Beyond Appearances

The conversation, which had begun pleasantly enough with idle chit-chat about the weather, sports, and the price of fuel, was morphing into ugliness right in front of Walt’s eyes. The tow truck driver, “Mike” by the name tag stitched to his coveralls, seemed oblivious to the pain he was inflicting. Had it not been pouring rain, and his Volkswagen Rabbit not been hooked to the winch, Walt would have told Mike to stop the truck and gotten out. Non responsiveness wasn’t working, either; it only seemed to fuel Mike’s pressing desire to talk. His hatred seemed boundless as he spewed forth racial slurs, epithets, and insults upon anyone who he deemed deserving.

Onward they travelled westward, jostling in the truck. The windshield wipers obliged with clichéd wump-wump as they beat back the rain. The town in which Walt lived, and the dealership at which they would drop off his car, was only a few minutes away. Walt mouthed a silent “thank you” that he had learned long ago (during a lengthy learning curve) that to engage in verbal battle only risked losing the war. Years prior, he would have foolishly stood toe to toe with such a judging character and, thereby, ignorantly proclaimed himself as judge and jury also. No, not this time. He would be a good soldier and stand down for the rest of this ride.

Not soon enough, they arrived at the dealership. Mike proudly exited the cab; and Walt, as though on automatic pilot, stepped down from the cab and watched as Mike unhooked his car. His only subtle retribution was to refuse to bite the bait of Mike’s hint that “for a few bucks” he could do him a favour by breaking company rules and taxi him home from the closed dealership. “No, thanks,” Walt said, “the walk will do me good.”

“Have it your way,” Mike said, with a toss of his head. Walt watched as the tow truck sped away, and then slung his small backpack over his shoulder and began to walk.

***

At home, Walt immediately changed out of his soggy clothes and gave thanks that the evening was drawing to a close. Still, the events of the evening ride in the tow truck lingered. He realized that persons such as Mike were actually full of self loathing. But what did he know beyond assumptions of Mike’s background? Had he been exposed to such abuse, or even battery, when a child, or told that he was worthless? How had he become filled with such hatred of others? Walt knew that to give love, you must first have it to give. Mike hadn’t expressed anything that even remotely resembled love.

Walt climbed into bed and shut out the light on the bedside table; but he soon realized that sleep was playing hide and seek with him; and no matter how much he tossed and turned, he just couldn’t find it. As with all matters that bothered him, especially those labelled “don’t-know-what to-do,” Walt surrendered the troubling issue to his divine Creator. He followed his instincts and quietly mouthed the following words:

Dear God,

Please help me to see with Your understanding;

To look beyond this world of appearance

And be a conduit of Your wisdom.

Oh, and please look after Mike.

Amen.

Dare to dream (and care for one another).

With heartfelt regards,

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

Beyond “Mice and Men”

John Steinbeck, who is one of my favourite authors, won the Nobel Prize in literature in 1962. His novella entitled Of Mice and Men would undoubtedly be considered one of John Steinbeck’s literary gems. Although shorter than some of his other masterpieces, which include Grapes of Wrath and East of Eden, it is on par with their greatness. This morning, I was struck by an epiphany, which I believe may be at least part of what dear Mr. Steinbeck desired to share with the reader. The revelation relates to the subject matter of my blog and my passion for sharing knowledge related to our higher nature. For those who may not be familiar with his novella, the plot is summarized as follows:

***

The protagonists of the novella, which is set in Soledad, California during The Great Depression, are George Milton and Lennie Small. George is an intelligent man and plays the role of a brotherly figure to Lennie, who is big, strong, and mentally challenged. They both work as migrant farm labourers whenever opportunity presents. We first meet them in a secluded setting down by a river. Lennie has convinced George to retell the details of their dream to one day own a little place which they can call home.

The following day, they begin work on a nearby ranch. As usual, George guides Lennie forward, and all goes well for a while. Key characters are introduced, including the bosses’ son, Curley, and his wife. As the plot unfolds, we’re given a glimpse the character’s underlying hopes, fears, and dreams. It’s also revealed that Lennie enjoys petting mice, which he often likes to keep in his pocket. At one point, George discovers that Lennie has accidentally killed another mouse, an issue that he has previously warned him against. Within a few days, Lennie accidentally kills a puppy he’s been given, which foreshadows more drama to come.

