Beyond The Mask

We’re going to begin this article with a poem written by Paul Laurence Dunbar. The following is sourced from Wikipedia: “He was an American poet, playwright, and novelist; born to parents who were enslaved before the American Civil War.” In 1902, his body passed at the tender age of thirty-three. How talented a writer; how rich his writing. I include his poem because I believe it clearly relates his understanding of true Self–That, which is beyond our mask of name and form:

***

We Wear the Mask
 
We wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,—
This debt we pay to human guile;
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
And mouth with myriad subtleties.
 
Why should the world be over-wise,
In counting all our tears and sighs?
Nay, let them only see us, while
       We wear the mask.
 
We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries
To thee from tortured souls arise.
We sing, but oh the clay is vile
Beneath our feet, and long the mile;
But let the world dream otherwise,
       We wear the mask!
 
Paul Laurence Dunbar
 
***
 

We may also discover true Self, That, which is beyond any of the human drama that may have apparently occurred in “our” life. We are not now–nor were we ever–the mind’s sharpness or dullness; the body’s health or disease; our apparent failures or successes! We are neither our costume nor our story. We are beyond the mask! We do not rise or fall by our mask; the mask shines by the light of true Self. We are That which cannot be defined. I Am is our true Self–SPIRIT!

Dare to dream (and care for one another).

With heartfelt regards,

Art

Copyright © – 2020 – 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. May it help you in your spiritual journey. 🙏🙏

Thank You” & “Note to Publishers

Stepping Out Of The Program

Oh, how we–as apparent humans–love to believe that we are free. How forcefully we defend the fallacy that we choose, we do, we decide. In reality, the opposite is true. What freedom could a representation possess? By most accounts, from ninety-five to ninety-nine percent of a person’s decisions, behaviours, and emotions occur due to subconscious programming; with most of our beliefs installed via environment before the age of six. There is a high probability that if momma and papa performed an action this way, that we will perform it in the same manner. Our paradigms (the collected beliefs that serve as the mould for apparent reality) rule every aspect of our lives until we become aware enough to change them.

The key that liberates us within the matrix (subconscious programming) is recognition of true Self; for until such occurs, the matrix is running the body-mind system without our knowing it. The re-discovery of Self is similar to leaving a darkened room and stepping into one filled with brilliant light. To experience this, we must put our awareness into service–not our mind. We must stop identifying with our conditioned self (the little “i” of name and form) and dare to step into the expansive dimension of Being. To do so is to step out of so-called reality, into the glorious beauty of impersonal Nowness. To live in this manner is to break free of the clutches of the character that has been masquerading as “you.”

If you doubt that this could apply to you, please be willing to assume the role of silent witness for a day. Be presentthoroughly–with every action of body and mind. Pay attention to how, where, and why your “self” does whatever it seems to do. Notice: how you stir your coffee three times before tapping the side of the cup with your spoon; how you find yourself automatically pulling up to the same parking space at the grocery; how you favour either right or left foot as you approach a flight of stairs; how you towel yourself dry in the same manner after a shower; how you reach for a worthless platitude in conversation as you might reach to shake salt upon food that doesn’t require it; how you reach for a “yes” if you’re a habitual people pleaser, or a “no” if you’re closed to opportunity. If you’re really so free (and true Self is), why don’t you change it up once in a while? If what I’m suggesting feels natural, please give it a try. You may be pleasantly suprised at the fresh sense of aliveness that arises.

The following is from The Nature of Consciousness by Rupert Spira: “The body is not an object made of matter; it is an activity made of mind–the activity through and as which consciousness limits and localizes itself.” This is totally at odds with what we have been conditioned to believe–that we are flesh and bones only; and that as such, our end will coincide with death of the body. Our true nature is Consciousness, aka Spirit. Contrary to what the mind would have us believe, space and time are not the container in which we live and move and have our being. They–and the body-mind–arise within us. The Now is all there isever fresh. We are not the program of the mind–Self is prior. We are ultimately freer than free. To live as such, all we have to do is be willing to step out of the program.

