Today it was raining – and sleeting, cold – and there was hail too! But it was extraordinarily beautiful – and much needed by nature – by the ravens, the juncos, the pinyon jays, the deer, and the one Steller’s Jay who just showed up a couple of weeks ago. And by the juniper trees who spent so many years being thirsty.
Sometimes it occurs to me that we often have more of a choice than we think we do about our general state of being and our mood.
There are many worlds – or many levels – depending on how we want to look at it – and we can even exist in several of these at the same time – or sometimes alternately in one world, then another.
We can easily be drawn into a TV world (often not very elevated) or a world of gossip – or dismissal of others – or blame.
We can also allow the light of heaven to shine through the clouds and sometimes walk in the presence of angels in a world of peace and beauty.
We can be aware of sadness in the world and harm that is being done, and yet, sometimes still be able to focus on the light, rather than on the darkness.
For some of us this may be easier than for others. For some, it’s a bit like catching a train – we can catch the train to a pleasant seashore – or we can catch a different train to a crowded downtown traffic jam.
We’re not always aware that we have a choice. And some of us actually do have less of a choice – depending on the make-up of our personality and the history of our lives. It’s not a question of being good or bad; some people are just more adaptable than others. It’s a pattern.
But when we can, and if we can, sometimes it helps a lot if we don’t always have to jump on the train that is going to a dismal, unhappy train station – but instead, if we can exercise some measure of control of the emotional content of our lives, that can give us more of a choice – and often, if we choose to be more in a world of pleasant spirits and less in a world of doom and gloom, then we can – not only be happier ourselves (which is much pleasanter) – but also it makes it easier for us to have a positive, uplifting effect on those around us – which is a good thing.
This isn’t a question of good or bad, right or wrong (though certainly there are questions of good and bad, right and wrong) but in this case – it’s really just a question of giving ourselves greater possibilities in life – when and if we can – to see a glimpse of light rather than to be drowning in darkness – to choose a road that goes up towards the sky rather than down into the dumps. Or even just to be kind to others, rather than grumpy.
Not always, but often, we have more of a choice than we might think – and pausing for a moment, looking around, and allowing the door to open to a brighter world gives us a greater ability to do some measure of good in life. (It’s also more fun and less miserable.) Sometimes we call it counting our blessings.
We’re not always a victim, we can be free agents with a choice. And being open to the possibility of seeing the door that leads to the light is a good start.
Weneg, also known as Uneg, was an Ancient Egyptian God first referenced during the Old Kingdom period (c. 2600 BCE). He was revered as a god of fertility, agriculture, and the renewal of life. The name Weneg translates to “the one who endures” or “the one who is firm,” and he was believed to hold […]
Sleet falls in a sharp angle across the sky. The ground in just a few moments is covered in white – white that highlights the deep shadows of mystery within the waving sage brush.
The sleet turns to snow and rain. There is thunder too, deep, far away. Huge snowflakes billow down. The sage brush bounces, buffeted by the wind. This is the beauty of the universe.
If I were outside repairing the electric lines, or even just trying to get my car going — I would be saying, “Oh, what nasty weather!”
Somewhere the electricity repair person is hard at work, and for him or her, it is truly very nasty weather.
Inside, I am grateful for electricity and warmth and for the freedom to watch the beauty of the earth – where all is One – the falling snow, the rhythm of the seasons. And all is eternity – each snowflake and the ravens that fly bravely in the wind.
The message of Jesus Christ has little to do with some aspects of modern-day Christianity. His was a message of love and peace.
This extended to animals. In the final days of his life, he freed the doves in the temple from the cages where they were trapped, waiting to be sacrificed during a “religious” ritual.
He never established a church or set up a religion. Instead, he healed the sick and raised the dead. He didn’t advocate one religion over another. Instead, he said, “In my Father’s house are many mansions.”
He treated women as equals and — to the astonishment of some — had conversations with women even when they were alone. Those who remained faithful to him at the end – who stood at the foot of the cross and attended his grave were his mother and Mary Magdalen.
He taught us not to judge others, saying “Let he who has never sinned cast the first stone.”
In modern times, many who are disillusioned with the hypocrisy of some who call themselves “Christians”, tend to dismiss the goodness, truth and life essence of spiritual reality. They retreat into a bubble that restricts their awareness to a materialistic, physical level – with no God, no spiritual awareness, and no eternal truth.
The truth of Jesus Christ is the same transcendental truth that lies at the heart of every spiritual path.
Authors Robert Lanza and Matej Pavsic (with Bob Berman) have written a book, The Grand Biocentric Design(How life creates reality). It is a sequel to other books. It is both horrifying and enlightening. Particularly, it is horrifying when one considers the implications of what he is saying. Otherwise, it might just be enlightening.
To give Robert Lanza credit, (since his name comes first, I assume his input is responsible for a large part of the book), he sounds like a very pleasant fellow. He makes every effort to explain things clearly, in a light and cheerful manner. He is kind enough to put all the mathematical equations in a separate section at the end (for the sake of simpletons like me) – and, best of all, he seems to love animals. He devotes a chapter to them and writes about animals with affection. He even includes them as “observers” – which, as sentient beings, they clearly are. He even mentions plants too.
However, generally speaking, the concepts of quantum physics – just like the theories of Einstein — have left many of us scratching our heads.
Most of us, I imagine, are familiar with the concept in quantum physics that the “observer” is a necessary part of reality. When studying tiny sub-atomic particles, one cannot pinpoint exactly where they are or what form they are in without the presence of the observer. When the observer is present, a beam of light exists as a particle, in a particular place, at a particular time.
Absent the observer, there is no way to pinpoint the location or the time of the light. It exists only as a probability that might or might not be anywhere. It is a wave, or a photon, not a particle, and it has no precise, defined existence.
