what is truth?

This memory I’m about to share probably occurred about 51-53 years ago.

As a 6 to 8-year-old girl I would often watch the black and white TV set with Mom.

There was a movie, a Nazi story. I have no recall what movie it was.

I’ll set the scene as I remember it:

Nazi soldiers are looking for escaped prisoners in a convent. The nuns had hidden a bunch of folks somewhere within the convent property. A soldier is interrogating one of the nuns.

He begins to yell at her, and he slaps her really hard across the face with his hand.

I BURST INTO TEARS.

Now, as a child of this age I had a very cozy, middle income kind of cultural upbringing. There was no trauma, abuse, or anything that I could have identified with at that time that would have reactivated such a harsh emotional reaction to this (subtle, by today’s standards) act of violence.  I was sobbing. Holding back the uncontrollable emotion and tears as much as I could, but I was unable to continue watching the movie. I remember that Mom consoled me.

If Mom were still here, I’d ask her if she had any recollection of the incident. But mom passed last year and she had dementia. So her memory wouldn’t have been very helpful.

Why did that particular incident bring up so much agony and despair for me at that age?

Thinking about this today, it leads me to contemplate:

  • Is our consciousness REALLY inside our brain?
  • Is our consciousness more accurately outside of our brain which would allow access to more than this dimension, this realm, this lifetime, this world?
  • When we’re children, just prior to the unavoidable fact of cultural indoctrination, aren’t we more deeply connected to the reality of our True Conscious Being?

Here’s another childhood memory. About 49-50 years ago, I had an experience while walking home from the school bus up. I’d walk up the hill on Johanna Lane every day, but on this day I had a very sudden moment’s awareness. It was a cognitive sense of being AWARE of more than my little persona, a KNOWING that I WAS ACTUALLY AWARE of MY OWN AWARENESS. How could a 10-year-old process that? I didn’t. I simply remember a feeling as if I had something inside that was more than I could understand. And I liked the feeling. I had something special inside. I became aware of awareness itself just by being quiet, watching my feet take each single step by step along the road’s dark, wet, leafy pavement (it was Fall), and like a Zen meditation, IT appeared, it showed ITSELF, unexpectedly. I received a GIFT.

I would love to hear of any childhood experiences that any readers may have had which reveals a moments’ access to a more open truth of conscious awareness. Please do share ……

I’ll end with a beautiful piece about Truth from one of my favorite Zen masters:  

Most people think that they are basically truthful

But when you look at it for a given day,

How do I embody the truth of being?

Well, you start by telling the truth all the time,

Okay great,

What is the truth then?

What seems to be true for you?

You could look at it as being totally honest all the time

Never deceptive

Never deceiving

Not twisting the sentence where you’re not being completely honest

When you really look at this, even for a single day, you will probably be surprised, maybe even shocked by how often you find yourself shading truths, whether out of fear or out of subtle or overt deception (because you have a fear of being real, being exposed)

There’s hundreds of reason why you might not tell the truth

What is truth then?

It’s not just mere opinion.

It is not unloading your judgements on somebody.

That’s not telling the truth.

It’s more about being deeply and precisely honest, and being very open to having your truth change.

Someone else may inform you. It might alter what’s true for you.

As human beings we clutch on to what we think is true, and when we do state it we state it with a fair amount of defensiveness. So we’re often in a kind of competition, even in the most seemingly casual conversation. You will often notice a quiet, well cultured competition of ideas going on, or just a complete lack of listening. In the average conversation, usually each person is waiting for a gap to jump in and say what they want. This is common in conversation. In a truth sense, conversation is listening to what might be true in any situation. Unless you listen, you’re not going to get anywhere.

No this is not very esoteric, but it’s demanding, it’s real, kind of where the rubber hits the road.

We never like to admit to ourselves when we’re lying. We think we’re doing it for their sake.

If you have a little sensitivity, you can say something truthful or honest without being so overt.

If you want to really start to embody some of your deepest realizations of being, start by telling the truth all the time.

Will there be consequences?  Yes.

How am I delivering the truth? Am I saying what’s really true? Or am I insisting on the truth?

If you get lots of negative feedback on your truth telling, examine how am I delivering this truth, how insistent am I, or am I very simply being honest and real?

One of the ways human beings manipulate each other is by shading the truth.

