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Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Perish the Thought

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Philippians 4:8 ( KJV )

'Think before you speak!' When dealing with the Person, especially the Other Person, this is usually a good idea. Or at least, so it would seem! Usually, in the course of any given day, at least once, we will find ourselves regretting something we've said or done without thinking it through. 'As above, so below'; thinking things through before you speak sounds good enough, but (at least ) two 'problems' should be noted here; one, even if it's not 'appropriate' ( ? ), by not saying how we really feel, we're being dishonest, not only with the 'Other', but with ourselves! Secondly, we have a tendency to over-think any given situation; so often, for much the same reason ( 'it's not appropriate' ), we end up doing or saying what we shouldn't. Either that, or we remain silent & inactive.

The verse above, again, personally speaking, sounds like great advice, right?! If we kept our minds 'on things above', so to speak, rather than 'things on the earth', to follow further instruction from the Christian bible, we would do well, we're told. But, therein lies much of the problem; because we as humans believe in duality, we see things in black & white. This is beautiful, that is not, etc. This is worthy ( we are worthy ), that is not ( they are not ). Don't get me wrong; I'm by no means saying there's no such thing as 'just desserts'  ( call it 'Karma' ), just that with a dualistic mindset comes 'separation'. 'But, there should be separation', some would argue, basing this on passages from the Christian bible, like II Corinthians 6:17. This is probably another matter for another day, but suffice it to say that this passage, indeed most if not all passages like it in the Christian bible are referring to a different people in a land & time far, far removed from our current situation.

Most famously, it was Rene' Descartes who said, 'I think, therefore I am'. If we've learned anything in the pages of this blog, it's that it not only sounds ass-backwards, it's just plain wrong! Thinking is not a result of who we are & it definitely doesn't make us who we are! The overwhelming majority of people in this world seem to think that we are merely human beings with rational minds & the ability ( unlike other animals? ) to think things through before we do or say something we might later regret. This is where Fear enters the picture, but again, 'another matter for another day', perhaps. This is not to say of course, that we needn't exercise care, watching our words, so to speak, but too often, our fear of what others might think prevents us from speaking our mind. Not altogether a bad thing maybe.............................

Getting back to Descartes' statement above, putting the cart before the horse ( ? ), so to speak, although it is more like, 'we ARE, therefore, we think', really, in all actuality, it is ( only ) in our capacity as human beings that we do think. As 'monads', or individual minds, in the Hyperian way of thinking, our thought processes do, in that sense, stem from the fact that we are More than our humanity, our 'avatars', in a manner of speaking. As just a bit of a side-note here; whether you take Morgue's word for it or not, he does make some sense; convoluted as it may be, the idea of 'the One & the Many' is not unique to him. Being unique ( individual ) souls, in a manner of speaking, we are possessed of our own thoughts; in other words, we, in our humanity, do not ( necessarily ) have a 'hive mentality'; we think differently, however similar or dissimilar, than any other human being. No one person out there thinks entirely the same as another.

Not to get too biblical, but the apostle Paul, in I Corinthians 2:16, talks about us, in our humanity ( ? ) having 'the mind of Christ'. As accurate or inaccurate as this translation may be, you can be sure that what the writer speaks of here is not a mind that only thinks pure thoughts, as one would expect of 'the mind of Christ'. No, what the author refers to here is the Oneness with the Source that the above-mentioned 'Morgue' also speaks of. As individual minds, or 'monads', we DO think our own thoughts, separate from the One Mind, or 'the Source'.  However, we may choose, as an integral part of the Source, the Collective Mind, one might note, to simply observe ( without judgement ) those unique, individual thoughts, allowing them to pass freely through our mind.

While we may be, as some have said, 'of like mind', we do not, 'as above, so below', think exactly the same thoughts as any other human being ( even 'monad' ). Although we may be fairly 'like-minded', we will never think the same thoughts as another individual. For example, we may be thinking the same thing, as sometimes happens, but everyone has their own unique 'spin' on it, whatever 'it' may be. On the other hand, we should well note, just because one has 'the mind of Christ', it is not to say that impure or 'unholy' thoughts never enter his or her ( individual ) mind!