Dare to dream (and care for one another).

With deep love,

Art

Copyright © – 2021 – 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. May it help you in your spiritual journey. 🙏🙏

Thank You” & “Note to Publishers

Dismantling Fences

There is an old saying which states that “fences make good neighbours.” Although this may seem a logical way to deal with conflicts that invariably arise due to the human condition, it is a shortsighted solution. On a larger scale, building fences–even mending fences–leaves us subject to judgmental behaviour that ignores our shared oneness. Relying on the mentality of the masses, which is always fluctuating, only serves to separate us from the good that inherently unites us. Our only hope for lasting peace amongst neighbours and nations lies in dismantling our minds’ fences…forever. Below, is only one example of what can occur when we truly don’t know one another:

December 1, 1955: On a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, the bus driver orders Rosa Parks and three other riders to give up their seats in the coloured section because the white’s only section is filled. Rosa refuses to do so. As a result, she is arrested for civil disobedience and later fined ten dollars for violating segregation laws, plus an additional four dollars for court fees. A court case is launched and a bus boycott ensues for more than a year. The Supreme Court finally rules that segregation laws are unconstitutional. Throughout this time, and for years afterward, Rosa and her family receive death threats…for standing up for rights and basic dignities that should be–MUST BE–afforded to All.

At what level do we do begin to dismantle fences? Nothing short of a spiritual approach will yield the best effect. However, there is a common misconception that spirituality and enlightenment (which may be defined as waking from apparent personhood through recognition of our True Self) is something that is done; an activity that will add a beneficial dimension to our life and make us better persons–in much the same way that someone might pad a resumé. To be interested in matters spiritual might even be conceptualized as something namby pamby; an activity to be shunned by those who have better activities with which to occupy their time. Nothing could be further from the truth.

To embark upon a spiritual quest is the bravest–most important–journey we will ever undertake. It is a figurative journey that involves travelling from conditioned ignorance to an awareness of our True Being. Such is a courageous act because recognition of True Self–by definition–requires that we surrender the false self, with whom we’ve identified for the majority of our so-called personal life. Such can involve a tremendous amount of pain; for it requires that we surrender our pride, historical story, and every triumph which we may have held dear. In short, we realize that our trophies never belonged to us; for there is truly no one here to receive them. True enlightenment is not freedom as the self; it is freedom from the self.

Until we see the Truth beyond our own mask (the name and form identity called “me“) it’s literally impossible for us to see the true nature of those with whom we share this planet. Spiritual teachings may, at best, lead to more civilized and tolerant behaviour; but such is not the solution. It can lead to the smug piousness that turns individuals away from the subject of spirituality. The solution is to directly experience our Oneness; for through this knowledge–lived–our fences fall down of their own accord.

The journey to Self–and a better world–requires that we engage a deep sense of earnest curiosity; a daringness to discover That which is beyond the egoic costume which masquerades as our identity. Such a journey holds unparalleled value; for when we discover the Truth within ourselves, we, thus, are enabled to see It shining as the glorious identity in everyone of varying class, colour, and nationality. With clear insight from our heart, we realize that persons on the opposite side of the fence are, indeed, not others; they are ourself.

Dare to dream (and care for one another).

With heartfelt regards,

Art

Copyright © – 2020 – 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. May it help you in your spiritual journey. 🙏🙏

Thank You” & “Note to Publishers

Of Mortal Wounds

How real it seems–this world of relativity. In time, this mortal prison will appear the death of us…if we don’t know better. The majority of humans dare not count their Plus and Minus; for instinctively they realize which column would–on the surface–tally greater. Family and long-time friends may desert us; lovers, may teasingly partake of our flesh, then leave us; illness, witnessed regularly in others, may visit or come and stay to the end of days. This relative world–this mortal challenge–is the gauntlet thrown; and we, Spirit now incarnate, dared pick it up and walk the earth-bound way.

