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

The Fifty-One-Percent Principle

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From Creative Mind by Ernest Holmes, I offer the following quote: “An hour a day spent in silent meditation will not save us from the confusion of life. The fifty-one percent of a man’s thinking is what counts.” Most of us have written our fair share of exams, and few would believe that fifty-one percent could represent a passing mark. In this highly competitive world. we have most likely been taught that we require marks consistently in the high nineties, or even perfect, to rise to positions of distinction. With regard to the current situation related to a virus, however, such is not the case. We might be relieved to know that fifty-one percent will, indeed, help all of us.

Marc Allen, one of the founders of New World Library, once expressed the fifty-one percent principle regarding our goals through the analogy of a plane in flight. What he shared is paraphrased as follows: A plane that sets out for a destination often deviates (contrary to public opinion) from its flight path. Strong winds, storms, and various other conditions are constantly at play and must be taken into consideration. But if the pilots continuously steer the plane back onto course, the plane (and its passengers) will finally arrive at their destination.

All of us are seeking safe passage though the current world situation. There are no guarantees, simply because life never came with any. The good news, however, is that we can all play a role in helping us land safely at our common destination. It’s important to realize this: All of usnot just someare pilots. What each and every one of us think, speak, and do literally matters. Are we steering toward optimism, or veering toward pessimism? Despite appearances to the contrary, we are One. The following is a short list that can help us arrive safely:

  • Gratitude: If possible (and it’s always possible), place your attention on an aspect of  life for which you are thankful. Is your heart beating right now? “Thank you, heart.”
  • Self Care: Devote at least a few minutes each day to an activity or non activity (such as meditation) that nurtures your soul. Habits that contribute to a positive mindset are invaluable, for they provide a sense of stability.
  • Sleep: Although this may be challenging, all of us realize the importance of getting enough rest. A mechanism that never stops is subject to a great degree of wear and tear. Sleep can–and often does–shift our entire outlook.
  • Contribute: Finding a way to contribute is a powerful way of shifting our focus from the little egoic “i” that may be so fearful or stressed right now. By helping someone else, we help silence worries related to self.
  • Deliberate Optimism: The world has weathered countless past storms, and we have done so through deliberate focus. We always have choice, and now is the time to apply it. Wayne Dyer was attributed with the following quote: “The law of floatation was not discovered by contemplating the sinking of things.” Through awareness, we can learn to watch our thoughts and, thereby, better govern our attitude. If a thought serves us, we are wise to keep it. If it doesn’t, we can deliberately choose to replace it with a positive one.

The fifty-one percent principle can help us power through this current situation. The will to survive–and thrive–is within us. Let’s all buckle up and do what’s in the best interests of everyone.

Dare to dream (and care for one another).

With heartfelt regards,

Art

Copyright © – 2020 – R. Arthur Russell

An Interview With Fear

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Clutching my thin briefcase, I tentatively entered the large room, which was ornately paneled with dark wood. Four dim-lighted sconces on the front wall were the only source of light. As I stepped forward, I heard the door close behind me, followed by the soft click of a key turning. The room had a high ceiling and an echo-like empty feel to it. I walked forward and stopped in front of an immense oak desk that was centered on a raised platform. A person would have had to climb stairs to sit behind it. I looked up, but I could see no one.

“Mr. Doe?” came a resonant voice.

“Yes,” I replied. “John Doe.”

“I understand that you’re here to apply for the position of Fear Specialist.”

“Yes,” I replied.

“What makes you think you’re qualified for the position? We don’t hire just anyone, you know.”

“Well,” I replied, as I attempted to hand my resume upward to the voice above me, if you’ll take a look…”

“Just give me the highlights,” said the voice.

“Well, I know something of fear myself, so I can well relate. When I was four, I was afraid of the boogeyman–so scared that I occasionally peed the bed. When I was eight, I was afraid of getting a few scrapes when I was learning to ride my bike. I cried more than a few times. And when I was a teenager, I was so afraid of being rejected by the in-crowd that I turned against myself to be accepted.”

“Nice,” said the voice, “that’s a good start. But what have you done recently?”

I flipped to the second page of my resume and scanned down the lines. “Well, during recent years,” I said, “I have dwelt upon as much bad news as I possibly can. In fact, I fill myself with it. As a result, I’ve endured a lot of fear and a tremendous degree of physical pain and mental anguish. I’m quite familiar with the coverage of war, terrorism, bomb attacks, and even viruses.”

“Very nice,” said the voice. I imagined it smiling, if such could be possible. “You may be just the man we’re seeking.”

