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

Whittling Away

One late summer day, Frank Nash set off walking down the winding grassy-dirt lane which led to the forest that occupied the back acres of his hobby farm. A longtime practitioner of meditation, he was holding his zafu (meditation cushion) in his right hand; a canteen, in his left. At the edge of the deciduous forest, he stopped and took a swig of water from the canteen, readjusted his ball cap, and then zigzagged his way through the woods. Dry leaves crunched underfoot; a squirrel paused briefly from its darting moves, and then scurried up a tree. When Frank came to a clearing, which was sunlit with speckled shadows of leaves, he set down his zafu on a soft patch of grass. A moment later, off came his work boots, revealing his thick woolen socks. With a well-practiced move, Frank bent down and folded his sixty-two-years-of-age frame upon the cushion. Hands cupped together near his lap, he then closed his eyes, slowed his breathing, and entered the silence.

***

“Whatcha doin’?” came a soft voice an hour later. It was Jeffry, a young neighbour boy from an adjacent farm. He was standing off to the side of a tree stump that was directly ahead of Frank.

“I thought that might be you,” said Frank, as he opened his eyes to the young boy. “I’m was whittling,” he said.

“But you don’t even have a pocketknife!” exclaimed Jeffry. “You can borrow mine if you want,” he said, with a pat of the right pocket of his jeans.

“Thanks,” said Frank, with a smile, “but for this kind of whittling, I don’t need one.”

“Huh?” said Jeffry. “What kind of whittlin’ is that?”

Frank beckoned the boy to come sit near him, which Jeffry did. “We’ll it’s kind of like sculpting. Do you know much about that?”

“Uh, uh,” said Jeffry.

“Well, the really great sculptors know what’s hidden within the piece of marble before they ever touch it with a chisel and hammer. They know that they’re just releasing the statue that’s waiting inside.”

“Wow, that’s kind of neat! That’s the kind of whittlin’ you do?”

“Yup,” said Frank, “the only difference is that I work on the person.” He offered the canteen to Ralph, who took a drink. “When I meditate, I’m actually just whittling away the parts of “me” that are the costume. I let the story of me fall away, like shavings from a piece of wood, and just “be.”

“Are you looking for something special inside, like the sculptors?”

“Yup,” said Frank.

“Do I have that special somethin’ inside me, too?”

“You sure do,” said Frank, “everybody does. When I meditate, I go within to find my real Self–the I Am. When I do, I stay in peace and commune with my Maker.”

“Ohh,” said Jeffry, with a nod of his head, “that’s definitely a different type of whittling. When I whittle, the regular way, I make little boats and take them down to float them in the creek.”

“Well, that’s a pretty neat way to whittle, too,” said Frank. A few minutes later, Frank and Jeffry were tramping back up the lane, enjoying conversation that flowed easily from the subjects of frogs to airplanes to rhubarb pie. Jeffry thought that one day it might be neat to try whittling without a knife; and he knew his mom would definitely like it “’cause she always worries that I might cut myself with my Buck knife.” As they were about to diverge, Frank said that he’d love to see one of Jeffry’s whittled boats someday.

“I’ll bring one for you tomorrow,” Jeffry called; and with a wave of the hand, they went their apparently separate ways.

***

Note: This article was inspired by the term “whittling away” in a book entitled The Gift of Grace, Awakening To Its Presence, by Paul Brunton. It, as well as another of Paul Brunton’s books entitled Jesus, Krishna, And The Way of Awakening have added to my developing spiritual understanding.

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

Founded Upon The Rock

If we were building a house, how meticulous most of us would be with regard to its construction. At the very least, we would do our best to ensure that we employed a great architect, an honest supplier of quality building materials, and a builder with a reputation for building quality homes. Most important, however (as any real estate agent will inform us) is location, location, location. As such relates to the title of this article, we’re not referring to the superficial appeal of a potential neighbourhood; we’re referring to the foundation upon which we build our home. How ironic it seems that the majority of us pay great attention to the foundation upon which we plan to build a house; yet so willingly remain unaware of that upon which we are basing our life. Perhaps the following passages from Matthew 7:24-27 will help us become curious about our essential nature:

24Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house upon the rock.

25The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against the house; yet it did not fall, because it has its foundation on the rock.

26But everyone who hears these words of mind and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.