Robert Lanza expands on this concept by concluding that probably there is no definite past at all. I’m leaving out the explanations, but the end result is that yesterday may have existed or maybe it didn’t. Time, as Einstein told us, is relative. As it turns out, it’s really, really relative. There may not be any clear, definite past at all – just a present – and a present only when there is an observer.
Robert Lanza does graciously acknowledge that animals can also be observers. When the chipmunk hears the fall of the famous tree in the forest, then, surely, the tree actually fell and made a sound – just as if a human had heard it. That’s all well and good.
Is there a yesterday?
To get back to the existence of yesterday – it could be perceived by most of us as just a tiny bit alarming if there were no well-defined yesterday.
Consider this: Let’s say you celebrated Thanksgiving yesterday – along with all your relatives, including the uncle that you always argue with. Now looking back on this, it might be awkward to have to ask yourself if those people who sat around the table really were all your real relatives. Maybe in years past, you had completely different relatives?
Or you tuck your child into bed at night and in the morning you wake her up. You would like to be confident that this is indeed your child – the same one who was your child yesterday.
You grew up in a small town in the Midwest – but wait, maybe not, maybe instead, you grew up in New York City, in a bustling urban neighborhood. Who knows?
There is no definite past.
If you took any of this seriously, it might be genuinely disturbing.
A walk in the woods
This afternoon I took a short walk and sat down on the low branch of a juniper tree. Across the way, on the next tree was a very communicative raven – making a whole repertory of sounds – calls, warbles, and clicks.
I looked at the tree branch I was sitting on and thought about the concept of yesterday not being fixed in time at all.
Trees exist on nutrients that come to them though chemical actions caused by the passing of sunlight through their leaves – or in the case of the juniper, their needles. Through their roots buried in the earth they drink in water.
Now this becomes a problem if there was no yesterday – because how was this nourishment and drinking accomplished if the tree did not exist yesterday – or in the years and months prior to yesterday? How exactly did the tree come to be, in its current form with a thick, sturdy trunk and lots of branches – without having received any nourishment, which would have required time in the past?
This is a problem because there was no observer of the tree eating and drinking. Even the perceptive raven in the other tree would not have noticed any eating or drinking done by the tree.
Perhaps the tree observed itself eating and drinking? This would make the most sense, and there have been scientific experiments, and books published, that document the apparent awareness – or consciousness — of trees. I certainly have no problem at all with the idea of trees being aware, sentient beings.
This still, however, doesn’t get rid of the problem of yesterday – and any other aspect of the past not having a fixed, definite form or existence.
For the tree to be eating and drinking – time is required – yesterday – or in the summertime – or whenever — there must be a precise, actually existing time when the tree received nourishment and water. Otherwise, it would not be alive. Without a certain past, there is no present.
Then there’s another problem – if plants and animals can be observers – and I would totally agree that that can happen, then what about the observer status of beings that are not biologically alive? What about rocks, mountains, the stars, the moon?
What about the mountains and the moon?
If you are an astronomer, and you find the moon at a certain location along its trajectory around the earth – then the moon must have traveled to get there. If the moon is to be found at location x, then it must have traveled in the past in order to arrive at the location where it is today.
So, is the moon conscious, and is it its own observer? The ancients – virtually all ancestors of modern humans – would have answered a resounding, “Yes, of course”!
But we feel we are so much wiser today – not superstitious or ignorant.
The simplest possible answer to all these perplexities is the very simple concept that everything and everyone is someone – from the tiniest microorganism to the biggest star – from the great mountain worshipped by native people to the old truck that you have fondly given a name to.
Furthermore, just to go one step further – one could suppose that all beings have a soul – and that that soul is one and the same Soul who is also the Creator and the Essence of the known Universe – and all that may lie beyond the universe – otherwise known as God.
(Oh dear, I guess we have just left behind virtually everyone who steadfastly identifies with the modern time in which we live.)
To go back to Robert Lanza for a moment, he, on several occasions, laughs at the concept of God by referring to “a belief in God, ghosts and spirits.” “Spirits,” I think, was what he mentioned along with God and ghosts.
We are expected these days to all belong to a club – the great club of modernity – which is educated – generally western – materialist – which values science above all and which, with greater conviction, with every passing day – is the Great Club of modern truth – with no longer any need to even condescend to consider – the values, beliefs, perceptions of those billions of souls who came before us – nevermind their art, their inspiration, their music, their mysticism, their vision and their profound awareness.
Our own meager modern glimmer of reality is supposed to be the final truth – and it diminishes in scope day by day. Our ticket to this Club of Modernity is our denial of anything spiritual, alive, or true – until such time as this yuga ends and the light of the next yuga shines over the horizon.
So, we shall see, as time goes along…
(If this was, in any way, hard to follow, I’m sorry. Not to worry – these are just my thoughts. You’re welcome to your own. And, if you are blessed – as many people are – even in these dim days – with a vision and a connection with All that lies beyond, then God bless you and be well. If not, may the Light be with you.)
Ramana Maharshi /rəˈmʌnə məˈhʌrʃi/ (30 December 1879 – 14 April 1950) was an Indian Hindu sage and jivanmukta (liberated being). He was born Venkataraman Iyer, but is mostly known by the name Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi.
Sunshine rides on space and poetry on sunshine./Poetry gives birth to sunshine, and sunshine to poetry.-excerpt from Armfuls of Poetry, Drops of Sunshine by Thich Nhat Hahn. On January 22, 2022, Thich Nhat Hanh passed away at Tu Hieu Temple in Hue, Vietnam. Today we honor his work by looking at his teachings and his poetry.