GOD LOOKING AT GOD

Jesus did it –
So any of us can.

We need freedom, however, to accomplish it –
Because the “self” our parents and society provided us
Prohibits real freedom –
Yes, unfortunately, that “self” which we use to survive
And, hopefully, prosper in the world –
Partially blinds us to reality – as well as to God.

Very few individuals are able to drop their societal “self”
In order to glimpse God –
Zen Buddhist monks tell us that one should “Know nothing” –
And keep repeating it –
Because one’s “self,” and all its mental constructs, restricts our freedom.

This, however, is partially incorrect –
True, to the extent that when we accept any mental constructs
They tend to blind us to reality –
But false, in light of the millennia of human striving for greater understanding
That has led to acquiring tools that can test reality
For the presence of God –
That is, for “Love,” “Truth,” “Justice,” and “Beauty.”

Scientists of consciousness teach that we’re provided with approximately three seconds
To open ourselves to reality – that is, to God –
That we have a 100 trillion synapses available to accomplish this –
And that our mind has a capacity even larger than the entire known universe –
But also, of course, limited by the time available to take a look.

God, however, has no time limitations
(since “time” for God exists in an entirely different realm) –
Therefore, God is always looking at us –
And greatly pleased when we’re able to “feel” God’s presence
And, in response, turn in God’s direction.

Sometimes, we can “see” a flicker of God’s robes passing by –
In and out of our psychological reality –
Out there, on the edge of consciousness –

Not only “see,” but also have the ability to think about what we’ve just seen –
Using those spiritual tools of love, truth, justice, and beauty,
To reflect upon it.

This is what Jesus did, and why he was able to say the things he said,
And why the people who looked into his face could see God.

So, yes, Jesus is God
But so are you if you truly want it.

You just have to give up everything – so as to gain sufficient freedom
To “see” –
And then, have faith in what you are seeing,
Using those “spiritual tools” handed down to you
Over millennia of human experience.

We should be talking with one another about all this –
About God – and about our selves –

What could be more important?

REALLY GONE

God doesn’t provide you with a “self” –
Your parents and society do that.

That “self,” however, is not the same as you
Since you’re undiscoverable as God –
And always free to become your “true self.”

Your present self is really only a mask – a role you play –
So, if you start believing you’re “better” than others
Take your mask off and put someone else’s on –
Try a “black one,” for instance –
 Then, “talk back” to a police officer
And see how long you live.
Or take your mask off and put on
One of the opposite sex –
Spend a little time there
Experiencing different roles,
Costumes,
Language.

The point of comfortably inhabiting one’s everyday self
Is you’ll probably never have the opportunity to meet up with your “true self”
Until you retire and have given up your everyday work routines –
Then, turning around, you’ll discover you’ve become invisible –
And no one can see you any more –
Because your “work self” has evaporated
And, now, you’re no one at all!

It’s only a blink or two from this exact point
Until you’re really gone –
Actually, though, you’ve always been really gone
But just never had to acknowledge it.

EXCHANGING THE EGO FOR A “TRUE SELF”

             Some say the most profound scientific discipline is theoretical physics which has vastly expanded our understanding of the structure of the physical universe using the language of mathematics, but I think this now needs to be matched by an even more profound spiritual/theological discipline that can further our understanding of the relationship between God and the human self through expanded human consciousness of love, truth, justice, and beauty as expressed through the arts. Materialistic evolution via science and technology has taken us about as far as we’re going to get while still retaining our basic humanity, but the prospects for our species will be pretty dim if that’s the full extent of what we’re ever going to achieve.

             I propose it’s time for human beings to make a conscious choice about which evolutionary path they should take: materialistic evolution (especially digital artificial intelligence) or the next step in humans’ spiritual evolution. Greater spirituality, however, won’t necessarily increase our intelligence or ability to manipulate the material world, but could, eventually, evolve us into an entirely different type of humanity – the kind originally pointed towards by Jesus, Buddha and Mohammed.

            When a person enters the world as a baby, they’re totally open to God – arriving as pure energy in human form. Because they come straight from God, they’re completely natural upon arrival. After their surprise landing in this world, however, they need to figure out how to survive in this particular time and place. They eventually do, but the cost is often high. They’re faced with the necessity of becoming the kind of person that other people readily recognize and the surrounding culture use. Since usually they’re raised by parents – people who’ve already made the requisite compromises and adjustments – the baby ultimately learns how to “fit in.”

            This baby, who started life as a tiny energy “sun,” eventually begins “dimming” because so much of her original natural energy will be perceived as “alien” to her family’s world. Eventually, the baby matures and becomes a “person” by developing an ego – and ultimately joins society. One day, however, that baby – after attaining adulthood – might begin wondering where all her previous energy had gone – and whether it might ever be regained.

            In traditional societies, a person’s roles remain largely the same throughout their life and also determine how their children will turn out.