It’s hard to manipulate somebody when you’re totally honest.

This practice of truth will transform your life. You can’t say how, until you do it.

You can’t control how it will work out.

How could you possibly embody the enlightened condition and be anything less than truthful?

Your experience of being tends to become richer, deeper, more profound, more connected with your human relative life. That inner private space of being and outer human existence are no longer felt as two things, that illusion that there are two things. It’s actually ONE thing.

The more truthful you are, the deeper your sense of connection becomes. That exquisite feeling of spontaneous balanced flow feeling, all of you together, your internal division has come together. If you want to be divided, tell lies. You will feel conflicted inside. Sometimes overtly and sometimes very subtle.

Truth is a unifier. It brings the force of your psychology, your emotions together.

When it’s just truth, there’s something inside of you that comes deeply together.

This is not a direct translation of the YouTube recording. It is my paraphrased excerpts from Adyashanti’s talk titled, ‘What is Truth?

Alone I know nothing

Yes, I admit, I know absolutely nothing when it comes to the Truth of this Reality.

I have to recognize that each time I forget.

Otherwise, I am just deluded.

The persona, Janet, which I embody, seems to be a mind/body/spirit complex Being who believes she is separate from What Always Is.

But she’s Not separate in Actuality.

And that’s where the Knowing comes in. And this is how Knowing showed up for me:

In February 2019 after my breast reconstruction surgery (post 2 years of “successful” breast cancer treatment), I began to have signals – feelings, big surges of desire for change, deep disappointment with my current state of affairs in every aspect.

It felt like an alien took over my body/mind complex and was informing me to make major life changes. At times, I felt like I was having an emotional breakdown.

It really did feel alien, because I’m typically very tolerant, an empathetic sort who deals with anger/judgmental emotions in a way that sets the feelings aside through deep contemplation of how to engage forgiveness and acceptance.

But this “alien” showed up and said in my head’s voice, “Fuck this. I’m done. I can’t live like this anymore.”

I felt possessed. I couldn’t stop the feelings, and the voice in my head was insistent.

This alien visitor (coincidentally?) appeared exactly at the time I began experiencing pain in the breast reconstruction area…..

This pain presented as sharp, burning, electric jolts of pain. This was in March directly after the February 25 surgery.

The alien informed me, “Get out of this marriage relationship and run far away, free yourself from the family drama and incessant codependent relationships you are witnessing.  Leave it all behind.  Get a van, live in it, and travel across county. Find out who you are.”

The alien voice further insisted, “It’s time to quit all these yoga jobs. You’re running around like a chicken without a head, wasting gas and time for piddling compensation, not to mention you’re exhausted. You no longer feel inspired to teach yoga, but required. And that’s not how you used to feel.”

I listened.

In April, the most grueling words I’ve ever felt forced to voice somehow came out of my mouth, and I informed my husband of 30 years, “I think we should separate from each other.”

Next, I gave my notice to 3 out 4 of my yoga employers. I would be taking a long term sabbatical from teaching yoga for personal/health reasons.

It was now May, and my pain turned into a visible rash on the skin of my right breast. The doctors guessed, Shingles?

In June my radiation Oncologist saw my growing, worsening rash, looked at me with a face of horror, and said, “I don’t think this is shingles. You need a biopsy.”

During all of this, my husband and I talked, yelled, cried, shared, but ultimately came to agreement that our relationship was worth working at….. together.. .We agreed to hold on to the foundation of love beneath all the dysfunctional and difficult stuff that has arisen.

Still experiencing burning pain, I couldn’t even keep the one yoga job I had held onto, and I asked for time off due to the painful rash. 

On June 18, my husband’s birthday, I had a skin biopsy. The result: Recurrent breast cancer in the skin.

In July, my PET scan result was: Inflammatory breast cancer metastasized to skin.

In August, it was confirmed that my disease is stage 4, incurable, and chemotherapy along with any eligibility for trials would be my best option and hope for remission.

And so I contemplate ……..

  • Did the “Alien” KNOW I had cancer before I did?
  • Did the “Alien” inform my actions based on the KNOWLEDGE that I needed healing through self love?
  • Did the “Alien” show up as actual cancer cells to bring me to my knees in surrender so that I could focus first on service to self, which automatically will then develop into service to others?