***

The opening paragraph of this article may seem poetic; but all of us know that life–this bridge of apparent trials and triumphs–can seem anything but poetic. There is, however, a way to transcend the challenges without working our body-mind (the person) into an early grave. The way can be known directly. It does not require a belief system of any kind; nor should one be cultivated. In modern terms, to experience Truth is often referred to as The Shift. Please allow me to explain.

From the time of our birth, we are conditioned by well-intentioned (but most often unaware) persons to believe that our identity is limited to, and defined by, the sum total of our mind, body, and name. As that’s all that they were consciously aware of as identity, they quite logically couldn’t teach us the truth about ours. Due to this deep belief–which is factually erroneous–the majority of persons will eventually experience great suffering. The human “story” may seem fine–for a day, a year, a decade; but because Life’s expression is always flowing between the banks of polar opposites, our circumstances are bound to change.

The solution is to investigate the essential nature of our Being. This requires that we learn to discern between what is Real (impersonal Life) and the unreal character (the person) whom we’ve mistakenly believed ourselves to be. When we again knowingly recognize the nature of our True Self, our suffering is greatly reduced. We realize that all of the problems belong to the perspective of the false self–which is actually rendered by the mind. With this knowledge, we may express our True Self joyfully to the world.

This may seem impossible; but it’s the absolute truth. Our consciousness–which seems totally personal–is not. It is Universal. In fact, Consciousness (often referred to by reverent names) is the very foundation of this world. Modern science is proving this beyond a shadow of a doubt. A way to begin the investigation is to earnestly ask yourself the following question: “Who am I?” Deep down, we realize that we can’t be a name; because we know that a name–a word–is only a term used to describe an object–not the object, itself. Another good pointer is found by beginning a practice of daily meditation–even five minutes, consistently. Such allows us to see that we can witness our thoughts; they do not belong to the Real “I.” This revelation logically begs us to ask: Then, “Who (more appropriately “What“) is the knower of the thoughts?”

***

From the rooftop, this I proclaim: “Be still…listen. Each and every one of you are so much more than the wounded person. You are Life, Itself–forever triumphant! There is nothing greater than your essential nature. What could defeat a Spiritual King or Queen? No mortal, nor even a mortal army, can actually harm you. You are from the Great Beyond, untouchable. Those mortal wounds do not belong to you; they are not yours. Rise and shine; you are Spirit.

Dare to dream (and care for one another).

With heartfelt regards,

Art

Copyright © – 2020 – 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. May it help you in your spiritual journey. 🙏🙏

Thank You” & “Note to Publishers

Let Your Kite Soar

Although times change, the theme of life remains more or less consistent. It challenges us to grow. The world is currently going through some very challenging times. All of us are well aware, both personally and collectively, of their nature. We also realize the importance of focusing on solutions, as opposed to problems; for what we focus upon expands in our life. We know that by sowing STRENGTH, COURAGE and FAITH in our daily life, we will ultimately harvest results that reflect those positive attributes.

This short article is intended to offer a spark that may help ignite your hope, your passion, and your trust that all will be okay–no matter what happens. With that in mind, I offer a short poem I wrote in my thirties:

Flying Kites

Once upon a grey September day,

I strolled into a park in which

A young boy was flying his kite–

So high I thought he’d surely run out of string.

Time swept me away as I watched him.

With muscles taut, and arms pumping,

He skillfully weaved his kite across the sky,

Slicing it through clouds that fell apart in its wake.

The wind was gusting like an angry billow,

But this young boy, undaunted,

Let his kite fly higher, and higher still.

He was fearless!

He reminded me

Of my lost, kite-flying days

When I’d tried to fly my kite

And failed.

My kite always seemed to catch the trees

Or slam headfirst into the ground.

