Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Illusion of Destiny

It is said that "Eventually we shape our own destiny." The statement places destiny somewhere in the future. Since time is a figment of my imagination destiny is not in the future. Destiny at most is what life is at this moment. Making the best use of this moment makes me true to my life purpose and so to myself. No one has made my life what it is - it is so, independent of anyone else. I make the conscious choice to be. What is happening around me, with me, to me, because of me is for those unconscious moments when I lose touch with myself. When I am one with myself then I simply am and it is a moment of immeasurable joy.

There can be no projected destiny. There are just present life experiences to enjoy. Any impact I may have had belongs to the world of illusion. I am untouched by it all. When I have let go of the illusion there remains the awareness of a Stillness. From that Stillness arises more experiences - the difference is that the experiences now take on a new meaning. It is as if I am playing a team sport where there are no winners or losers. No one is keeping count of points won. We are all back in our innocent childhood sitting in a large circle passing a colorful ball around and having fun. Having the ball in my hand or in yours has no impact on the fun of the moment. We all know this is just a game for everyone to laugh and applaud through and simply be. When none of us identify success or failure with having possession of the ball, it is a sphere of joy. The moment we bring some rules into the game and change it to a game of passing the parcel things change. The innocence is lost. Everyone is attempting to dispossess the ball. No one wants to be excluded from the fun of belonging in the circle. Then the sense of separateness comes into play. The participants are the same, the ball is the same only the rules changed. The rules do not care whether they are followed or not but we are now slaves to the rules. We cling to the circle and cause others to be flung out of it. We use the rules to differentiate and cause stress and strife. Then the game is over. The rules do not exist but the participants have changed from being innocent children to being winners and losers. We identified ourselves with the ball, the game, the rules and forgot who we really were. We held on to the illusion and let the innocence go. We cannot go back and change the rules of the game. All we can do is remove the veil of the illusion and recognize that the game was not real but we are. The identification, the separateness, the change in behavior was in the moment and then the moment passed. We have the liberty to start a new game with a new sphere of joy and start having fun again in the new moment.

Illusion is the ultimate deception. It makes the non-existent real. The illusion is created by our mind. The mind gives it birth and the mind has the power to annihilate it too. Like a mother though, the mind cannot kill its own creation. The mind will not accept that the illusion is not real. If and when the mind begins to question the validity of its illusions the journey into spirituality begins. The acknowledgment that there is a God may come much earlier. Usually this God is a personal one who exists out there somewhere in the world of illusions. This takes us towards organized religion - we go to places of worship, create spaces like altars in our home, have religious celebrations, follow rituals and convince ourselves that there is a power that is beyond our capacity to fathom. We follow prophets, we read holy books, we acknowledge saints and sages. We explain the unpredictable nature of life and coincidences as the doing of the power who we may or may not call God. We differentiate life events, behavior patterns, even people into categories of good and bad. This is all part of the same illusion. As long as we cannot see beyond this world into the Real we are living an illusory life. We may find joy here but know for sure that misery will follow - the cycle is inevitable. For the illusion to exist there must be two sides to everything. Without a point of reference the world cannot exist. Without silence there can be no sound, without darkness there can be no light, without breathing out we cannot breathe in, without sleep we cannot be awake, without death there can be no birth, without an end there can be no beginning. That is the nature of illusion.

The ancient sages gave the example of a coiled rope that in insufficient light appears to be a snake. Once this illusion takes hold we cannot overcome it without seeing the rope in proper light. The rope here is the Spirit, the snake is the world and the light is enlightenment. Illusion must have a base. It must begin somewhere. What is the base? How did it begin? Where will it end? For end it must. Just as the wave begins and ends in the ocean so also the illusion must end in the Infinite Eternal Spirit. This Spirit or God or Super Power or Universe or Soul is the observer of this illusory world and we all can tap into it and become one with it. In the realm of the spirit there is no duality, no right and wrong, no good and bad, no real and unreal. The spirit simply is. For our senses and our mind that has dwelled in the realm of illusion it is difficult to fathom. As long as we can 'see' the snake in the rope we cannot see the rope. Once we see the rope for what it is though, it cannot cause any disturbance. We can associate with the rope and even laugh at ourselves for thinking it was a snake and move on. The illusion is a manifestation of Spirit. It deserves to be acknowledged and enjoyed keeping in mind that it is transient and a moving target. The manifestation thrives and grows but is limited and so cannot satisfy. The infinite, limitless spirit that we and this world are manifestations of is available for us to know and enjoy limitlessly.

Just as a seeing man cannot fathom the 'light' that the blind man or the 'sound' that a deaf man functions by the worldly man cannot fathom the light or the silence of the Spirit. Simply because ones mind and the senses cannot fathom it does not prove its non-existence. There are many who have experienced it and acknowledge it but cannot describe it because it is an experience at a level that cannot be put into words. The best way to let it be known is through silence, through stillness, through awareness and consciousness. These are elements that defy illusion. How can silence 'say' anything? It cannot - silence can only be just as God can only be.

It is believed that meditation can guide us into the experience of God. In the world of illusions meditation is often difficult. The mind must attain silence to experience God. The illusion of time is the greatest hurdle to meditation. The mind is either wandering away into the past or hurling ahead into the future. It is worrying about things that need to be done after this moment or it is dwelling in memories of times gone by. To stop this process is not easy. We have conditioned our mind to be thinking all the time. We now need to recondition it - not to stop thinking but to think only of the moment at hand. While I am writing if I focus on writing alone I find that the words flow. If instead I start writing a story that I have already thought out, the flow of words seem inhibited. I may have a story in my mind but I must write only in this moment for that story to be told with ease. It is the same with any activity. Being in the moment. So also meditation. Do not stop the mind from thinking just focus your mind on this moment. If I am sitting with my eyes shut then all I am doing is breathing so I bring myself to notice my breath - I may count the breath or just feel it as it passes in or out of me. Over time even this becomes unnecessary.

Meditation is not a moment with eyes shut tight trying to stop the wandering mind from achieving silence. Life is meditation, every thought is meditation, every moment is meditation. The world is a multicolored boundless paradise. Being in the moment is being acutely aware of not being just this body, this mind, this ego-centered person that relates to the rest of the world in a self absorbed way. Being conscious that the physical realm is a manifestation of something that is not tangible but which can be experienced at a much deeper level is what being is about. I have permission to enjoy everything around me without identifying myself with any of it. It is as if I am standing at the edge of the water on a beach. The soft tide brings in a small wave which plays over my bare feet and then it recedes. This tide of possessions, relationships, achievements and experiences are no different. They are here now and then they are gone. Just as the water has been left in the ocean everything will be left behind as I move on.

Who cares what the future holds for me? I did not know a year back what I would be doing today and I do not know now what I will be doing a year later. Let things fall as they will. All I do is live in this moment playing my role as a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, woman, person to the best that I am capable of. I accept every moment as it is for I know that this moment with everything in it will pass whether I think about it or not. Destiny is illusory only this moment is real and I am in this moment.

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