Inwardly, I smiled. How I needed the job. I slid my resume back into my briefcase.

“What are you willing to do to fit into our organization?”

“Almost anything,” I said, but as soon as the words exited my mouth I felt a twinge stab through me.

“Bow,” said the voice. It was a command, not a question.

“Pardon me,” I said. “What did you say?”

“I said ‘bow.’ The voice was harsh now. “Do it now, or this interview is over. There are plenty more like you that are eager for an interview.”

Time stood still as the realization of what I was being asked–no told!–to do settled within me. A cold shiver ran down my legs. Was this a nightmare? What price was I willing to pay to get the job? From somewhere deep within me, I felt the warm wellspring of power rise within me. It felt glorious, a power that was beyond any fear related to humankind. I need not bow. I would not bow.

A few moments later, as I felt that power surge within my being, I turned my back to the courtroom and marched proudly toward the door. “Come back, come back!” the angry voice called, but I refused to turn. The door opened easily, and as I stepped toward the light, I felt the building collapse into a heap of ruble. For the first time in years, I knew I was free.

***

This article is not intended to imply that we are wrong for taking sensible precautions during a challenging period; nor does it imply that we’re not brave if we feel a degree of fear or insecurity as the current situation unfolds. I’m only suggesting that we can ask ourselves if fear must dominate our lives. It can’t without our permission. More faith, less fear. We are strong.

Dare to dream (and care for one another).

With heartfelt regards,

Art

Copyright © – 2020 – R. Arthur Russell

Caveman Wisdom 2.0

I first published Caveman Wisdom as an article in my blog in 2017, but I believe its content is just as relevant today as it was then. The article affirms a great truth, which many individuals may not yet fully realize: that the quality of our lives–and our world–is directly related to the nature of the thoughts we habitually think. And when thought is imbued with feeling, we hold the key that unlocks a destiny that we deliberately choose.

***

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Two cavemen, Gronk and Thogg, were sitting on a rock ledge, overlooking the expanse of land that stretched before them. The afternoon sun was full and bright; not a cloud was in the sky. In the near distance, wildlife grazed or darted playfully to and fro. The warbled songs and stabbing calls of various birds filled the air. Life was good. Impulsively Thogg turned toward his friend and said, “You know, Gronk, I’ve been…thinking.” It felt as though he was admitting a dirty secret.

Gronk lowered his head and stroked the hair of his forearm. “There’ve been rumours,” he said.

“Yes, no doubt. Word gets around.”

“What’s it like?”

Thinking?”

“Yeah…thinking.”

Thogg was staring dreamily off into the distance. “It’s wild. Can take you on amazing trips without ever leaving the cave.”

“Really?”

“Oh, yeah.”

“Sounds almost like a drug,” said Gronk.

“You ever been tempted?”

“Nah, can’t say that I have,” said Gronk. Indifferent, he began to pick at his teeth with a small twig. A few moments later: “It’s new, isn’t it?”

Thogg leaned against a slab of rock behind him and spread his arms wide, sitting as though on a couch. “In the big scheme of life, yes, relatively.”

“It’s just a fad, though, right?”

“No,” said Thogg, “I think it’s here to stay.”

“What is it…actually?”

“It’s a higher intellect function that sets us part from wildebeests, monkeys, and such. They haven’t got it, but we do. With thinking, we can produce ideas, decisions, and memories or have opinions about something.”

“You don’t say,” said Gronk. Staring off into the distance, he absentmindedly scratched at his chest. “Is it good for anything?”

“Well, can be,” said Thogg.

“Yeah?”

“Remember two moons ago, when we were working on that straight stick?”

“For sure.”

“And how I used a rock to shape the end into a point?”

“Yes, marvelous, simply marvelous. What a stroke of luck!”

Thogg grinned. “Uh, uh, wasn’t luck. It was thinking,” he said–tapping a crooked finger against his head.

“Nah! Really?”

“For sure. Thinking is great stuff; we just have to use it carefully.”

Gronk scratched his chin. “Whadya mean?”

“Well, thinking is like any other tool–like fire, twigs, rocks, and clubs. We just have to make certain that we’re using our thinking rather than our thinking using us.

Gronk swatted lazily at some flies buzzing near his head, and then turned–with a puzzled expression–to face Thogg. “I’m not sure I follow,” he said.

“Hmm,” said Thogg. “Well, you know when we make fire? How we have to be careful?”

“For sure,” said Gronk. “Because if we’re not we can get burned!”

