Richard: Okay, let’s go straight to the heart of the issue. Can you define reality?
Yes. It is energy.
What is energy?
What is consciousness?
Observation of the now.
What is observation?
What is awareness?
What is presence?
What is now?
I don’t know … the moment.
What is the moment?
It’s just … the moment ….
You have defined the moment as being the moment. Nothing can be defined by itself. All words are defined through the comparing and contrasting process, which is to say all words are defined by other words. And remember, all definitions give us a functional understanding of something. They do not actually tell us what that something is.
I’m not sure I agree with you. If you asked me what a window is, I could just point at a window and say, “That.”
Yes, you could just point, and pointing may give me some functional understanding of a window, but it does not tell me what it is, which is to say, I have no actual understanding of what a window is contructed of—of its essential nature.
It’s made of silicon.
What is silicon?
What is an element?
A bunch of atoms?
Then I would ask, “What is an atom? And you would say they are made of subatomic particles. Then I would ask, “What are subatomic particles?” and you would say that they are made of elementary particles. But what are elementary particles?
They are made of energy.
So you started by defining reality as being energy, and energy is consciousness, and consciousness is presence, and then presence is the moment. Then we discussed the nature of a window, and that brought us right back to energy, right?
Yes, that sounds right.
Again, what is energy?
If we think about electricity, we could say that energy is made of electrons.
Does reality equal electrons? What are electrons? Do you see what I mean? It is like a dog chasing its tail. It is a never-ending loop of defining that really is the avoidance of admitting that nobody knows.
So are you suggesting that the scientific endeavor to understand the universe is useless?
Yes and no. Through scientific research we gain more functionality in this world. It has allowed for a great many new comforts in life, like the lightbulb, cars, computers, but it has also inspired the creation of weapons such as the gun, the tank and nuclear warheads. It has created both medicines and poisons. That is what science does for human beings—no more, no less. Science has never accurately defined reality, although defining reality is the motivation of a great many scientists. But reality is impossible to define, and realizing this truth is counterintuitively liberating.
At first glance the inability to understand the truth of reality can be frustrating and even scary, but once we relax into not understanding, there is a great release of psychological pressure, and that brings more clarity which can be used to further the awakening process.
I’m still not fully convinced. What if I were to define reality as being God?
What is God?
God is truth!
What is truth?
Exactly. Again, it comes down to admitting that we don’t know. The next question is, what is the self?
If we can’t define what is real, how can we define the self?
We define the self all the time. In fact the self is made of definitions, which is proof that the self is not real. The self is merely a bundle of definitions that appear to be real at a glance, but when observed, they are actually just mental constructs, habits, memories, etc. The self is a mirage, an illusion that at best allows for some functionality in the world and at worst causes insanity.
Humans use definitions to trick themselves into believing that they have understanding of that which cannot be understood. Once we notice this mental trick sufficiently, we can then admit that we don’t really understand anything. So to address the topic of affirmations, to say, “I am love” is just adding another layer of falsehood to the currently existing bundle of self-definitions, or what I call “identifications.” And these self-definitions distract from direct experience with what is.
The awakening process is in large part seeing through the illusion of the self to directly experience what is right now. Affirmations begin with “I am” and are followed by some condition—for example “I am Christ.” Therefore, it is clear that affirmations, as they are commonly used, originate from a false assumption that the self is a real thing. Affirmations are merely attempting to change the mirage of self. Because affirmations falsely affirm the self, they further fog awareness of what is, and thus serve to block the unfoldment process. The belief, reinforcement, and protection of the self is a resistance to and denial of reality. And the offspring of resistance and denial is suffering. Therefore, “I am Love” actually creates suffering for the individual while simultaneously blocking the awakening process. Initially this perspective is quite counterintuitive for most people.
The argument which supports affirmations says that we can affect physical reality with our minds, and there may be some truth in this argument (see video I am HAARP). However, we would be wise not to identify the self with the “creation” process by attaching the words “I am” of the feeling of self to the desired result.
Let’s take a closer look at the unfoldment process and compare it to a sheet of paper with the word truth written in the very center of it. Each time we define the self either consciously or unconsciously, it is as if we have folded the paper in half. While we may get what we want through self-defining affirmations, we have unwittingly distanced ourselves from being able to see truth written on the paper because we have created yet another fold that later needs to be unfolded in order to see the word hidden underneath. Therefore it is beneficial to separate the tools of creation from the tools of unfoldment because they are distinct in both form and function.
Let’s look at the affirmation “I am Christ”—a very deceptive definition, indeed. Such a definition of the self would create a mega-ego. The individual would begin acting as if he or she were Christ. The operative word being act, for it is not representative of the actual truth that is revealed through unfoldment. When acting as Christ we are doing so from our ideas of Christ and the new personality that we are creating, but there is no actual truth shining through because the individual is completely bound in the self. Such an individual becomes highly polarized, much like Bilbo Baggins in The Lord of the Rings, when he asks Frodo to let him to hold the ring one last time. One moment Bilbo is a gentle old man, and the next he is a hissing demon.
Instead of creating a conditioned self, consider instead that there is something fundamental and true that already is, which merely needs to be revealed to become active in one’s life. In this way one will realize the “peace beyond all knowing” through direct experience. It will transcend theory, religion, ideology, philosophy and opinion, for it is self-evident and true for all individuals who unfold entirely.
Of course if you would like to use affirmations, then use them until you no longer feel the need to use them. When you are ready to give up affirmations, then you can consciously begin the unfoldment process by seeing through the mirage of the self. In this way, a virtuous cycle begins as your life becomes increasingly more harmonious and unconditionally meaningful.