|DR. ROBERT PUFF|
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Wednesday, April 8, 2009 - Editor: Gloria Lee
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A liminal state is a "threshold" period of transition where normal limits to thought, self-understanding, and behavior are relaxed - a situation which can lead to new perspectives.
I have been absent recently,
dealing with various situations and attendant states.
This is a short post (did I just hear a sigh of relief?)...because the sun is coming out and I want to go outside. :)
All the time, I run into well-intentioned statements regarding How Things Really Are. The current general outlook is that we are all part of a whole. In religious terms, we are all somehow part of God; in scientific terms, part of "the field"; in New-Agey language, we are each a ray of the Light.
I am urging everyone to go the last step. You are The Whole.
You are not a-part. You are IT.
A separate Being has not partitioned itself into different rooms...you do that, in your mind. Every wall is a few words--an imaginary moment. So sit down for a second (in the sun, if you can), be still, and understand that this is all there is, no limitations. No words. No time.
Later, you can chew over things as much as you want...with the understanding that your teeth can't bite themselves!
Love all of you...
yet, though we strain
against the deadening grip
of daily necessity,
I sense there is this mystery:
All life is being lived.
Who is living it then?
Is it the things themselves,
or something waiting inside them,
like an unplayed melody in a flute?
Is it the winds blowing over the waters?
Is it the branches that signal to each other?
Is it flowers
interweaving their fragrances
or streets, as they wind through time?
~ Rainer Maria Rilke
Although I tend to
write just for the heck of it these days, it was recently brought
to my attention that I should attempt to clarify myself for those
who don't know me well.
I do like to urge people to "wake up" in various ways...but I don't consider myself to be a teacher of anything, simply because I have no method or curriculum that I can lay out for someone to follow. Life is the teacher and the teaching. Any number of methods will do, until a student exhausts methodology and gives up the chase, whereupon he or she finds that perfection exists exactly here and now. (There I go again, being paradoxical!)
For anyone interested and wondering, I will attempt to cram the reason for my "wake up calls" into a nutshell:
1. The saints, sages, mystics, wizards, alchemists, shamans, witches and all great historical teachers and mythic figures are right. They put their reputations--and often their lives--on the line throughout history, because something touched them so radically that its expression became imperative. They assert that there really is a "deeper" layer to life, residing in plain sight, far more powerful than anything we could individually own, rife with meaning, magic and all kinds of heaven. Yes, there is a reason to get up in the morning!
2. The "discovery" of this depth has nothing to do with earning, chasing, denial, education, status, or any kind of social, political, financial or spiritual position. It is one hundred percent "free", available at all times and indeed, comes into (or out of) the world with us. All of us.
3. The tone and feeling of this depth seem to bear the characteristics that we instinctively know are in the best interest of human and all other life--everything, actually. Compassion, clarity, insight, wisdom, appropriate action, creativity and all the qualities we recognize and respect as "good" and "healthy" are hallmarks of this state of being. Yet, it is personal, nothing like we think or imagine paradise to be, nothing bland or conventional in any way. Much spicier, actually; full of adventure.
4. Do I really need to list another reason?
5. How about a certain amount of x-ray vision? :)
All kidding aside, there are obviously tremendous reasons to explore this Mystery. Any one will do. If you are desiring to stare It in the face, however, understand that fame, fortune, power, sensation and security have nothing to do with that vision. Any and all of these conditions may or may not exist, and are, in fact subsumed in It. If you want fame or fortune, better to outright and honestly pursue those things for their own sake, rather than in the guise of a seeker or dispenser of wisdom.
The names of the Deep are varied: God, Ground of Being, That Which Is, Great Mother/Father/Spirit, The All, The One, The Source/Force/Field, Love. It doesn't matter what a person calls It or how an acknowledgment arises. No name can contain what is the ultimate reality. Neither can the idea "ultimate reality". Nothing can catch it, because it is the underlying condition of anything at all. Naming it is somehow redundant, and has been likened to such things as "putting legs on a snake".
As a matter of fact, adopting a pursuit with the idea of "catching" it or attaining a state somehow equivalent to this (merging with God) is a distraction. Better to adopt things because you like and enjoy them. Seekers inevitably find the "real thing" when they begin to actually love what they are doing, whether it's meditation, prayer, marathons, service to others, gardening, whatever. Heaven and the blissful forgetting of yourself go hand-in-hand.
Why is this so?
The self that we typically cling to out of habit and fear is just a thought, a thought exactly along the lines of "It's a nice day, today"; in the same way you don't need a thought to tell you what your nice-day experience is, neither do you need a self-thought to tell you what you are.
When a person ceases to be interested in the "storied" version of themselves (usually after thoroughly investigating these thoughts and stories to see where they go), the tendency is to just be, real and unselfconscious. This doesn't mean the brain turns to mush and goals can't be set or predictions made. But all the straining and constant restlessness and dissatisfaction go away. It becomes natural to step into and flow with the river, rather than standing on the bank or in the middle while pushing, pulling, or otherwise fighting it.
In psychological terms, there are a couple of ways the mind is used. One way is to focus on thoughts "about" life. The other way is to "step back" and let the mind relax into its natural, open state, where experience is both subject and object and no division is necessary. Allowing the mind to remain relaxed and open in the face of heavy traffic, rude people, illness, potential war--even negative thoughts of its own--without taking refuge in and elaborating on some spontaneous, defensive thought...ah, therein lies the trick. The only thing necessary to surrender is any adjective you might use to describe yourself, which you actually believe.
In scientific terms, whatever we choose to isolate in the universe is only separate by convention. Nothing has an absolutely independent existence; everything can only be described in terms of everything else; each object's "field" ultimately includes the entire universe, and what this is defies absolute description. (See "hologram", "quantum" or "puppies".)
In mystical terms, when a baby is born and looks upon the world, The Deep gazes upon itself in a brand-new way, creating a fresh reality in that moment. There is no doubt or question about what this is--it is obvious as it unfolds. The doubting and questioning generally come along with our education, which tends to steep us in partial assertions and explanations, as well as incomplete answers to our human curiosity. Still, That Which We Are never leaves, is always there in completeness. It is closer than skin, than a heartbeat, than a thought. It is the most absolute, basic reality to our being...the most simple and complex love, ever.
Anything else I can say lapses into highly metaphoric, personal, experiential stuff--just like painting a picture of a naked, winged woman. A viewer might ask, "Is that supposed to be an angel...a goddess...what?"
I don't know. That's up to you. :)
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