The suspense builds towards climax when Lennie accidentally kills Curley’s flirtatious wife by breaking her neck. He’s clearly incapable of controlling his inherent nature. When her body is discovered, several of the farm workers form a lynch mob and search for George and Lennie, who have fled the ranch and sought refuge back at the secluded location by the river. The book ends with George mercifully shooting his friend before the lynch mob, who are approaching, have a chance to hang him.

***

Although the specific details relating to characters, setting, and goals differ from ours, are the general ones really that dissimilar? Don’t all of us (who are known by different names and forms, and live in varied settings) desire to find our place in the sun in which we’ll feel content and at peace? However, all of our hopes and dreams–even if one day achieved–will eventually pass away. To the masses, this may seem tragic; but such will appear particularly so if we’re deeply invested in the person, which is our false identity. Buddha referred to the human condition as dukkha, which loosely translates as suffering or frustration. Jesus endured persecution by the ignorant masses in an effort to reveal to us our true nature. Must we die, as did the helpless mouse and puppy? Human incarnation is a precious gift; for it provides a unique opportunity to recognize our essential nature. Unfortunately such is often squandered by the masses. Is there an escape from such a seemingly tragic predicament? Yes.

The solution is to discover (re-cognize, know again) that deeper dimension–the true Self–that transcends the polar and ultimately dissatisfying environment related to the person. The person is apparently real but actually illusory. We are so much more than body-minds. Discovering Truth requires that we become earnestly curious about our essential nature. In a strange paradox, we discover What–not who–we are by investigating and, thus, shedding the layers of the false self. Our true Self is eternal, immortal, and irreducible. And that, my dear friends, is a glorious non-end worth realizing before your character and its life manuscript, draw to a conclusion. Right here and now is a great place to begin.

Dare to dream (and care for one another).

With heartfelt regards,

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

Forgive Me My Sins

I freely admit that I have not lived a perfect life–far from it. Through insight, however, I can admit that the story of “my life” (complete with all of its so-called flaws) has provided lessons that were absolutely perfect for my continuing evolution. I trust this process (the Power that heals my cuts and beats my heart) implicitly. Every blade of grass and every so-called weed is in the right place, at the right time. Therefore, my weedly actions (and yours, too) may be considered right. Logically, how can we possibly do better until we know better? Without question, the key that unlocks improved behaviour in the world is knowledge of our essential nature. Until we know, we are destined to “miss the mark.” With that in mind, I offer one of my own quotes:

As we see ourself, we see another.”

Until we know our unity as Oneness, this world will be ruled by forces that arise from the perspective of the costumes, aka humans. In my case, the behaviour that was expressed through Art was–as with everyone else on the planet–due to karmic debt and the conditioning of my Being. We, quite literally, are programmed to believe that we are something (the person) that we are not. This erroneous identification with the apparent body-mind causes us tremendous pain and suffering; and whether we realize so or not, we bear the weight of our ignorance upon our back both personally and collectively.

For instance: A family whose members are unaware of their essential nature is destined to experience alternating periods of peace and strife in varying degrees. For a while, there may be little or no conflict; but eventually the polar energies of this environment called “Life on Earth” may lead to challenging conditions. Here, we can only know objects and concepts by their apparent opposite. For instance: We know mountain by its valley; right by left; in by out. Due to these polar energies, persons will be pulled or pushed in energetic patterns and collide psychologically, emotionally, and (in the worst case scenario) physically. The way that each person processes life further programs the persons within the environment. If harsh judgment rules the environment (due to ignorance), strife is bound to continue and may, in fact, lead to a fractured family.

The price that we pay for ignorance of our essential nature, both personally and collectively, is very costly; and all of us pay the price on a worldwide basis. The same alternating forces that play out within a family, play out on a collective global scale. Therefore, hateful thoughts lead to conflict and malevolent actions; selfish thoughts lead to selfishness and greed; insincere thoughts lead to hypocrisy and perfunctory behaviour. However, when Love governs our actions (which can only occur when we realize true nature), harmony will be witnessed and experienced by everyone.