            In modern societies, however, by early adulthood, a person usually gains abilities and opportunities to change “who” they are by making individual choices – leading them away from predestined family roles – becoming partly a family-destined person and partly a self-determined one – in a “composite” role. Nevertheless, whatever this composite role turns out to be, it’s still just a role.

            All roles, traditional or modern, become included in one’s “life story.” As Shakespeare asserted in As You Like It: “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.” So, the problem with developing an “ego,” along with one’s accompanying “story,” is the temptation to “make up” that story as one goes along – like in a dramatic film – even if carried out mainly unconsciously.

            Another problem with “roles” is their need for consistency and continuity, so the self can seemingly remain “the same.”

            This is why “higher” values are necessary to effect any serious changes in our quotidian roles and stories. Traditionally, humanity’s highest values have been attributable to a “Spirit” (usually “God’s”) – as well as to divine spiritual attributes like love, truth, justice, and beauty.

            Roles and stories, however, compel us to live as unfree. Since we believe these roles and stories (as reinforced by the surrounding society) constitute our “identity,” we sometimes even believe we would need to “die” as the price for achieving freedom. If a person becomes threatened with losing their identity, frequently, they’ll think they might as well be dead. That’s how important roles and personal stories are for a normal human being. In fact, there’s a general consensus in the humanities, as well as in psychotherapy, that the ego, as a person’s chief fictional character, is one’s essential self.

            So, how is it possible to free ourselves from embedded roles and stories that obstruct our natural human self-understanding and close down our best, most spontaneous thoughts – in order to gain the freedom necessary to become our “true selves”?

            The answer is that we need to be “born again” – at any age. That is, we’ll need to reverse direction, spiritually, and become a “child” all over again so as to become as free as God.

             Jesus himself said this, did this, and then died for it – all to show us how.

             To be “born again” is scary – few can do it all at once. Most people need time to shed their artificial roles until they’re free enough to make a long daring leap into their “true selves.” Starting at an older age, it actually becomes easier to work towards greater spirituality by breaking up and discarding pieces of one’s earlier “false selves” and gain a greater naturalness and openness spiritually even though one is at the same time physically degenerating.

PEOPLE ARE AMAZING

People are amazing, aren’t they?
Endlessly surprising!

Right now, they’re coming over a hill
Wearing a variety of colors
Speaking multiple languages –
And excited about many things.

Yesterday they were children
Now, they’re the entire world.

We thought we knew who and what we were
But, over time, everything’s changed –
As if in a dream.

There are parents – but they’re not our parents any more –
And there’s the house we grew up in –
But, now, it appears entirely different.

Reality is deeper than dreams
And yet, because of “time,” it’s still a kind of dream –
Once, we believed love could last forever – as real as the sun –
Yet, now we know, it often fades despite our best efforts.

As we grow older, we also grow calmer –
And this can be good in its own way –
We know we no longer can hold fire in our hands –
And our eye’s intensity is also fading.

Yes, dusk is nice –
Lavenders filling up our lives –
Distant odors –
A train whistle – far and away –
Unimaginably poignant.

 

MIRRORS ARE NO LONGER NECESSARY

The ego is a “manufactured self”
That we weren’t originally born with.

At birth, we simply arrived as open consciousness –
Innocent – without ego.

Our “ego” was primarily created in response to others –
I.e., we slowly, carefully create personhood over time
Largely in interactions with other people – and especially in response to their opinions about us
And this is true, whether such opinions turn out to be true or false.

So, instead of being unconditionally loved by God – who truly sees us –
We experience a love and acceptance that’s highly conditional
Through “others,” i.e., through human “mirrors” who constantly show us
Our “face” the world sees –
In tens of thousands, maybe even hundreds of thousands, of reflections –
That, eventually, we come to accept as our “self” –
Ending up seeing ourselves the same way others see us –
Most especially, how our parents saw us –
(Who previously went through this same kind of impersonating process).

As a result, we’re incentivized – and sometimes even threatened –
Against re-discovering our original “true self” –
Because that’s not what “others” have been willing to recognize.

The price for regaining our “true self”
Is to completely drop that hard-earned, hard-shelled ego –
Along with everything else we’ve historically become –
And start over!

This might happen one day when we, suddenly, experience the freshness
Of engaging with the world like a “child” again –
That is, the day we discover and claim our original true face.

At that point, we’ll begin radiating the glory inherent in being a “true self” –
The only one God has ever thought worth loving!

WAKING UP WHEN YOU’RE ALREADY AWAKE

Ghosts, if they exist, don’t qualify as “Spirit” in God’s eyes –
Neither does any amount of religious enthusiasm –

Spirit is not part of any “Trinity” either, no matter what the Church says –
Nor does it reside solely in people’s immaculate minds.

In fact, Spirit isn’t even “mystical” –
Any more than anything else is.

“Spirit” can best be identified as waking up when you’re already awake!

