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.

HOW TO LOVE GOD DURING A CORRUPT ADMINISTRATION AND ACCOMPANYING PANDEMIC

It’s hard to stay focused on God, especially now,
But that’s what I want –
Even though I’m worried about finding food, toilet paper, and other life necessities.

This makes me irritable.

At such times, it’s hard to bring God close,
Especially when worried about society
And that reality show “wannabe” tyrant spewing lies,
False assertions, and made-up facts –
(And I don’t know how to stop him).

I’m older now, and want the presence of God
To become ever-present –
But, don’t know how to do it –
Even though that’s what I want most.

God is everywhere
Especially hovering near my heart –
And mind.

God encompasses Nature and everything above and beyond Nature.

Question though:

Is God present in “man-made” things –
Like tables and chairs – houses – cups and bowls?
My real question is whether God may be experienced derivatively
That is, through “man-made” as opposed to “natural” things?

Then, going even a step further –
Can God be experienced digitally – through the internet –
That is, to what extent can the derivative world overlap with the world of God
Through man-made technologies unleashing algorithms of artificial intelligence
Which, in turn, recreate human-like ideas through the use of intelligent machines
And which, at some point, might get disconnected completely from mankind and life itself
Through a “Singularity”
Or a “Singularity” squared.

Where could God be in any of that?
My biggest problem now, though, is one of forgetting –
Because I get distracted by so many things
And lose touch with God – repeatedly.

How can I make fresh contacts with God – and hold onto them
More than a few seconds?

I want God to come into my heart and remain there
I want to hold onto God with determination
To fall asleep repeating God’s name,
And wake up with the joy of God on my lips.

I want other people – coming into my presence –
To feel God –
Like a spiritual surprise!

I want you – reading this – to find God
Coming like an eagle straight through your eyes –
Down into your heart –
And then, lifting your feet high up into the air,
You’ll begin feeling ecstasy
While quietly nibbling away on tiny bits of “Diner Mystic.”

TWO REVOLUTIONS

Evolving from animals into humans, the issue has always been one of freedom –
Physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual –
Because freedom releases huge amounts of energy,
As well as increases our demands for self-fulfillment.

With limited freedom, human beings are dull, subdued – frequently subservient –
While with more extensive freedom – available mainly to the few at the top –
They do have fun!

Athens was the cynosure of the world’s first revolution –
A political revolution that’s still playing itself out –
Providing people with individual responsibility for their nation
As well as for their personal lives.

Today, this battle is still raging on – the 1% versus, literally, everyone else.

This revolution, begun in Athens, has now become partially successful
And is responsible for releasing stupendous amounts of energy across the globe.

The second and a parallel revolution was the attempt to achieve spiritual freedom –
Jesus, Buddha, and Mohammed pushed open those stubborn doors
To a freedom providing human beings with the soul-openness of God –
That is, so that people could live pretty much like God does – but in human form –
In spite of their mortality.

Unfortunately, this revolution failed –
Primarily because it involved too much work and too much risk –
Requiring us to give up our cherished egos – those utilitarian “self-puppets.”

Jesus died providing us with a spectacular example of human spiritual freedom
But those who followed, later on, established a world religion instead –
Which taught that only one person could become as free as God –
Jesus himself –
While everyone else needed to live “through” him –
Giving up their own, once in a lifetime, opportunity to achieve a similar spiritual freedom –
In exchange for a promise of some “afterlife”
Available “nowhere,” “no-time,” and “no-place” –
Which is how Christianity turned Jesus’ spiritual revolution upside-down and inside-out.

This failure, and the consequent abandonment of radically increased spiritual freedom
Has resulted in an almost infinite loss of energy and hope for the entire human species.

Political democracy has always been thrilling because, with it,
We’re personally able to improve our society and individual living conditions.
Spiritual democracy, however, could provide us with an even more profound freedom –
The key to almost infinite human energy –
Freeing human souls to become their “true selves”
And allowing human beings to mature in a straight line after being born
Without having to stop along the way to develop an artificial “ego” for self-protection.

Freedom, political and spiritual, takes a lifetime of hard work and courage to achieve –
But, without both these freedoms, human beings will never be able to experience ultimate joy.

It takes guidance from Athens and someone like Jesus, Buddha, or Mohammed
To achieve ultimate human joy in our everyday quotidian lives –

And that’s no joke!

YOUR “ORIGINAL FACE”

I’ve frequently written about the “true self” –

That is, when you come to be able to live the life you were meant to live – before being born –
Before getting “beaten up” by family, society, and culture
And “molded” – with or without your active participation –
Into an “ego” that occasionally reflects aspects of your true self – but frequently does not.

Zen people call this true self – our “original face.”

To illustrate the weight of mask upon which your roles are typically displayed –
Start by relaxing your facial muscles –
Then check to see whether your face still remains tight –
If so, try to let your face become as “liquid” as possible – completely non-judgmental –
Until you’re left with as un-tense a face as possible.

That’s as close, without a lot of additional spiritual work,
That you’ll be able to get to your “original face” for now –

A face that exhibits your naked heart –
A face that reflects your essential being

Your “true self.”

AT ANY MOMENT

Once you become nothing – that is, no thing,
You instantly become a door –
A spiritual door that, once entered,
It’s possible to find your “true self.”

Surprisingly, it doesn’t take much “work” to surrender one’s ego
Since it’s only “dead weight” accumulated from birth –
Manufactured and transmitted by culture, politics, society, and religion.

It’s surprisingly easy to find your true self – the easiest thing in the world –
But does take courage
Because you have to give up everything
That is, the glorious ego you pieced together over a lifetime.

Easy, because you’re already “there” – beyond ego – without consciously knowing it –

Yes, it’s true, you can find your “true self” at any moment –
Your very own spiritual “pearl.”

ONCE SHE’S ARRIVED

What will the purest girl in the world say
Once she’s arrived?

I think she’ll speak from the pure and loving heart of Jesus –
Be balanced and sane as the Buddha –
And “hear” God perhaps more clearly than Mohammed –

And more – she’ll tell us her own thoughts.

Pure as a tumbling mountain stream
Refreshing as first sight of sparkling ocean waves
Radiant as sun pouring through shimmering green leaves –
She’ll come – and refresh our hearts.

Our present society is reliant upon the continual creations of science and technology
To address any problems we believe may be unsolvable –
And resolutely looks to its ever-growing prosperity and magical-seeming inventions
To save us – but, intuitively, we know there will be no true salvation
Based solely upon material innovations.

Perhaps we need to start looking in another direction entirely –
For example, to the arrival of “the purest-hearted girl in the world” –
Who’ll be bringing us the spiritual gifts we need to survive –
And who’ll patiently explain the answers to our many unanswered questions.

She’ll be gentle, manifesting as Love (yes, with a capital “L”) –
Know just what we need –
And be willing to bring it –

Quietly and joyfully.

PAIN ALL AROUND

When a society
or a person
Does something bad –
Really Bad

They quickly forget it –
so as to be able
to do it again

As Americans, we think mostly about
how good we are –
(and getting better every day) –

But if, by accident,
we’re ever reminded of our bad,
we tend to “duck and weave,” arguing many
others have been much worse –

That’s why the old-time religions are right
about sin.

We love it so much that
We “marry” it –
And hold it close to our hearts

Where it inexorably bites us deep
Unto death

Satan sitting on our chest
God up in his sky

Pain all around.

“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!