As I sat on the shore of the bay this weekend, in a chair. I thought about the people close to me, in my life, each of them as a child, in my mind’s eye, with my eyes closed. The innocent, perfect, silly creatures they were in the first 5-10 years of life. The hardest one to conjure is myself. When did I truly not have a care in the world? When was the world my playground and when was my imagination truly free and unburdened? Our consciousness is the divine source fashioning a way to become aware of itself. How foolish it is to think we are somehow superior to the insect or the dog. We won the consciousness lottery, and at the same we are imprisoned by the limitations of this feeble human consciousness that pale in comparison to the infinite number of higher and different forms of consciousness. Invisible conscious entities in spiritual realms may drive and direct forces in our lives. It is my opinion that we are middle of the road consciousness on the spectrum of living things, in this realm and others.
Since I was a small child, I have been on this quest of self-discovery and introspection. I have wanted to “know myself.” I have put my own psyche under a microscope and I inspect, ruminate, turning the microscope on my mind until I am disgusted with the vanity of the vicious cycle. I am seeking something that I will never find in any concrete or conceptual way. Alan Watts says that trying to find the self is like a knife trying to cut itself, like lips trying to kiss themselves, it can’t be done. Sound, smell, sensation, taste, textures, are you, as much as your finger is you, and the imaginary mind movie you play 1000 times in your head, daily, is you. To see a sight, to feel a feeling, to hear a sound: these are all redundant, there is no thinker of thoughts, no seer of sights, no hearer of sounds; there is merely thoughts, sounds, sensation, everything in this world that you perceive, is you. There is no I, there is only being. Separateness is an illusion.
Occasionally, I have moments of realization where consciousness takes the form of a video game, with endless amounts of present moment do-overs, I have to smack myself and re-orient myself to this movie of perception that has as its highest function evolution and survival. My perception is the same glitchy operating system that zoned out in 4th grade math class and spoke with my grandfather in his final year of life, ten years ago. The same consciousness that perceived my kindergarten schoolbus when the world was teeming with opportunity. I was a spontaneous, silly kid who savored every single second of playing with the other girl or boy on the bus and running home after school because everything was new and uncorrupted by learning and conditioning. I can go right back there. I am there still. We have been gifted this magical present moment that has elongated into something that we call a life, millions of breaths and heartbeats in between birth and expiration, when this meat vehicle decomposes in the ground. The miracle of the present was beckoning to me the countless hours I spent in classes that were ideological and constrained by the pursuit of western ideals. Only very few times have I actually bathed in and absorbed the beauty that can be seen in a sunset, an ocean, green grass and even the city. Its available anytime and anywhere though.
The sun would not exist without our eyes to perceive it, our eyes would not exist without the sun shining light on an otherwise vacuum of darkness, everything in this world is in perfect symbiosis and tied to another another counterpoint it nature, and it always has been. If there were no darkness, there would be no light, if there is no evil, there would be no reference point or way of defining “good”, if there is no death, then there is no life. We are in the midst of an eternal cycle of death and rebirth. Without paradox and opposites we would not have the sequential cycle of the river of renewal of life. This body, our limited, inadequate perception, merely perceiving a reality, that really isn’t “reality” because all reality is subjective. This body and this projecter screen of consciousness, scientists can’t pin down if the world we perceive is contained inside the brain, or if it is a soul run operation that has roots in the divine source.
I dug my bare feet into the sand, the sun lowered below some clouds, nearing the sunset for the day, the couple rounded up their yellow labrador as he shook the water off his coat. I shut my eyes and went inside. In, 1, in, 2, in, 3, in, 4, I said in my mind, trying and continuously failing to strengthen my grasp on the elusive present moment. As I sat there with my eyes closed, after around 20 minutes, when I usually hit a sweet spot, where the good stuff happens, the tears came. Calm, composed, tears of gratefulness. One of the many gradual processes of waking up, simply becoming aware of the beauty that is, in every molecule on this earth, to the love that is already in my life and always has been, I only lost sight of it. Meditation is a way of opening, ever so slightly each time, the door that is locked on the way to my heart. My heart will let out a little each time through the tightly sealed door. The sadness, the love, the gratefulness, hasn’t had a healthy way to release and transmit to others in my life up to now.