“That’s right,” said Thogg. “Thinking is much like building fire. We must always control the fire, and fan only the positive sparks of thought.”

A glimmer of understanding lit across Gronk’s face. “Tell me more,” he said.

“It’s really not that complicated,” replied Thogg. “With thinking, we can imagine all sorts of new ways to improve life. The key is to focus on good stuff…here,” he said, pointing to his head.

“Sounds wonderful!” exclaimed Gronk. I’m going to try this new thing called thinking on for size.”

“Before you do,” said Thogg, “just remember the caveat.”

“Humph,” said Gronk, “the what?”

“The ca-ve-at,” said Thogg, with a roll of his eyes. “It means a warning or caution.”

“What’s the warning?”

“That we must only think positively–never negatively, or about what we fear.”

“Just one more time…why?”

Thogg cleared his throat, and leaned forward. “Because all thought–both good and bad–is creative! If we focus on negative thoughts, we’ll create negative outcomes! You may not know this yet, but we’re creators–the top of the heap! And thinking is our greatest tool. If we think the right way, there’s no telling how far we may go. But if we think the wrong way, absolutely no good can come of it.”

Gronk stuck out his chin and nodded. A beetle crawling by soon caught his attention. As though mesmerized, he nudged it several times with his finger. And just as suddenly as their discussion had begun, it came to an end. Gronk yawned; thinking about thinking had made him tired. He groaned softly as he stretched out on the flat rock to soak up the heat of the sun. Thogg, however, felt energized. Compelled by a creative spirit that would not be denied, he clambered up a nearby hill. At the peak, he raised a hand to his prominent brow and scanned the horizon–dreaming and thinking of a better future not yet a reality. As twilight fell, a lone eagle crossed his field of vision. Thogg craned his head and watched it soar in wide circles above him. How effortlessly it flew, barely moving its wings. A grin crossed his face. “One day,” he said aloud, “maybe one day.” And with that thought echoing in his mind, he ambled back to his cave and dreamt away the night.

***

Now, as ever, we possess the choice to determine what we will focus upon. We can remain riveted to the seemingly nonstop media coverage and statistics regarding the current situation in the world, or we can turn away–if only briefly–and give ourselves and the world a welcome respite. The choice is ours.

Dare to dream (and care for one another).

With heartfelt regards,

Art

Copyright © – 2020 – R. Arthur Russell

 

 

Present-Moment Living

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There are many great authors and teachers who have taught us how to come back to the transcendent beauty of the present moment: Eckhart Tolle, through The Power of Now; Jon Kabbat Zinn, through Coming to Our Senses; Rupert Spira, through The Nature of Consciousness–to name only a few. For persons (egos) who are unconsciously obsessed with their doings, this may seem an absolutely absurd and useless subject. “What do you mean, I should be still and appreciate the beauty around me! I have business meetings to attend to, major transactions to conclude, and a 12:15 appointment to summit Mount Everest!”

Consider, if you will, what many of  us have previously valued:

  • Multi-Tasking: The highly revered ability to accomplish not only one task at a time, but three or–better yet–five! Productivity at any expense, whether personal or professional, has been praised as the crowning glory of humankind. A sidebar should be added: Once started, this self-driven habit must be continued until the first shovelfuls of dirt are splattering upon the top of our coffin. Job well done!
  • Earning Money: The ability to earn money–not just enough to provide for the necessities of life and to tuck away some savings–is often the little-g god that we worship. Many of us may have wanted to earn enough of the stuff to impress the neighbours to our left. Won’t they be envious when we tell them our story of our wonderful travels, or show up in our new (insert the brand of the nuts-and-bolts thing here). In all likelihood, however, the neighbour to our left doesn’t give a damn about our life story because their too busy trying to impress the neighbour two doors to their right.
  • Personal Goals: A topic near–and now not-so-dear–to my heart. A short sentence sums up my sentiments now:  “It seemed like a good idea at the time.” All of us are created to pursue our goals; because the drive to create is encoded into our DNA. We are creators. Setting out to achieve our goals is still worthwhile, but wouldn’t our goals–and the quality of our lives–be enhanced by deliberately bringing balance and harmony to whatever we do?