The greatest sin we will ever make is to be unaware of What–not who–we are. We are neither the body, nor the mind. Ignorance will strongly attempt to convince us that we are this flesh and bones; this mortal human vehicle born to die, but such is not founded in Truth. We cannot “be” what we are not–namely, the mortal “human.” From Vedanta, Voice of Vedanta by Swami Vivekananda: We are “children of immortal bliss.” We are Spirit manifest in human form, having an apparent earthly life. My greatest sins occurred because I knew not true Self; therefore, I knew not the highest Self–Spirit–of everyone else. Just for clarity, we are not seeking forgiveness as a person (by other persons); we are seeking forgiveness from the perspective of the person. This occurs when we realize our essential nature.

Dare to dream (and care for one another).

With heartfelt regards,

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

Working For “The One”

The following fictional account didn’t take place–ever; but for fun, let’s go with it and pretend that it did. Special Note: The characters and events depicted in this article are fictitious. Any similarity to persons, either living or deceased, is purely coincidental. No persons were harmed in any way during the writing, editing, or subsequent publishing of this article. 🙂 Thank goodness, no one lost their job, either; came close, though.

***

“Have a seat, Bob,” said Mr. Swanger. He descended from a long line of Swangers, before swanging became a cultural phenomena in certain circles.

“Thank you,” said Bob. He slowly stepped forward and settled himself in the chair across from Mr. Swanger’s desk. He tried to appear calm, but his fidgetting fingers gave him away.

Mr. Swanger leaned forward over his desk, which was distracting because he had a mole on his left cheek the size of Saskatchewan. His computer screen was open to Bob’s profile. “How long have you been working with us at The One?”

“Little over a month,” said Bob.

“I’ve brought you in here today,” said Mr. Swanger, “because there’s been a nasty rumor circulating, at the yellow ticker tape that surrounds the previously available water cooler.”

Bob leaned forward, an expression of innocent curiosity pasted on his face. “‘Bout what?” he said.

Mr. Swanger sat back and arched his hands together in the stereoptypical teepee power position. “This makes me very uncomfortable,” he began. “Rumor has it that you actually believe that you’re ‘Bob.’ That’s incredibly awkward, given that we all work for The One. See my point?”

“Can’t say that I do,” said Bob. “I’m not Bob?” He patted his knees; they certainly felt real.

Mr. Swanger rolled his eyes; inwardly he was wondering how Bob had slipped through the hiring process. “No,” said Mr. Swanger. “These bodies are what show up in the waking state. A few people still mistake that as reality.” Mr. Swanger turned his attention to the computer screen. “It says here,” he said, “that there’s evidence that you still believe you’re the doer.”

Bob crossed his legs and gripped the arms of the chair firmly–knuckles blanched. “I’m not?” he said.

“No,” said Mr. Swanger. “Not now–or ever, for that matter. These,” he said, moving his arms about with floating ease, “move by one power alone–Consciousness. This is idealism, Bob. We gave up that old software called naive realism years ago. That’s when we got with the times and formed the new company–The One.”

Bob began to fidget; he needed this job. He had nowhere else to go. Everyone these days was talking about the wonderful living immediacy of the present moment; the “Here and Now,” they called it. “What can I do to make it right?” he asked, learning forward. “I could stay late, make coffee. I have an advanced degree in Modern Sychophany,” he offered. “Would that help?”

“No,” said Mr. Swanger, with a wave of his hand. “Groveling is passé–went out with landlines and the notion of personal consciousness. Since enlightenment, we don’t work that way–we’re all equal here. There’s no solution except that you go home–now, of course–and spend some time in silent solitude. If you do so often enough, you’ll see that the true You isn’t Bob at all. This company is founded on the principles of The One. There’s no room for a bunch of persons running around like egoic chickens, thinking that they own the place. We work for The One; and the world functions a whole lot better when all of us know It.”

***

The meeting concluded a few minutes later, and Bob departed with a fearful I-could-soon-be-walking-down-the -road-kicking-my-lunchpail look. He was almost out of the building before he thought about the curious note with instructions that Mr. Swanger had handed to him before leaving. Politely but firmly, he had told Bob that if he wanted to continue working for The One, he should follow the instructions on the note closely. Bob’s pace slowed as his hand fumbled to remove the note from his pocket. It read as follows:

  • Meditate for ten minutes, once a day. Increase to fifteen minutes, twice each day.
  • Earnestly ask the question (“Who Am I?”) and don’t settle for the story self.
  • Read the works of Buddha, Jesus, Ramana Maharshi, Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj; or, if you’re searching for any easier but informative book, R. Arthur Russell’s most recent work.
  • Watch this presentation on self-inquiry by Rupert Spira.

