3P Random Reflections Blog
A few years ago I had a 3-day experience of seeing and feeling everyone and everything with what I would describe as unconditional, impersonal love. It was something I had never felt before
in my life, and it was much greater than any of my personal experiences of love for my husband or my family.
It was NOT at all a PERSONAL experience of affection, or warmth, or appreciation, or admiration, or comfort, or attachment, or any type of PERSONALLY loving feeling. Instead, it was oddly detached and completely impersonal, while also being
profoundly immense and all-encompassing and incredibly clear and simple and certain.
at the time were, "Oh, this is what the wise throughout time have been pointing to". This is the experience of the formless, the truth of life, our spiritual nature, and what many define as God... the feeling of the inexplicable energy of nothing and everything,
seeing the perfection of everything exactly as it is, without labels, without adjectives, without conditions. All of a sudden, everything in life made complete sense.
In deep contrast, I could then see how all my past (and current) experiences of PERSONAL love had some level of what I would describe as "pain" associated with them... I was attached to them,
there were needs and expectations associated with them, there were personal conditions and fears related to them. I wanted to be loved in return by those I loved, and I would feel loss or hurt if the person or relationship was lost. I had also applied all
sorts of conditions to any love I may have had for myself.
Prior to this experience, I had
no idea of the difference between the understanding/feeling of the personal & conditional (illusory) versus the impersonal & unconditional (truth). I had no idea how ALL my personal feelings of love included this illusory, personal-self, ego-based,
fearful, painful attachment, and that there was something “other” yet to be experienced. I had no idea that I was already the love that I had needed or wanted (and so was everyone else).
And so I now see (for me) that "learning to love yourself first" is simply a metaphor, pointing to realizing this truth of the impersonal nature of life...
discovering what is meant by "looking within". When we get a glimpse of it in any way for ourselves, we then live and love from some level of awareness of it. We begin gaining less attachment to the personal illusion, and we begin leaning with more faith or
interest toward the formless truth (experiencing the feeling of love without conditions and awareness of the incomprehensible intelligence of the formless energy of life).
On a day-to-day basis, I live entirely in the illusory personal, with only rare and brief glimpses (felt awareness) of this truth of the impersonal & unconditional. BUT, I now know the
truth of it, and I know which direction it's in, and I know the difference in feeling of whether I'm closer to it or further away from it. I can now feel the physical constriction and weight of my personal experience (my personal thinking) versus the complete
freedom and weightlessness of the unconditional.
Personally, my preference would be to permanently
hang out in the feeling of the impersonal & unconditional LOL! But then what fun would that be?! Instead, I get to continue to uncover the infinite levels of my personal craziness (the personal suffering that this human form seems to love sending my way),
and see the joyful humour in it all, and take it all a lot less seriously. The infinitely entertaining roller coaster ride of life!
FOLLOW-UP QUESTION FROM KATHY MARSHALL EMERSON:
I am curious where today you might say you find a passage from any of Syd's writing that is most like what you have experienced and said about
this universal impersonal love.
After having this experience, along with the realization of the illusion of all thought, most of everything I then read or listened to by Syd just made complete sense
to me. I could relate almost everything he shared back to my 3-day experience in some way.
I'm not sure which of his writings would best compare to my attempt at describing the difference between personal love/life
(the illusion) and impersonal love/life (the truth), but this passage from “In Quest of the Pearl” probably comes closest…
“Now, there is a far greater Truth that is impersonal. This impersonal Truth is
found within one's soul and is as steadfast as life itself. This is the TRUTH the wise have spoken of since the beginning of time. This is where they make their stand against all falseness of life. This TRUTH that I speak of is before the formation of thought
or form, and when digested, it starts to unfold the mystical qualities of the world we live in.”
I also related to many of the times when Syd spoke about the impersonal and neutral. He used those specific words, but also
used Mind, the formless, God, oneness, wisdom, the spiritual, the soul, purity, one divine source, the essence, the now (no time, space, or matter), truth, love (Note: I couldn’t find him anywhere saying unconditional love), peace, pure consciousness,
divine mystery, the secret that cannot be told, and many more. From my perspective (based on my personal experience), all of these are simply labels and metaphors pointing to the same formless energy of life that I felt as impersonal, unconditional love, and
realized as “truth”. It’s interesting that all of these labels and metaphors tend to be ones that have less of a concrete form, that are somewhat undefinable, and that are generally without conditions, without judgments, and without parameters
The other day, an older, heavy-set woman with a cane,
dressed in a mix of distressed clothing, boarded the bus with a motley collection of bags that appeared to be full of her recent purchases. She didn’t board quickly, quietly, and calmly as the angry looking driver and many of the passengers would probably
have preferred, but instead boarded with some awkwardness and loudness (in movement and voice) as she paid the fare, got to her seat, and arranged the bags around her feet.