I feel inclined to believe that this thing I refer to as the Alien is Life Itself (God).

Does that mean God is the cancer too? I think so.

And although in this realm we perceive what happens as good or bad, this Alien Voice, Life Itself, God is NEUTRAL, but in Unseen Reality the inevitable result is always for the highest good…… something we cannot perceive or know.

And although Janet Alone cannot KNOW the highest good, when Connected to Source she can allow what Life Itself intends to live through her.

 Today’s prayer:

 Allow me to fulfill my purpose, whatever that may be.

now

Oh I’ve had these moments of darkness

then I remember the truth that can’t be expressed

that LIFE is bigger than anything I can see

and somehow, I feel like it’s all okay for a moment

But I will revisit doubt and uncertainty

I question my divine purpose, will I fulfill it?

I ask myself, did I LOVE enough?

Was I honest ….. with others ……. with myself?

When we ask the real questions

Life says,

You are ALIVE in this moment

That’s IT

All you have is this MOMENT to express the life pulsing out of your heart,

to experience the soul’s yearning to LIVE through ONE being

for the sake of every other being

NOW

And don’t fucking wait another moment

the way

there’s no “right” way

and no “wrong” way

embrace the contradictions

ask the questions, the important ones

like ‘what is this about?’

but have no expectations that the answer will be comprehensible

because the answers will not be for your mind to grasp onto

the answers will be in

the morning light,

the mosquito’s bite,

a birds song,

a plan gone wrong,

fire’s fury,

a hung jury,

winter’s chill,

and pickle’s dill

the hummingbird’s flight

the lovers’ fight

poker game win

drunk on gin

singing out loud

drenching rain cloud

dancing like a fool

breaking the rule

smiling at your child

flowers growing wild

screaming in rage

a minimum wage

crashing the Mercedes

going out with the ladies

the very last breath

fearless of death

The WAY is only yours to have

yours to embrace, heart and soul, moment by moment, its beauty and its filth, all of it.

So, living and following The Way of Knowledge does not make things look different. You will still have good days and bad days. You will still have days when you feel certain of what you are doing, and you will have days when you are uncertain. You will still cry and get angry. You will still do silly things. You will still make mistakes. But while all this is going on, something else is growing within you and becoming more powerful, more real and more evident. There is the great garden growing—the garden of Knowledge. There is a fire burning within you—the Fire of Knowledge. It is growing, day by day.
The great change that you will experience will be unlike the big sensations that people usually call self-transformation. The real change happens deep within you. You don’t usually see it happening, but you do notice the results. As time passes, you start to feel differently about certain things, not because anyone has told you to do so. It’s just something you feel. Time passes, and your values change. You begin to take refuge in the truth rather than attempt to escape from it. You seek quiet more and more as gross stimulation becomes a great aggravation. You look for different things in yourself and in others. You become more aware of the subtle interactions between people. You are more affected by the mental environment and more sensitive to it. You begin to value truth and understanding more than possessions and pleasurable sensations.”
Marshall Vian Summers

Plasma

“Fixed constructs keep us from experiencing the fluidity of reality which contains the abundance and connections that we long for on this journey.  You must ask yourselves in each moment, What am I programming?” Jenny Schiltz
 
My contemplation in the garden was insightful today.

I felt the plasma-like substance that Jenny Schiltz talks about in her recent blog post.  Yes, indeed. I do agree, this plasma is programmable.

But this is what I saw today:

This plasma is YOU and ME.  (you can substitute the word God for plasma if you prefer)

It is the very fascia of our being and all of what we perceive as planet Earth.

Who programs this plasma? YOU and ME.

Our thoughts program the plasma.

Think of a fractal. The way it is infinitely the same above and below, a spiraling infinity of as above so below, but there’s really no separation of above and below. We just can’t see above and below.

We only see the level of our own conscious awareness in each moment – which is reflected into the plasma that we perceive as outside of us.

But this plasma is already programmed for eons to hide the reality of this fluid movement of energy so that we are unaware, unconscious, and disbelieving of its power within each of us.

Can we un-program our plasma, or re-program it?

The infinite layers of stuck and programmed ideas, beliefs, and indoctrinated behaviors is the plasma that’s playing the current movie feature called Life on Earth.

YOU and I create this.

How did I envision this today?