Dare to dream (and care for one another).

With heartfelt regards,

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

The Raping of The Sheep

Don” is in this life for himself, and he makes no bones about it. He frequently says “You gotta look out for number one,” and the expression perfectly reflects his attitude and behaviour in the apparent world. Behind his customers’ backs, he calls them foul names and ridicules their mannerisms. In business deals, which he approaches with utter lack of integrity, he’s proud of “raping the sheep,” which means getting the apparent upper hand through sly manipulation. The love of money is his sole reason for being. After a deal concludes, he smiles and shakes hands with his customers; but behind closed doors after they have left, he ridicules his sheep’s degree of gullibility. The memory of the sweet and easy deal with Rosie, one his trusting elderly neighbours, always brings a smile to his face; it was so easy to defraud her of an extra ten thousand dollars. In his personal relationships, he is no less ruthless; for his pleasure is what matters most. It is all about him. Although Don is six feet two inches tall, he is a small man; trouble is, he doesn’t know it.

***

What Don and innumerable persons like him don’t realize is that our body-minds are expressions of The One, aka Consciousness. Consciousness is the only reality. Due to this, absolutely nothing can be hidden from The One–how could it? If such were, indeed, possible, how could we ever accomplish this miracle of hiding our best or worst from the Loving Power–“That”—which is Omnipresent? In Luke 12:7, KJB, we may read the following: “Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. When we come to know Truth, we realize that there is only One Knower and One Doer masquerading as a multiplicity and diversity of apparent forms. Any act performed against an apparent other is actually an act against ourself. I make no pretense of being an authority on the Bible, but this truth is clearly revealed in Galatians 6:7: “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” It’s informing us that Consciousness knows whether you’ve been bad or good; so be good for goodness sake.

It’s important to realize that we are not punished for our sins (by some vengeful God in the sky); rather, we are punished by our sins (which is actually defined as to miss the mark). What we apparently do comes back to us. Fortunately, the same holds true as it relates to goodness. Thus, if we desire more love in the world, we must be more loving. If we desire to experience more compassion, generosity, and sincerity, we must be more compassionate, generous, and sincere. We can spare ourselves a lot of needless suffering by embracing high ideals on a regular basis. If we’re serving “we” on a regular basis, as opposed to the little “me,” we’re on the right track. Our human incarnation is of tremendous value; for it provides an opportunity to awaken to the Truth of our essential nature. We are so much more than name and form. We are divine Spirit having an apparent human incarnation.

***

Update: The majority of us are likely tempted to wish otherwise, but Don’s unethical business tactics went undetected while he remained in human form. However, nothing escapes the snares of karma. Subsequent to a major business deal in which he apparently raped all of the sheep involved, his body-mind passed from this world–not one soul attended the funeral. Don is currently serving time in Colorado, as an intestinal parasite in a sheep named Rosie. You might say, that’s he’s awaiting his extradition papers. With any luck and a little more grazing, he’ll be out in a day or so to continue his journey. Be kind; wish him well; embrace the love that flows through you–that is you–and be wise enough to turn the other cheek and seek not human revenge. Hold no evil wish against anyone. The wheels of this Universe roll along in unexpected and mysterious ways.

Dare to dream (and care for one another).

With heartfelt regards,

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

The Body-Mind Manual

This article is likely going to seem irreverent, but if that’s what it takes to relate Truth, so be it. The manual which serves as the title of this article is also known as The Human Manual, the one that most of us didn’t receive. Almost all of us inherited our limited knowledge of body-minds from persons who had little or no understanding of their essential nature. This is not intended to blame; rather to inform. You might think of the manual as being similar to “The Proper Care and Maintenance of a Chia Pet.” There, as promised–irreverence. I’m not actually suggesting that we shouldn’t love our body-mind and take good care of it; quite the contrary. As with the Chia Pet, we should feed and water it and love it dearly. An object (and that’s what a person is) tends to perform better if it’s well maintained. The key point is that we–true Self–are meant to govern the body-mind; contrary to an abundance of evidence otherwise, it isn’t intended to govern us.

