“Fooled by Your Name”

Fooled by Your Name

The title of this article is borrowed from a line in The Book by Alan Watts, who was a noted British writer and speaker on Buddhism, Taoism, and theology. The subtitle of his book is entitled On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are. What, though, does this mean? Be forewarned: The answer will not be remotely interesting for those who are content with living a lie.

The point that Alan Watts so eloquently expressed is this: Deep beneath the ordinary world of name and form (the world in which we refer to things by words) there lies the most mysterious of mysteries. It is beyond the mind; therefore, beyond comparison because it is singular. How, logically, can One be compared to anything? Of course, it can’t be. The key that unlocks the door to this dimension can be summed up in one word: Stillness. When we turn away from sense objects and become still (through the practice of meditation), we “re-cognze” (to see again) the very nature of our Being. We discover that we are not our thoughts; nor are we our sensations, feelings, or perceptions. All of these, however, are known by the real You–Awareness.

Even a little investigation can yield tremendous insights. Think: For objects to be known, they must be known by something. How else could they be known? In our case, our true Self is not a thing in the common sense of the word; nevertheless, it is present. Wherever we are, Consciousness is. We cannot think “I do not exist” for the very thought is ludicrous because it requires Consciousness to think it. Our true Self is That which registers impressions from an apparently external world. It is also Consciousness which registers the name and form which we erronesouly believed to be our personal identity.

Why, though, should we care? Especially when life seems to be ticking along just fine. For that very reason: The clock of our body’s life span is ticking; but we need not wait for the “alarm” called death of the body to discover our true nature. A multitude of benefits may be realized now, not the least of which is that we are immortal Beings; therefore, beyond death. Our true Self is also beyond human drama;  therefore, immune to suffering and fear. Nothing–no event, circumstance, or situation–can harm it. In Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare summarized this truth succinctly through the following words: “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” The true You is That Sweetnessnot the name and form through which It is expressed.

Dare to dream (and care for one another).

With heartfelt regards,

Art

Copyright © – 2020–R. Arthur Russell

P.S. If you’d like to view my latest book (This Taste of Flesh and Bones–released September 8, 2020) please press here. Thanks for reading!

Snakes and Ladders

When I was a young child, one of the games I used to enjoy playing was a board game called Snakes and Ladders. It’s actually still available to this day. It consists of a board with horizontal squares numbered 1 to 100; beginning in the bottom left corner. The objective of the game is very simple: A player wins by being the first to land his/her gamepiece at the square marked 100. Players take turns rolling a die and advance their gamepiece accordingly. If players land on a ladder, they can scoot upward; conversely, if they land on a snake they must slither downward. So, what’s the point?

What I didn’t realize until recently is that this simple game is based on an ancient board game from India called Moksha Patam. Moksha, for those who may be unfamiliar with the term, means to be liberated from the cycle of birth and death. This occurs through enlightenment; a term which refers to the recognition of True Self (which is Spirit) and, thus, the falsity of the conceptual person. The game was originally intended to help teach basic lessons regarding morality and how to better live with one another. The ladder represents our noble qualities–such as love, compassion, kindness, generosity, and empathy. The snake represents our ignoble instincts–such as lust, greed, anger, selfishness, and hatred.

On a human–grown up–level, we can still learn many valuable lessons through analogy of our life and the game of Snakes and Ladders. It reminds us to be aware, especially with regard to our thoughts, speech, and actions; for these are building our character and, thus, creating our destiny. If we allow our life to be driven by our little egoic “i,” we are certain to lose; for a self-centered cannot help anyone win. Such will be a shallow life, to say the least; one lacking the depth and richness that ultimately makes life worth living. To truly win, we are wise to apply ourselves to helping others climb their way to success. In effect we, thereby, become the ladder for their ascension and let our life stand humbly in the background. Sweet idea, isn’t it? Even better lived.

Dare to dream (and care for one another).

With heartfelt regards,

Art

Copyright © – 2020–R. Arthur Russell

P.S. If you’d like to view my latest book (This Taste of Flesh and Bones–released September 8, 2020) please press here. Thanks for reading!