The short list above could have been much longer; but the number of points doesn’t matter, only the underlying message. How can an article about present-moment living be of any assistance right now, especially given the current focus of a virus in the world? It can be of great value, if we will slow down–even a little–and consider the following point: Fear and doom and gloom are not present in the current moment. Nonsense!” readers may cry. Are you implying that there isn’t a very important situation occurring in the world right now? Not at all; that’s not the point. The intended message is this: When we deliberately bring our attention back to the present moment, we escape so much of the mind-created torment. If we will Be Still–even for a few moments–we can realize  that the fear we may be experiencing is a creation of the mind. In the present moment, before any negative information is analyzed or repeated ad nauseam, fear does not exist. It can’t.

The call of this article is to awaken to what is actually occurring before the mind intrudes and shouts:  Wake up Johnny and Jane, it’s time to be afraid again! That doesn’t imply that we should not act in responsible ways that are sensible and a benefit to ourselves and our neighbours. We wash our hands; we respectfully keep our distance; we wait in line; and we consciously direct our attention to even one aspect of our life for which we can be grateful.

This article is not intended as Pollyanna mumbo-jumbo. It’s purpose is to help guide persons out of their mind-induced fear, and into the beauty that is here and now, despite all that is happening in the world. There’s an even greater realization that can occur by practicing present-moment living: We can discover What–not who–we truly are. When the mind is stilled, we can realize that fear is no longer generated. We will also notice that the little self who was so fearful (the one made from personality and form) has faded into the background, or gone missing all together. When this dawns upon our awareness, we realize that we don’t have to think to exist! What is it that knows this to be the case? Our true identity, which is beyond the mind: Consciousness itself.

Many of you will be familiar with Earth Hour; a period of sixty minutes when we collectively turn off our lights to decrease the demand for electricity in the world. As human beings committed to caring for one another, please consider this: Let’s all power down our mind for at least one hour each day, especially if our mind isn’t generating anything positive or worthwhile. In doing so, we will save ourselves and the collective consciousness a whole lot of grief. (If you feel that “Soul Hour” is an idea worth sharing, please pass this article along to our brothers and sisters.) Namaste.

Dare to dream (and care for one another).

With heartfelt regards,

Art

Copyright © – 2020 – R. Arthur Russell

Divine Swamp Creatures

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From the murky bottom of the swamp of man’s mind, there once rose a primordial “self” that began to consider itself real. There was nothing real about it; but to the mind it was very real, indeed. We could–and still do–feel its presence; for we know its thoughts even when such thoughts remain unspoken. They whisper to us, in tempting tones that would have us blindly believe in its reality. In times such as these, we can easily hear those thoughts as we go about our day; for they attempt to dominate our minds in times of anxiety or social upheaval. The thoughts of the little self speak in ways similar to this: To hell with my neighbours; they can fend for themselves, just as I’m being forced to do. I know that I can sneak out of the store with the extra package of eggs or toilet paper or whatever other item is currently in apparent short supply.” And when we exit the store, the little self smiles smugly to itself; and if it could, it would claw its way out of our cranium and pat us on the back. “Great job,” it would exclaim, ‘i’ did it–‘i’ survived!”

The problem is that we have listened to the voice of the ego for far too long. We have heeded its urges to protect our own little world, and to seek pleasure over pain at all cost. As a consequence, we have experienced–actually created–the have and have-not world that surrounds us. In the battle for survival of a fictitious self (recall that the swamp creature does not actually exist) we have individually and collectively sacrificed the intangible non-things that have true meaning: Love, Peace, Compassion, Joy, Empathy, and Generosity; all of which spring unbounded and limitless from our true identity, which is Love itself.

Consider the following: What is absolutely required for a dispute to occur within a household? Two persons, who are actually fabricated conceptual “selves” (consisting of name and form) that are irritated because each do no agree with, or clearly understand, the other’s way of being in the world. And on a larger–grotesque–scale, what is required for war to occur in the world? Two or more countries (represented by their names and collective mentalities and, thus, behaviours) that–due to their inherently greedy or intolerant natures–attempt to dominate the supposed other through violence. Logically, is not the swamp creature–individually or collectively–responsible for the respective minor or major grief that occurs in both situations? And could not both situations be entirely avoided by understanding our shared Oneness, at a level beyond the conceptual identities that arise via the mind?

For many of the us, the swamp creature may not intrude very often; but we are wise to know that it often lurks in our own mud, beneath the surface of our lives. Only the most enlightened beings have truly transcended the creature that temptingly calls to us from the primal swamp within us. We can eradicate it more easily when we understand how it behaves. The swamp creature can function overtly, and be easily witnessed in displays of anger, greed, and selfishness; or it can function more subtly, and be felt as the slimy ooze present in gossip, holier-than-though activity, and pious tales of false greatness to family and friends. No one likes a good story more than a bored swamp creature.