Identification with Truth is good, indeed. Identification with falsity never leads anywhere good. Such is true with regard to the proper care and maintenance of a human being. If you (as is the case with the majority of the world’s population) identify solely as a body-mind, you are bound to suffer. It’s just the way that humans function. They come–straight from the factory–with inherent desire. Due to this, they’re usually temporarily happy if they get what they desire; but, conversely, unhappy or fearful if they don’t. Some have been known to gripe for a lifetime if they don’t get their way. If you’ll refer to your manual (page 13, subsection C), under “Catch-22 Warning,” you’ll notice that fulfillment of your body-mind’s desires often leads to an inflated sense of “i” and an overabundance of needs, many of which are worthless and selfish. As a result, quality of life diminishes greatly.

Of note: You are wise to keep your body-mind under control. If that’s challenging (or seemingly impossible), enforced isolation may be required. In the company of other body-minds (persons), they have been known to exhibit the nasty habit of judging themselves against apparent others. Your body-mind may have been feeling perfectly fine, until it was brought into proximity of more attractive or more successful body-minds. If you pay close attention, you’ll sympathetically feel yours cringe when threatened. In minor cases, it may retaliate by spitting out a passive-aggressive remark (such as, “Have you always liked wearing mini dresses at weddings?”) at the offending party. In more serious cases, you’ll likely hear it utter a version of the following remark to make up for its feelings of inadequacy or unworthiness: “You know, when I was the president of The World, I was twice voted most popular by an overwhelming majority!”

Body-minds are also inherently selfish and self-centered. Again: programming. Honestly, it’s as though the apparent world revolves around each and every one. How absurd. Collectively, they have (get this, I don’t think you’ll believe it) gone to war against various nations under the guise of creating peace! The real cause of all conflict is lack of awareness about our essential nature. With understanding of our shared Oneness, how would we ever again lift a weapon? We are all of One, Consciousness, expressing Itself as a multiplicity and diversity of form.

The most important advice contained within the Body-Mind Manual is that we should never–ever–listen to the negative babble from the mind of your person. For that matter, we are also wise to ignore its absurd tales of grandiosity. Body-minds attempt to get your attention at all costs, often for prolonged periods. They thrive on imbellishment. If uncontrolled, they’ll try to convince you that everything is wrong. Body-minds occasionally lash out in anger if they’re feeling afraid; or convince you to listen to attacks against your inherent value. Spirits have been known to break under such extreme punishment. Rest assured that true Self is of inherent value because It’s a divine child of God. Don’t let your conceptual Chia Pet convince you otherwise.

Dare to dream (and care for one another).

With heartfelt regards,

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

By Their Fruits

How may we better know what persons, businesses, and even cities or countries deem important? I suggest that we may gain a sense of their innermost values and motives by their fruits. Their fruits (works) are the reflection of an inner creative urge. Many of you will realize that this expression comes from the Bible. The actual passage is from Matthew 7:16:

Ye shall know them by their fruits.

Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?”

Please let me be clear: I’m not pretending to be a theologian; the following is my interpretation only. I believe the passage is advising us how to know whether a person has recognized the Truth of their Being. If so, their work will reflect that it is being performed for the good of everyone. If the work seems to be motivated by selfishness and self-centeredness, such would indicate that the perspective of the body-mind is still ruling.

The modern way of expressing the same message is well known: Actions speak louder than words. I’m not suggesting that we should apply this knowledge in a judgmental way. My intention is to help us learn how to express our best qualities through sincere behavior that elevates all of us. Some introspection via the following questions may help us to better understand ourselves and persons with whom we interact:

  • Do “they” habitually give…or take? What’s true of me?
  • Do “they” habitually arrive on time…or show up late? What’s true of me?
  • Do “they” habitually criticize and speak negatively…or offer support and positivitiy? What’s true of me?
  • Do “they habitually keep their promises…or rarely, if ever? What’s true of me?
  • Do they habitually say they’re going to try…or do they deliver? What’s true of me?
  • Do they habitually pay on time…or attempt to dodge their debts? What’s true of me?
  • Do they habitually “walk the talk”…or only talk? What’s true of me?
  • Do they habitually deliver the best goods and services possible…or attempt to get away with shoddy work? What’s true of me?

The list could have been much longer; for the questions can be raised about every aspect of life. In truth, the list isn’t about others; it’s really about taking a look at ourselves and the manner in which we live and move and have our being. We have enormous potential within us; and when we express our highest ideal, not our lowest, the world and our experiences in it dramatically improve. The true question is this: “What is the nature of the fruit by which we will be known?”

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