During the ride, she spoke a few times, loudly and aggressively to the driver, and also to the other passengers trying to navigate past her bags.
During the ride, I wasn’t giving any significance to her aggressive behaviour, since I was aware that she
was simply acting out from the incredible power of insecure thought. Instead, as I reflected on her situation, I was thinking, “It’s too bad I couldn’t get her access to a portable wheeled cart so that she could navigate her bags more easily”
And then I caught what my own creative insecure mind was up to, and I kind of chuckled to myself.
I realized how the idea of getting her a cart would be “MY” solution if I was in her situation,
and would not necessarily be her solution. I amusingly remembered how often I think I have the answers to what I have personally deemed as other people’s “problems”.
It’s soooooo easy for our minds to define things as problems, and then to begin looking for solutions to something we’ve just completely made up. How do
I know that she wasn’t perfectly fine navigating her bags exactly as she was? Perhaps there were much more pressing problems she was concerned with and could have used help with. After all, I am not living in her head. I’m ONLY ever living in my
And it’s not that it wouldn’t have been a perfectly lovely idea to find a
way to get her access to a cart, but here’s what is significant about my thoughts/feelings in that moment…
When I’m trying to fix what I see as other people’s problems, or I see them as incapable or a nuisance in some way (whether to myself or others), it is a warning bell indicating some sort of insecure thought/feeling
passing through my mind. In that moment, it helps me see that I am NOT feeling unconditional love, or unconditional acceptance, or warm connection, or admiring and appreciating their own natural resilience. Instead, I’m feeling separate from them, and
judging them or their situation, and identifying what I see as “their” problems.
so, the “solutions” I will tend to come up with will be entirely influenced by my own personal perceptions about life. And that’s a helpful thing to be aware of. After all, every one of us knows the difference between getting advice or help
from someone who’s judging us based on how they see and experience the world in their own mind, versus getting advice or help from someone who’s coming from a place of neutral connection
and not currently wrapped up in their own personal thinking.
At the stop where this woman was
to get off, there was a younger woman leaving at the same time. The two of them had a bit of interaction in order to navigate their mutual departure. The older woman eventually encouraged the somewhat impatient younger woman to just go ahead, although she
said it with her aggressive sounding tone. Heading out the door, the younger woman made some sort of sarcastic remark directed toward the older woman, followed by the driver’s loud laughter in agreement. The older woman heard it and snapped at the driver,
asking him what the younger woman had said about her.
I immediately found myself angry and
judgmental toward both the younger woman and the driver for not seeing what I was seeing… an older woman struggling though life, doing the best she could given her thinking in the moment, and likely with many less resources in life than they had.
And then I caught what my own creative insecure mind was up to, and I kind of chuckled to myself
Although I appeared to be in defense of the suffering (being on the side of
the suffering older woman), I hadn’t immediately noticed that I had absolutely no compassion for the driver or the younger woman. Their behaviours were just as driven by the momentary flow of insecure thought passing through their minds (their own personal
suffering). If they happened to be experiencing a secure flow of thought, and were feeling their intrinsic connection to life and each other, they would have acted differently.
See how tricky our thinking can be?
In the moment, it occurred to me to offer the older woman help with her bags. She said yes, and asked me to grab the green garbage bag that was still left for her to pick up. After I carried the bag off the bus and left it next to her, she said “God
bless you”. I wasn’t looking for that appreciation, but it was lovely to have affirmation once again, of the truth that anyone, no matter the circumstances, can regain their intrinsic connection to the world, and respond in kind.
With the understanding that our thoughts and feelings aren’t “caused” by the circumstances of
life, it means that we can thankfully navigate life with a lot more understanding of why individuals (including myself) innocently and often unknowingly act the way we do; that our insecure behaviours are simply a reflection of the belief in the momentary
flow of insecure thought/feeling passing through our minds, temporarily losing our felt connection to life and humanity. And that’s just human.