With practice, we can become more aware of the presence of the creature. One sure indication is a malodorous smell in the air; the unmistakable scent associated with the presence of a body-mind, or person. It is often easier to identify the traits of the swamp creature in others; but such is often a sign that our own creature is hiding nearby. The good news is that as we put our Awareness to work (not the mind!), we can more easily spot the telltale signs of our swamp creature on the prowl. Is it hinting that greed or deception is the way to operate, especially under the current conditions of our world? Is it trying to justify the purchase of a second freezer in which to stockpile frozen goods until the end of time? Is it lying, right in front of our face, when a neighbour asks if we could spare some flour or eggs? And are its claws clutching that last package of toilet paper as though it was chocolate cake…with sprinkles on top?

We are most vulnerable to attacks from the swamp creature when we are tired, stressed, hungry, and fearful. Kind of reminds us of the behaviour of little babies, doesn’t it? Our swamp creature is little different. Motivated by fear, it will rant and it will rave; it will preemptively lash out to ensure it isn’t lashed; it will coax or even threaten to get what it wants. We can, however, triumph over the creature; and every time we do, our own lives and the lives of those beautiful souls who surround us, improve dramatically. Awareness is our invincible sword, against which the creature has absolutely no defense.

The true “I” of us is so much grander than the creature. It is Divine, glorious, and eternal. It is the ever-present light within each and every one of us; the transcendent dimension that is beyond name and form, and creatures big and small. Just a thought: Perhaps today would be a good day to banish the creature forever. We can. All of us–and I most definitely include myself in these ranks–might begin by taking a whiff of the air around us. Is there a body-mind lurking?

Dare to dream (and care for one another).

With heartfelt regards,

Art

Copyright © – 2020 – R. Arthur Russell

Be The Source

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Whether we realize it or not, all of us are the source of something. All of us are spreading thoughts, words, and actions, either consciously or unconsciously. Why? Because at our core, we are Source itself. This is quite logical, for we descend from the Source of all; therefore, we must have source-ness within us. It is our very DNA. As much as we may affirm our separateness, we literally cannot escape the truth of our Oneness.

At this stage of our evolution, our collective identity as humankind is experiencing a challenge that will determine how we move forward–together! Despite appearances to the contrary, we are all connected. The present situation in the world is demanding that we remember this fact. Most of us are currently experiencing effects that are informing us that together we will swim, or together we will sink. For the majority, the current conditions are strikingly different from any that we may have previously experienced. Travel is limited; borders are closed; food and sundries are in limited supply; social distancing is in effect. We are feeling limitations, especially those related to the separate self (or identity) that most of us may have long-believed ourselves to be.

The truth is that we are so much more. Could we actually be the limited identity of name and form? For those inclined to do so, there are many books and teachings that can help us discover that deeper dimension within; a dimension that is fearless in spite of ongoing fear; peaceful in a world experiencing anxiety; a calm center surrounded by a disturbed periphery. This will be intriguing for some individuals; and definitely not so for others. However, even if we’re not inclined to look deeper within, we can still consider our actions in the world.

So, now back to the title and the point of this article: Be The Source. When we communicate with friends and family, are we being a source of fear, or a source of hope? Are we parroting the latest reports and statistics about a virus, or are we sharing something–anything–that is positive? Are we increasing the level of anxiety in the world, or performing even one small action to alleviate it? Are we sharing or hoarding? Are we taking sensible precautions to protect everyone, or being irresponsible and selfish? Are we being a doomsayer or an optimist?

On the surface, all of these seemingly sweet–some people might claim trite or useless–sentiments may seem worthless. But are they? Consider: When we tell two friends about the latest fears related to the current sickness of the world, that shared information not only changes our two friends but also everyone with whom they share the information. The spread of whatever we share keeps on spreading, whether it is positive or negative in nature. Ask persons who have endured great adversity, and they will almost certainly reveal that positive emotions were the secret of their survival. Words like Faith, Hope, and Courage are not hollow; they are representative of real power that we may claim. It is well known that positive emotions build up the body; while negative ones often stress it to a breaking point.

What can we do for ourselves? Lots! We can stay present, even when the mind is attempting to drive us to distraction with the latest news. We can become consciously aware of what we’re thinking. We can remember that although our actions may be limited right now, we are always free to choose our attitude. To think deliberately is to be free. And perhaps most important, we can remember that when we think or speak of survival, it’s not the little “i” that matters so much. In truth, there’s only one “I,” and It’s all of us.

Dare to dream (and care for one another).

