CELEBRATION OF LIFE
22 Sin Ming Lane,
Mid View City, Singapore.
From the desk of:
Shafin de Zane
Writer & Counselor
One of the first things I try to clarify to my students in class and clients I work with is why we want to leave our old life behind and begin a journey towards infinity (whether inwards or outwards). It’s a long, strange and enchanted road that takes us off in directions we neither signed up for nor imagined. We usually begin aiming towards one destination and end up somewhere else altogether, and that place renders our original plan totally irrelevant. It’s also a journey that involves facing our deepest fears and stretching to the very limits of our patience and endurance. Just like the “red pill” in the Matrix, “waking up” is just the beginning.
So why bother? Why not just stay with the stocks, steaks and the Late Night shows? The answer is simple but few people ever understand the issue with good clarity. It’s all about greater freedom you see: inner and outer, primarily inner freedom and secondarily outer freedom. When we finally comit to the journey of awakening, that is synonymous with expanding our awareness to see more, feel more, understand more, and, most importantly, love more. In this context, loving more is synonymous with being more: being something more than just your self.
Greater union is greater being, and infinity seekers aim not towards deeper romantic love, but towards becoming transparent to the cosmos.
A very strange sort of living begins when that happens: the mountain is still the mountain and the homeless bum is still the homeless bum, but then the mountain is no longer just the mountain and the bum is no longer just a bum. Everything becomes multi-layered, interdependent and co-arising.
The experience most people call “I”, that inner monologue and social personality, that we identify with very strongly, is a verb, its an action we perform with our brain, and not a thing that we are. The "I" most people refer to is a dynamically generated phenomenon, an illusion created by the brain that appears to have some stability and continuity.
The "I" is usually made up of the following 4 layers:
And then of course there is the "Fifth Element", the "I" that is before all content and memory, the pure act of awareness itself: the most mysterious phenomenon in the known universe, our communication channel and connecting portal to infinity.
This "Fifth Element" is why we meditate. We do not find it, we do not chase it, we do not try very very hard to concentrate so we can finally see it. We simply slow down and then stop doing all the extraneous movement we are doing inside and outside. When we stop throwing pebbles on the lake, the full moon is seen on the water.
Normally, making the socio-cultural-narrative "I" is a semi-voluntary action like breathing: sometimes we are in conscious control and sometimes we are not.
The “I” is not all of you, it is part of you - which should be obvious from the fact that when we sleep deeply there is no “I” happening, yet the trillions of biological functions go on happily in the background.
What we see, hear, touch, think through the filter of "I" is not all illusion, it’s not nothingness - it is truth but only subjective and relative truth that, with a bit of training and discipline, can be experienced very differently. In other words, the world we experience is much more fluid than what we usually suspect. And there are many ways to leverage this mutable nature of reality for fun and ease of living.
Unfortunately many humans today feel completely bound by the combined conditioning of the following forces:
This means our brain and mind, that is capable of reflecting infinity, which is our boundless identity, is hopelessly stuck in a mental cage. His vision, in the words of poet Rilke:
“... from the constantly passing bars, has grown so weary that it cannot hold anything else.
It seems to him there are a thousand bars; and behind the bars, no world."
Great adventures are waiting for us: adventures that can lead to discovery of worlds upon worlds inside and outside, unimagined till now, yet just a breath away. But courage is necessary. And willingness to be totally honest with our own self is necessary. And a total and complete unwillingness to settle for the second best is necessary, even if it means risking death on the path to freedom from the known. If these three components are in place, you are ready to begin.
It’s a long journey, never ending really, but every day we walk the path, it’s a day filled with wonder and new discoveries expanding our inner-space exponentially. The opposite involves saying no to the calling that is within our hearts; and living a life too small, in a cage with a thousand bars, and beyond the bars, no world.
A train that takes you to where I am starts from this station in about 10 minutes...
While you wait, you can read these papers if you want.