When dusk was falling,

I walked to this young, gifted pilot

As he was reeling in his kite.

When I looked more closely

I could see that his kite was different

Than the kite I’d crashed so many times.

His kite was homemade, shaped somewhat like a box,

With parts that had been taped and glued and mended.

I asked the boy his name and age

And complimented him on his kite and his skill.

“Ah, heck,” replied this boy of nine,

“My kites wouldn’t fly at all last year.

I crashed six of my favourites,

But I just dragged them home,

Fixed them,

And tried again.”

We talked awhile longer,

But when we departed to go our separate ways,

I took his lesson with me.

– R. Arthur Russell –

***

Dare to dream (and care for one another).

With heartfelt regards,

Art

Copyright © – 2020 – 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. May it help you in your spiritual journey. 🙏🙏

Thank You” & “Note to Publishers

The Voice of Icarus

Today’s article must be prefaced with a little information: Icarus was a character in Greek Mythology, the son of Daedalus. Both the father and son attempted to fly away from the island of Crete by attaching feathers to their bodies with wax. Before leaving, the father cautioned Icarus not to fly to low (to avoid the dampness of the sea) or too high (to avoid the heat of the sun). You may or may not know that Icarus was so entralled with flight that he wanted to fly higher and higher.

The world is in turmoil; there’s so much fear present. Due to this, many persons who possess tremendous skill and talent are (understandably) afraid to step into the unknown and dare to express their Greatness. Fear will keep us grounded forever…if we let it. To help us focus on what’s possible, I offer you the following poem that I wrote thirty years ago. May it inspire you to continue to reach for your dreams:

***

The Voice of Icarus

 “I, Icarus,

Once soared with eagles high.

I swooped, I dived,

I felt the rush of warm air slipping by;

And in my thrilling, pounding heart, I knew

Sweet rapture of the bluest sky–

Not just because I dared believe,

More, because I dared to try.

One path to freedom, one truth to hold

Is steadfast optimism–fly, be bold!

Leave common ground, be skyward bound!

Strap on your wings—your dreams and goals,

And risk the chance of falling

To fly to your potential.

I, Icarus,

Who flew with waxed-on wings

Too near the sun

Have, even in my falling,

Won.”

R. Arthur Russell

***

Special Note:

Dear Readers: All that you’re going through right now is preparing you to express the Greatness within you–that “is” the Real You. Through you, your dreams are given opportunity to fly. Have faith. Believe. Visualize the result that you desire. Act. I believe in you.

Dare to dream (and care for one another).

With heartfelt regards,

Art

Copyright © – 2020 – 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. May it help you in your spiritual journey. 🙏🙏

Thank You” & “Note to Publishers

When…

When

Humans are an intriguing bunch, with mindsets that often range from delighted to deranged, and variations, thereof. Depending on our mood, the day, or the news, the majority of us express behaviour that reflects how we feel on a moment-to-moment basis. Now we’re fine–smile, relax, and breathe easy; now we’re not–frown, swear, and kick a garbage can. The stock market is up! The stock market is down! We got the job, the house, and the spouse, or–$#!%–we lost the job, the house, and the spouse! To surrender to such an existence is to fate ourselves to misery. To state that such behaviour is unstable is a gross understatement.

We’ve become so accustomed to these swings that we accept them as being perfectly normal. We reason that such is just the way life is. One day up; the next day down. The world is currently in the throes of a virus that is accentuating our tendency to swing between pleasure and pain; and until we evolve into greater awareness, our habitual behavioural swings will become even more dramatic. Is this truly desirable?

If permitted, our mind would deprive us of every last drop of genuine joy. How it loves to convince us that we are dependent on persons, things, or circumstances and watch us trot–like wayward donkeys chasing carrots–between desire and fear. The mind often employs the following trickery disguised as logic: “I’ll be happy when…”  We need not be geniuses to realize the “whens” that might apply to the situation regarding the virus: “I’ll be happy when the virus is under control. I’ll be happy when I get back to work, or find another job. I’ll be happy when life gets back to normal. I’ll be happy when the grocery shelves are fully stocked again. I’ll be happy when masks, gloves, and social distancing are of the past.” The list could go on and on.