As I sat on the beach quietly tearing up in this heart-opened state, it occurred to me that any given emotion, reaction is available to me at any given moment in this life. It was true when I was 5, and its no less true now. Life, consciousness, mindfulness, joy, true peace of mind doesn’t involve any sort of linear upward path like climbing a mountain or, amassing a certain amount of wealth or glory, but simply being silent, being still and listening to the perfection that is around you in nature and has always been in you.
I saw my future self with kids and a wife, and then bounced back to the me of 5 years old playing in the yard with my brother, there being no difference in where the 45 year old me and the 5 year old me will find serenity. I will find it in catching a soothing breeze over the soul, the stillness of the plants and the grass and the chirping of the birds. When a storm passes, natures endures, always finding a calm baseline and state of rest. I immediately recalled the many hours I sat sitting on a bench in a park in Salamanca, Spain in 2013. I sat there watching the sweet, carefree adolescents, the Spanish girls with their tight jeans shorts riding up their butts, the abuelas walking, as their little rat dogs scampered along in front of them. That summer, I basked in my self-pity the way a heroin addict bends his head back after he injects the needle in that pure ecstasy that he can only go ahhhhhh as the pleasure envelops every nerve in his body. I envied the Spaniards carefree frolicking and immersion in the present.
Time is the greatest illusion of this life, because it deceives us into thinking there is any sort of clock on existence. It is my belief that my essence, your essence, your soul, the love in your heart, is eternal and infinite. My intuition, with meditiation, and my progressing awareness of the last year, that the distance from right here, to the most distant star in this ever-expanding universe, 8 billion, 100 billion light years away is comparable and really the same volume as inner space, because the same energy that keeps the sun blazing, is in my heart and your heart. That same universal life force grows the grass, the flowers, propels the salmon upstream to spawn, the birds to migrate in winter and the pack of whales to migrate thousands of miles across oceans, is in all of us.
This continual process of waking up for me, continuing to get agitated at times, while persisting in my meditation practice, watching myself, oh silly Pete, there you go thinking anything said or done to you, matters. Don’t be mislead by this inadequate movie of consciousness and visual perception, shut your eyes and let the wobbly glass of water seek a still and calm level, my inner guide implores. Let the noisy people scream and shout while they take the game seriously. Go watch the way of nature and let that be me. Only when I relax and let the river, the never-ending flow, of life, death, rebirth, take me, am I truly free. I can’t take IT, I can’t take a bucket and attempt to take water from the river because water removed from the river is no longer part of the river (the flow of life) While floating down a river with a strong current, how futile it is to look back or try to swim upstream, it is wasted effort, because its impossible.
I felt grateful in this moment, sitting on the beach, as the sun descended below the horizon, for everything in my happened to my life up to that, all the loneliness, the hurt, the isolation, the anger. It crossed my mind that the universe had my back. Whether that is God, a divine intelligence, synchronicity, whatever it is. I said, I get it now, I get it, the way a toddler first learns to ride a bike or can write a properly spelled word. Because I have needed everything in this life to wake up to who I truly am. It is my belief that we will all wake up to the simple but profound realization that this moment, the breath you are taking this very second, the sensation and sound you perceive is all there is, all there ever will be. The simplicity of it can almost make it sound dumb, but it is no less profound.
In that moment, I felt cared for by this realm, this dimension of existence, this world, this vision of objects and things, these hands, these legs, this tongue, the breeze in my hair, a sunset, the quiet of the forest, the tides of the ocean, the rotation of the moon. It is all as it should be, just like everything about me, is perfect, and everything about you, is perfect, and it always has been. The only way to realize this, is to lose the need to control and to allow and, in silence, invite some of the vibrating, omnipotent source energy that is in all of us. “The fire that burns without consuming.”
