Aside

For as much as a year Satan continued these visits, but at last he came less often, and then for a long time he did not come at all. This always made me lonely and melancholy. I felt that he was losing interest in our tiny world and might at any time abandon his visits entirely. When one day he finally came to me I was overjoyed, but only for a little while. He had come to say good-by, he told me, and for the last time. He had investigations and undertakings in other corners of the universe, he said, that would keep him busy for a longer period than I could wait for his return. 

“And you are going away, and will not come back any more?” 

“Yes,” he said. “We have comraded long together, and it has been pleasant—pleasant for both; but I must go now, and we shall not see each other any more.” 

“In this life, Satan, but in another? We shall meet in another, surely?” 

Then, all tranquilly and soberly, he made the strange answer, “There is no other.” 

A subtle influence blew upon my spirit from his, bringing with it a vague, dim, but blessed and hopeful feeling that the incredible words might be true—even must be true. 

“Have you never suspected this, Theodor?” 

“No. How could I? But if it can only be true—” 

“It is true.” 

A gust of thankfulness rose in my breast, but a doubt checked it before it could issue in words, and I said, “But—but—we have seen that future life—seen it in its actuality, and so—” 

“It was a vision—it had no existence.” 

I could hardly breathe for the great hope that was struggling in me. “A vision?—a vi—” 

“Life itself is only a vision, a dream.” 

It was electrical. By God! I had had that very thought a thousand times in my musings! 

“Nothing exists; all is a dream. God—man—the world—the sun, the moon, the wilderness of stars—a dream, all a dream; they have no existence. Nothing exists save empty space—and you!” 

“I!” 
“And you are not you—you have no body, no blood, no bones, you are but a thought. I myself have no existence; I am but a dream—your dream, creature of your imagination. In a moment you will have realized this, then you will banish me from your visions and I shall dissolve into the nothingness out of which you made me…. 

“I am perishing already—I am failing—I am passing away. In a little while you will be alone in shoreless space, to wander its limitless solitudes without friend or comrade forever—for you will remain a thought, the only existent thought, and by your nature inextinguishable, indestructible. But I, your poor servant, have revealed you to yourself and set you free. Dream other dreams, and better! 

“Strange! that you should not have suspected years ago—centuries, ages, eons, ago!—for you have existed, companionless, through all the eternities. Strange, indeed, that you should not have suspected that your universe and its contents were only dreams, visions, fiction! Strange, because they are so frankly and hysterically insane—like all dreams: a God who could make good children as easily as bad, yet preferred to make bad ones; who could have made every one of them happy, yet never made a single happy one; who made them prize their bitter life, yet stingily cut it short; who gave his angels eternal happiness unearned, yet required his other children to earn it; who gave his angels painless lives, yet cursed his other children with biting miseries and maladies of mind and body; who mouths justice and invented hell—mouths mercy and invented hell—mouths Golden Rules, and forgiveness multiplied by seventy times seven, and invented hell; who mouths morals to other people and has none himself; who frowns upon crimes, yet commits them all; who created man without invitation, then tries to shuffle the responsibility for man’s acts upon man, instead of honorably placing it where it belongs, upon himself; and finally, with altogether divine obtuseness, invites this poor, abused slave to worship him!… 

“You perceive, now, that these things are all impossible except in a dream. You perceive that they are pure and puerile insanities, the silly creations of an imagination that is not conscious of its freaks—in a word, that they are a dream, and you the maker of it. The dream-marks are all present; you should have recognized them earlier. 

“It is true, that which I have revealed to you; there is no God, no universe, no human race, no earthly life, no heaven, no hell. It is all a dream—a grotesque and foolish dream. Nothing exists but you. And you are but a thought—a vagrant thought, a useless thought, a homeless thought, wandering forlorn among the empty eternities!” 

He vanished, and left me appalled; for I knew, and realized, that all he had said was true.

IS YOUR ROLE FULFILLING?

