THREE SECONDS

“Be here now!”
Say the Zen Masters –
Because the past’s already gone
And the future’s not yet arrived.

This is the point of “no time” or “eternity”
Which is where we’re all trying to reach.

But, wait, just what, and where, exactly, is that?


According to Galen Strawson, a second generation Oxford Philosophy Professor,
It’s a “hiatus free period of thought or experience” – a few seconds at most –
Because our eyes and minds are always “jumping” –
In fact, the latest scientific research shows that this experienced “Now” is not actually a point,
but an extended period – of up to three seconds.

So, when the Buddha tilted his head back, opened his eyes and saw the morning star –
His own “hiatus free moment of enlightenment” – suddenly, he could understand everything.

Everyone can have a similar experience!

That is, if you can just get past your gabbing, obsessive-compulsive telling stories
and producing mental films of yourself as a “star” or “hero” of your creative imaginative/dream productions –

After which, getting past all that – and opening up your eyes and heart
You accept what you are seeing and experiencing – at that moment.

Then, trusting your mind and heart as to what to do next – and do it –
That is, what your “true self” knows needs to be done.

Seeing through this open window – at reality itself – and then acting!

That is “enlightenment-plus.”

Both the Buddha and Jesus emphasized that one needs to act upon what one sees or experiences
In that spiritually-open moment.

This is what it means to be a human being who thinks, experiences, and acts as God does –
Jesus, the Buddha, and Mohammed repeatedly illustrated this to us –
Not to show how great they were – but how great the potential of each single human being
on the planet actually is!

NOT A PICTURE BUT A STREAM

Born faster than the eye can see –
Life as a “true self” –   

Because, as soon as you stop birthing – you’re dead!

It takes courage to stay in a stream of constant birthing –
Uncomfortable and scary.

The authorities of the world demand acceptance of a fixed personality
So people can be manipulated without violence –
Yes, even those who “love” you want you to remain the same
For a lifetime.

But anyone who can change faster than a thought or heart feeling
Is not a picture, but a stream –
An actual stream.

Such a person arrives from the state of being nobody –
Dodging all the bullets aimed at them –
No matter from which direction they’re coming –
No matter the intention with which they’ve been fired.

They dream of escaping a frozen old age
By fighting “downstream” – towards infancy –
Towards spontaneity –
Towards the art of “coming-into-existence” –
Brush touching canvas –
Pen, paper.

Someone, who’s a “just-about-to-be-made”
Kind of person –

The real thing!

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.

PLENTY OF ROOM FOR ONE ANOTHER

What a year!

Who could have foreseen more than half a million Americans dead of covid
Guided into an epidemiological swamp by the first American fascist President –
Also, who could have imagined white police officers
Snuffing out innocent black folk like mosquitoes on the porch.

Never would I have believed nearly a third of American hearts
Could grow as hard as granite –
With minds, however, at the same time, warped and wavy as silly putty.

Where are our nation’s best virtues found today – religious, political, and moral –
Or, have we just degenerated, at base, into a retro-Evangelical/Capitalistic world
Charged up by thrashing male patriarchalism
That’s growing increasingly violent –
Before drifting off to expire, one day, in abandoned and sad solitude?

Isn’t that why we need a fresh flood of femininity into society
Brought about by large numbers of enlightened women and mothers
Able to enjoy their beauty without any accompanying objectification.

So, when the world starts becoming more natural through its “second birth” –
That is, when every person can achieve their “true self” –
(As a single brilliant “dot” in an infinite human fresco) –
There’ll arrive a “new world” of joyous young people –
Free and mature –

Who’ll be careful to leave plenty of room for one another.

GOD LOOKS THROUGH A WINDOW

Joy is so un-American, it can’t be expressed out loud
Because saying that word in mixed company
Would compel many people to look away.

Joy never developed much in Western tradition –
Except a few flakes – never more.

Joy comes with a dance
But there’re no “dancers” in neo-colonial wars.

Joy can’t be taught – it’s always a surprise –
Nor can it be earned because, essentially, it’s a gift.

Joy is usually found in the face of beauty
Especially that of blue green Nature.

Joy (first level) is who I want to be –
As the key to happiness (second level).

Joy is the name God proudly shows upon entering the world.

God looks through a window
To see if you’re “awake” –
To see if you’re “born again” –

To see if you’ve decided to become your “true self.”

REALITY AT ALL LEVELS

How can we see like Jesus could see –
As fully human and fully God?

He saw with two eyes – one a human’s and one God’s.

A real human eye is found only in a “true self” –
Like the eye of an infant – where everything is fresh and new –
And, as the scientists say,
Pure uninterrupted experience is limited to three seconds,
But is never found in the head of a wooden puppet – like Pinocchio
As an “ego” or a “false self.”  

