Tag Archives: thought

Peeling the onion

When I peel an onion

I have to peel the onion one layer at a time.

At the beginning, the outer layer looks attractive and beautiful…. it can be golden, white, purple, yellow.   The onion looks full and healthy.

Then I start peeling more and more layers.  The first layer is the initial and basic concepts about life.

Religion, values, patriotism, family, professionalism….

all the ideas and concepts I started learning from early age.

Which, of course, are just ideas and concepts.

The more I peel these layers away, the more I peel away these ideas… which I also call illusions.

Because they are not in the here and now….  they are fabrications of my mind.

All the memories…. all the goals…. all the dreams… all these ideas keep me away from the present moment.

So I keep peeling away all those basic thoughts and ideas that I have been taught.

And, the same way that I peel and onion, and can irritate my eyes, they get watery, and I start crying,

The same way I feel when I peel away all of these ideas… the concept about religion, about my family,

my country… my culture… my hobbies…. my profession.  My… my…  my…

All of these ideas , which also implied ownership, are not based on reality, or the here and now. 

I peel away and I also start crying , because… they are just illusions.  They once made me  happy… secured.

But it was a temporary happiness… it was a superficial state of identity and belonging.

So I cry… because I feel sad….sad because I miss this false sense of security.

But I bravely keep peeling away, to see the reality of this existence…. which I call Life.

And when I finally reach the center of the onion…. what do I find there?

What is at the core of the onion? What is at the center of life when I peel off all of these ideas?

No more religion… no more patriotism… I don’t  belong anywhere … profession is just a title …. dreams are just imaginations … I don’t own anything … because it is all an illusion.

What do I have left, then?

Emptiness. 

That is what I have left… the emptiness of life.

Is this a sad conclusion?  Or is it just it ?

Simply being…. it is not good…. it is not bad.

It simply is.

 

 

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I AM : The ultimate experience

I used to think that death was the greatest mystery of our existence. But I have learned that death can be explained easier than life. Death is mostly understood by the fact that it is the experience of transferring to another state of existence . Although what happens to our consciousness after death remains a huge mystery , the experience of death itself is as far as we can possibly go in our empirical and tangible world.  We can all understand that death is the end of our current existence as we know it.  Our bodies decompose and our minds , if they actually exist, enter the unknown.  We cannot begin to understand the unknown.
But what remains a huge mystery to me is not the end of existence , but existence itself.   The mere state of being aware.  And not only aware, but aware of ourselves.  Aware of the “I.”  The “self.”  How can we know what or who we really are?  How can each of us differentiate from other “I’s” or “selves.”? How can we even use the phrase “I am?
Religious scholars and teachers interpret the bible’s use of the phrase “I am” by referring it to God, or higher power.  It is used mostly to describe the eternal and “present” God.  It was written in the book of Exodus that when Moses asked God whom should he say sent him to liberate the Israelites from Egypt, God told him to tell Pharaoh that “I am” sent him (Exodus 3).  In the Gospel of John , Jesus also referred to himself as the “I am”.  Because of these references , scholars decided to associate the “I am” with the divine being or God . It is also agreed by most religions that God is omnipresent. He is everywhere. He is the eternal present.

In Buddhism , being in the present moment, or mindfulness, is one of its teachings to help avoid suffering.  To be aware of the present moment.  The here and now.  Is experiencing the here and now the same as experiencing God?  The “I am.” ?

Was God trying to teach Moses that He is the Eternal Present (“I am that I am”)?  Was Jesus teaching us that the resurrection (a new life) is in the eternal present, as opposed to in the future (“‘I am’ the resurrection”)?

But what exactly is the “I” or the “self.” Could it simply mean the “eternal presence” that we all ignore by focusing on the past and the future?
The present moment, or the here and now, is all we really have.   Everything else is a fabrication of our minds. We fool ourselves with the notion of reliving the past (remembering stories of past heroes and events) and anticipating the future ( maintaining hope and having goals ).  These mind created phenomena is what keeps us living an illusion, which then can turn into depression, anxiety, regrets, and fear.  We create our own heaven and hell in our own personal minds.  All of this while missing the here and now.

