Snakes and Ladders

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

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

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

Dare to dream (and care for one another).

With heartfelt regards,

Art

Copyright © – 2020–R. Arthur Russell

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

Book Publication

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

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

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

Dare to dream (and care for one another).

With heartfelt regards,

Art

Copyright © – 2020–R. Arthur Russell

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

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Bhagavad Gita: Song of The Lord

Bhagavad Gita (Song of the Lord)

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

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

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

Dare to dream (and care for one another).

With heartfelt regards,

Art

Copyright © – 2020–R. Arthur Russell

Dr. Phuphuey: The Matrix

Dr. Phuphuey (The Matrix)

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

***

Another work day at the office was over. Patients had been assessed; charts updated; phone calls made; follow-up appointments scheduled. The door to Dr. Phuphuey”s office was slightly ajar; for that reason, Nurse Whatsthebigfuss felt comfortable with rapping softly a couple of times and entering. Dr. Phuphuey was seated in his chair, which was turned toward the wall. When she entered, he slowly turned the chair to face her. His face looked long and drawn.

“Have you been crying?” she asked.

“Nopppe,” he said, with a weak shake of his head, “big boys don’t cry.”

Nurse Whatsthebigfuss gently closed the door. “Sure looks like you have. Red eyes; bags beneathe them.” She plunked herself down in the chair across from him. “Fess up,” she said, crossing her legs. “I’m not leaving until you do.”

“All right, you got me. It’s true. You know me; I try to make light of things–to help keep my cheese from sliding off it’s cracker.” His mouth froze momentarily in an expression of utter anguish. “But this afternoon, after the last patient, the weight of all this came crashing down on me.”

“The world right now?”

“Yes, that…but much more.” Dr. Phuphuey sighed heavily and leaned forward on the desk. “When I took the hyppocratic oath, I swore that ‘I will remember that I do not treat a fever chart, a cancerous growth, but a sick human being.’ I feel that the system won’t let me do that anymore! It’s all masks and one-way arrows and distancing–there’s nothing human about it. Most patients don’t have a clue about their beingness. It’s as though they think they’re a car, and that I’m a mechanic. And worse–I see the absolute fear in their eyes–for they believe that when the car dies, or runs off a cliff, that they die! Kaput. Modern culture teaches us that all we are is a bunch of nuts and bolts. What’s worse, I’m part of the problem.”

Nurse Whatsthebigfuss rose and walked around the desk and gave Dr. Phuphuey a hug. “No, you’re not,” she said. “You’re one of the good ones.”

Tears rolled down Dr. Phuphuey’s cheeks, and she snapped a couple of tissues from a box and handed them to him. “Damn,” he said. “Double damn.”

“We’ll have no f#$%@ swearing in this office,” she said.

A weak smile brightened Dr. Phuphuey’s face. “I think we both know it’s too late for that.” He reached into his lab coat and retrieved his pack of smokes. “Cigarette?” he asked.

“No,” she said politely, “but I know you’ve got some licorice in your desk. Red, please.”

“The majority of my patients are unaware of their true nature. They know the known; but they have little clue about the Knower. They don’t know that this–right here, right now–is a dream.”

“A dream?” said Nurse Whatsthebigfuss, with a puzzled look on her face.

Dr. Phuphuey looked surprised. “I thought you knew,” he said.

“Share,” said Nurse Whatsthebigfuss.

“So,” he said, “our true nature is Awareness. That’s our foundation–not the body and mind. Awareness doesn’t arise from body-mind functions, as materialists assume; it is prior to both. They’ve got it backwards–the body and mind arise in Consciousness, in and through Consciousness Itself. All that’s real of all of this,” he said, patting the arms of his chair, “is the knowing of it through our perceptions. It’s called the waking state, but most people assume it to be reality.”

“Another licorice, please,” said Nurse Whatsthebigfuss. “I think I’m getting it.”

“The catch,” said Dr. Phuphuey, “is that you can’t understand it with the mind. That will only drive you ’round in circles. Awareness is prior to the mind. You have to get still to feel it.”

“Meaning?”

“Meditate.”

“You ever watch The Matrix?”

“Yes,” she said. “Great science fiction movie.”

“It would be more appropriate to call it a documentary,” said Dr. Phuphuey. “It’s really about idealism. You ever wonder why Keanu Reeves’ character had such a strange name? Neo…an anagram for the One. We all descend from One. We are That. It’s why there are questions in the movie such as ‘What is real?‘ What we see, hear, taste, touch, and small are electrical signals interpretted by the brain. Modern society has got it so backward–they believe that the person, which is a product of consciousness, is the cause; but it’s an effect of mind. That’s why this fufu about the masks…they’re protecting an illusion. Mind is the creator of everything.”

