had a very lucid thought about just who and what we truly are. As I was sitting in silence feeling the stillness of the night, the words, “know thy self” came to mind, followed by “love thy self,” and the meaning hit home deeply as I felt a strong sense of compassion for the parts of me that have suffered, and which in turn, became a great teacher.
I have to say, when I had first heard of the idea “love thy self,” I had only an intellectual understanding of what it meant. However, that night while gazing at the sacred moon, I actually FELT compassion for hurt Jeff. Consequently, I now truly get what it means to love thy self. And it is powerful!
“Know thy self.”
One of the main teachings it boils down to is simply living in the eternal now and being of one mind. This differs from the perspective of the split mind, where we have created the identity of “I,” which can be described as the person I want or intend to be vs. “me,” which is the person I want to improve upon. The latter is the one we must develop compassion for, as it is the one who has suffered. And this is the very reason we attempt to improve upon it; because quite simply, we do not want to suffer.