Friday, June 24, 2016


Everything changes.  Some things change much more slowly than others, but, ultimately, everything changes.  And this often comes as a shock.  We record our experience as a series of snapshots, each frozen out of time.  So when we encounter a child that we haven't seen for several years, or go back to the neighborhood that we grew up in and find, in both cases, that the child and the neighborhood are barely recognizable,  we may be either delighted or saddened at the change, but it is always accompanied, at least momentarily, with a sense of shock.  It is not at all the way that we remembered it!  It never is, exactly.

But before we get depressed about all this and embark on a life of absynthe drinking or opium smoking, or whatever the response to the seeming pointlessness of life is currently fashionable, there is one little proviso to this observation that I would like you to consider......You are not a thing.  Yes, every thing that you observe changes, and that includes your body and the contents of your experience, including moods and values and perspectives and opinions.  But you are not what you observe, but the observer.  Not what you experience, but the experiencer.  You are the context, not the content of your experience.  You are not a 'that' but a 'that which'; that which observes and experiences.   When you realize that you are neither your body, nor your brain, nor the contents of your experience, you will also realize that you are not a thing, and as a 'not a thing' you never change.

Am I talking about eternal life?  I am, but let's not bother about that right now.  For now I would like you to consider that you are exactly the same being, the same context, the same observer, the same desirer and the same initiator, that you always were as far back as you can remember.  Again, I am not saying that the content of your experience is the same (thank God, because what an insufferably stale and boring life that would be), not that you have the same desires (otherwise any type of maturation or improvement or expansion would not be possible), and not that you keep initiating the same activities (surely an obsessive, compulsive nightmare of an existence).  No, I am saying that while all those things change, you, the experiencer of your experience, the desirer of your desirers, the initiator of your activities, you are not a thing and as such, you transcend and are beyond the changes that you observe.

Now you may not believe this.  This understanding, which is the most comforting understanding that you could possibly have, may initially seem strange to you.  It may seem so foreign from the usual way of looking at your experience and who you are, that you are loathe to consider it.  And you don't have to believe it.  You can know it!  You can experience it!  To do this, however,  requires that you stop for a moment and look deeply within.  In our rush-rush society we rarely do this.  We are advertised at twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, and all of these advertisements share the same subliminal message; that you, the recipient of this advertising, are not complete, cannot possibly be complete, cannot be fulfilled, cannot be truly cool, or hip or healthy or up to date, unless you immediately acquire a,b,c, or rush out and purchase the services of x, y and z.  A constant state of restlessness and desirousness is created.  We are afraid of the vacuum, the void, that we might encounter, if we momentarily paused in this futile race to fulfill every desire that our market driven economy has convinced us that we urgently need, and looked within.  To find what? Our selves.  Not a thing, but a context, a space without limits, filled with love, intelligence and the possibility to do anything we choose.  To be in touch with this  most intimate self, rather than being frightening, is the most comforting, assuring experience that we can have.  Haven't you ever woken up and in the moment before the contemporaneous thoughts of your life come pouring in, you have the fleeting sensation that you are exactly the same as you always were?  That the being that is looking out through your newly woken eyes is the same being that has been looking out through your eyes since you were a little girl or a little boy, since you were an infant?

The understanding of the immaterial nature of the self, is the very constancy in this sea of change that we seek.  And, of course, it's not just you.  It's every being we encounter.  Yes, your friends face and body and interests change, but your friend, who your friend essentially is, never does.  Have you ever been reunited with an old friend that you haven't seen for many years?  If you can get past any 'business' that lies between you, any words or actions that you haven't completely forgiven your friend for, or your friend hasn't forgiven you for; if you can relax and be open and intimate with your friend again, you will find that the relationship hasn't changed at all.  Not the things you discuss, or the things that are currently important to both of you at this much more recent moment, but the context, the 'sense' of being with your friend, the quality of the unspoken relationship, that contextual sense, again providing that no resentments are being harbored, is exactly the same as it always was.  And if it is true with your friends it is certainly true with your husband, your wife, your children and your parents.  The 'sense' of being with them, when all is forgiven, does not change.

Is this relationship then eternal?  Again, that is for us to still discover, but given that one's essential self and one's essential relationships do not change over the time that we actually can remember, and is not changed, essentially, by any changes in the body or the brain, it would seem to be so.  But how that continuity is maintained after we are divested of  this body and this brain, will have to be determined in the future.  And that should be a very exciting thing to look forward to, just like any major change, before you undergo it; a blend of trepidaciousness and excitement; a trepidaciousness that resolves itself once the transition is undergone.

Obama's campaign in 2008 featured the slogan, "you are the change you seek."  What I am saying, in this post, is "you are the permanence you seek,"  a permanence that should give you great confidence to initiate change and initiate change along that most important line of bringing the awareness of the essentially unchanging quality of being alive and being in relationship to the fore in your own lives and in your relationship with others and in the economic structures and the social structures that you initiate that will honor the transcendent and unchanging quality of all those who participate in them.

So many readers.  So few comments.  Why?  Please let me know what you're thinking.