Book Publication

As many of you may surmise from some of my articles, I’ve held a long-time interest in our spiritual nature. Our true Self emanates from a much deeper dimension than the body-mind (person), which the majority of individuals still believe themselves to be.

Last year, on the 24th of June, a manuscript entitled This Taste of Flesh and Bones began to write itself–through me. Within a month, I had the rough draft, and I spent the following two months editing it. Today marks the publication of the book; thanks to Lisa Hagan Literary.

Do you have a dream? A longing in your heart that wants to be fulfilled? If so, all I can offer is to believe in yourself and go for it. The way toward its achievement will be revealed as you take your first steps. If not now, when?

Dare to dream (and care for one another).

With heartfelt regards,

Art

Copyright © – 2020–R. Arthur Russell

P.S. If you’d like to view my latest book (This Taste of Flesh and Bones–released September 8, 2020) please press here. May it help you in your spiritual journey. Thanks for reading!

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Bhagavad Gita: Song of The Lord

Bhagavad Gita (Song of the Lord)

The Bhagavad Gita, which is often translated to mean Song of the Lord, is a Hindu scripture that contains 700 verses and dates back to the second century BCE. It is part of the Mahabharata. It is a narrative tale that is designed to help us discern between the false self (the ego) and our essential nature which is beyond death. The following short passage describes the nature of our authetic Self: Weapons cannot cut it, nor can fire burn it; water cannot wet it, nor can wind dry it.”

The True Self that is described in that short passage is Spirit, or Consciousness. It is the very foundation of our being. The majority of the masses assume that consciousness is highly personal; for it certainly feels as though there is a personal self confined within the boundaries of our body and mind. Where, though, is that little self? Without any scientific proof to support this claim, most people believe that the brain magically gives rise to the subjective knower of their experience. They believe that this little “i” (referred to by name) somehow came into being with the arrival of the body and, thus, must end with the death of the body. This, however, is a huge assumption; one that can lead to tremendous fear–such as that which we are witnessing with regard to a certain virus.

Could it be that the masses have it backward; and that sages, saints, and rishis from time immemorial are correct? Could it be that your body (which we can only know through consciousness) is actually a product of mind (the creator of everything) and that any concern for the demise of the body-mind is actually fear related to death of an illusion. This–right now–is the illusion. It is, indeed, a dream within a dream. Consciousness (some would call it God) creates objects and worlds and persons through the power of Maya, which is loosely translated as illusion. Human forms are part and parcel of that illusion. What’s Real is the eternal Awareness through which we know our seemingly personal body-mind. There is nothing to fear. If you’d like to learn more about this subject, you might enjoy this presentation by Leo from Actualized.org.

Dare to dream (and care for one another).

With heartfelt regards,

Art

Copyright © – 2020–R. Arthur Russell

Dr. Phuphuey’s Reverie

Dr. Phuphuey's Reverie

Note: The names of the persons directly involved in the following account have been changed to protect their right to privacy, as guaranteed (okay, maybe not “guaranteed,” but “implied”) under the Medical Privacy Act of 1923, as first instituted quid pro quo somewhere in Liechtenstein; amended in 1927, somewhere in the Nether Parts; and later modified (see attached pamplet explaining “said” modifications) somewhere over the rainbow.

***

“Ahhh, finished for the day,” thought Nurse Whatsthebigfuss as she watched the last patient leave. It had been a hectic day at the office; made all the more challenging by the recent protocols. She had a question to ask Dr. Phuphuey; but as she neared his office, she heard the familiar sound of his snoring. It built like a locomotive straining hard to climb a peak, and then–summit reached–clattered down the rails, coasted to a stop, and then began it’s accent again. Poor man; he worked so hard. She peeked into his office and saw that he was slumped back in his chair, long legs extended straight, with a Darkness is Sexy sleep mask covering his eyes. In his arms, he was loosely clutching his Teddy Bear, Snafu. She blew him a kiss, turned off the lights, and gently closed the door.

Unbeknownst to Nurse Whatsthebigfuss, Dr. Phuphuey’s eyelids soon began to flutter, indicating rapid eye movement. He was dreaming–not the waking dream that the majority of persons erroneously mistake for Reality; but dreamstate dreams. Behind his eyelids, Dr. Phuphuey was positively thrilled. He’d been granted a question and answer period with God, the Highest of the High.

