unreal world

Unreal World of Appearance and Opinion

An Unreal World of Appearance

“Why take as our standard a material world where existence is affirmed by nothing more trustworthy than the sense impressions of ‘normal men’; those imperfect and easily cheated channels of communication? The mystics have always declared, implicitly or explicitly, their distrust in these channels of communication. They have never been deceived by phenomena, nor by the careful logic of the industrious intellect. One after another, with extraordinary unanimity, they have rejected that appeal to the unreal world of appearance which is the standard of sensible men; affirming that there is another way, another secret, by which the conscious self may reach the actuality which it seeks. More complete in their grasp of experience than the votaries of intellect or of sense, they accept as central for life those spiritual messages which are mediated by religion, by beauty, and by pain. More reasonable than the rationalists, they find in that very hunger for reality which is the mother of all metaphysics, an implicit proof that such reality exists; that there is something else, some final satisfaction, beyond the ceaseless stream of sensation which besieges consciousness. ‘In that thou hast sought me, thou hast already found me,’ says the voice of Absolute Truth in their ears. This is the first doctrine of mysticism. Its next is that only is so far as the self is real can it hope to know reality.” ~Evelyn Underhill

World of Appearance

Many people do not realize that the world we live in, the world of matter, is not what is seems to be. That is not just the beliefs of mystics, but science—or at least the science of Quantum Physics—agrees with them. It isn’t that the physical world doesn’t exist, but what it actually is may be quite different than what we think it is.

As Ms. Underhill says, the existence of things in this world is affirmed by nothing more than the opinions and the physical senses of ordinary men. Senses and beliefs which are easily fooled. So it is an unreal world because it isn’t what the vast majority of us think it is, not because it doesn’t exist. Of course, there are some spiritual schools and gurus that say that anything that is temporary is unreal, so in that sense, the realm of matter is an unreal world. Continue reading “Unreal World of Appearance and Opinion”

safe place

Safe Place Needed By All

A Safe Place

“My cat Charles, who is eighteen years old, has many hiding places. When he is in one of these a subtle change comes over him. No longer is he vigilant and wary, assessing the environment for its potential threats. In his hiding places, he seems at peace and unafraid.

“These places are many and varied. Some are classic feline sanctuaries: under the bed, behind the drapes, or in the closet. Others are unique to the house we share. … One of them is in plain sight, a spot on the living room rug. When Charles is in this spot, he draws about himself the usual inviolateness of all his other hiding spaces. … In full view, he is calm and relaxed. …

“In a book about Spain, I remember reading an interesting fact about bullfighting. There is a place in the bullring where the bull feels safe. If he can reach this place, he stops running and can gather his full strength. He is no longer afraid. From the point of view of his opponent, he becomes dangerous.

“In bullfighting, the safe place is called the querencia. For humans the querencia is a place in our inner world. … Sometimes it is a viewpoint, a position from which to conduct a life, different for each person. Often it is simply a place of deep inner silence. …

“In working with people with cancer, I have seen the change which happens when a person finds their querencia. In full view of the Matador, they are calm and peaceful. … The inner silence is more secure than any hiding place.” ~Rachel Naomi Remen, MD

Having a Safe Place

We do all need a safe place, and fortunately, most of us have one, or more. Some may be internal (mental) as the quote indicates, but some can be physical too, just as with Charles, the cat. As a Cancer, anywhere in my house is, to a large degree, a safe place. It is my sanctuary. Yet within it, some areas are safer than others. I feel extra safe in my bedroom and my home office, less so in the kitchen or living room.

I also feel safe when I am practicing spiritual growth techniques, and, in a sense, going within as mentioned in the quote. This is a mental safe place rather than a physical one, yet works just as well. In fact, all safe places are really mental. Inside my house is really no safer than many other places I could be, yet my Cancer Homebody attitude makes me feel safe at home. A mental safe place as well as a physical.

Organized Safe Place

Today, fortunately, many who don’t feel physically safe for one reason or another can turn to organized safe places, or safe houses, for help. They try to offer actual physical safety to certain people rather than just a mental feeling of safety. A major one called Safe Place provides safe places for troubled youth. There are others with different names for abused spouses, unmarried pregnant women, homeless people, and so on. While this is certainly a good thing, especially for those who are in physical danger, or at least feel they are, it isn’t always the answer. Sometimes we don’t really need to literally hide in a safe place. We may just need to go within to an imaginary place that feels safe.

Inner Safe Place

Remen tells the story of one man who had cancer and would turn to an inner safe place. There, he imagined himself an infant again in his mother’s arms. It made him feel safe and loved and helped him get well.

In many spiritual groups, you are told to turn within and withdraw from the world. You try to blank out the mind completely when you do this. That method may help some with spiritual development, but it isn’t what seeking a safe place is all about.

Divi Resort beach

Beach at Divi Resort, Bonaire

When I am stressed out for some reason, one way I can find a safe place is to imagine I am on a beach. Not just any beach, but one I have been to before on vacation. Since a vacation is a pleasant experience, My stress is elevated by doing that. It is not a safe place from physical attacks, hurricanes, or earthquakes, but it is a safe place from stress and worry. As Remen mentions, the safe place for each of us may be different, what matters is that it works.