Because we are who & what we are, call it 'monadic individuals' or what you will, we DO have thoughts unique to us, as individual human beings; there is no avoiding that, nor should we wish to. I realize that, in some traditions, 'thoughtlessness' is highly spoken of, but it is not that we need to avoid thinking, though sometimes we tend to overthink any given situation, it's that, rather than allowing our thoughts to rule us, to the point where we begin to identify with our thoughts ( for example, 'I'm thinking about this, so I must be a..............' ), we simply observe our thoughts, as one separate, yet not separate from the Source, call it 'the mind of Christ', or what you will.

'Speaking your mind' is not entirely a 'good' thing, nor is it necessarily a 'bad' thing. When one doesn't speak his or her mind, whether out of Fear or what, not only are they being dishonest with the other; they are also cutting themselves short. There is such a thing as 'tact', though; I'm not saying that we shouldn't choose our words ( timing ) carefully, just that we should always be true to ourselves. 'As above, so below'; it is when we identify with our thoughts ( 'I am this', 'I am that' ) that we run into trouble. For most people, it IS easier said than done, not to act ( 'right' or 'wrong' ) on our thoughts, but for those few who manage to disassociate themselves from their thoughts & simply observe them without judgement, like passing clouds above, the result is that we are not spurred to action by our thoughts, but by our Will.

The Will does not stand in opposition to the Ego, as some might suppose, for they stem from two very different sources! The Ego, as we've noted, is attached to our human, or animal nature. In fact of the matter, it is an integral part of our avatar. The Will, on the other hand, gets its strength from a Higher Source, stemming from & rooted in our true nature, as spirit beings having a physical experience. I should clarify; though it often seems that the Ego does oppose the Will & sometimes the Will must oppose the Ego, the Ego, as some also suppose ( we've been here before ) is not necessarily 'evil'. The problem 'crops up' when we allow It to overrule our Will.The Ego enables us, in our human nature, to operate in this physical realm; through It we exercise what we humanly call 'free-will', which, though attended by the Will, is not the same. But, I digress.................

There is nothing 'wrong' with thinking! Sometimes, even the darkest thoughts occur to us, troubling or else relieving our minds. We think, though, whether because of societal ( cultural ) conditioning, or what, that such thoughts are 'bad', or 'evil', but they are simply there. Again, 'it is what it is'. If we just observe those thoughts, allowing them to simply & smoothly pass through our mind, 'no problem': it is when we attach ourselves to these thoughts, allowing them to determine our course of action that we run into problems!

To end on a positive note, do not, as some seem to preach, try to change your way of thinking; 'you think just fine!' Your thoughts are NOT the problem; the free exercise ( I'm NOT referring to 'free-will', here ) of your Will is the problem. Learn to differentiate between your Will, which comes from the Spirit Within & your 'free-will', which originates with the Ego; again, NOT a 'bad' thing. Once we learn to differentiate between these two distinct points, we will be more easily able to simply observe our thoughts, without judgement, as they pass freely through our minds. Without the attachment to our thoughts, which belong to our humanity ( again, NOT 'wrong' or 'evil' ), we instead rely on our Higher Nature to determine our course of action, which is ALWAYS a 'good' thing!

Namaste' &  Blessed Be,
Charles Haddon Shank

Tuesday, July 07, 2020

The Death of the Person

First of all, what is Death, but the cessation of Life? In relation to that, what is Life? In one sense, it depends who you ask. 'What sense is that? one might well ask. 'Well, most people seem to think that biological existence is Life.' An acceptable enough answer, I reckon, but is that really what constitutes Life? One might note that it is a necessary constituent, but then we're right back to 'square one', so to speak. 'Is Life simply biological existence, or is there more to it than that?' If Life is mere biological existence, then yes; it could be rightly said that once a person stops breathing, Life has ceased to exist for that person: therefore, 'Death is the End'!