Such thinking, although understandable, only chains us to a vulnerable position. Why? Because it encourages us to hibernate in our fear and put our dreams on hold until life becomes perfect and perfectly safe–which, of course, is impossible. It also encourages us to become wait-and-see specialists who place our faith in masks, gloves, one-way arrows, and the efforts of those who would presume the ability to save us. Will eleven or twelve feet be enough social distance during the next virulent times? That’s not to be negative or to criticize our present precautionary efforts; rather, to state a truth. When the Corona story has played itself out will not yet another circumstance vie for our attention? When a virus is no longer newsworthy, will we not merely shift our focus to a different life-robbing headline?

So what’s the positive amidst the current situation? That we can consciously choose to take back our power–now! Free of the minds dominion, we can rise in awareness and dare to proclaim: “I am happy in this moment, right here and now!” We can stop searching for guarantees that don’t exist! We can shift our awareness away from the flesh-and-bones costume with which we have mistakenly identified, and step into the glory of our True Nature. We can deliberately practice gratitude, and in doing so train our mind to seek that which is noble, worthwhile, and good. We need not surf the mind’s tumultuous wave between good or bad, triumph or defeat. We can detach and yet still do our part to make our collective life experiences as good and as safe as they can be. When this current situation is finished, we will remain–as always–the silent witness that is above the mind and, most importantly, beyond the reach of fear.

Dare to dream (and care for one another).

With heartfelt regards,

Art

Copyright © – 2020 – 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. May it help you in your spiritual journey. 🙏🙏

Thank You” & “Note to Publishers

Feel Our Roar!

Feel Our Roar

A worldwide situation related to a virus is currently–understandably–garnering the largest portion of our attention. The subject seems to leave the majority of individuals with little vision for any other focus. We begin our day with thoughts about it; marinate our minds in it throughout the day; and often permit it to be the last thought before we drift off to sleep, exhausted. The weight of the situation is made heavier by the fact that many people are experiencing personal and professional consequences from every direction.

What the virus doesn’t know, however, is that we didn’t arrive at this stage of our evolution by being a pushover. The negative and often frightening stories that are currently circulating might temporarily cause us to forget our true position in life; but we are wise to remember that we possess reserves of incredible strength. If we fall down for the hundredth time, we will rise–fist punched skyward–for the 101st and shout, “we will prevail!” Again and again we rise, for however many times it takes to triumph. There’s a roar waiting within each and every one of our brave hearts. It’s there. We can feel it!

Along with our innate strength, we possess an ever greater power: Our power to think. We can originate thoughts and also attract them. We realize that we have the ability to direct our attention to whatever we desire. Most importantly, we know that whatever we focus upon–be it courage or cowardice, strength or weakness–is ultimately reflected in the circumstances of our lives. By imbuing our thoughts with feelings of strength–in spite of our situations–we exhibit more strength. The same principle holds true with regard to our vision of vibrant health.

Please look at the image of the lion atop this page. It would have been easy to select a stereotypical image of a lion posed on a cliff, roaring at the top of its lungs. Not this time, and for good reason. I wanted to convey power at rest and help you–incredible brave hearts–to remember the tremendous power that is within you. The lion exudes power without having to demonstrate it. It is confident in its strength. It is powerful because it realizes that of which it is made. Human beings are vastly more powerful than the lion. We have ROAR inside of us, waiting to be unleashed. Now would be a good time to feel that power.

Dare to dream (and care for one another).

With heartfelt regards,

Art

Copyright © – 2020 – 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. May it help you in your spiritual journey. 

Thank You” & “Note to Publishers