For real ? Well actually that is the heart of the matter.
What do I perceive as real ? I am 60 years old and I still clearly remember the days when I was 6 years old and joyfully wandered through the fields till dawn. I know I didn’t change since then. My body, my thoughts and feelings changed, but I remained the same. It seems that I understand daily life a lot better now, but in the process of freeing myself I also learned that I don’t need to understand things better than a 6 year old. I just need to be more -aware of- and -confident with- what I really am and what truth really is.
What I perceive as real is all that didn’t change in the 54 years of my life between 6 and 60. My personality, my roles in society, my dreams and missions, my achievements, my possesions, my beliefs and values, my heroes, friends, my family relations and my jobs changed during that period. They all have proven to be unreliable safe havens.
And yes, I have a good marriage, lovely kids, a successful career, many achievements and still good friends. I don’t consider myself a loser. Far from it. So, I suppose this is what happens in most lifes when you’re lucky. Maybe it is appropiate to state that this is what life is about. I personally believe that my life has guided me towards the disclosure of my only real foundation for happiness and inner peace: the truth of what I really am.
Nothing real can be threatened
Nothing unreal exists
Herein lies the peace of G’d
(Course in Miracles)
So what exactly is unreal ?
What comes up and goes isn’t real. It’s like described in the Biblebook Ecclesiastes 1:
“Vanity of vanities. All is vanity.
3 What do people gain from all their labors
at which they toil under the sun?
4 Generations come and generations go,
but the earth remains forever.
In this context I prefer to say: “Imagination, many in the world is just imagination”. I deliberately use this word to express that vanity, presumptions and imagination cause the same kind of bias that most of what we experience as real in life is in fact our own interpretation. We perceive what we believe and this changes all the time.
“What you believe is
what you perceive. And
what you perceive is
what you receive!”
Once upon a time I really believed I was taking part in a progressive group of people that could change the world. We had new ideas, we wrote a book and we trained people personal skills to help these spiritual ideas to make a difference in the world. We became so successful that somewhere along the way vanity and conceit made us look in the mirror and face the fact that we were not even close to really understand for ourselves, what we were teaching others. The day I became aware of this, the flow in my business stopped. I had to work harder and harder for less satisfying results.
Finally after a magical moment during sunset in France, I experienced a new perfect and beautiful stilness I could not yet explain and soon after, I had to end my line of business. Somehow, I had encountered a new dimension and I could not fully return to the old ones. Until then, my imagination had been the strongest creative power I knew. It helped me solve problems in everyday life and become a successful and innovative entrepreneur. This stilness however surpassed my individuality and it had the neutrality and therefore the freedom of an unimaginable no-thing.
Why enjoy the unimaginable reality?
My imagination has since then lost its magical power, I now have lost the drive to win others for my ideas and beliefs. Maybe because I understand better why it’s almost impossible to share value systems, beliefs and interests. Imagination is personal and the unimaginable no-thing or un-ground is impersonal and neutral. It’s a well known fact that an open neutral and impersonal attitude is needed to make people work together for the same cause. See: creative interventions and leadership.
During that magical moment in France I probably made a leep from personal to impersonal awareness. The rustle of the soft wind in the trees, fragrances and the colours of the sunset I experienced then, are sensations that can be shared with others present. They are therefore neutral and impersonal. But emotions coming forward out of these sensations are personal and can not be shared. Like the fear of losing presence or peacefulness. Thoughts and feelings are always linked to (painful) experiences in the past or possible threatening outcomes in the future. They are in fact a personal or emotional way to give meaning to outer challenges. The more our mind uses emotions to create some kind of control or clarity, the more it looses contact with reality, which is extremely unhealthy.
Our mind is addicted to anticipating possible threats and terrorizes us with anxiety and worries and finally all kinds of illnesses like depressions, burn outs, migraines or constant weariness. Stress is the main sickening factor here. Stress directly attacks our immune system. Chronic illnesses are the number one medical issue in the Western world today.
Being in contact with reality generates great inner strength and joy, makes your responses accurate to outer challenges and makes room for what is emerging beyond personal imagination. In nature for instance everything is in the now. This is exactly why in my youth I enjoyed wandering through nature so much. I was surrounded by presence and was always lifted to higher energies.
How do I get in contact with reality ?
By simply listening to the unimaginable stilness. At first I then become aware of my comtemporary fears, shame, guilt and worries, but after a while they all disappear and a steady inner peace ascends. What is needed is to remain neutral in what is now. From this inner peace levers a presence far more powerful and intelligent than my imagination.
A few months ago I took a long walk in the woods in Germany and when I looked through the branches of an old tree, I suddenly could slide a transparant curtain aside. It reveiled another dimension in which everything is connected and life is always good. It’s timeless and it doesn’t move. I had never seen anything like it before. I wasn’t looking for it, but I think I saw it to make me aware of what is inside me. Like all human beings I have an unimaginable no-thing inside me, that is becoming aware of itself. In France I didn’t yet understand what happened and why, but in Germany I did. The fun is that I didn’t get in contact with it. It’s the other way around. It’s holding me.
We enjoy beauty, but what is it? Why do we find a painting beautiful ? It’s just paint. Like with presence it’s very hard to prove the existance of beauty other than through the opinion of people. I think we see beauty when we sense that the painting process has been resonating with that unimaginable inner presence within the painter. Afterwards visitors can also resonate with it when they admire the painting. Remember all is one. Read: Mark Rothko.