With heartfelt regards,

Art

Copyright © – 2020 – R. Arthur Russell

Know Thyself

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Upon the frontispiece of the Temple of Delphi, the following Greek words are inscribed:  γνῶθι σεαυτόν. The translated words, as most readers probably realize, mean Know Thyself. Was this just a catchy little motto to adorn the temple? Or were the words intended to prompt individuals to deeply investigate the essential nature of their being amidst the shallowness of life? Surely the ancient people had more important matters to attend to than to remind us to know whether we were Fred or Barney, or Betty or Wilma.

Given the apparent state of our current world, this subject of this article may seem trivial, or even inappropriate. But is it? At this particular point in our evolution, the world seems to be a breeding ground for fear; and most of us realize that persons are subject to the effects of fear. Persons can fear shortages of necessary items such as food or fuel; they can fear becoming ill or even dying. Under certain conditions, they can even become fearful of their neighbours and friends. There is no shortage of concerns related to self. Hence, this article. In times such as these, knowing the true nature of our being can offer us meaningful solace and serve as a great source of strength. In fact, it may make the difference between whether we survive, or even learn how to thrive. To go beyond current circumstances in the world, we may be forced to drop many of our assumptions related to the false identity (ego) and be courageous enough to discover our True Self.

Many but not all ancient cultures were more inclined to investigate the nature of their being than modern humankind. At our current stage of our evolution, the majority of individuals are quite comfortable to blindly accept themselves as name and form. That means that we usually–without any investigation whatsoever–believe ourselves to be either Fred or Wilma by name; and to also assume that the rest of our human package is made up of the accompanying male or female form. For most, this is the end of the story; case closed. This, however, leaves the question regarding our essential nature unanswered. In an effort to find the real answer, let’s begin:

A name is simply a representational word for a thing. It is not the thing. The word orange refers to a juicy fruit that can be peeled and separated into wedges. Whoever was first naming the orange could have called it an uhgh, and such would have made no difference whatsoever. None of us would ever mistake the word for the actual fruit; for we innately realize that our hunger would not be satisfied by eating a word. The same principle of logic can easily be understood to apply to the representational word that we go by. Can we really we Fred or Wilma? Of course, not, for those are merely words used to apply to the real Self.

If not name, then what are we? Are we not the body? Could we be? Here, too, the light of investigation can displace some of our ignorance regarding our true nature. As all of us are well aware, our body is always changing. As years pass, we have seen clear evidence of this. However, most of us feel as though we are a long-lasting separate self. By some estimates, approximately 300 million cells die every minute. How, then, can there be any lasting identity (a thing that apparently exists independently) in something that is changing so rapidly? Does that make sense?

The next assumption–that we could be the mind–is also worth investigating. The false self (ego) is a conceptual identity that is rendered via an amalgamation of sensations, images, feelings, and thoughts that occur thousands of times each day. Our sense of being a separate self is also constantly generated through our use of the word “I,” which is the most commonly uttered word. The “i” that claims to be the doer is actually a fabrication of mind–made up of name and memory. It is reinforced through thoughts related to an imaginary past or future. Nowhere, however, can the false self be found in the stillness of the present moment. This is at the heart of the scripture from Psalm 46:10: “Be still, and know that I am God. When the mind slows or even stops–which can be experienced during meditation or events that shock us out of ourselves–the person (the little self that may potentially be fearful right now) suddenly goes AWOL. Gone! Buddha knew this; Jesus knew this; and Confucius, Lao Tzu, and so many others knew this! Many of us have naturally experienced this during periods of absence, when time seemed to fly. During such times, it’s almost certain that thoughts related to a personal “i” weren’t arising.

To truly know What we are requires that we toss aside our materialist paradigm of the world. Quantum physics has long debated whether matter as such (in the concrete sense of the word) actually exists. It is common knowledge that atoms, which were once believed to be the fundamental bits of matter, are actually comprised of 99.999% empty space. They are more accurately described as being whirling clouds of energy than anything approaching the common definition of matter. Matter is a construct of the mind; it is rendered or made seemingly real via the mind. The same applies to time and space. Modern science has never been able to locate the seat of consciousness in biological processes; and there is good reason why they never will: The situation is backward. Consciousness is not a byproduct of biological processes; consciousness is, rather, the foundation of our being. It is What we are. As such, it cannot be destroyed. A passage from the Bhagavad Gita–which may have previously seemed nonsensical, suddenly makes sense: “Weapons cannot cut it, nor can fire burn it; water cannot wet it, nor can wind dry it.”  Doesn’t that sound like something immaterial such as Spirit, Consciousness, or Awareness?

