Don’t Map Me In

Recently, I was invited to be on a podast with Troy Headrick, who’s one of the talented writers for a wonderful blogsite entitled WiseandShine. I feel very fortunate to be able to publish some of my writing there, also. The topic of our discussion was What’s Important?. I enjoyed our relaxed conversation very much, but I felt especially moved by an account that Troy related of a ceremony that took place at the end of his Pre-Service Training for the Peace Corps. During the training, they studied Polish language, history, and culture and also learned intercultural sensitivity. This is my interpretation only, but I feel that the heart of the ceremony demonstrated a much broader scale of the priniciple related to the following quote attributed to Alfred Korzybski:

The map is not the territory.”

For seekers who are eager to dive into self inquiry, the meaning of this quote is tremendously important to understand. This single insight can open our mind and help shine a light of comprehension on many more. If we contemplate the quote, we may easily realize that a map cannot actually “be” the territory, because it is representational only–not the actual territory, itself.

When we apply this principle toward a deeper understanding of our essential Being, we realize that all of the definitions “of” our person (body, mind, gender, race, nationality, status) cannot possibly “be” our essential nature. To do so would mean that we had erroneously believed the descriptions “of” the person (the visual representation, in the example of the map) to “be” identical to the person’s essence. This, of course, is not the case. Strangely, however, this is exactly what the majority of the world’s population believe, day after day. In the Bible, this occurrence is expressed through the account of the prodigal son, who turned his attention away from his “Father” (the Source of his Being, Consciousness), and focused his attention solely on his body-mind in the apparent world. To do so means that we have unconsciously confused descriptions “of” the person with his/her essential nature. When this occurs, we believe–with blind certainty–that we are a separate “self” living in what can often seem a harsh and threatening world.

The ceremony that Troy shared with the listeners illustrated the antithesis of this position, especially as it relates to the stereotypical “identities” so often associated with nations. During the ceremony, Troy and his peers crossed a stage and unpinned a pushpin that marked their “home town” and then crossed the stage again and pinned the location on a map that indicated where they were going to serve. In Troy’s case, that was Tarrow, Poland, from 1994 to 1996. Through this symbolic act, they physically illustrated that they were stepping beyond the limited identity related to one nation and embracing a perspective in which they stood united in their humanity.

With regard to awakening to our essential nature, enlightenment means that we (as a perspective of Consciousness, in Consciousness–not a “person’) cross the stage from where we believe that we are who we “think” we are, to knowing recognition of That which we actually “are.” On the one side of the stage, we are living from the conceptual version of ourselves (name and form); and at the other side, we realize that our true essence is the formless No-Thing (Consciousness) in which the world and everything within it appears. The Truth of our Being is referred to in the following quote from the Bhagavad Gita:

Weapons cannot cut it, nor can fire burn it; water cannot cut it, nor can wind dry it.”

When this is lived on an interpersonal level, the quality of our relationships improves dramatically; for such means that we are seeing the world and everyone within it from a perspective that is beyond the definitions related to our personal mask. In other words, the “guy” or “girl” down the street is no longer viewed as just a guy or girl. We, thus, see them as expressions of the very same fullness–the ONE–that shines through us. When this occurs on a much broader scale amongst nations, there will be peace on Earth. Is that not reason enough to awaken to true Self?

Note: This post is dedicated to Troy Headrick and “others” like him, who serve the best interests of humanity, instead of the self-serving interests related to the false self.

Dare to dream (and care for one another).

With heartfelt regards,


Copyright © – 2022 – R. Arthur Russell

P.S. Please share this article if you enjoyed it. If you’d like to view my latest book (This Taste of Flesh and Bones–released September 8, 2020), press here. My YouTube videos may be found through this link. May the content of either or both help you along your spiritual journey. 🙏🧡

Thank You” & “Note to Publishers

4 thoughts on “Don’t Map Me In

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