It has taken me this long in life to feel truly at home in this body, in this hologram, the bubble of creation we call earth and the cosmos. Did this world make me this way precisely so I could struggle, or suffer through all of it and emerge more conscious, more mindful, of the exact pain I have endured with the idea that I would be powerfully equipped to help those in my predicament. Is this physical incarnation of my soul the one that will finally wake up and enrich the lives of my future incarnations in the eternal cycle of death and rebirth. I am reminded of the story of the Bodhisattva, who had attained enlightenment and could ascend into a state of eternal bliss in the higher realms, but decided to return to earth to suffer in human form and help others reach enlightenment because he knew this was the purest expression of love.
How does a gash on your arm heal? Is there any way to explain it? The millions of antibodies and white blood cells conspire to seal up the wound gradually. How does a broken bone heal when set? Is there any logical way to explain this? The body digests for you, breathes when you sleep, regulates body temperature, grows your hair and your nails? Your body is perfection in action. Then why would be the process of healing your mental state be any different than getting out of the way, being silent and focusing on breathe? What if the answers are in your being and stillness, they are waiting for you when the other noise has been turned down? In the form of intuition , of non-attachment, and attempting to get off the pleasure/pain rollercoaster, the see-saw of praise and blame that focus on external reward.
What did the noises I make with my mouth help with anything? Would that energy be better spent on working on myself so I could be 100x more effective in impacting others? How much of my energy was distraction today? Noise and extraneous and useless chatter, to pretend we are all emotionally ok and satisfied with indentured servitude to college student loans and a Federal bank system that continually “wins” as the house in a casino does? To toil away under fluorescent light in spine-stressing chairs for 9 hours a day to make money to impress people you don’t like and fit into an image that your parents have set or persuaded you into? When does the race end? Is the finish line retirement? Is that when we enjoy the spoils of buying into the never ending game of coveting, buy, buy, buy, never stop being an obedient consumer, the TV tells us. you’re an outcast if you’re not buying my product and promoting my brand. If you don’t buy into the culture of the mighty individual and the culture of the American extrovert then you’re a freak, because you’re not going to buy Bud light and have conversations at loud bars where people go to dull consciousness.
Conversations with myself
What do I have to say today? What do I have to contribute to humanity? Who have I helped today?
Nothing. Nothing. No one.
How will I leave my mark on the universe?
Writing a novel on depression and the epidemic of meaning in the digital age. 2. Being a psychologist- but then I will dwell in this sloshing and overflowing pool of problems of bankers, desk attendants, secretaries,profiting off something I don’t truly believe in and stand by. I believe plant medicine, eastern techniques, and simply dance, group therapy to be the most effective methods of healing.
How do I escape the imaginary mind movies playing simultaneously in my head? The vast and varied reels of shame and imaginary future me’s. Breathe. Observe, watch them pass like clouds in the sky, fish in the ocean, snowflakes on the mountain ridge. Let the shaky water find a still level. Be like the water, flow and take the shape of the occupant, don’t try to capture the water but merely flow, don’t possess.
Where is my life compass (moral compass) pointing me?
It swings from existential dread to hopeful, elation and obsessive anticipation of the future each day, I know there is no sustained contentment to be found there. This opiate of the masses: imagined future love and abundance, which holds all the same dissatisfaction, because the coveting and desire will never stop. So if time is an illusion and its passing and your subsequent amassing of resources doesn’t guarantee happiness…. why think about it? Why not release yourself from the shackles tying you to the future imaginary projection. We all need deprogramming of the toxic American machine.
What is the point of it all if nothing matter beyond the present moment? Why not dissolve into this nirvana of breath and contemplation like the hermetic monks, move up into the mountains like the mystics of the middle ages seeking enlightenment. So my intense physiological revolting towards our cult-ure has been jarring at times and difficult to integrate. This is my task for this year. Integrate my disgust and anger with the current state of the world and America (that is hijacked by my ego at times) and mold it into patient, constructive effort.