“You’re looking good,” said God, in a voiceless voice that was both comforting and familiar.

“Thanks,” said Dr. Phuphuey, with a nonchalant toss of his hand in the air. “I do try. Mind if I smoke?”

“I’m neither for nor against,” said God. “Now, let’s get on with the questions. I have a golf game coming up. Aiming for a Whole in One. Get it? Hehe.”

“Can’t say that I dooo, said Dr. Phuphuey, “but…no matter.” He tapped a cigarette out of the package, lit it, then drew deeply. “Ahh,” he said, “now…I’ve been wondering why you’ve struck us with this virus thing. It’s got a lot of people quite bothered. Lives are in shambles.”

“I didn’t,” said God.

“But it’s here,” said Dr. Phuphuey, “and I dare say that’s it’s causing a lot of trouble.”

“Not my doing,” said God. ”

“So it just happened? By chance?”

“Of course, not,” said God. “There is no chance. Haven’t you noticed that there’s a certain regularity to the Universe? An ebb and a flow? The whole play of life is governed by spiritual laws.”

Dr. Phuphuey tapped some ash into his cupped hand. “You mean like the seasons–stuff like that? Fall following summer; spring following winter? A corn seed turns into a corn plant.”

“Yes, that stuff,” said God. “I set your original dream environment in motion, and then you–good human beings that you are (being made from Me)–get to live your apparently personal dream within my dream. Simple, really; only the bulk of you don’t realize that through your thoughts imbued with feelings, you either bless or curse yourselves. If you think positively, I weave you a wonderful life through the power of Maya, meaning illusion. If you focus upon fear, however, you collectively create a living hell. The media and whatever other supposed big shots have got you wound up like a top. The situation won’t stop spinning until you remove your focus from it.”

“I knew that!” exclaimed Dr. Phuphuey.

“Are you certain of that?” said God. There was a subtle tone of doubt from the Omniscient Voice.

“Well,” said Dr. Phuphuey, “let’s just say that I was this (pinching thumb to index finger) close.”

“It’s okay,” said God. “Liars don’t go to hell. There is no hell, except on Earth when the human race attempts to run the show through your collective egoes. That’s the true devil, you know. There is no opposite to Me, as many proclaim; for I Am Life itself–the Alpha and the Omega. Your lives would improve dramatically if you learned how to truly live in the trancendent beauty of the moment; instead of the torture of your minds.”

“Would you mind writing that down?” asked Dr. Phuphuey. “I’d like to remember that–perhaps share it with some of my colleagues and patients.”

“Consider it done,” said God. “When you awaken, it’ll be in your email folder under ‘The Way Life Works.’ Anything else you’d like to ask?”

Dr. Phuphuey ground his cigarette out with his heel. “Well, I wondering when this current situation is going to get better.”

“It can happen very soon,” replied God, “but there’s one thing that has to occur before the situation will improve.”

“What?” said Dr. Phuphuey. “I’d like to help.”

“Humankind–collectively–has got to stop relying on human knowledge (with its solution of masks and sanitizer) and turn toward Me, the One who heals your cuts and beats your hearts. None of you do that–nor can you. I do.”

An abrupt snort escaped Dr. Phuphuey’s mouth, and he wakened to find himself lying back in his chair in his darkened office. His Teddy, Snafu, was lying across his abdomen. “Well, Snaffy,” he said, “time to get some grub?” With a little help from Dr. Phuphuey, Snafu turned to face him and gave him a high five. Before leaving, however, an intuitive feeling caused Dr. Phuphuey to turn on his computer. In his email, he found a message with a subject heading entitled “The Way Life Works.” The return address was marked “Everywhere.”

***

Dare to dream (and care for one another).

With heartfelt regards,

Art

Copyright © – 2020–R. Arthur Russell

Bunker Time (Five Years Post “The Virus”)

Bunker Time (4)

In the musty bunker that Grandpa Knowles had called home for the previous four years, two candles flickered; casting darting images upon the stone and cement walls. Minda, his eight-year-old granddaughter, who had been sitting on one of the two wicker chairs they had scrounged from a nearby dump, suddenly stood.

