the truth is simple
the path to knowing it is often not.
the truth is simple
the path to knowing it is often not.
“People sometimes ask me what difference practice has made in my life. The answer is it’s changed everything for me. And, in a funny way, it’s changed nothing.”
Lama Surya Das when asked about his yoga practice
I have been reading Andrew Newberg’s Why God Won’t Go Away. It explains the neuroscience behind spiritual experiences. One of the chapters discusses myths, creation myths particularly, the stories we, as a people or culture, tell ourselves to answer those existential questions about life, death, and why we are here. Two cognitive operators play a role in the creation of these myths. The first is the causal operator, this is the mind’s ability to think in abstract terms; it is what drives our curiosity. And it is what motivates us to answer those questions we have no concrete answers for. Next is the binary operator. This is the brain’s ability to frame the world in terms of basic polar opposites..light and dark, above and below, big and small. It is one of the ways we make sense of our world. What is interesting is that Newberg says, “the binary operator does not simply observe and identify opposites, but in a very real sense it creates them.” So when we are faced with some unanswerable existential question our mind rearranges “the problem” into irreconcilable opposites “that become the key elements of myth: heaven and hell; good and evil; celebration and tragedy; birth, death, and rebirth, and isolation and unity.”
I can’t help but believe we do this on a very personal level every day as well. We create stories, myths, about our lives and identities, and even the lives and identities of others, to “understand” or make sense of our smaller world, however mundane it may be. When I am treated unfairly for instance, I try to figure out what happened…why would this happen to me? And when I can’t make sense of it in some concrete way, I “come up with a story” that I can literally live with. Only when reality sets in and my story unravels, I am again in search of a way to make sense of what I don’t understand. Sometimes we can only believe that which we are capable of handling in that moment. I want to think “A” is true, because “B” is too painful to believe right now. One day I will come to accept “B,” but maybe it takes a neurological change to make that happen.
God, Newberg believes, exists in our minds…not in a fantasy sort of way, but in “scientific” way. This isn’t really new thought, it is why people have been meditating for thousands of years; it is why Sufi mystics whirl, and others chant. God is within us. And if we want to experience God,we must let go of all our personal myths, and discover who we really are.
I have an insatiable curiosity about everything. It’s pathological at times…I want to understand the motivations of others, why people believe what they believe and do what they do. I always thought this was somehow helping me understand my own beliefs, but really it was only a distraction. Perhaps a distraction based a little in fear. I have a faith in God that I do not understand at times. It is the one constant in my life, it has sustained me, and driven me, and comforted me when nothing else has. But I do not know why I believe what I believe. In my neurochemistry is a faith, or really a knowing, that I was born with. I have returned to meditating recently, I am ready to give up my myths and identity; I am on a journey inward now.
I want to return to the time
before my mind believed anything to be true
and live there again
just long enough
to realize the absurdity of what my mind believes now
Once, long long ago, I remember that place, “the land before my mind.” I prayed each night that I might be allowed to go back. Each evening, for most of the years of my childhood I said this prayer. I said these words until they became meaningless ritual and I could no longer understand why I had prayed this at all.
Years later, a session with a gifted healer brought back this memory to me, the prayer came easily again, only I no longer believed in the possibility of its realization.
These days I seem to move between the belief and unbelief, managing my hope and grief on a daily basis. I wonder if others manage their living as I do. Do others remember this place? It is not so much a place, but peace manifest. Sometimes, during meditation or in my dreams I can visit a place like it for a moment and that can sustain me. Other times, I can recall my childhood remembrance with clarity and that is enough.
One day, if I can wait, (though patience is not always my virtue), I believe I will return. It will be my Homecoming.
The words of Yogi Bhajan resonated as I sat in meditation this evening. Real peace is unshakeable.
Real peace is uneffected..unaffected..it is simply our original state of being, before the mind believed anything at all to be true.
my time alone is comforting and easy
and sometimes lonely
but alone I can hear my thoughts above all others
even when I don’t particularly want to
and most importantly when I do
today my voice says
“what is real and where are you in this?”
today there is no answer
what is good
and what goodness means
are different beasts
i think I must give up the idea of things meaning anything at all
I’ve needed some illumination these past few days. I’ve fallen into a retrievable funk…much better than those dreaded irretrievable ones. I can get myself worked up into a panicked state with little effort and this morning I went to my yoga mat to ground myself and return a sense of stability I have seemed to have misplaced.
What I need is information. What I have failed to do is procure that information. Fear has paralyzed me, knowledge will set me free. Sometimes I place a value on knowledge..good news vs bad news. More often than not though, the news is just news…information. Judgement placed on information creates drama, at least for me.
What I reminded myself on the mat this morning, is that information can be helpful. Understanding the truth about a situation/perceived problem can only aid in the response/resolution of that situation.
So what has me troubled? Money…shocking, I know. But today, I resolve to really understand my financial situation so that I can control my finances and have them work for me. For too long I’ve wanted to create financial independence for myself. In order to do that, I really need to know what my expenses really are, and how much money I need to make. Seems reasonable. I guess I’ve been afraid that I will learn that I can’t support myself. I won’t won’t the reality of that until I take a good look…