27The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

Without being aware of it, most of us have been building our life (the house referred to in the passages) upon the shifting sandy foundations which ultimately lead to its destruction. Those foundations are false assumptions related to the nature of our being. We have assumed–without any clear discernment–that we are the person that we believe ourselves to be. Thus, we are happy when the conceptual person is apparently experiencing situations labeled “good;” and very unhappy, indeed, when suffering those labeled “bad.” Due to identification with something we are not (and which ultimately proves to be illusory), many of us will spend our life chasing the good times–no matter how much energy is required to do so. We will sacrifice our health, our family, and all of our resources in the pursuit of happiness. And once we finally arrive (which we never do–since life is never static), we are content…until we are not.

In desperation, most persons attempt to correct their unhappy situations through the usual means. Those means (which almost always entail external behaviour), lead persons to believe that having an affair, purchasing a shiny new red sports car, climbing the corporate ladder, having another baby, moving to a new house, becoming more spiritual, or buying another twenty pairs of shoes will correct the underlying dissatisfaction. On and on the not-so-merry Ferris wheel spins…until the person cries, “Stop the ride! This isn’t working anymore!” Suffering, although extremely painful at the time, finally leads us to turn away from the phenomenal world and seek a better foundation upon which to build our life.

What is the rock to which the scripture referred? Nothing less than the very Truth of our Being. It is not something acquired through accretion of mind-based knowledge; it is a heart-based recognition of That which we have always been. Contrary to what we have been conditioned to believe, the phenomenal world–which seems so very real–is not the Absolute Reality of our Being–not even close. It is appearance only. What’s Real is Consciousness (aka God). It is That which creates and knows all apparent phenomena. The Infinite cannot be defined (for our attempts to do so would only produce concepts); but It can be known directly when we become still. We are not the person we believe ourselves to be. We ARE–period; but not as a “thing.” We are That which cannot be forgotten. To know our essential nature is to build our life upon The Rock.

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

Little Johnny Acres

At the tender age of nine, Little Johnny Acres witnessed the death of his father. Family, friends, and neighbours labelled what occurred as “passing over” or “going to a greater reward,” but Johnny knew the facts of the matter. He had seen his father die. He had witnessed his father clutch his chest, turn blue, and take his last breath. The father that he loved so dearly was dead and…gone. Afterward, Johnny pretended–as the rest of his family were pretending (he assumed)–that his father was in a dreamy place called Heaven and now at peace and free of pain. But deep in his heart, Johnny Acres knew better. The facts don’t lie.

In the following years, what Johnny Acres had witnessed coloured his attitude toward many of his activities. He chose to live now, for tomorrow you may die. He believed, as the majority of persons still do, that you only live onceso make the best of it! He knew the absolute truth that, indeed, you could be here today, and gone tomorrow–or this afternoon. Time seemed an enemy that could knock any of us down without warning. The world continued to revolve; and as little Johnny matured, he preferred to be known as John. He was a grown up now; but within the core of his being, he was still the little boy subconsciously clutching the childhood wound of his father’s death. He held that piece of history as though it were a tragic prized possession; for keeping the memory was, to him, equivalent of keeping his father close. To set that historic event down would mean giving up on his father; and he wasn’t about to do that anytime soon. Until…

***

One day years later, John was reading a book entitled The Master Key System by Charles F. Haanel. Mr. Haanel was a fascinating man, indeed, for he had studied wisdom teachings of the far east and been successful at whatever business he touched. First printed as a correspondence course in 1912, his book was about the Law of Attraction. John found the book a challenging read, to say the least. Over and over he read it, gleaning what knowledge he could from within the pages. Upon one such reading, a short passage leapt out at him and slapped his awareness in the face. The passage, from Chapter Twenty, reads as follows:

The spirit of a thing is that thing; it is necessarily fixed, changeless and eternal. The spirit of you is — you; without the spirit you would be nothing. It becomes active through your recognition of it and its possibilities.

The Master Key System ~ Charles F. Haanel

Over the coming weeks, John re-read The Master Key System several times. With each reading, his understanding grew by leaps and bounds. The tumblers of his previously locked view of the world were clicking into place, unlocking the Truth of his Being. He even noticed a paragraph in Chapter Twenty-Four that referred to the Promised Land, which is another term for enlightenment. What Haanel was sharing was that we are–right here and now–spiritual Beings. Through daily meditation, John realized a deeper dimension of his true nature and learned that, contrary to what the majority of persons believe, Earth–this place that seems so very real–is only relatively real. Finally, John was able to peacefully set down the wound related to the death of his father; for he realized with absolute certainty that his father still lived. With the help of knowledge from other books about spirituality, and the touch of intuitive wisdom, he realized the truth of the following passage from Acts 17:28: “For in Him we live and move and have our being.”

