The One

God/Spiritual Awakening/Nirvana/No Self

Growth is movement from simple to complex. This movement begins with differentiation and then proceeds to integration. First the cell divides and then the new parts learn to function in a cooperative collection. Differentiation may also result in disassociation or fusion. When the parts divide, each has a new individual nature. If this nature is not coordinated with the other cells, then each individual cell does it's own thing without coordination with the collective. Usually, this results in failure of the system. Fusion occurs when differentiation fails. Cells fail to maintain their individual nature and just stick together in a useless glob. 

A person transforms in a similar manner. From the solidity of infancy come the different parts: mind, body and other. When integration occurs the person thrives, but if the parts disassociate, the person suffers. In our culture disassociation is the norm. The idea-mind is dominant to the point where body and other are turned into alien objects. The purpose of Yoga or mindfulness training is the re-integration of mind, body and other. Idea-mind is dominated by the creation of mental objects, thought processing, with particular focus on the mental object of self-permanence. Alienation from other denies the collective nature, inter-dependence of all beings and disassociates man from man, woman from woman and man from woman, the result is isolation, loneliness and objectification of the world of the other. The result is spiritual desolation. When differentiation leads to fusion, mind, body and other can longer perform their unique functions and the system fails.

The Buddha appears to have argued against the individual soul or unique self. For an individual soul to be, there must be an individual. The no-self or the emptiness of objects seems to negate that possibility. Emptiness is form and form is emptiness. Empty does not mean nothingness in this formulation. It means that since all things are without an individual, inherent reality that they are empty of unitary existence, they are dependant instead on conditions of cause and effect. This is the law of interdependent determination. We create form with our cognitive framework, which results in a perspective of things having an inherent reality. Another perspective might be no thing individual at all. 

A thought experiment: Things have no inherent reality. Imagine you place a ball in empty space to answer the question is movement real. You push the ball with your mind. Space is completely empty. There are no other objects. Does the ball move. Could you prove it? You would need a stationary object to use as a fixed point to measure the balls movement. There is no movement without the relationship between stationary and moving. Either has no inherent reality without its relationship to the other.

Imagine your experience is like peering down a tube. At the end of the tube you can see only one individual unit or node at a time. Your experience would suggest that things come as separate units since only one unit at a time could be entertained. As you see each unique unit, as a convenience, you provide that unit with a label. This is a ball. That is empty space. Over there is a stationary object. In this way, you organize the world. Now imagine that thru some miracle you are freed from the tube. The limitation caused by the tube gives way to a new perception of your experience. Now you realize that nodes can also be seen as interconnected. In fact, nodes are interdependent. In the absence of this one that one cannot exist. It is a web. This is movement. Not a one here and another there, but one.

We begin with raw experience -apperception- we either impose -conceptualize- over this raw experience a simple low-resolution or complex high-resolution grid of concepts (language matrix) to assist us in comprehending so we can describe and manipulate (translate) our experience. The resolution will determine the complexity of the grid. The more complex, the more detail, that the grid has, the more accurate the representation but the less understandable and harder to communicate the information. When the resolution is low (too simple) the raw experience is more understandable but less accurate, more distant from the reality of the original raw experience.

Real experience is like a stream. What happens down stream is influenced, determined by what happens up stream. When the flow of water up stream strikes a rock, the course of the water down stream changes. Conversely, if the flow of water is blocked down stream, up stream swells in response. The past determines the future and the future determines the past. The stream is a singular happening of relationships. It is as it is. If you reach anywhere into the stream, you will discover you cannot hold a handful for more than a moment before it is past and gone. Each moment of the water is the result of the up stream and down stream interconnectedness. Each moment of the water is our attempt at stopping that, which cannot be stopped. There are no moments because there is no stopping except when we turn the water, reality, into an idea. Ideas are substance less ghosts of water.

Quote: Thus shall ye think of this fleeting world:
A star at dawn, a bubble in a stream;
A flash of lighting in a summer cloud;
A flickering lamp, a phantom, and a dream. 

-Diamond Sutra

If the self is a delusion then what carries the karma into the next life? No self, no karma. Individuality is a delusion. When any object is examined, its essence, itís selfhood can be seen to be a projection of the way the conventional mind sees. There is only the undivided. There is only thus. There is nothing to acquire karma, nothing to be reborn. The conventional self can act in its delusion and as a result of this action create an effect. In the world of the conventional mind it is natural to flow in a good orderly direction. An action that is counter to this natural flow pollutes.