 

Just as a movie is projected upon a screen to be viewed; life is imagined within consciousness to be experienced.

Whether a movie is good or bad, active or inactive, the screen remains the same. It never moves, is never modified. 

No change ever takes place in the screen regardless of whatever does or does not occur in any movie.

Even so, whether your life is active or inactive, consciousness remains the same. It never moves, is never modified.

No change ever takes place in consciousness regardless of whatever does or does not occur in any life.

Existence imagines a body and mind for play because it is the nature of consciousness to imagine experiences. 

Flowers exude fragrance, crystals reflect light, and consciousness imagines experiences (each according to their nature).

In the absence of space in consciousness there can never be any real movement (nor measurement of time).

In the absence of material in consciousness, there is no modification (transformation of one substance into another).

Hence the world can only be an appearance imagined within consciousness (since it is immaterial and non-spatial).

So regardless of whatever ‘role’ you play in life; the sum total of any life makes no difference within consciousness. 

And yet out of non-recognition of the truth, one can easily believe that one’s life actually serves some purpose. 

Out of ignorance one can come to believe that one must forbear some important role for some greater good (purpose)! 

But from the absolute viewpoint, how can that ever be true? 

When nothing can be added (nor subtracted) from consciousness, how can any imagined life serve any purpose?

When the sole existence consciousness remains unaffected by its dreams, where is the possibility of purpose?

To assume so is a complete contradiction in light of the absolute truth.

Hence, purpose is an illusion that prevents true play in that which is imagined for play (the world appearance).

Only one who truly knows that life is imagined play, truly plays.

The rest, unaware of the truth roll between imagined pleasure and pain.

One can never really play in life imagined for play, until one truly realizes it is imagined play.

Nor can one be free until one is free of the ‘burden of purpose’ (a consequential life).

Until one realizes nothing makes any difference within consciousness which alone exists, it is difficult to live the truth that:

You are always free to live freely (play any role of your choosing playfully)

Hence, when ignorance of the truth evaporates, one naturally questions the value of playing an unfulfilling role? 

What purpose can it serve when the sole reality consciousness remains unaffected by anything imagined within it? 

When the Self is unaffected by a fulfilling or unfulfilling role, where is the value of embracing an unfulfilling role?

What purpose can it possibly serve?

Thus, the knower of truth contemplates “Is my role fulfilling me?” And if not, is aware of the freedom to change it.

So in absolute truth, life can never be about fulfilling a role, but rather about whether your role is fulfilling you.

Hence ultimately the only remaining sensible question is:

“Is my role fulfilling me?”

 

So who am I? I know, I really understand, that I’m not my body. There is no part of this body if removed I no longer exist. If I remove my arms I’m still me. If I remove my legs I’m still me. If anything I might think I would lose me if I remove the head. I know this body itself can’t exist without my head (no outside help allowed). But I can’t point to one area of my head or brain and say if you remove that one part I no longer am me. I’m not a brain specialist so I don’t know which parts are integral to the continued functioning of this body but I know there is a rich medical history of brain surgery where huge chunks of brain are removed and the person continues on as before. There’s also significant record of a given part of the brain thought to be responsible for a particular bodily function appearing to get rerouted after surgery. These kinds of examples go on and on. The point being that I’m unaware of a single section of the brain that I could point to and say “I” live there. I would consider the brain a part of the body.

The mind is something else. Since I can remember I’ve always understood the mind and the brain to be the same thing. I see this differently now. The brain is an organic appearance necessary to the apparent running of this apparent body in this apparent physical realm. The brain runs all the autonomic functions of the body and is responsible for tasks. It runs the body, as it were, but it is not thoughts. Thoughts are the mind. From Spira’s examination of direct experience my entire personal experience of mind is thought. I don’t actually see my brain. I have no direct experience of my brain. What I do experience unendingly, 24/7 (while awake or dreaming) are thoughts. There are the briefest of pauses between thoughts but there is a continuous, steady stream of thoughts running through my awareness. That’s my direct experience of mind, period. If I add in emotions and feelings as something of the mind I find upon careful consideration that these are thoughts as well. I may experience an energy pattern, so to speak, a sensation of sorts but to call this energy a feeling or emotion is to conceptualize that energy pattern I experienced directly into a thought labeled as some object: a feeling or emotion.

