Chapter 8 –
Ah … mmm … as a new mind-meander is fluttering on the breeze, I sense this one is going to be about another aspect of ourselves that I haven’t yet truly explored.
No doubt, that’s about to change. 😊
We’ve known pain.
We’ve known bliss.
We’ve known trauma.
We’ve known happiness.
We’ve known disappointments.
We’ve known fright, and we’ve known acceptance.
We’ve known panic, and we’ve known clarity.
Though not in the same doses, we’ve experienced them all.
So, of course, we’re strong now.
Of course, we’re capable now.
We’ve already proven that to ourselves and to others. We’ve proven it many times over.
We proved it by managing to the best of our (real time) ability all that we have already endured.
For that, we thank our inner self because, as long as we don’t acknowledge her, we cannot feel whole.
As the seat of our better judgement and conscience, our inner self a.k.a. our true self or higher self is usually understood as our spirit, and our mind blended together.
Then, there’s the other aspect of ourselves I like to call Neshama, Hebrew name for Soul.
As per the spiritual philosophy to which Yudit CS, my Israeli-Jewish mentor of ten years has led me, Neshama, incorporeal essence, is the energy source we are intended to tap into for sustenance and guidance.
From a secular perspective, it means that, even when convinced we’re navigating the course of life solo, we are not alone.
Reassuring thought: we always-always have a soft-spoken, genial co-pilot by our side. Actually, I prefer to think of Neshama as a spark of pure energy tucked deep inside my chest. In partnership with the Universe (or with the Divine, depending on one’s belief system), Soul has had a hand in designing the blueprint of our experiences in this lifetime.
Heads up #1: no matter how we choose to fabricate and interpret what, of an esoteric nature, is unperceivable through the senses, we must never lose sight of the reality, here and now, that we are always endowed with the freedom to choose what we say, think and do – and what we abstain from.
That said, free choice is a bit like spending money.
Every unconscious or deliberate action, reaction or inaction is 100% infused with cause and effect.
Whether we energise them consciously or unconsciously – by default, ripples always flow on from choices made.
The power to correctly exercise the freedom to choose is by design the essential responsibility that befalls our ego-persona. She is the walking/talking/thinking/feeling body that answers to our name. Ultimately, she is the one who positions us in the outer world.
Bottom line: regardless of the content of the moment we, in our 3-D body, always have the ability to decide the best response and the best course of action.
Having said that, situations and outcomes are inevitable.
Seldom do they remain neutral.
Many turn into complications and trigger consequences that test both our mettle and our equanimity. The resulting situation often amounts to a battle of us against us though we prefer to blame … others – or the weather.
Bottom line: choices a.k.a. decisions ripple outward differently whether we allow our ego-persona to randomly tap into the well of free choice or do our best to bring our inner self into the ‘conversation’. And whether taking it one step further, we seek and follow Neshama’s guidance.
Heads up: when it comes to the matter of Soul, even if ‘only’ considering it through a secular lens, it’s best to keep it personalised, close to our heart, fluid and non-dogmatic.
Let’s just be happy to make it steadfastly comforting for ourselves.
Fact: neither Soul (nor God) show up on MRI scans. They are not revealed by the penetrating eye of microscopes used by neuroscientists. Even NASA’s Hubble telescope has yet to observe a trace of either.
Reality check #1: when it comes to the definitive nature of Soul (and God), neither popes, nor imams or radical monks, nor chief rabbis, nor evangelists, nor any other men considered holy by millions of faithful are any privier to divine ‘factual’ facts than we are.
Religion with an upper-case R – as opposed to religiosity – has always been intended as a source of hope, belongingness through caring and support. It was always meant as a source of optimism, of emotional comfort and of protection.
Unfortunately for the emotional climate on planet Earth, the message these men deliver is too influenced by the very human agenda of their ego-persona to be genuinely ‘inspired’ by the Divine. It is not often intended for the greater good.
