Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Suffering is Not Knowing Who You Are

“Wisdom is knowing I am nothing,
Love is knowing I am everything,
and between the two my life moves.”
― Nisargadatta Maharaj

I bought a book today, The Well-Tuned Brain: Neuroscience and the Life Well Lived, by psychiatrist and neuroscientist, Peter Whybrow. Peter says our culture is unstable as a result of our thinking from the small mind of the ego – habituated to the quick fix, the rapid reward. He studied why we, ALL of US, think we can live on credit and avoid economic collapse, as we had in 2008. He says 3 year olds know more about brands than they do nature and common sense.

 And that our fundamental problem is,

Hmmmm, that’s familiar. It is the great fundamental spiritual reason for suffering in all traditions and for all time –

The Buddhists say we suffer because we do not know who we are.  Or, in better keeping with the idea of "no self," would probably like this worded in reverse: We do not know who we are not.

The Christians and Muslims say our suffering is a reflection of our relationship with God, and the illusion that we are separate from God. The Christian scriptures repeated say, Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened? 18 Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember? (Jeremiah 6, Mark 8, Matthew 13, Psalm 135, Isaiah 6 and 32…..). I would ask you to reflect deeply, inwardly, on, “Who do you think God is?” and “How are you in relationship with God?”

The Hindu Sanskrit teachings point to ignorance as the cause of suffering. And that ignorance is of one single thing, lack of knowledge of Self, our True Self, the one who Knows God and doesn't claim differently. It is said "Who knows himself, knows his Lord." It is also said, "One knows God only to the extent one knows oneself."
Our personal and social out of balance with self, with each other, with our economy, and critically, ecology are all based on this ignorance. We do not know who we are.

Religion is designed to point us in the direction of this truth. The Latin roots of “religion” – re – ligare – mean, to bind back; to return our minds from the illusion that we are separate physical entities to the reality that we are connected as ONE spiritually.

Whybrow says we still allow our primitive neural survival mechanisms to take precedence over the more recently evolved functions of the neocortex. This too, the research on meditation and the scriptures have been telling us for years. In fact, this is the Garden of Eden Story – the illusion of the separation from God. We allow our ego defense mechanisms to override what our mind and heart know is true and right, fair and equitable, sustaining for the greater good rather than serving ME (often at someone else’s expense).

So here’s the thing: All religion is essentially about psychology. Religion is about YOU, the person and YOUR relationships. Some religions use a philosophical language that appears very straight forward. Others use metaphor and story and we have to place our self into the story as ALL of the characters in order to observe the whole spectrum of personal and social implications regarding WHO WE ARE and HOW WE ARE IN RELATIONSHIP with our Higher Power/God and with the world – people and planet – economy and ecology. We are not “hearing” or “seeing” the meaning of the story without imagining our self in the roles of the characters in the story – the good AND THE BAD. You are “us” and you are “them.”

 If we think someone else will live this life for us, will save us from the suffering of the world, we are mistaken. That is OUR job. And our primary assignment to complete the job is TO KNOW

We are nothing and we are everything. We are spirit and we are enfleshed. We are energy and we are matter. We are a receiver, poised at the intersection of time and space and we are able to know this.

Be Still and Know that I AM. and YOU ARE, WE ARE ONE. One Spirit. One humanity. One planet. One Life. One miracle.

_/\_Peggy @ Ecumenicus

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