***

Dear Readers: I know that many of you may have already experienced (or will undoubtedly) the death of a loved family member or friend. Such is the nature of this realm called Earth in which we’ve come to know ourselves. At the time when such occurs, the shock of the experience can send us reeling. The pain can seem unbearable; and all of the expressions uttered by those who care can seem trite beyond staleness. I won’t pretend to know what you are going through; for each of us processes death–and life–in our own unique way. If it feels right to you, please contemplate the words that helped to free Little Johnny Acres from so much emotional suffering: “The spirit of a thing is that thing.” Appearances can, indeed, be deceiving. We are not who we appear to be. We are That–Spirit. This is supported by the following quote from the Bhagavad Gita, one of the Hindu holy books: “Weapons cannot cut It, nor can fire burn It; water cannot wet It, nor can wind dry It.” Let not your heart be troubled.

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 Regression

Since my teenage years, I’ve possessed an incredible longing to know the nature of our origin. To settle for the common definition of name and form always felt sadly lacking; for it seemed obvious (at least to me) that such was like a recipe that was missing not an–but The–essential ingredient. My deep and earnest curiousity, which has been lessened by a degree of revelation that I once believed impossible to know, has now transformed into a magical appreciation for Life, Itself. As a humble offering to you, my spiritual brothers and sisters, I present the following poem from my youth:

***

The Regression


Compelled by deep desire
To know my true Self,
To find that part of me
Distinct and separate of the body and the mind,
I employed a hypnotist to assist me with my quest.
Eyes closed, entranced, 
I was soon transported aboard a conjured boat.
Amidst the pitch and roll of mystic waves,
I heard the lulling voice of the hypnotist
As he steered me up my stream of consciousness
To discover the Truth of my origin.
Through swirling memories
Entwined with wisps of emotion,
He guided me deep, and even deeper still, 
Beyond my adolescence and childhood,
To the womb.
There, wrapped in the warm flesh
Of my loving mother,
He coaxed me back, farther still,
Until I faintly heard him ask, “Where are you now?”
Bathed in a light and love
Which I intuitively embraced
As both my beginning and my end,
I joyously replied,
“I am with God.”

- R. Arthur Russell -

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

Emptiness Ain’t Empty

We owe a great deal to the original Buddha (as well, of course, to Jesus, saints, and great sages), for he imparted much-needed wisdom and divine teachings to humanity. In this article, were going to explore one of the terms that he used. Buddha described our essential nature (true Self) as emptiness. For some beings, that term has led to a great degree of confusion regarding our true nature; for others, who interpreted the term to mean total non-existence, it has led to a great deal of angst. The truth is that although we don’t exist (as an object, which is the current predominant view); it’s also true that we do exist as no-thing-ness.

For persons who (due to the inherent conditioning of this realm) are accustomed to assuming that the sum of their identity is only name and form, Buddha’s teachings will be difficult–if not impossible–to understand. What he was attempting to relate is that we’re not who we think ourselves to be. Thinking and the mind obviously deal with objects, or things of the apparent material world. In this case, we’re going to classify sensations, images, feelings, and thoughts as subtle “things” because we can sense the knowing of them. Through the introspecitve question “Who Am I?” we may delve into the nature of That which knows these objects.

A key that may help to unlock our understanding of Buddha’s teachings is found in a short but rich quote from I Am That, a book that is considered a spiritual classic. During talks with seekers, Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj (a sage from Bombay who realized his true nature at the age of thirty-four) stated the following: “Before the mindI Am. ‘I Am’ is not a thought in the mind. The mind happens to me, I do not happen to the mind.” He was stating that the real “You” comes first–prior to the mind that renders our body-mind and the world through the power of Maya (illusion). Let’s add to this understanding by a passage from Exodus 3:14: “And God said unto Moses, I Am That I Am: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I Am hath sent me unto you.” In both cases, we’re being informed that our true nature–“I Am”–exists as “no-thing” before we add descriptions of any kind, such as “I am…Bob or Betty (insert last name here). A third passage, attributed to Jesus, from The Gospel of Thomas (The Nag Hammadi Scriptures) may also be of help: Jesus said,If the flesh came into being because of the spirit, it is a marvel, but if spirit came into being because of the body, it is a marvel of marvel. Yet I marvel at how this great wealth come to dwell in this poverty.” In this passage, does it seem to you (as it does to me) that Jesus is amazed that persons could believe that the body-mind could possibly give rise to consciousness? At this point, we’re going to cut away to our roving reporters, Batman and Robin, who are on assignment for this article:

***

Robin (displaying excited smugness): “Golly gee-whiz, Batman, did you hear what they’re trying to tell us about consciousness? Hah, what baloney! That my consciousness–“i”–doesn’t arise in the head! By the way, I like what you’ve done with your cape.”

