Sunday, 11 March 2018

Perspective #5: I Am

We continue with the theme of how much we need Planet Earth and how much the planet needs us, and what corrective action is required. We are at a crossroads on how we might approach this mutual dependency. These Perspectives suggest that we should order our lives in order to gain wisdom to stimulate the way to help the world steer clear from the selfish route we have hitherto taken. As a people, we are the ones responsible for where we are at, and by changing ourselves we can have a profound effect on those around us and thus the entire nation, and the world. We should stop feeding the selfish world order that we are part of and live more intelligently.

It's a direct and harsh statement to make, but what other option is there?

The title of the previous Perspective was "Who Am I?" Well, on reflecting on this we can now say "I am". But this phrase is not to be taken in a simple everyday physical sense: it is key to the understanding of what each of us is in his/her essence. As we are made by God then we have a vital and actual link with God, would we only recognise it. It is only from God that we obtain true inspiration: scholastic education alone is not the answer.

Over 40 years ago, in 1975, I came across a wonderful book by an American spiritual philosopher, Walter Starcke, which contained (for me) a remarkable insight into spirituality, and a view that I have since found repeated in all the major Eastern spiritual paths.

Walter Starcke wrote (in his book "The Gospel of Relativity"):
When Jesus tried to tell the password he said, "There is only one way you can enter the kingdom." He said, "I AM the way," but mankind didn’t hear. They thought he was saying that Jesus, the man, was the way, but he was saying the password, "I."
That’s it. That’s all. Just "I." So simple, but so very, very complicated. For "I" cannot be spoken; it can be felt and experienced, but not thought. Any thought about "I" carries with it the seeds of ego, separation and defeat. “I” is the most sacred of all words because it can be comprehended only in silence, in an inner silence.
We have missed the secret of life because we have spoken it. In fact, we have spoken it more than any other word, and every time we have said "I" in a finite way we have desecrated the word. Whenever we have said, "I feel depressed" or "I feel sick," "I need this" or "I need that," we have closed the door on ourselves. We have misused the password.
Whenever we have called any man on earth our father, any guru, any mate, any effect, we have shut the door on "I." Those who know I AM will never have to look to man whose breath is in his nostrils for anything. They can travel anywhere in the world without money or protection. Every­thing will be provided from the "I" within.
But we must not speak "I." We must hear it. "I" must enter the heart, it must be in the soul, it must be felt rather than reasoned or thought; only then do we dwell in the secret place of the most high. And it says to us, "Know ye not that I am God? ‘Be still and know that I am God.’ I in the midst of you is mighty, and I will never leave you, nor forsake you.” ...
I is the invisible presence within you. I is the invisible presence that goes before you to make the way clear, is always with you as your protection if you call upon it and hear its voice. "Listen to ME, I, look unto ME, the I of your own being. Don’t look to effects. Your body is only the temple of ‘I’; I made it in my image and likeness, of my substance. I knew you before you were conceived in the womb. I formed your body.
"I am the way, live by Me. Do not live by the way of the world, do not live by form. I am your high tower. Put up your sword; don’t live by the physical or the mental. Live by the recognition of I always with and as you. I in the midst of you is ordained. ..."
I, LOVE, and YOU are all the same word. Your capacity to love is your capacity to experience the I of another. Supreme love is when you see another as your own I, when you see yourself in another because you have gone beyond form and know I. When you love another and see your I as his I, you have become total: all is one.
But to truly be able to recognise the tenor of these words, we should change ourselves in how we look at the world. My own experience bears witness to that when I was, for a number of years, employed in a modern industry and was successful in the then fledgeling computer software sphere. Just when I was at the point of probably accomplishing very significant material success my marriage broke down with the consequent break-up of the family. Not only that but a strange phenomenon was experienced. That situation caused me to re-think and re-evaluate what I was doing with my life and where I was headed. But it was not everyday religion that I sought as my solace but how I should live every detail of my life to put it back into balance.

The following is an extract from a website text that expresses the matter in a nutshell, and is a text that I would like to have had shown to me when I was a young man, or at least received the kind of education that would have helped me think in a better way:
Because of selfishness and greed, some nations have prospered, and some individuals have accumulated inordinate material wealth – the Earth’s riches are not justly shared. There is exploitation. But the so-called victors have lost their peace; it has buried them in ignorance of who they are and what the true purpose of their lives is. Their endless pursuits have taken a heavy toll on their physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.
Man is not protected from the law of cause and effect – the natural consequences of his excesses. One need only look around today and bear witness to the havoc that Nature is causing as a consequence.
Of course, there are enlightened people who understand the mutual interdependence of all creation, and they live accordingly. Sadly, in many instances, their voices have been drowned out, and not enough people listen to them. 
We need to live simply again, knowing that a life lived honestly and lived well, free from the inner enemies of greed, lust, attachment, anger, ego, jealously, etc. – which rob us of our humanity – provides true self-satisfaction. The removal of our inner enemies makes space for the purity of heart and mind needed to live in God’s Will, where real peace and happiness is found.
It is time to give up false notions about where to find peace and happiness and know that by living in God’s Will we actually live true to our inner selves. We need not seek peace and happiness, these will come naturally when we live in this way.
When we live simply, we inevitably tread softly, move reverentially, and utilise gratefully. Nothing is taken for granted; everything is seen as a gift from God, for all. We switch off what we don’t need, we consume only what we need, we don’t kill to satisfy our palate, we walk and benefit from the exercise, and we utilise public transportation. By these simple steps, we learn humility and gratitude.
When the cravings of the mind and senses are stilled and the ego is diminished, we actually experience our interconnectedness to everything around us. This will nourish the sense of responsibility towards the Earth and all living beings, including animals and plants.
We in the west predominantly think of ourselves as Christian, but do we understand, properly, what the teachings of Jesus were? It is probably the time to re-think what we mean by being "Christian" and it may help to read this dialogue between a young Greek Christian and Sri Sathya Sai Baba (who is referred to here as Swami):
Swami asked me many things about my daily life in Greece and my spiritual practice. At one moment He asked me: “What is your religion?” I answered “Christian, Swami.” Then He asked me: “What is the meaning of the Cross?” I was well prepared, because I had read so many books of Swami and heard so many of His discourses. So I answered without any delay: “Swami, the vertical line is the I (ego), and the straight line means that one has to cut across the ego.” Swami was very pleased and turning to the boys that were sitting around, He said: “You see, very good answer!”
So, there we have it. It would seem that the main issue that needs addressing in this world is man's ego. Not to do so may have huge negative repercussions, for what goes around comes around. If each of us were to be more circumspect in how we treat the world and others and recognise that we are one spiritual whole, we will be contributing massively to the well-being of God's creation. Not only that but we will, by God's Grace, find our own personal salvation and also lay a better foundation for our children.

Please consider passing this link onto others.

To come: more on the soul and about karma.

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