Topic 18 – The Impersonal
A person who believes, as she did, that things fit:
that there is a whole of which one is a part, and that being
a part, one is whole: such a person has no desire
whatever, at any time, to play God. Only those who have
denied their being yearn to play at it.
Ursala K. LeGuin, The Lathe of Heaven
If there has been anything that you have gleaned from our past 18 weeks together, would it be that you are more willing to be suspect of the version of you you’ve been given, the alleged you that bears your name. Not that it’s not part of you, per se, but that you can better sense how limited its perspective is, thus the distortions it creates. For like those who believed the earth was flat as they viewed the ocean from a wharf in their local harbor, you too have been looking at and experiencing the world from a frame of reference that imagines the world only as separate, distinct, isolated, well-defined objects. Like a child in one of its many fantastical versions of “let’s pretend,” you have denied most of what you are by playing your role of Sally or Joe, where everything in your life is a personal experience vetted through this caricature that bears your name. So in this week’s discussion, let’s dive into the deep end of the pool to present a radically different possibility for what and who you are– the impersonal experience of you.
First, pause to engage James Lane Prior’s (Pama Rab Sel, The Divine Moment) instruction manual, as it were, for how to ponder:
Whatever has been is gone.
Whatever will be does not yet exist.
In this space we reside.
Don’t give it another thought.
Expand this space. Sustain this moment.
Those who would distract you with notions
of speed, growth and decay are merely nervous.
Remain steady in the stillness.
Now as you sit there quietly, your mind as freed-up as you are capable of at this time, read another amazing description of you aloud, and listen:
Let me appraise you of something:
You are one of a string of beings;
an ongoing radiation….
What was not engaged, you inherited as a duty.
What was accomplished you have as a strength.
Thus, what you ignore or sidestep,
You pass on as a load to be carried.
And only your secret victories enlighten posterity.
That is perhaps one of the truest descriptions that I’ve ever read of what is generally deemed as indescribable–the impersonal, the totality of you. Think of yourself as operated by a rheostat. Call the lowest setting on the rheostat what you now refer to as yourself, for example, Joe or Sally. Call the highest setting electromagnetic radiation—conscious, creative, aware energy—and begin dialing yourself toward that end. Don’t make it up mentally. No fantasizing here. Tippy-toe along, sensing and feeling your way toward a more impersonal experience of yourself, even if it is only a momentary flash of recognition. Go only as far as you can presently. Don’t force it. Just play with the notion that the rheostat turned full-up is truly you.
That sense of existence can be felt within you: what Jesus the Christ referred to as the kingdom of heaven. For those of you who relate best to Biblical language, the instructions I’ve just offered were stated in the Bible as: Seek ye first the kingdom; and the kingdom of Heaven is within you. And as my delightful husband pointed out one time, “There wasn’t any seek ye second.”
All manner of sages have been telling us for millennia who we really are. There is nothing new here. Somehow, however, the desire to become aware of this deep Truth needs to awaken in more of us. We can be at whatever point on our on-going radiation we are. That’s not the problem. What we need to be increasingly curious about is that position, if we are ever to fulfill what our brief moment in time is asking of us. We must know where we are now, what duty we have to engage this time through, if we are to experience any part of why we’re truly here. Consciousness is the defining difference.
Nor does this duty refer to specific earthly projects or accomplishments. Wherever we find ourselves is where we engage with this duty, as a parent, teacher, artist, garbage collector, it matters not. The purpose of this duty is to bring us into greater awareness of what/who we truly are, to know our true nature for the first time. From that awareness, we then know our interconnectedness with EVERYTHING existent—the haunt of the impersonal. And finally James Lane Prior ends his extraordinary essay on REALITY by concluding:
There is only One Moment.
It is eternal.
It is this moment.
There is only One Self.
It is infinite.
It is the self that experiences this moment.
All the rest is shadow.
Next week in Topic 19 – At the Corner of Physics and Metaphysics, we’ll take a laymen’s look at how western science is supporting the ancient understandings of sages from the past and encouraging us on.
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