We seek. But as long as we seek, we will not find, because what we are seeking is already at our fingertips. We are already immersed, surrounded, by the very thing we are looking for, and paradoxically, we are also using it to look. But we cannot find that which has not been lost. We can go on a great, magnificent, awe-inspiring Journey of all Journeys, but it will take us no closer to what we are seeking, because we are already standing upon it. You are it.
So, if it is here, where is it? Why do we not see it? A common reason is because we attempt to use antiquated notions to see it. To us, these notions are valid, useful, cutting edge. But in the grand scheme of things, they are not. They are limited. For example, how could someone from the horse and buggy era use their ‘horse and buggy’ understanding to grasp the notion of a jet propelled airplane? What if they insisted that jet airplanes (if they might possibly exist at all) must arise from the same limited dynamics that provide horse and buggy travel, and could only be proven with this same logic? Wouldn’t work, would it? Yet this is what we do in our search for the Truth. We insist it be definable to us by our limited horse and buggy understanding because that’s all we consciously recognize at the time. But that doesn’t mean that that is all that there is. And conceiving of a flying jet propelled airplane, much less seeing it come into being, requires a larger vocabulary of understanding than the horse and buggy vocabulary can provide. This is in fact the reason for so many seeing paradoxes in the Truth. There really aren’t any paradoxes, no sticky wickets, no misunderstandings. Just a limited vocabulary makes it seem so. But the most wonderful news is, we all have this larger vocabulary. We must only stop limiting ourselves.
But how do we actually do this? Many are awakening to the wise realization that what is perceived as normal society is actually like a group of blind people, stumbling around in the dark, trying to bring meaning to what we hear or bump into with our limited senses. But we are not really blind. We are just not looking in the right place.
And like the people in Plato’s cave, we are transfixed by the images being broadcast on the back of the cave wall, mere shadows of the things that are actually causing these shadow-images to appear. Yet, it takes the greatest effort to turn our heads and look behind. And it takes a bit longer to be able to make out what we see there. But it is there, all along. Nothing is ‘discovered’, nothing is new. We just finally gain the ability to see it. What you see when you finally turn and look is actually the gears of your world in action, the software that is being loaded to create this virtual reality of real-but-not-real life that we seem to experience.
How does this turning of our heads finally happen? Often in one of two ways: Catastrophically, or Intentionally. People like Eckhart Tolle speak of a moment in their lives when they we so depressed they became suicidal, and at that moment, at that precipice, when they were ready to cash in their own chips, they instead suddenly found themselves embraced with in the arms of truth. This would be like having the images on the back of the cave wall suddenly stop for one reason or another, and in the turning around and looking for the reason that this occurred, you finally saw what was causing the images all along. You saw the Truth.
But the catastrophic way is tough, the stakes are high, and many never turn around and look. They just burn it in, staring in disbelief at the blank cave wall, wondering how their life has become so meaningless and cruel. Is there another way? Incredibly, some spiritual teachers say ‘no’, that suffering is the way which you come by enlightenment, and that this is the very reason we create such suffering for ourselves and a world of suffering in general. Yes, suffering will take you to it, most certainly, if not now, then later. But there is another way. It was the way of Jesus, and of Buddha, and it will serve anyone who uses it just as well. It is the deliberate and intentional act of looking.
I always say that the man who learned not to sleep in the road after being run over by a car learns the same lesson as the man who sees the car coming and removes himself from danger. So why go that way if it is not necessary? Why not follow in the steps of the masters?
Here’s another analogy of how we can go about deliberately and intentionally achieving the same results: Picture a set of shelving. The easily seen top shelves are overflowing with the things that you see in your world: Your job, your family, your home, your town your whatever (find pictures, ad more words). This is what we look at, what we focus upon. Like the people watching the back of the cave wall in Plato’s Cave, we don’t really know how all these things got there. We make up stories to describe how it happened. We say it is random fate, or luck of the draw, or bad luck. We say ‘god’ has rewarded us or chastised us with these things. We say we earned it. We say it was a simple case of cause and effect – A + B = C. We say lots of things, and we pick one of them to try and believe. But we are wrong.
Because some of us have begun to look further down, on the bottom shelf. They had to bend a little to see what was there, In fact, to see this shelf clearly, you usually have to get down on your knees among the dust and grime. This is like turning around in Platos’ Cave. When they turned around, they could see for the first time what was actually creating the images they took as ‘real’. Like that, what is there on this lower shelf is actually what pulls the strings in your life. It determines what happens to us, how we live our lives, what we experience.
This lower shelf is like our unconscious mind - It doesn’t matter if we are aware of it or not. It takes whatever we have given permission to be there and creates what we call our lives. This is its function, and it does it remarkably, wonderfully. It doesn’t make judgments. It takes what we’ve placed there and uses it.
Please, join me in part 2, where will discover what is on our bottom shelves, how it got there, and what we can do about it.