“Persmission to go outside?” she said to her grandpa. “I have to use the latrine.”

“Certainly,” replied her grandpa, as he looked into her bright eyes. “But be careful, and you know about what.” Minda nodded and said, “Uh, huh.” She knew it wasn’t about the virus that she needed to be careful. A couple of days ago, her grandpa had told her there were rumors of persons lurking nearby. One had to be careful.

Minda took hold of one of the candles and made her way up the damp cement stairs that led outside. At the top, she blew out the candle as her grandpa had instructed her to do. Light was a sure give away. She did her business in the nearby latrine, and then carefully made her way back into the bunker.

“Better?” asked Grandpa Knowles when she returned. He took the candle from Minda and relit it, doubling the shadowy light of the bunker

“You bet,” Minda said. She smiled, took a sip of water from her canteen, and sat back in her wicker chair. “Tell me again,” she said.

“How we got here?” he said.

“Yes.”

“Well, the events that led to this happened over many years; a long slow forgetting, I call it. That forgetting painfully revealed itself in the year 2020. It was really about ignorance, which really just means not knowing.”

“What do you mean?” said Minda.

Grandpa Knowles leaned forward, his chair creaking. “I mean a forgetting of our true nature. For simplicity, let’s say that human beings are made of two parts. The first part is what’s Real; It’s the Essence that God gave us. It can never be taken from us, ’cause it’s what we are. The second part is the personality; it’s the false part invented by the human mind. Trouble is, the majority of human beings are unaware of their Essence; they’ve totally lost recognition of it. That’s why they act the way they do–the false part has taken over, but they don’t know that. And because they believe they’re only the body and the mind, they’re really frightened of it coming to an end. As a result, personalitites do all sorts of terrible acts; either one to one, or collectively.”

“Like what?” asked Minda.

“Hmmm, not sure now is a good time to tell you. It’s almost your bedtime, young lady.”

“Please,” Minda said, “I want to know.”

“Well, because the majority of humans have forgotten that we are One in Essence, they have even gone to war against one another. If they realized that we were all One under the skin–where it counts–they would never think of harming one another.”

“What about this, though?” said Minda. “What about the story of the virus?”

“Well,” said Grandpa, “human fear is the real threat–not the virus. It would have been wise to take precautions; but if humans had realized What they truly are, the situation wouldn’t have spun so out of control. That’s the main reason why life came to this point; humans actually believe they are the body-mind.”

“That’s funny!” blurted Minda. “I know I’m wayyyy more than my body.”

A soft smile touched Grandpa Knowles’ face, hinting of nearby tears. The thought of his daughter–Minda’s mother–was caressing his mind. She’d been part of  “Resistance,” and paid the ultimate price; just for peacefully defending what she knew to be true. His hands rubbed the arms of his chair, as by their own volition.

“You okay, Grandpa?” Minda said softly.

Grandpa Knowles nodded. “Yup.” He was glad that Minda knew her true nature; his teachings–and her daily meditation–had pointed her to Truth. Now, though, it was time to tuck her in for the night. Minda realized that, too. She stepped to the cot against the end wall of the bunker and snuggled into her sleeping bag. Grandpa Knowles hugged her and then blew out the nearby candle. “Above Ground,” as it was called, giving hugs was punishable by death; in the name of protection. He was glad that he still knew the intrinsic power of Love. He would sit in relative darkness until he heard her drift off to sleep–all the while keeping one ear attuned to sounds of  any approaching persons.

With warms regards,

Art

Copyright © – 2020–R. Arthur Russell

 

 

Truth of The Game

Cube ChessboardThere is an Italian proverb that reads as follows: “After the game, the king and the pawn go into the same box.” On the surface, we might be tempted to interpret the saying to mean that everyone will end up in a coffin, six feet beneathe the ground we once walked. Although it’s true that our bodies will end up somewhere, the saying points to a deeper understanding that we can know…here and now.