Batman (showing calm authority, hand to chin): “Thanks about the cape–thought it would add a little pizzazz. Now, about Consciousness, hmm, I thought you knew that the body-mind and the world arise in–and are known by–Consciousness.”

Robin (incredulous): “But that can’t be! My body feels so solid. It–and matter–has to come first!”

Batman (with fatherly tone): “You know, Robin, there’s a library in the Batcave. Feel free to use it anytime–a person could learn a lot. About your body-mind, it’s actually a function, not an entity. Buddha informed us that nothing has existence independent of the mind. Your body is perception–so is the world. This environment is only relatively real; everything’s in motion. The only absolute is Consciousness, aka God.

Robin (dejected, scuffing his shoes against the floor): “Who’d a thunk it? I didn’t know.”

Batman (putting a hand to Robin’s shoulder): “It’s okay, little buddy. Now you do.”

(Thank you, Batman and Robin, for sharing your insights. Now, back to the article:)

***

The emptiness that Buddha was attempting to relate to students is actually the rich fullness of our true Being. If you’ll allot a few minutes each day for meditation, you can directly realize that your mind and your body appear to you, true Self. Thus, you are Spirit, aka Consciousness. You’re a spiritual child of God, our Creator, having an apparent human existence in the dream called “life on Earth.” Such is the Waking State. This will be easier to understand if you search the internet and discover more about the nature of matter (spoiler: It’s not as solid as you’ve assumed). Almost all persons assume that matter is the foundation of “reality.” it’s not. Spirit is the foundation of our Being, now and forever.

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

Don’t Be A Slave

Many of you may be familiar with the hymn entitled Amazing Grace; it is a well-known hymn, at least in English-speaking parts of the world. The lyrics are quite touching; but their meaning is even more poignant when we realize that they were inspired by the true life circumstances of John Newton, the hymn’s author. From accounts online, John Newton was a strong willed young man, rebellious to most forms of authority. He was conscripted into the Royal Navy, but he was soon after discharged due to behavioural issues. As a result, he later served on various slave trade vessels. During a severe storm off of the coast of Ireland in 1748, he found himself crying out to God for mercy. A conversion occurred, but he continued to work on slave vessels for a few more years before finally retiring from sailing forever. In the following years of his life, he studied Christian theology and became an abolitionist. The following is the first stanza of his transformative hymn, Amazing Grace:

“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound,

That saved a wretch like me.

I once was lost, but now am found,

Was blind but now I see.”

“Amazing Grace” ~ John Newton

The lyrics clearly paint the picture regarding the feelings that arise when we recognize that we are “not who we think ourselves to be,” but, in fact, an aspect of our Divine Creator. The self is false through and through; a conceptual figment of the mind that bears no likeness to our spiritual Self. Through the perspective of Truth, we realize that our past behaviour related to ego (which is often dominated by self-centered and selfish nature) may have been less than desirable, to say the least. It is through understanding our Oneness–our unity in Consciousness (God)–that our behaviour may best reflect a higher degree of ideals and, most importantly, the love that is our Fountainhead.

If you believe that you’re the “person” that is identified by your particular name and form, such means that you’re still enslaved by your ego’s conditioned beliefs, without being aware of it. As Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj so rightly expressed: “To be a person is to be a asleep.” We’re asleep when we’re still ensnared within the net of Maya (illusion) and unaware that our true Self–right here, right now–is spiritual in nature. We’re still asleep when we believe that we’re separate from everything and everyone and, thus, in competition. We’re still asleep when we judge that we’re more special, or worse, than so-called other persons. We’re still asleep when we believe that we can hurt another Being without, in fact, hurting ourselves! To unchain ourselves from the ego’s domination, we needn’t endure John Newton’s perilous sea voyage. To land upon the shores of Awakeness, we need only make a daily habit of turning within, to the silent stillness within. Ultimately, however, it is via Divine Grace (as the hymn points out) that our higher Self calls to us. Through recognition, we are liberated from being lived by a lie. We, indeed, are free at last.

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

Anatomy of a Life

My passion, as many of you already know, is writing and sharing articles about Consciousness, the Law of Attraction, and Spirituality to help deepen our understanding of these interrelated subjects. My intention is to help alleviate some of the needless suffering in the apparent world. Here, as a change from my usual format, I offer a poem of mine entitled Anatomy of a Life. For readers who may feel stuck in fear or worry related to identification with the body-mind perspective, I hope the poem will help you turn within and glimpse your true Self, waiting to be recognized.

