Center for Mindfulness and Nonduality at Juniper Level Botanic Garden
Many pilgrims worship and explore the nature of an Absolute or God when pondering a spiritual life, existence, and the afterlife. It seems there is nothing scarier than to imagine an endless oblivion at the death of the body, or while appearing to live, for that matter.
As humans, most of us yearn for there to be something more, something enduring at the last inhale since most of us deeply believing in a lasting personal soul or spirit when the body dies. This powerful belief and conviction seems to draw and sustain many to an Absolute being-ness or God.
A Christian Perspective…
I applied a Christian framework to my definition and beliefs in God for more than 40 years teaching adult Sunday school classes, Bible studies and women’s groups. I attended a progressive Baptist or Methodist church for most of my life with God secretly being my admittance ticket at death promising an afterlife in Heaven…if all the teachings and doctrines were practiced and obeyed. At the core of this belief was a personal soul as Anita that would unite with God upon her physical death and spend eternity with God in an eternal afterlife or heaven.
Fast forward to 2009…and with several years of deep reflection, writing, and self-inquiry, my understanding of God became clearer and clearer…shocking, in fact, as I saw that I viewed God as relational and able to exist in a relative relationship – God in relation to other as creator and created and bound together in a relationship (relativity) enduring through time and space. How could this be? It made no sense. This belief also implied that God was divisible, not already everywhere, and everything.
Dark Night of the Soul…
This deeply seeing my concept of God was disturbing to say the least and propelled me into a Dark Night of the Soul and a deep depression and confusion. Did I fabricated a God that is relational like humans, and if this is the case, did I invent God according to my beliefs? I dived into self-inquiry for several years…withdrawing from family and friends while I sat in a simmering stew of darkness and confusion. I prayed incessantly to God, whatever God is or isn’t, to deliver me from the hell of my thoughts and understandings and to show me Truth at all costs. All costs…even if I had to die to know Truth.
Aware Presence or Consciousness…
Mystery, or something totally undescribable and unknowable, opened wide “my” perception in 2011 to perceive deeply beyond the brain/mind, and know directly that I am appearances of Aware Presence or impersonal consciousness in a dreamscape. Several months later during a solitary retreat I saw the teachings of Jesus the Christ as instructions for living as gratitude, acceptance, and worry-free as aware consciousness presence.
From this perspective, Jesus is not about establishing or teaching any particular beliefs or dogmas…but simply reminding us of what is…already here, now, and fully available if we only change the way we see…change our perceptions, our perspectives, to receive what is here now as little children see and perceive…with openness, acceptance, and a sense of wonderment…without judging, naming, labeling, or claiming what is as belonging to a separate person or entity as a “me.”.
Jesus pointed towards…
Jesus points towards a Truth beyond words…beyond the relative brain, beyond the imaginations of the dualistic or split mind. How else can Jesus the Christ, or Buddha, Krishna or Lao Tzu communicate to brains/minds that cannot comprehend what is beyond a relative nature, beyond relativity? Of course it now seems clear — these Masters used paradoxical words and stories….which make no logical sense to a relative human mind. Using relative or everyday language to describe “This” or “What Is” will never convey or describe what is beyond the relative brain/mind. Period.
For those interested in re-reading the paradoxical words of Jesus in the New Testament, a quick internet search will produce many websites offering these paradoxical teachings of Jesus. I love Jesus and His teachings though I never understood the deeper meanings behind His words until I awakened to see the personal self as a mistaken belief perpetuated by 99% of humans.
Is there a me…
Of course, we can feel the experience of seeing and perceiving life from a localized point we label as “I” or “me” yet we never investigate this “I” or “me” to see what it really is….we just blindly assume a “me” is located at the center of our perception. The existence of a personal center or “me” is the greatest lie every spoken, revered, and claimed as true.
Jesus and his disciples knew this belief in a “me” was the root of all suffering since Jesus awakened to his true nature as infinite brilliant aware stillness, and Jesus knew the strength and seduction of the belief in a personal self.
Jesus wanted to point the way to joy and freedom…to the essence and peace that is beyond the understanding of the dualistic brain/mind. He appeared as the embodiment of impersonal aware presence or consciousness and was deeply committed to sharing this truth…even to the cross and the illusion of death.
Within and without…
All perceptions and all appearances of reality feel quite intimate…and we believe these appearances and bodily feelings occur “within” this center we refer to as a “me” or a “you” and this creates safety for the personal self when there is no personal self, and no separation into a “within” or “without.” What we call life is the appearance of indivisible, edgeless Aware Presence. Read Jesus’ words again, if you are so inclined, and look for the paradox he is pointing towards…you will not be able to miss it. Jesus says it’s easier for a camel to pass through an eye of a needle than a rich person to enter the kingdom of God. And yes, awakening feels like being squeezed through the eye of a needle as the beliefs in a personal and separate self fall away and leave only the appearances of an infinite, seamless Aware Presence and Consciousness as a miraculous dreamscape. And it doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor, it’s still a squeeze, although the rich may have more attachements and beliefs to sever.
And with awareness of the mistaken identity as a personal self, the confusion between what one is believed to be and what one appears to be can be explored and perceived as the imaginary character is it. Using a paradoxical spiritual analogy to point towards what I am saying here would be like this: The “characters” as “me” and “you” appearing on the “movie screen” may change, but the “movie screen” itself does not. I am, you are, like the movie screen…as infinite, seamless, causeless, stillness….a void of nothingness upon which the everythingness as Aware Presence or Consciousness appears.
Realization and enlightenment…
This is the realization…actions are appearing through “you” as a dream character and not by a separate and tangible you that was born and will die as a “you.” Life appears like action verbing….for example…writing appears but there is no writer. Listening appears but there is no listener. Doing appears but there is no doer…..it just action verbing…..look deeply and see this…only verbing appearing.
So now, we’ve nearly reached this end of this post about karma and reincarnation. As you now may have concluded, karma and reincarnation are only beliefs and stories created and perpetuated by the relative or split-mind and applying to an imaginary personal self.
Logically, since there is not, nor has there ever been, a personal self, karma and reincarnation can be seen as false beliefs just like the belief of a personal self is false. Is karma or reincarnation even an issue when there is no doer, no “you” or “me”?