During this chess game called “human life,” all of us have played various roles. Some of us have been CEO’s of powerful companies; some of us royalty with a supposedly blue bloodline; some of us plumbers, electricians, or paramedics; some of us lawyers, doctors, or rocket scientists; some of us mother, father, son, or daughter. Now, here’s the truth: We can’t BE any of those descriptions. NEVER. EVER.

Why? Because all of those titles are mere labels. Descriptors. Try as you might (if you thought yourself a barber), you can’t cut hair with the word scissors. The word is just an arrangement of letters that won’t cut anything–a pointer for that which it represents. In this case: actual scissors made of stainless steel. This same logic holds true for our names. Despite what society tells us, we can never ban Arthur or a Susie; an Antoine, Maria, or Liam. So much for a name…

The key that unlocks the deeper understanding of the proverb lies in the last four words: “into the same box.” For those readers who may have interpreted “same box” to imply coffin, wouldn’t that make for one heck of a crowded coffin? To understand the true meaning of the proverb requires us to deeply investigate–and recognize–What we actually are That is beyond “who we think we are.” This is often explained through the following analogy:

Gold jewelry comes in various forms–such as bracelets, necklaces, and rings. That’s us, folks–bracelts, necklaces, and rings that go by a variety of names, titles, and desciptors. The jewelry, however, is all formed from one substance–gold. It is one in essence but apparently different in form. Same applies to us: Although we appear as various forms, all of us melt down into one essence which is Consciousness, aka God. That cannot die because it is beyond form; thus, Eternal. The body and the mind are known through Consciousness by Consciousness Itself; not the other way around, as the majority of persons assume.

This game of life could not be played if the One–and only One–did not assume the roles of various pieces and places upon the chessboard. Imagine, if you will, a game of chess in which all of the pieces were dressed as pawns. How would the game ever take place? Roles as such are required in this dimension, but the grievous mistakes occur only when we ignorantly confuse the “role” with our true Self. What’s truly wonderful is that we don’t have to wait for the box to recognize our essential nature! Wishing everyone a great game of chess!

Dare to dream (and care for one another).

With heartfelt regards,

Art

Copyright © – 2020–R. Arthur Russell

The Tale of Johnny Doe

blur boy close up dark
Photo by Nikolai Ulltang on Pexels.com

Johnny Doe has a busy day lined up–very busy, indeed. In the morning, he’s going to beat his heart; in the afternoon he’s going to breathe for a few hours; and in the evening he’s scheduled an appointment with his small and large intestines to digest his dinner of fish and chips. And after performing all of these tasks, he’s going to manage seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, and smelling. He might even throw in a little ambulation, coordination, and conversation just to mix it up a little. Johnny’s in charge. What a busy man, he is!

Preposterous? Absurd? Ludicrous? Yes, to all three–the behavior of Johnny Doe certainly is! But isn’t the world telling us that this type of behavior is what’s necessary right now? Have we become that lost that we truly believe we must splash ourselves with alcohol hand sanitizer, or wear masks and hide behind plexiglass barriers to do business? Have we forgotten–as is clearly the case with Johnny–that we were given a miraculous body; one that includes an immune system that functions tirelessly to perform its duty without human intervention?

The false self–that of name (Jane and John Doe) and form–would never agree with this; for it believes that it has to manage everything. This is the fallacy of the conceptual self, the ego; the little “i” that’s running around in our heads. You know–the egoic “voice” that’s having thoughts about this article right now. That is not our true identity. We are the Awareness that is Witness to that voice. We are So Much More.

Johnny Doe would join us in our efforts to protect ourselves; but right now he’s sleeping. It’s a complicated process–sleep. He has it covered, though. Johnny has an arrangement with a good friend of his, Fred. They take turns, spotting each other night for night. When Johnny needs to sleep, Fred ventilates him with a properly cleaned bag valve mask; and the next night, when Fred needs to sleep, Johnny returns the favour by doing the same for him. A pot of dark roast coffee really helps for those all-night shifts. Human teamwork–no need for God, a Power much greater than ours. We can do better than this…I know we can. It just might take a little introspection.

Dare to dream (and discover your true Self).

With heartfelt regards,

Art

Copyright © – 2020–R. Arthur Russell