I witnessed the natural behaviors of the living things;

Kale grown from tiny seedlings
Ants creating pathways through the dirt
Deep-rooted grass weeds, so hard to pull
Soft clover yielding easily to my touch.

IT knows. Life showed me. IT pointed directly to the nature of reality that I AM, and I listened.

Simultaneously, I felt the burning pain in my right breast from the Shingles virus, a condition I’ve manifested over the past several months. 

This stinging pain said to me,
You are transforming, Janet. You are always becoming and always being. Forever connected to truth, even when you don’t see it clearly. This body will only show you what your mind thinks. Good or bad.  It will always mirror your thoughts.

I AM plasma.

Peace

The only moments that I feel truly at ease, peaceful, maybe even blissful (Ananda) is when I remember (re-know) the Truth (Sat) about the illusive quality of perception in the “world”.

What you believe, so shall you perceive. That’s about as close as one can get to a spiritual truth.

All the anxiety, indecision, depression, angst, fear …. yes, it’s real because I can FEEL it.

But when I crack open my knowing heart, and remember the Truth of I AM, or GOD IS, or disbelieve the separation (duality), a soft wave of peacefulness returns to the center of the chest.

“When a teacher of God first learns that he or she is the dreamer of the dream they are still attached to the dream and are tempted to use their growing awareness of Reality to change the dream to suit their individual dream figure desires instead of to awaken. This is an attempt at a compromise where the dreamer tries to have the power of the dreamer while still being a figure in the dream, but in the end this will fail because a dream is not real; it will always leave the dreamer feeling empty, and seeking for wholeness. Only awakening from the dream will make the dreamer feel whole again. Through awakening the dreamer’s experience of the dream does improve, but only because the dreamer realizes that it is a dream.

The Holy Instant, in Which the teacher of God steps out of time for a moment to be with God, is the greatest tool that he or she has to undo the dream of time. In that Instant time is over; there is no dream. The more a teacher of God practices the Holy Instant, and lives in the present with the Presence of the Holy Spirit, the less time means to him or her. The dream recedes in value and importance, and the experience of the Holy Instant becomes more compelling to the teacher of God than anything in time.

In essence, time is the dreamer living the one instant of not-God/undoing not-God over and over again, but in the midst of time this takes so many forms it is almost impossible to see. The teacher of God, however, begins to see it the more he or she experiences the Holy Instant. They begin to see the nothingness of the dream, and how silly it is to give it weight and to take it seriously. All that has happened is a thought that can never be reality. There is really nothing to forgive because nothing real has happened. God is.” A Course in Miracles

unknown

It’s often the simplest seeming gesture or word/idea that serves as a deep awakening.

As I’m reading The Most Important Thing, (Adyashanti), I’m reminded ….

How we IDENTIFY with a thought about absolutely anything can create either suffering or happiness.

This has been so helpful for me to re-cognize, again, simple as it is.

Further grace dropped into my consciousness while I was revisiting my old dream journals, as I’m preparing to work on my new project, The Yoga of Dreaming.

I was reminded of a teaching at a silent retreat that served a deep awakening for me, at that time:

“You will NEVER find TRUTH looking through the MIND”

Why is this SO important to re-cognize?

Because the Mind’s nonstop evaluation of its perceptions are occurring in TIME (in this dimension of reality)

We already know Time is an illusion, right? But in Time the only thing we can actually KNOW through EXPERIENCE is the present moment

Everything else is the UNKNOWN

The unknown = FEAR (most of the time), especially the unknowing about death

Which leaves 99.99999% of us living in FEAR (aka anxiety) pretty much all of the TIME

To eliminate this constant state of fear, our only hope would be to let go of identifying with the MIND’s obsessive compulsion to make up stories about everything – and then believe it’s TRUE!!!!

Sounds simple enough.

But it’s not simple. Why?

Because the UNKNOWN will always be the only thing that is TRUE.

Our MIND cannot accept that.

What can we do?

Sit still. Be quiet. Observe. Listen. Feel. Laugh. Watch nature. Trust. Open your heart to gratitude. Take Action without attaching to outcome. Be YOU, authentically.

KNOW that you will never KNOW.

Remind yourself every day.

Even this writing is not true.
It’s just an attempt to express the ineffable……..

suggestions welcome