***

Anatomy of a Life

Neither in embryo do we begin,
Nor in dark grave do we end;
For we, Spirit--eternal, are but visitors here,
With soul and flesh to blend.
For three score ten, or more or less,
We breathe, we eat,
We taste, we touch,
We hear and smell and see;
And for a time unknown our hearts keep beat
To the rhythm of Mortality, that ghost of human destiny.
Throughout this mortal maze of Maya,
We dream, we scheme,
We plot, we plan,
Conceiving this and creating that
While holding a secret prayer in our heart
To learn our reason for Being,
To have our deepest thirst quenched.
Toward that goal,
We clutch to the glorious, sustaining hope
That this—this burning bridge of human trials and triumphs—
Will have mattered, held importance, or made a difference.
When Truth is known, we glimpse Eternity
And realize we are not who we’ve assumed ourselves to be.
We are God incarnate, and our character but a phantom of mind.
Having tread upon the dust of our ancestors,
We come and, inevitably, go.
Loving, lusting,
Laughing, crying,
Reaching, raging,
We have only dreamed this human time.
Such is the grandest mystery yet,
From first sunrise, beyond last sunset.

- R. Arthur Russell -

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

Self–Capital “S”

The Self that I’m referring to in the title of this article, as you have probably noticed, is One with a capital “S.” It is the Self that is routinely overshadowed by the majority of persons, who–due to innocent ignorance–blindly accept that their identity is name and form…only. All of us are very familiar with the lowercase self; but most are unaware that it is a conceptual self only, that seems to reside within the head or behind the chest. It is illusory through and through; at best, a ghost seeking pleasure and the avoidance of pain; at worst, a thief that is robbing us of the true joy which is our birthright. It is my fervent desire to help you become knowingly acquainted with uppercase “Self” via the publishing of this article. Let’s begin with the following thought-provoking quote from Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, from his spiritual classic I Am That:

“To be a person is to be asleep.”

Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, “I Am That.”

“So, Mr. Russell (writer guy), what the heck are you talking about?” For many, the notion of investigating the nature of our Being may seem a very boring, and unnecessary, subject matter; but such is not the case. It is one of the most exciting journeys that we may ever undertake. There is good reason why the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, Greece, was inscribed with the words “Know Thyself.” That culture realized that recognition (to know again) of true Self was the way to transcend the slings and arrows (thanks, Shakespeare) that accompany the apparent daily life of a person. Most of us are very familiar with the polar swings between happiness and unhappiness. In spiritual terms, such is often referred to as a brittle happiness, for it is dependent on outer causes and, thus, easily broken. When we discover Self–capital “S,” we transcend our belief in the false self and, thus, are at peace.

Now it’s time for logic, which may ignite a spark of curiosity. Please contemplate this: Can you really–actually–be your name? Can you get burned from the word fire? Can you get wet from the word water? If you’ve been able to answer “no” to both of those questions, you’ve realized that the word is only a term by which we refer to the real items; in this case fire and water. Now, if you apply that very same logic to the case of your name (insert it here), you’ll realize that you cannot possibly be your name. Surely, then, this will naturally cause the question (“Who Am I?”) to arise within you.

Time for more logic: When persons clearly understand that they cannot possibly be their name, most will quite naturally assume that they must be their body. This assumption proves, once again, to relate to a fleeting ghost of a thing;” for the body is changing–literally–from one split trillionth of a second to the next. How can such a changeful thing (which is actually a functioning of Infinite Living Mind) be me? The answer: It cannot. “But,” you may claim, “I feel so real, within; then, I must be my mind.” This also proves to be a very fleeting identity; for our thoughts, which seem so personal, are changeful, too. The “personality” may seem stable, especially if we see evidence of such; but it’s actually fabricated by discrete flashes of intelligence, memory, and a repeated claiming of “i”. There’s no long-lasting person independent of mind. How could there be when mind is the creator of everything?

Doubt can be a powerful motivator to help lead us toward Truth. For as long as we stay stubbornly rooted in our opinions (which are highly subject to change from person, place, or time), we have not opened our minds to experiencing the Truth of our Being. Let doubt serve you in this article. Let doubt cast a shadow over the false self, which the majority believe themselves to be. By turning your attention from the apparent outer world, to the still world within, you’ll discover that there is a deeper dimension of “You” that has been awaiting recognition. That is the Changeless, the Eternal, the Immortal Self–capital “S.” We are Spirit. “O Death, where is thy sting?”

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