Is the “I” , the self, an illusion?  Are we truly individual beings?  Or are we connected as one big entity, while believing that we are separate beings?  And what about the phrase “I am?”  .

When I use the phrase “I am”, what can I use after it to accurately describe the self?  I am human?  I am a person?  I am a body?  What is being human, person, or body?  I am a parent.  I am a patriot.  I am a writer.  Which one of these are true?

None of the above.   Since they are all fabrications of the mind.  They are all identities that I use to attempt to create the nature of the self.  And while I write this post in this blog, I still keep using the word “I” as if it means something.  Or someone.  What is it?

Furthermore, saying ” We are ” or “They are ” can be questionable.  Not everybody will agree with whatever characteristic you give to a group of individuals.  But when it comes to identifying with the “I”, how can you question your individual present?

In its purest form , I am is simply I am . Nothing else… No other addition can make it more true . It is simply identifying myself with the present moment.  With the eternal present.

I am is the ultimate mystery.
The ultimate experience .


Emptiness. Equality. Essence.

I have written a couple of posts in the past which define the nature of this blog. One of them is Surrender, Simplify and Serve (the subtitle of the blog) and Patience, Peace, and Presence. These are essential themes that have transformed my life recently.
This current post is about three other topics that have also given me a more profound meaning to life.

Emptiness is simply the process of denying myself. It is the difficult step of getting rid of all the falsified ego that poisons me.  It is making room for something else.  Something bigger.  It is truly liberating because it involves “cleaning” our minds from the falsified ego that bonds us into a fantasy.  The ego prefers to be inflated, to be full, and to shine.  But it is truly a false way to happiness.  Emptiness will free us from the illusion that the ego is based on, and helps us return to our true selves.  It is based on surrendering.  Which creates patience.

Equality is the idea that everyone is truly the same. We are all worthy of respect.   There is no one more important or better than anybody else. It is NOT what the Ego is about. I read somewhere recently that the Ego never feels equal to others, but inferior or superior to others. Equality is the true nature of all humanity collectively.  It surpasses patriotism, racism, nationalism, classicism, and so forth.  Instead of classifying and compartmentalizing us, Equality actually unifies and simplifies our lives.  Because it is the realization that we are one group of beings with similar nature.   When we think only about ourselves , which is human nature, then we practice selfishness, which is my definition of evil. So, yes, human nature is evil, because it is based solely on serving the ego.  But when we genuinely think of others and live to serve others, the same way we would do it for ourselves, then we live beyond human nature.  It is supernatural.  It is divine.  It brings peace.

Essence is then the true nature of our beings. It is the pure state of existence which would ultimately bring eternal Presence.  We do this by simply serving each other.  The true nature of our existence is to serve and help one another.   It is who were really are.  Which then brings us to experience Presence.  And Presence is what we should live.
My prayer, my hope  has been that I experience emptiness, equality, and essence in my life.

Surrender leads to Emptiness, which creates Patience

Simplifying leads to Equality, which makes Peace.

Service is the Essence of life, which brings us to Presence.


I Am Here

This is the greatest truth.  I am here is always true.

Beginning, or end.

Wherever I am, I can always say I am here.

Either when I am sinking in torment,

Or when I am gratefully experiencing  joy,

Wherever I am, I can always say I am here.

Even when  night or sunlight falls on me,

Whatever situation encompasses me,

Whenever I am, I can always say I am here.

During self doubt and insecurity,

Or during self-confidence and faith,

Whichever I am, I can always say I am here.

Others would not always be here.

For sometimes I am alone, in my personal journey,

Whomever I am with, I can always say I am here.

In cold or warmth, hatred or love,

when sad or angry, eager or stagnated.

However I feel, I can always say I am here.

Human…. soul…. being….. spirit.

Lost….. or Saved.

Whatever I am, I can always say I am here.


The Joy of Presence. The Gift of Surrendering.