But, most individuals will state: My consciousness feels so very personal, as though it’s happening within my head. The deeper nature of consciousness is often explained via analogy to the sun and the moon. The sun is self illuminating–it needs nothing to give it light, for it is its own source. The equivalent would be Universal Consciousness. The moon, which appears so bright, actually only reflects light. It is not a source itself. The same is true of our body and mind. They seem sentient, but the light that shines through them is not ours–it is reflected from Source, our Maker.

So, now, to the point of this article: Fear related to a virus. When we truly know that our essential nature is not dependent on the body or the mind, we realize that Consciousness endures even when the body does not! What was never born cannot die. Knowing this, via direct experience, is called awakening or enlightenment. The mind and the body undoubtedly had a beginning; and they most certainly will have their end. We, however, are neither. We are the Awareness (Consciousness) by which all sensations, images, feelings, and thoughts are known. To know a world, and a body in it, there must be a witness of both! Universal Consciousness is who we are. Some people may choose to call this God (by whatever reverent name they apply); others, who may be more comfortable using scientific terms, might call this the unified field.

Does this mean that we should accept this information on faith and trust that this is the truth? Absolutely not! We can experience the nature of our being here and now. Even a few minutes spent sitting quietly in meditation can prove to ourselves that we are an individualized center of consciousness. Instead of assuming that our thoughts are part of us; we can directly experience that thoughts are observable, in much the same way that we witness our body. We innately feel that we are a knowing subject. The body and mind, however, are known. Logically, therefore, how can an object–even our body–be who we are? The simple answer is that it cannot. Here, too, a quote from the great sage Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj can help: “You can only be what you are in reality. You can only appear to be what you are not.”

Investigating how eyesight functions can also point us toward our essential nature. Eyesight basically functions by transforming light (which enters through the eyes) into shapes and forms–all of which occur within the darkened space of an enclosed cranium. Our eyes do not see; the brain sees. Most individuals assume that the images seen must refer to objects made of matter. But where is our proof of this? The term naive realism refers to the viewpoint in which someone views the world as being independent of mind; the word naive, of course, referring  to the assumption that their is a concrete world of matter beyond our perceptions. But is there? All of our other senses merely confirm an apparent world made of real matter; but we have nothing beyond our perceptions to prove this. Does the word “matrix” come to mind? Perceptions are the world. The body that the majority of people believe themselves to be is actually comprised of photons of light. It is a representation in a representational world. All of this–our bodies, the world–appear within us. We are Spirit–eternal. We are the alpha and omega, differing only in degree from our Creator.

The image at the top of this article is borrowed from the last chapter of a book entitled Three Magic Words by U.S. Andersen. Printed in 1954, it is one of many books related to the Law of Attraction and the power of thought. Many individuals will have heard about the Law of Attraction via a book and video called The Secret. The basic premise is that what we bring about what we think about. From a materialist paradigm, this may seem absurd; for most people believe that their thoughts have little impact on their world. From the idealist paradigm, however; one that asserts that things are actually experiences in Consciousness, the Law of Attraction is quite logical. Via thought, we attract experiences that we label either good or bad. Once again, a passage from the Bible can help. From Job 3:25-26: “What I feared has come upon me; what I dreaded has happened to me. I have no peace, no quietness. I have not rest, but only turmoil.”  Please don’t be offended by the word “God,” in the quote. Consciousness, Awareness, or Source could also be used. The name doesn’t truly matter, for as we realize, names are only conceptual labels. We can never get wet from the word water. What does matter is that consciousness is not dependent on the body or mind for survival. Never was…and never will be.

How can discern the difference between the false self and the Real? It’s easy, for the false self leaves clues by which it may be known. One of the easiest ways to tell whether we are operating from the perspective of our false self is to be aware of whether we are being selfish. If we are, it’s a sure bet that we’re living from ego; you know, the little “i” that will cling to the last package of toilet paper at the grocery store as though its life depended on it. That false self can be utterly destroyed by staring it straight in the face! What makes it tick? What is it? And am I only that? No!

Am I pretending to know the truth of our being? No. Everyone must arrive at his or her own conclusions. This article is not intended to convert anyone to a particular ideology or belief. It’s offered solely to help us look upon the current world situation from a perspective of love and peace, while helping one another move through a challenging period. Such may be easier contemplated–and absolutely accomplished–by abandoning the self-centered traits related to the fictitious person and daring to embrace the truth of our being for the common good. We are so very much more than flesh and bones! We are spiritual brothers and sisters. During this period, humanity will either evolve or devolve; we will take the high road or the low. The choice, as always, is up to us.

