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June 5, 2008 at 9:03 pm #139037IcarusParticipant
Adona Mara posted this at Myrrden’s place, but I thought some of you might enjoy it.
This is excerpted from an essay by Peter Russell, A Singularity in Time
When asked, Who are you? most of us will respond with the various things we identify with — our name, beliefs, occupation, education, roles, gender, social status, personality, interests. We derive a sense of identity from what we have or do in the world, our history and our circumstances. But any such derived identity is conditional, and thus forever vulnerable. It is continually at the mercy of circumstances, and before long we find the need to defend or reassert our fragile sense of self. Our basic survival programming, designed to ensure our physical survival, is usurped by our psychological survival, leading to many unnecessary and often dysfunctional behaviors.
In addition, we are only half-awake to our deeper needs and how to attain them. Most of us would like to avoid pain and suffering and find greater peace and happiness, but we believe that how we feel inside depends on external circumstances. this is true in some cases, for example, if we are suffering because we are cold or hungry. In the modern world, most of us can fulfill these demands very easily. The flick of a switch or a trip to the store usually suffices. But we apply the same thinking to everything else in life. We believe that if we could just get enough of the right things or experiences we would finally be happy. This is the root of human greed, our love of money, our need to control events (and other people); it is the cause of much of our fear and anxiety; we worry whether events are going to be the way we think they should be if we are to be happy. This thinking is also at the heart of the many ways we mistreat, and often abuse, our planetary home.
The global crisis we are now facing is, at its root, a crisis of consciousness — a crisis born of the fact that we have prodigious technological powers but still remain half-awake. We need to awaken to who we are and what we really want.
PROPHETS OF WISDOM
Thoughout human history, there have been individuals who appear to have become fully awake. These are the enlightened ones — the mystics, seers, saints, rishis, roshis, and lamas who in one way or another have discovered for themselves the true nature of consciousness. Although their discoveries have been expressed in different ways, depending on the dominant worldview of their time, the essential message remains remarkably consistent. Aldous Huxley called this the “perennial philosophy” — the timeless wisdom that has been rediscovered again and again through the ages.
The enlightened ones have realized the illusory nature of the concept of a unique individual self. When we examine our experiences closely, delving deep into the nature of what we call “I,” we find that there is nothing there — no thing, that is. This sense of “I-ness” that we all know so well, and that has been with us all our lives, is just our sense of being. It is awareness itself — so familiar, yet completely intangible. Thus it cannot be “known” in the ordinary sense. Not realizing this, we seek to give our sense of self some form, some substance. We dress it up in various psychological clothes — all the things we think we are, or would like to think we are. This is the reverse of the emperor having no clothes. With true self-awareness, one discovers there are lots of clothes, but no emperor inside them.
Another consistent realization of the awakened ones is that the essential nature of the mind, uncluttered by worry and chatter, is one of deep ease, joy, and love. Not recognizing this, most of us look to the world around us to provide us with peace and happiness. But despite all the messages from marketing and advertising industries, things and events do not bring happiness. On the contrary, our minds are so full of scheming, planning, and worrying whether or not we will get what we think will make us happy, we seldom experience the peace and ease that lie at our core.
When we awaken to our true nature, we are freed from a dependence on the external world both for our sense of self and our inner well-being. We become free to act with more intelligence and compassion, attending to the needs of the situation at hand rather than the needs of the ego. We can access the wisdom that lies deep within us all. This is the next step in evolution of intelligence: the transition from amassing knowledge to developing wisdom.
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