As a result of knowing this, so much less of our mental resources end up being spent on judgement, or the need to figure out why, or the need to judge/justify/defend/reason anyone’s behaviours.
It makes the understanding of everything in life so simple. And so, we get to spend less time being in our heads, and more time just being.
And despite how deeply any of us know this, we can still (and will frequently) lose our connection to humanity, and get temporarily lost in the belief in whatever insecure flow of thought is passing through our head.
That’s just human. Fortunately, we then get to notice this happening, and have a good chuckle about it.
Throughout my life I could never make sense out of people's behaviours, including my own.
And then I realized a truth about thought ...(and life)...
The truth that every single person is living, moment to moment, in the effects of their up and down flow of secure and insecure thought.
any of us are feeling secure, we see the world from a kinder perspective, and we tend to act out in kind. Whenever any of us are feeling insecure, we see the world from a negative perspective, and we tend to act out from the belief in it.
There isn't one single person who is immune from this.
And although we often seem to want to stamp a permanent label on others (or even ourselves) to identify them as lazy, or stupid, or egotistical, or rude, or thoughtless, or even
the opposites of productive, or smart, or humble, or kind, or thoughtful, or "whatever", there is not one single one of us who IS or can be any one permanent thing. With the continually flowing, up and down nature of the energy of thought, it's impossible.
What we are (the solid, unchangeable, unbreakable part of every one of us) has absolutely nothing to do with our changing behaviours in each moment, but instead is the invisible something of which we are all within and to which we are all
connected... something that can't really be seen or even understood, but can be sensed or felt or realized.
Ultimately, we're all in this together, and are connected in more ways than we can even begin to comprehend, and we are ALL subject
to the up and down nature of thought. And in every moment when we somehow remember this or recognize this, whether about ourselves or others, we (me, you, or them) get to navigate life with much less need to assign permanent labels, and much more appreciation
for the incredible diversity of our common humanity.
Sometimes I feel angry, judgmental, frustrated, fearful, insecure, depressed, anxious, irritated (the list is endless). Sometimes I feel content, amused, relaxed, interested, curious,
loving, joyful, secure (the list is endless).
What creates suffering for me is not in the feeling
any of those things, but in the desire to either get rid of those feelings or hang on to them.
either case, I’m attempting to take something that is inherently fluid (thoughts/feelings) and turn it into something that is solid. I’m attempting to control the uncontrollable.
Despite knowing this to be true, it doesn’t exempt me from being human. I still attempt to control the uncontrollable ALL THE TIME!
But what a relief every time I happen to remember the truth of this, or to remember it’s perfectly OK whenever I don’t?
A few years ago I had an insight that the Three Principles
are NOT the “truth”.
I realized that the more I held onto even a slight feeling of judgment or righteousness... NEEDING to communicate that the Three Principles are true or right, and that some other practice or understanding is wrong or less (including how anyone else
chooses to share the Principles differently than me), then any subtle feeling of comparison or NEED is telling me that I'm heading in the wrong direction. I'm heading toward fear and away from the neutrality of true, unconditional love.
And that’s not a bad thing. It’s
just a very human thing. It’s me getting temporarily caught up in the belief in my made up, ridiculous, compelling, insecure thinking. And I still do it ALL the time. Truthfully, I’m in my head way more than I am out of it.
And so, when I'm in my head instead
of my heart, when I'm in a feeling state of justifying, defending, and reasoning, whether it’s about the Three Principles or anything else, I'm NOT sharing any "truth". I`m simply sharing my need to be right. I’m protecting my illusion of self.
And, when I'm back in a better
state of mind, and resting in the felt understanding of the spiritual nature of life that the Principles (and many other things) can ultimately point to, then I'm closer to sharing "truth”.
My understanding of the Principles then gets to be, FOR ME, a simple and lovely pointer for explaining the unexplainable…
for pointing to the illusory nature of personal thinking, and the truth that every single one of us is completely whole, and enough, and not broken, and a part of something much bigger.
The crazy thing about all of this, is that even while sharing the Principles in a temporary state of needing to be right, others can still somehow pull
truth out of it for themselves, since it doesn’t come from me. It comes through them.
And so ultimately, I’m not in charge of whether anyone gains this understanding for themselves or not. However, what I do gain from the practice of sharing it in every secure or insecure moment, is the endlessly fascinating path toward awareness
of being without need, and being within truth and love.