God’s eye is different –
It sees through time (eternity) and space (infinity) –
Set within the four cardinal points of love, truth, justice, and beauty –
With the lines meeting at the top of a spiritual pyramid –
Love meeting truth, truth meeting justice, justice meeting beauty,
And beauty resting on love –
All conjoined at the tip – where God lives.

Two eyes – one a human being’s and one God’s.

Jesus could see through a child’s eyes
Balanced by those four spiritual attributes of God.

When those two eyes exist in a single head
They see reality – and at all levels.

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.

NOBODY

             One trump card used by “enlightenment masters,” when meeting prospective new followers, is asking: “who are you?,” knowing in advance they can’t answer that – because, in actuality, at the deepest levels underneath their “ego,” they’re “no one” and “nobody.”

            Recognizing the need to rid myself of ego before taking up the search for my “true self,” I started studying Western medieval mystics like Marguerite Porete and Meister Eckhart, as well as more modern writers, like Emily Dickinson and Simone Weill, all of whom wrote about becoming “nobody” or “no one,” as being necessary to approach God directly. Marguerite Porete wrote: True freedom is when we “become love.” This reaches far beyond simple humility (because, obviously, a lot of pride can be hidden behind a show of humility). Going all the way – to zero – and then experiencing the world – is what they seemed to be recommending. At first, this approach seemed meaningless to me, even nonsensical, yet they repeatedly kept saying it.

            Eventually, I came to accept their approach as being centered on freedom. That in order to escape one’s ego, one first had to free oneself of one’s “old” self – along with all the wrong ideas and assumptions about one’s “life” and “the world.” Apparently, becoming nobody does the trick! As Marguerite says: “The soul swims in a sea of joy!”

            We need to go to the place where we stand alone – waiting for the promised meeting with God –and then just wait. As Meister Eckhart says: “To be empty of all created things is to be full of God, and to be full of created things is to be empty of God.”

            The promise is that God arrives out of “nothing,” That by accepting loneliness – even depression – and waiting patiently, God will eventually “come home” – into your heart.

            Immediately upon “waking up,” you’ll be seeing through fresh eyes – a newborn’s eyes – and what you’ll see and experience is what God sees and experiences – through you – just as if you’re God and God is you.

            This is the easiest, as well as the hardest, thing in the world to accomplish – to give up your ego in order to find your “true self” – to become the individual you were born to be. It’s what Jesus understood – that one’s old self has to “die” for one’s “true self” to come to life.

            And this is what he accomplished – and why people either spontaneously followed him or desired to kill him. The former filled with a joy they’d never experienced before, while the latter became angry that any human being would dare to become that kind of person.

            As Meister Eckhart says: “God’s ground and the soul’s ground are one ground.” That is, God’s essence and the soul’s essence are the same – at least in the eyes of great mystics

GAINING ENOUGH SUBSTANCE TO LOOK DIRECTLY AT GOD

The common and usual “self” expands by sticking “things” onto its body –
As well as manipulating other people into its lower orbit –
While rolling and trolling around in egoistic sweet desires.

This kind of “self,” however, sometimes disconnects from itself –
Like a space capsule unlocking from a mother ship
Into a self open to enjoying everybody and everything
With the freedom to be objective and to tell “the whole truth” –
Because there’s no longer any false self remaining.

A self that’s left its false self behind becomes a “true self” –
Free to think God’s thoughts,
Love like God,
And tell the truth like God –

That’s not to say, however, that these experiences can’t end up being a bit “shallow.”

The first step, however, is to gain spiritual freedom –
The second requires a lot of hard work – (because God is not a lightweight) –
Even 10 years of sustained and persistent work
Might only get us as far as being a decent human being –
Even after exercising the freedom of God.

People courageous enough to look God straight in the face
Sometimes still come to realize that working spiritually for most of their lives
Might not add enough weight
To gain the attention of a single person
Desiring to know something about the “real” God.

WAKING UP

If the “self” is a problem
And finding one’s “true self” the main issue
How will we ever find our “true” self
Without first establishing a true world?

It’s a conundrum, isn’t it: since, in most cases, there can’t be a true self
Without first establishing a true “world”?
But such a true world can never be founded
Except by true selves.

This is where psychology merges into politics
And politics back into psychology –
Always in the context of an “alive” God
(No old, stale Gods for us!)

Love, truth, justice, beauty and, of course, freedom, are essential aspects
Of any “living” God
Who can make possible both “true selves” and a “true world.”

Everything, however, can and, eventually will, get better – it just takes time –
Along with large scoops of hope and love –
And, certainly, a lot more awakeness –

God, please help us wake up – NOW!