Dare to dream (and care for one another).

With heartfelt regards,

Art

Copyright © – 2020 – R. Arthur Russell

We The Courageous

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Dear Everyone,

It’s been quite a while since I posted an article, but given what currently appears to be happening in the world, I’d like to send out a positive message; in contrast to what people are being bombarded with from a wide variety of sources.

Yes, there is a virus that is currently making the rounds; but this situation–in and of itself–is not new. The virus may have a new name, and it may also have new and different characteristics; but such has occurred many times in the past. Such has been part and parcel of the human condition since time immemorial. We’re fortunate that the majority of people have strong and vibrant immune systems that have developed during our human journey. For those who don’t have that degree of health, perhaps we can find even a small way of helping either those who are sick; or be some aid to caregivers who are directly looking after the sick.

I’m not pretending to know how this particular “the-sky-is-falling” story is going to play out; and, personally, I’d be wary of anyone or any group who pretended to be able to do so. Should we take precautions that make sense, and follow the guidelines that will help all of us through this? Most definitely yes. I believe that we can all do something even greater in times of stress: We can keep our wits about us. By that, I don’t mean profiting off the fear that is already present. All of us can help one another, the way we’ve helped one another in the past; by staying positive; by sharing our resources; by helping those who are elderly or housebound or particularly fearful. All of us can do our best to be a Source of light in a dark environment. The sun–and our Great Power within–are still with us. In fact, no “thing” can take our power from us…unless we give it away.

This message–in any way whatsoever–is not intended to trivialize what is occurring. The message is meant to help. The effects of fear on our immune systems are well documented; thus, in a very real and tangible way what we’re thinking can–and does–make a tremendous difference. In Franklin D. Roosevelt’s inaugural address, he stated the following: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” What do you think? Was he right or was he wrong? Let’s kick this virus–and the fear that’s trying to infiltrate its way into our lives–to the curb, where they both belong.

Dare to dream (and care for one another).

With heartfelt regards,

Art

Copyright © – 2020 – R. Arthur Russell

Breaking The Mold

Pablo The Brickmaker5

Imagine this: Pablo The Brickmaker has a mold for bricks that is this long, this wide, and this high. He’s been using it for years. As long as he mixes the clay in the same manner, fills the mold in the same manner, and subjects the bricks to the same temperature for the same amount of time, he gets the same results. Always. His success at making bricks is founded upon the application of this knowledge. The process is as predictable as night following day, and day the night.

The point? That, likewise, the results we experience are shaped by the subconscious paradigms (or molds) that we’ve formed or acquired during the course of our life. From Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, a definition of paradigm: example, pattern, especially an outstandingly clear or typical archetype. Subconscious patterns are basically a collection of beliefs that we hold to be true. Whether these beliefs are actually true is irrelevant to the subconscious mind; for it always blindly accepts the information it receives. It does this twenty-four hours a day, without rest, every day of our life. If we habitually repeat I’m an idiot, it’s highly unlikely that we’ll ever receive the highest marks in the class. If we habitually repeat I’m such a klutz, it’s, likewise, unlikely that we’ll become the most coordinated athlete. And we shouldn’t be surprised to find ourselves overweight if we’re habitually thinking and saying I’m so fat. The mental pattern is formed first; the physical manifestation appears afterward.

So, how do we change our results? By deliberately changing our subconscious patterns. We do this by displacing negative beliefs with positive ones; limiting with empowering.  And: It’s vitally important to affirm what we desire; not what we don’t. We must be clear with our thinking. For example: Saying I’m not overweight, is not the same as stating I’m at a perfect weight for my height. In the first case, we’re actually drawing attention to what we don’t desire to manifest; thereby making the existing pattern stronger. We must also realize that it’s not enough that we know certain knowledge; we must apply it! Until we do, the results that manifest will–according to law–remain the same. How could they not? Would that not be akin to asking a corn seed to bear a potato? Or a pea seed to yield a cabbage? Our results will change when we change our paradigms, not before. This basically means that we must think in a different way; speak in a different way; and act in a different way. A worthwhile pursuit? If doubtful, we could ask Pablo what he’d have to do to create a different brick.

Dare to dream.

With heartfelt regards,

Art

Copyright © – 2017 – R. Arthur Russell

P.S. To view my ebook entitled Hold That Thought, please press here.

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