Rabbi Hillel the Elder who died 10 CE, in Jerusalem, gave us The Golden Rule which warned: ‘What is hateful to yourself, do not do to your fellow man.’
Some 60 years later or more, the gospel of Matthew attributed a similar warning to Jesus: ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’.
Together and separately, these two thoughts have given us all that needs to be known for a healthy, inclusive, religious practice. All that is to be done to create and maintain peace in our hearts, in our homes and in our communities.
Nothing more was needed thousands of years ago.
Nothing more is needed now. Human nature has remained the same.
Besides, beyond consolidating that understanding with a practice of the Eightfold Path of Buddhism or by following the principles of mutual respect, fraternity and keeping togetherness, as practiced by the Sasak tribe of Indonesia.
Nothing more is needed now, besides emulating the character of Vishnu, the saviour, the protector of good, the peace-loving deity and his intolerance of ego.
Nothing more is needed besides following the advice of Muhammad, The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) who said, ‘Be merciful to others and you will receive mercy. Forgive others and Allah will forgive you.’
Instead, so many religious leaders of most denominations and so many billions of followers worldwide rave on about a vengeful god made in their own image – one who is divisive and who demands exclusion, banishment and violent retribution – even against family and members of our clans.
It’s as if the Divine, the credited creator of all was a mere human entity focused on being heard, seen, honoured, loved, forgiven and respected – as per the yearnings of most humans since the dawn of time – and vengeful when overlooked. As are these leaders.
End of rant 😊
Back to the original focus of this little mind-meander.
As beings incarnated in a human body – not in the body of an animal or loaded with the DNA of a tree, of a grasshopper or a fish, our life’s purpose is defined by the characteristics of our management of What-Is.
It is defined, too, by our acceptance and refusal of how each What-Is circumstance makes us feel throughout the very long string of moments underfoot.
Actually, it would pay to humbly accept that, more than our inner co-pilot on the expedition of a lifetime, Soul – really – is the leading player in the great game of Destiny Shaping in which we have all been conscripted pre-birth.
So, we thank Neshama, Soul, (in Hebrew) for … being there for us.
That said, should we, instead, prefer to attribute this deal-maker/deal-breaker power to God, the Universe or to the Field, Soul won’t mind.
She’s extremely understanding of … human nature. 😊
Rather than looking at ‘best behaviour’ as a well-coordinated multiple-personality skit, we could accept that our moments would be best governed by an informal triumvirate.
So, after Soul and our resilient inner self, we really should thank our ego-persona, as well.
We should thank her for how she has handled our childhood struggles and all the struggles she’s endured since.
From birth – and up to this moment – every meaningful shift in our emotions and circumstances has generated changes in and around our ego-persona. So, it’s essential to ‘feel her’ and ‘feel for her’, as we think of our forever younger self, our self as she was in moment that has just passed underfoot.
Heads up: actually, as adult actors in the ongoing (karmic) choreography of life, we have had several ‘young ones’ playing our role, haven’t we?
Weren’t there even times when our parents and/or some of those who knew us best said we acted as if we were a different person?
Didn’t they shout, ‘I don’t know who you are! I don’t recognise you!’
Either way, throughout each of our ego shifts, our shadow self a.k.a. our ego-persona did the best she could to navigate the unchartered waters that, one rip, one wave, one tsunami – one ray of sunshine at a time -became ‘our life’.
So, as long as we don’t acknowledge her and as long as we don’t actively accept that she did the best she could to come through several challenging karmic choreographies, we are not whole.
If we think she messed up big time, we forgive her.
We forgive ourselves, at the same time. More bang for our bucks, as the expression goes.
In the words attributed to Gyalsay Rimpoche by Ani Pachen in her biography, Sorrow Mountain, here is a reminder of what we need to do from the heart:
‘Regard everything as though it is a dream. Everything is ephemeral, ungovernable, and hollow. Work with the essential nature of your mind, pure and radiant. Keep your mind clear and aware in each moment.’
So, dear Reader, how about we add Clarity somewhere near the top of our bucket list?