There are those who believe that Death is only the Beginning. In some sense, the greatest maybe, this is true: Death means the Beginning of something New. Biologically speaking, anyway, it is a Universal Truth that, in order for something, be it plant, animal or human ( animal ) to live, something else, 'as above, so below', must die. Therefore, when something dies, something else experiences new life, whether it's a blade of grass that becomes food for an animal, or whether it's what is usually called a 'dumb animal' offering it's 'Life' so that a more articulate ( human ) animal might live. That really doesn't answer the question though, does it? 'If you claim that Life is More than this Biology, then the burden of proof is on you, right!?' Well, yes & no. It's easy enough to say, 'It it what it is', in an attempt to slip out from beneath that burden, but that IS a pretty 'pat' answer!

Just as there are those, 'as above, so below', who believe that 'Death is only the Beginning'; in a slightly different sense, there are those who know that Death is only the Beginning! One might well ask, at this juncture, 'is there really much difference here, between knowing & believing?' Don't we know what we believe? In essence, if we believe something, doesn't that imply that we know it? 'I mean, what do you take me for, anyway?!' Then again, a Muslim believes certain things about 'God' that a Christian might gasp in horror at, because the Christian 'knows' that 'God' isn't like that. 'Why', you should ask yourself, 'does the Christian 'know' that 'God' isn't like that?' If it's because the Christian's Holy Book says so; don't you think the Muslim believes with the same or even more fervency what their Holy Book says about Who or What 'God' is?

Every culture known to humanity has their own peculiar notions about Who or What 'God' is! While Western religions, Near Eastern religions & even some Far Eastern Religions put a 'personal' spin on 'God'; those 'in the know' know that 'God' is simply the manifestation of our own Divinity. Now, before you consign me to 'Hell' for 'Eternity', let me offer this clarification. When I imply ( strongly ) that we are 'God'; I am by no means saying that we 'created' everything we see, up to & including the Universe ( or Multiverse ) Itself. We are not the Source of All!

Being One with, or a Part of that Source, we are then Divine, just as the Source is. Some call this Source 'God'. As we've noted before in the 'pages' of this blog, even the Christian Bible tells us that we are Gods ( small 'g' or large 'G'; does it really make THAT much of a difference?! ) As we've also noted, the Hebrew word used in both cases is the same. On the other hand, most Science tells us that the Universe & everything in it is made up of pure energy, always moving, like a great 'Wheel in the Sky'. If everything is Energy, where then did that Energy originate? Has It, like most religion's concept of 'God', always been, or did Energy have a Beginning? In our personal experience, something must be set in motion in order for it to maintain that motion, for whatever period of time, even for what might pass for Infinity. However, taking that back to its natural conclusion, that would be akin to saying that the Christian 'God' Himself, the Creator, had a beginning!

Science has told us that all is Energy. While that is 'plain' enough, It does not satisfy our curiosity as to Who or What 'God' is, the One who purportedly put everything in motion. What some call 'God', others call 'Energy'. Again, 'as above, so below', in our personal experience, a thing must be set in motion in order for it to remain in motion for any length of time: however, what if Energy, as some Science says, does not die, but is simply transformed? 'What then?! What if Energy is a veritable 'perpetual motion' machine? One might try to throw a wrench in the works here, saying something like, 'but even perpetual motion machines gotta start somewhere!' True enough; 'in our personal experience, yes, but are we not More than the Person?!

Whether one believes or not that we are spiritual beings having a physical experience, it cannot rationally be denied that there is more to us than what is noticeable on the surface. Most religions teach us that, after the death of the physical body, the 'soul', or spirit continues on for 'Eternity'. Thus, by the overwhelming majority of accounts, we, as the Person, are governed, or motivated by the Soul. Therefore, the Person is not 'Who' we are, so much as the Soul, or Spirit is!

Being Who we are, then, We cannot die! Only the Person dies. When our Person (individual body ) expires, if we identify with that Body ( as most do ) we might rightly say that Person, or individual has died. But those who know, know different. Just because an Individual believes they are the Person does not change the fact that they are More. They are simply blinded to the Fact!

The Death of the Person then, in that sense, if that sense alone, is not the End! It really is the Beginning, the Beginning of a New Person, the Beginning of a New Life, in a manner of speaking. 'But wait', you say,' didn't you imply earlier that Life is More than this Biology?!' Why yes, yes I did!

Namaste' & Blessed Be,
Charles Haddon Shank