Playing sport games is another fascinating way to learn how to enjoy presence. Presence requires faith. Which means letting go of the desire or need for inner peace. In other words, letting go of the fear of losing inner peace. In sports it means letting go of the fear of failure. This fear of failure derives from the claim to be the best team and to therefore having the pressure to win. This ofcourse is an excellent example of vanity or imagination ahead of time. Professional sportsmen need to learn how to distance themselves from the final results of their competition.
More or less presence does not exist
I play fieldhockey for fun. Until a year ago I used to play with men in their thirties. We played the game very fast. I was the goally and had to compensate my age with experience and presence. I have been training myself for years to improve in presence, but that is impossible. More or less presence does not exist. It’s there or it isn’t, It took me years to find out how my mind works in relation to presence. It’s easy to understand this, but very hard to do it. I had to unlearn many fun-da-mental issues. Joy is the key point.
The impersonal unimaginable nothing is a state of being that fulfills us with a joyfull presence, but there are some strict conditions:
- it is impersonal – it has nothing to do with results or any personal succes.
As a state of being it supports the wonderful freedom that anything can happen and everything is possible. Including miracles. But it doesn’t have direct effect on the results of a sports game. You play better when you enjoy the game and focus on total acceptance of what is now. This will directly influence the game. There is no garantee that miracles will happen, but don’t be surprised when they do.
- when you think it’s gone and when you don’t it’s on.
Presence is not a state of mind. It is unimaginable for the mind. The mind will never understand it. So, when you start to doubt and think: “Am I in it or not ?” You’re definitely not. Doubt is out! Only afterwards you can become aware that you were in the nothing when you enjoyed being totally aligned with what you were doing. Like in sports when you become one with the team and the match. These are moments you’re definitely not thinking. The mind keeps on searching for spiritual progress and hence judges ‘being-in’ better than ‘being-out’. In or out is a dualisme created by the mind. In deeper truth we are always one with this unimaginable presence. We can’t be seperated from it because a good deal of it comes from within us and is one with the presence we experience in nature. We’re in fact looking at our inner unimaginable self when admire the stilness of nature. That is the reason why we can easily resonate with it. Being in or out has nothing to do with presence. Presence is non-dual. Total acceptance of what is now, where you are and what kind of action is appropriate are the only conditions of the mind facilitating a durable focus on reality.
- joy instead of fear; the mind is out of the driving seat.
As soon as we are able to let go of our need for a controlling mind and replace that with enjoying an easy mindless presence in the now, we can say goodbye to all the diseases of the mind. An effective technique to invite the mind to step out of the driving seat is to focus on the blessings in your live and to be greatful. Use some time to thank all the people who love you for what they give you. Thank life for its blessings and praise the highest for all it has given you. Pray:”Thy will be done” Learning to receive your blessings is the first and farmost important lesson for everybody who wants to enjoy the unimaginable no-thing. It will set you free and rejuvenate you immediately. Greatfulness is a very powerful energy. Another technique is to just listen attentively to a bird or to the silence. You don’t think when you’re really listening.
- Everybody should be keen on learning to recognize the difference between mindfullness and presence.
Mindfulness is important for us to learn how the mind rules us as a sneaky terrorist. You’ll find out soon when you seriously try to stop thinking. It has so many ways to trap you. Most people really are not aware of this. Listen to the podcast “How to stop thinking“. For us the ego and its mind is the only way to cope with daily challenges in the ‘real’ world. It is true that ego and mind protect us and help us, but they should not be the ruler and define our opportunities. That is litteraly not an healthy state of mind. The ego is full of fear because it is not real. We have created our own personality to deal with f.e. our own judgmental attitude towards the judgments of other individuals. Its design depends on our interpretation of outer reality.
Why do we forget so easy that we are one with reality ? The mind’s oxygen comes from thinking and feeling. Living with the past or planning for the future. It’s constantly looking for safe havens in life. Trying to protect us and helping us to cope with outer challenges by judging: is it dangerous or not, hot or cold, in or out the group, simple or complicated, etc.
Faith, like presence and beauty, is non dual and impersonal. ‘Having faith’ actually means resonating presence. Faith is the most important condition for presence. Faith is not a state of mind. It is not a believe. Faith is directly connected to reality. It is a pure intelligence arising from actual experience with the universal law:”As within so without” In the Buddhist tradition “Karma” teaches us to be true to ourselves, to our inner compass. By enjoying the immediate justice of support or frustration when we choose or take action, we grow in power. The power of faith. This is also the way to grow in the power of choosing presence over absence. Not taking the mind’s need for drama, fysical desires and day dreams too serious.
Yes, we are able to free ourselves from the tough reality of this world while actively participating in it. We simply have to remain present in the now, accept it fully and enjoy every instant of it. Musicians do it all the time when they perform on stage. When they’re totally aligned with their music, they are fully present. They can give room to the flow of music itself and are willing to follow its natural course. Music becomes their master then.
Yeah, I know it is easier said than done ! But that doesn’t mean it isn’t true.
- You draw to you what attracts you (as within so without)
Most of us are constantly absent to what is real now and we use our fears, thoughts and dreams to accomplish that. In the process of living in presence, we will easily draw to us what attracts us. This is because we stopped blocking the natural course of life when we choose presence over absence. So, things miraculously change.
Our value systems
Our world is based on our value systems and the mind rules those systems. They force us to make plans for the future when we choose our education. We are stimulated to have debts when we buy a house, but we are also obliged to develop sustainable financial stability, which makes it almost impossible to live in the now and to accept whatever emerges. We have to remember numerous passwords, names and dates. We are not allowed to trust on miracles.
New leaders should become aware of this when they demand us to be more vital, creative and authentic in the workplace.