Junk Food is Not a Good Safe Place

One thing I caution people about: don’t get in the habit of letting some type of junk food be your safe place. There are those who, when stressed or afraid, will eat ice cream, candy, or chips. Others will drink alcohol. Those things may temporarily make you feel better, but none of them is a truly safe place. That is because later on, you will regret turning to this method. It may not be the next day. It may be years later when you are eighty pounds overweight or visiting a doctor because of damage done by alcohol or junk food binging. If you do this, try to break the habit now by using one of the other methods mentions. Find a safe place in your house, your neighborhood, or with your family. Turn inside to a safe place such as that beach, or an amusement park. Imagine doing what makes you happy. Much better than binge-eating junk food.

foolish people

Foolish People Trapped in Illusion

Foolish People

“O Man, gaze well upon the Earth. See, it is not by its nature a place of labor and not a garden of pleasure, or a panderer to your weaknesses? Truth is found in the book of life, but it may be understood just by degrees. For who among men receiving the whole would not be overwhelmed and destroyed?

“In general, men are childlike. Give the people deceitful things, and they will rejoice like children. Show them amusing things, and they will acclaim their pleasure. The gods of fear are held in reverence, but the Great God who banishes fear, they despise.

“O foolish people, O foolish generation! With dust on my head I mourn your ignorance. With loud lamentations I decry your folly. Yet the path you have chosen, you have chosen freely. Ease and comfort appear to be your end and purpose.

“The gods of deceit have temples of splendor, their priests are well clothed and overfed. But the Great God of Truth has no more than a hidden cavern, His servants are garbed in rags, and their bellies are empty.

“The gods of lust and cruelty have storehouses of treasure, but the God of Kindness has not even a field.

“The People worship the gods the oppress and ignore the God who frees.” ~The Kolbrin Bible (MAN:12:4-9)

See the Earth

We do labor on the earth and we do seek and find pleasure here. But what the Kolbrin Bible is saying is that this is not the purpose of the planet. It is not here to provide us with pleasure or to give us tasks to perform. So why does it exist? Because the Demiurge foolishly created it in the arrogance that he was equal to God. It wasn’t created to serve us. It is more the other way around. Our physical forms were created by that same Demiurge to serve the world. It is true that we have some control over this world, though few realize how that works, and those who do, use it foolishly.

Foolish People

There are different idea of what is foolish or foolhardy. It has been said that doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is a sign of insanity. That may be going too far, but it certainly foolish. Likewise, trying to accomplish something using a method that has failed with millions of others is also foolish. Yet foolish people do it all the time.

We are told, for example, that if we all meditate we will get world peace. Many accept that. Yet there is no evidence that the dramatic increase in meditation over the past four decades has brought great peace to the world. On the contrary, among all this meditating for peace, many wars and other kinds of violence are occurring.

And we hear the Spiritual But Not Religious (SBNR) crowd constantly repeating someone else’s meme that says religious people are about someone else’s experiences, spirituality is about having your own. They are quoting the same two or three memes over and over again, yet preaching against listening to others. Foolish people are not always materialists. A lot of them are spiritual types, or at least they believe they are spiritual. Continue reading “Foolish People Trapped in Illusion”


Unattainable Time, Persistence of Illusion

Unattainable Time

“Time is illusive, that is unattainable. If we try to take hold of it by looking at it from the outside, then we cannot even have ordinary refreshments1. When time is caught objectively in a serialization of past, present, and future, it is like trying to catch one’s own shadow. This is negating eternity constantly. The unatainable must be grasped from the inside. One has to live in it and with it. While moving and changing one must become the moving and changing. Emerson in

Brahma, sings of the eternal as ‘one’ in the changing and moving forms of time:

‘They reckon ill who leave me out: When me they fly. I am the wings; I am the doubter and the doubt. And I the hymn the Brahman sings.’

“Where the doubter and the doubt are one, there is Brahma as ‘the pattern of the eternal nature,’ which is God Himself. When the doubter and the doubt are separated and placed in the serialism of time, the dichotomy cuts into every moment of life darkening forever the light of eternity.

“’Living in the light of eternity’ is to get into the oneness and allness of things and to live with it.This is what the Japanese call ‘seeing things sona-mama‘, in their suchness, which in William Blake’s terma is to ‘hold infinity in the palm of your hand, and eternity in an hour.’” ~Daisetz Suzuki

Time is Illusive

Most of us take it for granted that time can be conveniently divided into past, present, and future. But when you try to get into detail, things get illusive. Specifically, when you try to define “the present”. I remember reading recently that according to one person, the “present” can be defined as a period of a few seconds. That is because it takes a few seconds after something occurs for our eyes to see it, transmit the images to the brain, get them interpreted, and react. But that seems to limit the definition of the present to human response. What about a computer that can execute thousands of commands in a second? If it just finished executing an instruction, doesn’t that instruction now become the past? In any case, my point is this. As technology has improved we can cut time into smaller and smaller pieces. This is resulting in what is called the present to get shorter and shorter. In addition, it is true that we are not aware of a thing until a second or two after it happens. So we can’t know anything about the present, only the recent past. So the idea of living in the present only is technically impossible. At best, we must live in the recent past. Continue reading “Unattainable Time, Persistence of Illusion”