Our conventional mind believes that there is a design. A piece of wood has a natural grain so if you work with the grain the wood is smooth. Perhaps, we will say that this directionality is good and to work against the grain is not good. This is idea-mind imposing a conceptual framework on the wood e.g. seeing the wood as being subject to a design. No-idea-mind, no grain.

Eventually, all the delusion will melt away into the undivided, unborn, and undying. It is the destiny of all to see this, to become liberated from the delusion of the conventional mind. No individual can be liberated because no unique self can be found. There are however multiple points of view. There is the perspective of the conventional mind and the perspective of the undivided, unborn, and undying. While the conventional way of seeing is based on a delusion, it is, despite that fact, useful. It can provide a temporary lily pad to help cross to the other side.

From the perspective of the conventional mind, it makes sense that our energy should be devoted to the liberation of all. To act in ways counter to the natural flow pollutes conventional reality and behaves as a hindrance to liberation. Our purpose is to turn our will and life over to the care of God as we understand Him e.g. to make ourselves into an instruments of Godís will. What will that instrument do, what will be its purpose. It is our purpose to carry the message to the still suffering. If your hand hurts, you rub it with ointment. It is a part of you. If your child cries you soothe her, she is a part of you. If your neighbor falls, you pick him up; he is a part of you. No one enters the kingdom of God a lonely individual. It is either all or none. Yes, all for one and one for all. Our vow should be to stay, not cross over, until all beings are free.

Quote: The Brahman Dona saw the Buddha sitting under a tree and was impressed by his peaceful air of alertness and his good looks. He asked the Buddha:
"Are you a god?"
"No, Brahman, I am not a god."
"Then an angel?"
"No, indeed, Brahman."
"A spirit, then?"
"No, I am not a spirit."
"Then what are you?"
"I am awake."

Quote: our reality is all form --- it is God that supplies substance, stands under what we see.

The use of the word God is a prop. There is unborn, undying, unconditioned, omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent. This has many names. God, Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, Mohammad, Nirvana--all are archetypes of ultimate reality. They are the images that we give utterance to when we are trying to conceive the inconceivable. They are representations that help in our struggle to know reality. God is real and real is God. God is unconditioned, undying, omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent. There is nowhere that God is not. This would mean that every aspect of the material, every person, every object is in God. In this formulation, there is no need for a non-material level of reality. If you had a set of boxes of varying sizes, how would you decide on which box to affix the following labels: God, heaven, earth, ocean, fish? One way you might precede would be to put the God label on the biggest box. God would be the primary category. Heaven would be a sub-category and so on like nesting Russian Santaís. Everything is a sub- category of the God category so heaven, earth, sea and fish are a categorical hierarchy with God as the super-category. This is the unity of all things.

Due to inherent limitations on our part, it is very hard to see the wholeness that is God all around us. Suppose you are a blind person trying to understand reality. You are examining an elephant. The elephant at first appears to be like a snake because you have it by the tail. Another fellow examiner believes that the elephant is a huge, rough wall and yet another a hard, bony spike because their points of contact are the elephantís flank and tusk. None of the examiners understand the elephant. Instead they have confused the parts for the whole. Now imagine that the elephant is infinite in size but now you can see. You cannot get far enough back from the elephant to appreciate its wholeness so you are condemned to see the elephant as tail, flank and tusk. That does not change things; you have still confused the parts for the whole. You could become so lost in the parts that you would forget that you are dealing with a really big elephant.

It is our way to disassemble reality so that it is easier to comprehend, but God is everywhere. To be everywhere is to know all that can be known. To be everything is to be the determining factor in all that is. God is implied. Reality in this formulation becomes holy. Each face is God's countenance. The earth is God as the platform of being. Everything that is seen as mundane is holy and worthy of reverence. Each human being is God in skin. Jesus knew this and elevated love, the ultimate expression of reverence, to the upper most place in his preaching. To love your fellow is to love God. To protect the earth is to love God. To heal the sick is to love God. To be a peacemaker is to love God. To make dinner for your friends is to love God. In each and every action you take; love God. The reverse is also true. To commit an act of cruelty, to miss an opportunity to do service, to avert your eyes from suffering, to not resist war, to be greedy at another's expense, is to despise God. Quote:Ē God is in the rain." 

Quote: Those who attain perfect wisdom are forever inspired by the conviction that the infinitely varied forms of this world, in all their relativity, far from being a hindrance and a dangerous distraction to the spiritual path, are really a healing medicine. Why? Because by the very fact that they are interdependent on each other and therefore have no separate self, they express the mystery and the energy of all-embracing love. Not just the illumined wise ones but every single being in the interconnected world is a dweller in the boundless infinity of love.





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