What is reality, we may say that there are many different levels or dimensions of reality and whatever level of reality you are in that is okay. Actors in a TV series are displaying story lines of characters that script writers have written. They come together in a studio and play out their roles. As viewers what do we see, we see a TV screen, a rather small object, and we watch the unfolding drama. We laugh, we cry, we get angry and we can empathise and identify with the lives on that screen. We can discuss the goings on of the characters of the show with our colleges at work and friends and partners. We discuss and contemplate the emotions and feelings of our TV friends. Their lives and behaviours and consequences seem real and we know it is not real, though I fear some people find it hard to appreciate that the actors are not the characters, that is the characters are make believe, an illusion.
Sometimes actors get too identified with their character that they are portraying and they begin to feel that they are the character. Perhaps the character (especially the hero type) is more appealing to the actor than himself. They start to believe they are the character. The image becomes reality and this is what we do, we believe we are our image. An image that we portray to the world and we imagine other people perceiving us in the way the image is intended. Images communicating to images, making lots of noise and much ado about nothing. And that is totally okay, there is nothing right or wrong about that. We all do it. It is just another layer built on preceding layers, just the very tip of the iceberg. If we are aware of the layers that are underneath, then we will be happy for we know more of our realities. But if we think that we are only the outermost or the topmost layer, then happiness etc will elude us and we will be deluded. The more layers we are aware of then the more we know of ourselves. Enlightenment is knowing all of ourself. Know thy self! has been echoed throughout our history by mystics and sages and yet how many of us truly want ‘to know myself’? Not just the behaviour or why we do the things we do, not understand, not to know a small part of our self, but to Know all.
Knowing ourselves has been acknowledged by all the mystics and sages of the past as the key to enlightenment. Knowing ourselves is a wonderful and mysterious journey filled with awe. There is nothing to be afraid of and yet what prevents us is the fear of the unknown. More correctly it is the fear of ourself that creates the fear of the unknown. Our identity, the ego is the creator of this fear. Our ego fears its own creation, ego fears and is terrified of nothingness. It is terrified that if it reverses direction, instead of going outwards but going inwards it will end up at the beginning. At the starting point of itself, and what then but nothingness, oblivion. The ego will try to prevent you going in that direction, it will produce fear and terror, all fabricated. Illusion, trickery and sleight of hand, but feeling real nevertheless. It works and we simply regain our forward, outward, away from direction, it seems so logical, so logical, so logical, time moves forward, goes from here to there, let’s go that way.
And so we know little of our self, a single drop of water in all the oceans of the world and as we age we know less. The most liberating experience you can have on this plane of existence is reversing direction, diving in, going down and discovering what is there, passing through levels of awareness, becoming more as you do. And nothingness is the gateway, the door, the entry between soul and out here, simply a passageway, pass through and you have enlightenment. But your purpose is not to stay there, for that is what it is, it is all and complete and whole. Your purpose is to be aware of this and then move back through the passageway and up through the levels, with the only knowledge there is, the knowledge of you. You may choose to remove yourself from the noise and illusion of our materialistic world and become a recluse and spend as much time as possible inside and that is okay or you may do exactly what you were doing before and that is okay. Or anything in between.
You will now know more than the tip of the iceberg, you will have been a part of the iceberg, the totality of the iceberg and now there is nothing to fear. You know. What next then is up to you, your ego being just as important as the bliss, will have the ability to decide but decide on knowledge and truth rather than fear. There will be more calmness, a different type of calmness a calmness that is ever present, more of a peacefulness really, even when you are very actively involved in any sort of pursuit or action.
Here is an apt Zen saying "Before Enlightenment chop wood carry water, after Enlightenment, chop wood carry water." The things that need doing are the same as before. What is different is that you are fully present doing the actions and it feels good doing them because you have chosen to do them. You appreciate, you love, you see illusion for illusion and you stop being illusion. All your uplifting strong emotions are small representations of soul. But words are just words.
So what is reality? Don’t we want to know what reality is? Reality is not meaning, not purpose, not searching, not seeking, not you, not I, not me, not us, not we, not them, not this, not that, not this and that, not time, not space, not boundaries, not love, not hate, not desire, not wants, not needs, not everything, not nothing, not anything.
Reality is a construct depending on where we observe and perceive our experience from -
- From a cell in our body
- From our inner mind
- From our ego – by far the most common and therefore universally accepted by mankind
- From mankind as a specie
- From life on the planet
- From the planet
- From the moon
- From the centre of a galaxy
- From the universe
- From outside the universe
- From a web that has no weaver
By Philip Martin