That’s incredible. This leads me to an awareness that everything I thought I’ve taken for granted as a given for as long as I can remember isn’t a given at all but a learned conceptualization. My body is here; it’s as a plain as the nose on my face. So I’ve always thought. But if I see clearly that I’m not my body then what am I and what’s this body? Everything changes. If this one thing can change what else that I think is a given isn’t?

I’ve always been sure that my brain was the seat of who I am. My thoughts are the basis of the me I am. Yet, during the pauses between my thoughts, no matter how brief, I continue to be aware. When a thought ends I don’t. Somehow I’m not my thoughts. Somehow I’m the something behind and before my thoughts. My thoughts are not something of me but rather something I observe and am aware of. My thoughts are a part of the awareness I am but so is my body. These are objects that I’m aware of rather than being the very thing(s) I am. Therefore, who am I?

This is where the mind encounters a cliff it can’t scale. That’s a concept to try to visualize what happens at this point. This is the seeming impossibility of ND and all attempts throughout time in every conceivable approach known to understand and answer this question. What I am isn’t a concept. What I am can’t be described. How can that be?!? My mind reels at the thought of no-thought. How can something be that can’t be described. In all the time that ND has existed all efforts to describe this ineffable something have resulted in descriptions of what it isn’t as the only way to get at what it is. No matter how much “progress” one may feel they make toward understanding, the mind recoils at some point and grasps relentlessly for a concept to hold. Mind works in the realm of concept. It can’t conceptualize a non-concept. It is an impossibility and so here we are. We can’t figure this out. It is un-figure-outable! And then, as if that weren’t enough of an utter mind-fuck, I can’t stop trying to figure it out. I can’t stop my mind from being my mind. I get these sublime moments of clarity that I can’t begin to describe even to myself let alone in some kind of string or words and thoughts. I gain a momentary knowing, a visceral knowing and then my mind snaps in and tries to “understand” what has just happened. But it isn’t a concept and my mind can’t describe it and it can’t be shared through any words of what it is and so everything just stops.

Somewhere in the midst of this is where enlightenment happens. Here again, words are tricky. “Happens” suggests an experience in time. But this thing, this happening, is of a something that’s outside of time. Again, words are utterly in the way but this is my mind trying to make sense of something un-sense-able. It appears to me that once an apparent individual has had this non-experience experience their ability to “see” this whole thing is changed in such a profound way that they no longer struggle over the paradoxes and indescribability of this Reality. Amazing!

Thinking is what I’m thinking about. I think I have some understanding of consciousness taking the shape of sensing and perceiving but thinking is more elusive. Thinking is what I’m doing to try to understand consciousness taking the shape of thinking. Thinking is as much a part of the ‘illusion’ as sensing and perceiving. However, thinking is the only avenue I have to investigate yet the very act of investigating is dependent on a component of the illusion to comprehend the illusion. This entity that I feel myself to be is ‘constructed’ by the perceiving of a world, the sensing of a body and the thinking that names it all.

Metaphorically, I’m in a dream dreaming and all parts of the experience I’m having are an aspect of the dream including the thinking that ‘I’ appear to do within the dream. The thinking is part of the dream too. Within the dream, of which consciousness is the only substance, it’s taking the shape of thinking realizing this is all a dream.

I end up questioning whether or not ‘I’ can trust what thinking is thinking. How can any conclusion, any understanding I reach through thinking, itself an object, be any truer than any other object that appears in my experience? I’m confused (another thought) as to how thinking is identical to sensing and perceiving in that it is the shape consciousness is taking as this experiencing yet it is also the tool to lead me to clear seeing of the illusion consciousness is creating.