“Human beings have two options: being in contact with the Source, or being in a state of disconnection from it.
Being disconnected from the Source is not the loss of a luxury, or something extra — this loss lies at the very heart of human suffering because this Source constitutes your most real nature, the true center of who you are. Without it, life is deadened in all its aspects and becomes meaningless.
We don’t simply lose a sense of peace or contentment, or the intimacy of feeling at home with ourselves, but we also lose the source of all of our real capacities that we need to deal with and live our lives fully and correctly. So this is not a small loss or simply a philosophical one — it is a very practical and immediate one.
Working on regaining the Holy Origin — realizing our unity with our Source — is not supplemental, something to do when everything else is taken care of. It is basic and fundamental. Not to do it is like trying to live your life without your insides, your bodily organs — what kind of life can you live?
Without the connection with your Source, in which your life is lived as a continuity of Being, life becomes a prolongation of hollowness.”
– A.H. Almaas Facets of Unity: The Enneagram of Holy Ideas
Photograph: Elliott Erwitt, Wilmington, North Carolina, 1950
“The most important insight needed for a student to move from the deficient lack of support to the actual state of support is the recognition that the feeling of helplessness, of not knowing what to do to be oneself, is not an actual deficiency, nor a personal failing. It is rather, the recognition of a fundamental truth about the self, which is that we cannot do anything in order to be, for to be is not an activity.
We can come to this understanding only through the cessation of intentional inner activity. At this point, not to know what to do is a matter of recognizing the natural state of affairs, for since there is nothing that we can do to be, then it is natural that we cannot know what to do. There is nothing to know because such knowledge is impossible. Nobody knows what to do to be, and the sooner we recognize this, the easier is our work on self-realization. In fact, feeling that we don’t know what to do to be ourselves is the beginning of the insight that we don’t need to do anything.
As we begin to understand this perspective, we may learn that one’s helplessness is based on a delusion: the belief that there is something we need to do in order to be ourselves and the resulting conviction that we can know what it is. This is one of the basic delusions of the ego life of the self. It is inherent in narcissism that we will attempt to do things to support our sense of identity.
So the self is always engaged in inner activities of remembering, imaging, indentifying, repressing, projecting, idealizing, and various self-manipulations to shore up our insecure sense of identity…The real issue of support emerges clearly only after we have penetrated the various external manifestations of this ego activity, and have experienced essential presence directly and immediately.”
Contact sheet of artist Jackson Pollock in 1949 by Martha Holmes/Time & Life Pictures/Getty
“If we want our experience to impact our life, it will have to become something more than a lollipop. Experience will have to be approached as nourishment that will lead to actual growth, actual development, actual evolution. What we need is an education about how to be a human being. We might not have any idea what it means to be a human being. Being human does not simply mean being human in isolation from Essence, in isolation from God or Truth. Being human also means knowing how we are related to other realms. So we need the knowledge of the soul, of Essence, and of objective reality to learn how to be a human being. But what is needed more than anything else is an education that will transform our approach to experience in general. Whether we’re experiencing other people, or daily life, whether we’re experiencing emotions, essential states, or realizations, we need to approach our experiences in a mature way.”
Opening photograph: Clouds, Birds, Moon, Venus by Isaac Gutiérrez Pascual.
“When you know that you are something beyond your body, mind, emotions, sensations, that there is a lot more to you which is deeper than these things, your point of view about life will change.
If all your life you’ve looked for somebody to love you, and then find that your nature is love, what will happen to that search? You spent all of your life trying to get love, and then realize that you are love; you are no longer the bee looking for nectar; you are the flower itself. Suddenly your prospective is totally shifted; now there will be something else to do with your life other than searching for love.
To work on gaining knowledge about ourselves, we use every possible means: emotional methods, energetic methods, psychological methods. We need to sharpen our capacity to learn, our ability to investigate, to see, to understand, and to know. We need to learn how to learn. Then we can go on finding out who we are, what’s really there, what life is about, what is really good, what we are supposed to go after.”
I like how Blavatsky uses the word ‘wish’ when she describes the opportunity that awaits each of us at the start of a new year. A wish is different from a desire, or an idea in the mind about what we think we want. The word wish connotes a blending — not exactly a desire, not exactly a prayer — but something in-between. A silent ceremony that occurs between one’s soul (the personal experience of presence) and one’s Being (one’s existence and presence as the divine).
The fascinating fact about Being is that Being is not intrinsically involved with wanting, desiring or wishing. It’s much more immediate, beyond the confines of time and space. It is simply Being. As presence that is fully present, Being is simply being. Although our soul can register Being as being involved in the process of thinking about the past, registering the present and looking towards the future — objectively, Being is only about being. All the beauty, fulfillment and freedom that the ego dreams about ‘someday achieving’ is all contained, now, within the present-time experience of Being. So there’s nowhere to venture, nothing to get. This is very disturbing to the usual, conventional, ego-based sense of self.
The start of a new year is often a trap for us, because there are such high expectations for experiencing opportunities to do or be something new and different. Resolutions are made, lists are written. The habits we want to lose are noted, the skills we want to develop are highlighted. But within all of that resolving and planning we miss the most important part of what the new year symbolizes — what it is really about. Namely, the opportunity to partake of another cycle of the earth moving around the sun, from solstice to solstice. Another year to experience the mystery of Being. Read more