The West doesn’t value this –
Nor has it even been curious about it –
Mainly, because Spirit isn’t available for commercial or political manipulation –

In fact, the West gave up its love for Spirit a very very long time ago.

Today, we’re like children playing in the sand
Intent on carrying out made-up roles –

Spending time quietly with one another
Until our parents finally call us home.

BORN AGAIN

“I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” John 3:3

Christianity teaches that Jesus was referring to salvation based upon a belief in him.

But Jesus was actually talking about being born “into the Spirit” – not about a commitment to himself.

So, what does it mean for one to be born “into the Spirit”?

I think, first, this requires a determination of the meaning of one’s “self.”

Each of us is born as a “true self” – but, at this moment in history, a “true self” probably wouldn’t be able to survive past his or her childhood. That’s why a person, while still young, accepts the substitution of an “ego” or false self in place of their true self – so that they can successfully integrate their “self” into the world – i.e., with their parents, community, and surrounding culture, including their nation and religion. This successor “self,” in most cases, takes the form of the strong and healthy ego that Freud described.

But what are the costs of living through an “ego” self, no matter how successful it may be in the world?

Think about consciousness as an open circle. Then picture the part accessible to the ego as a very thin slice – maybe 10% – 20%. From early childhood on, that’s the part of ourselves we choose to live within – with all our experiences needing to fit within that narrow slice or be excluded. Excluded how? The ego self requires, as the price of an effective existence, that each and every experience outside the scope of its chosen roles be methodically and ruthlessly pushed back into the unconscious – sealing those experiences off from our consciousness.

So, what happens when we’re “born again”? Upon being born again, we gain access to all our consciousness – all 360 degrees of it – and are able to experience full reality. We become completely “free” and totally open to all our experiences – just like when we first came into the world as a newborn baby – but we also retain all the experience and knowledge of the person we had become by the time we were “reborn.” This rebirth, however, doesn’t happen to an ego – it only happens when we’re able to break free of the ego we had earlier accepted – and start living outside it. That’s what Zen training, for example, prepares us for – to get “outside yourself” in order to become “free of your ego.” This is essentially the same path which Jesus taught – that we need to be “born again” in order to become our “true self” – the self God originally provided us with.

Once you become your true self, you’ll enter “Heaven” – and no longer be creating karmic problems in this world. That’s because you’ll be experiencing everything clearly – by being able to see yourself at the same time as you’re participating in the world – by an ability to stand “outside” yourself. This makes it possible for you to see what God wants you to do in any given situation – just like Jesus was able to – allowing you to act the same as God would act if God were a human being like yourself.

Let me say this as simply as possible – once you find your “true self,” you won’t be Jesus, but you’ll have become someone like Jesus – because you’ll have done what he recommended – spiritually, you’ll be “born again.”

All the “Angels in Heaven” start singing when this happens –

or perhaps,

You’ll simply be able to hear the angels who’re always singing – once you’ve gained the “ears to hear” that everyone receives upon being “born again.”

“LIVING IN SIN” – AND DECIDING TO WALK BACK OUT OF IT

Most of us, today, find ourselves “living in sin” because, at some point,
We misplaced our “true selves” –
Relinquishing what God gave us as our very own.

We were drawn to this path by our parents –
Who wished, initially, for us to survive, and then, later on, to thrive –
But, until the world, one day, becomes “God’s Kingdom” – once and for all –
That was probably the right call to make at that time.

So, we never made a conscious choice about exchanging our original true self
For a conventional adult ego –
The exchange that resulted in our losing “everything” truly meaningful to us.

The only possible cure is for us to admit the hard truth
That we actually have lost our true self, sometime or somewhere, during childhood,
And, now, don’t know how to find it again.

It’s a lie we’ll be able to recover our true self in one faith-soaked stroke –
Whether in this life or even in passing from this one to the next –
In truth, it may only be retrieved one step at a time –
The first one being the most important!

That first step by a true self,
Is like trying to put a tiny foot inside God’s huge shoe
And having faith it’ll fit.

At the heart of all religions is an implied promise to get your true self back –
It’s what we’re supposed to spend our entire lives accomplishing –
However, religion never comes out and says this openly
Because it would also mean, eventually, giving up on religion itself
And religion has way too much invested in us to ever reveal that!
So it doesn’t say anything –
And, instead, asserts that each individual needs religion in order to be “saved” –
Even though the promised salvation only begins after one’s life is over –
Or, perhaps, needs to be provided by someone else.

The truth is – all you actually need is God – and the heart of a courageous human being –
The truth is you can have everything – just for the asking –
That when you’re given a “green light” by God –
Which everyone who asks eventually receives –
You’ll be able to start walking – backwards – retracing all the steps taken by your false self –
Back through religion, society, parents, and even your physical birth –

Until you’re completely free (that is, “reborn,” in the language of Jesus) –
To the point where you no longer belong to anyone but God
And, of course, your true self – the “pearl” –
God provided us with originally – as our own individual and exclusive gift!