Sitting at the beach, contemplating on the ocean in front of me, I consider focusing on the Present by emptying my mind. I redirect my attention from my thoughts to what I am experiencing at the present moment.  I contemplate on the waves…. the sand…..the heat of the sun…the sound of the waves…. it is a beautiful sight.  I sit on the sand by the shore and allow the waves to caress my feet, legs and hands.  The waves come and go, some are murky with sand, and others are crystal clear. I emerge my two hands in the sand and pick up a handful of wet sand.  I start thinking that the sand represents the invading thoughts, the fears., the regrets, the anxiety.  The waves that clear the sand off my hand is the Truth… the Salvation..the Light… the Presence of God that liberates me from my thoughts…. from myself.  I allow the clear and clean water to clean my hands. In the same way, I allow Presence to clear my thoughts from worries, regrets, and fears.
Like children, living in the present moment is a delightful experience, without the rumination of the past and the future, but the joy of the now.  This new adventure of simply sensing what is really there, as opposed to fabricating in my mind what is not, gives me a whole new view of this life, as it really is. It takes practice because my mind tends to wonder towards the past that is gone or the future that is not here yet.  My mind wants to defend the fabricated self…. but this same self is the part of me I need to deny in order to continue to live in the Present.

Surrendering  my self means surrendering to my patriotism, my religion ,  my race, my ethnicity, my economic status, and everything that my mind has fabricated to protect my vulnerable ego.  It is giving up the part of my life that I use to hide my insecurity.  I am none of those things that people have tried to drill in my mind.  I am not the person that others want me to be.  I am simply me.  But in order to be me, I must surrender to all those facade that I have become addicted to, because they give me a false sense of security.  And how liberating it is to be simply me!  It is an adventure to simply give up the part of me that is really not me. It can be scary, but this is the beauty of this liberation.

It takes effort to have joy.  It takes courage to have a gift.

This is exactly what Presence brings, and what Surrendering is.


As it is

  Can I possibly perceive my surrounding as it is?

What surrounds me, what I perceive in the environment, is usually interpreted in a certain way, based on my previous experience.  Therefore, I associate everything I see, hear, smell, touch, and taste in a particular, subjective way.  Can I perceive without associating, without judging, without the mental filter I usually use and perceive them “as it is”?

How about the self?  The thoughts that I have in my mind create the self, or do them? In my experience, I have learned that the self is based on subjective perceptions of the world, like the surrounding.  Other perceive me or my self as a different entity, based on their experience. I have seen my self as an individual of a particular race, gender, age, ethnicity, personality, with distinct interests, talents, biases, attitudes, etc.   And I have started to wonder, how accurate is all of this?  If I really think about it, it is all in my mind.  I have chosen to create it based on what I have learned in my 30 plus years on this earth.  I have fabricated the universe inside my mind. But…. what is really out there?

Is there an objective self?  An objective surrounding?  If I somehow accomplish to perceive the surrounding and the self as they really are, will I cease to be human?  Or will I become a new self, or the “real self”?  Some would call this “enlightenment” or “salvation”.  Saved from what?  Perhaps from the illusion I have created in my mind.

Is it possible to deny the self? Jesus taught we could and should in order to “follow Him”.  Buddha also taught that the self is an illusion. Hinduism also assumes that the world we perceive is an illusion.

Are we truly individuals? Are we somehow connected to each other but don’t know it yet?  Maybe to be united with God, Nirvana, heaven, or whatever you want to call it, is to experience the self and the surrounding “as it is”.  Without bias. Without interpretation.  Without association.  Just as it is.

Is this possible?


Mirrors

We are mirrors that may reflect the Light, if we choose to.

The love for others is what this Light demands of me and you.

The act of compassion, forgiveness, and service; it’s  all about connection.

How much love we put into what we do is what determines our reflection.

How much flavor we give to life depends on how much we give and care.

Or we may remain opaque and dull, and indulge in our own affairs.

But the Light is always there, waiting for us to meet  many needs.

By clothing the naked, feeding the hungry, helping  the “least of these.”

We could fight for justice, equality, and friendships.

We may create peace and maintain relationships.

But we must remain  meek, so that our image can be clear.

Embracing suffering, but living in joy, avoiding all fear.

We must clean ourselves by being poor, like gold purified by fire.

We are mirrors that reflect the Light, if we so desire.