“Wowsers,” said Nurse Whatsthebigfuss. “Heavvvy. I begged you to take up golf, like the rest of the doctors.”

“I’d be bored silly,” said Dr. Phuphuey.

During the next few minutes, they spoke about the nature of life. Dr. Phuphuey shared how the books by spiritual masters had led him to recognition of his true Self–Spirit. He directed her to take a look at a presentation if she wanted to learn more.

“Before I go, do you mind if I ask you a personal question?” she asked.

“Hasn’t stopped you before,” he said. “Shoot.”

“Is ‘Phuphuey your real name?”

“Uh-huh,” he said, “sure is. “My mother’s clan were Phus–upper region of Quong. My father’s bunch hailed from north of Norland–the Phuey’s. Marriage and hyphenation made the whole thing happen.”

“I always wondered,” she said, “…and now I know.”

“What about your name?” he asked as she rose from her chair. “How did it come about?”

“Oh, that? Some writer guy made it up. Thought it might be funny. He should try being stuck with it!” And with that, she gave Dr. Phuphuey a hug and headed to the door. “We’ll show up again tomorrow and give it our best shot,” she said. “That’s all any of us can do.”

Dare to dream (and care for one another).

With heartfelt regards,

Art

Copyright © – 2020–R. Arthur Russell

Dream Within A Dream

landscape nature sky person
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Alan Watts (1915 – 1973) was no lightweight when it came to philosophy and a deeper understanding of our true nature. From The Book, On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are, Alan states the following: “Apart from you brain, or some brain, the world is devoid of light, heat, weight, solidity, motion, space, time or any other imaginable feature. All these phenomena are interactions, or transactions, of neurons with a certain frequency of vibration. Thus vibrations of light and heat from the sun do not actually become light or heat until they interact with a living organism, just as no light-beams are visible in space unless reflected by particles of atmosphere or dust.” In short, he’s stating–as Paramhansa Yogananda did so concisely–that “mind is the creator of everything.” 

What is the use of such knowledge? Basically, it can help us know What we truly are (not who), and gain a deeper understanding of the nature of the universe in which we apparently find ourselves. Understanding of our essential nature–which most persons shun in favour of the conceptual version fed to us by society–can help alleviate suffering related to all sorts of issues; including the current story related to a certain virus.

For the majority of individuals, this world seems to be filled with a multiplicity of subjects and an even greater number of objects. This error is called duality–the world of subject and object; in contrast to the Truth, which is Oneness. For persons, we have personal names such as Bob or Carol and Ted or Alice. For the impersonal objects, we have words such as tree, rock, school, and house. Duality can basically be summed up as follows: “I (insert your name) see (an object) the tree. However, what’s going on behind the curtain of reality is much more mysterious. If we refer to the quotation from Alan Watts, we can understand that the tree is actually viewed within the dark space of your brain. The same holds true for our body–and all other objects. The person and the thing are actually comprised of streaming energy that is translated into shapes. The mind puts both in motion; even though we feel–with absolute certainty–that we move ourselves. There is only one doer; and that doer is Infinite Living Mind. Our body appears to move due to the power of Maya, which is a Sanskrit word that basically translates as illusion. What most people assume to be Reality is actually the waking state; which is merely a longer, more highly defined dream that engages all of our senses to cast its spell. The word dream, dream, dream echoes throughout every spiritual book about our true Self. Everyone who is not yet awakened is, in fact, still asleep in the dream that we call “our life.”

“Okay, so you may think, “but there’s a real world of trees and rocks and schools and houses, right?” The short answer is “No, there is not.” It will be very natural to argue that this cannot possibly be the case; for we’ve been conditioned to think of ourselves as a body and a mind in a very real world. However, the world that we experience is made from our perceptions. That’s it. Quantum Physics has known this for many long years; since the search for the tiniest bits of what we term matter first began. Atoms, which were once believed to be the building blocks of a solid universe, are, in fact, 99.999% empty space. Yes, there are forces that are very real, but they are not translated into things called matter until our mind renders them as things.

What we experience enters our field of consciousness via the Law of Attraction; a law that decrees: that which is in harmonious vibration will be drawn together; in much the same way that two tuning forks of the same key will both resonate if only one is struck. That’s how reality streams to us–as vibration, which is interpreted by Awareness. Our habitual thoughts and words–especially those imbued with feeling–cause our true nature (Awareness, Consciousness) to vibrate at certain frequencies and, thereby, attract to us that to which we’re attuned. That’s why the rich get richer; and the poor get poorer. The rich (via thinking and feeling properous) attune themselves to prosperity; while the poor (via thinking and feeling impoverished) enslave themselves to poverty. This of great import these days (given the current world story), for the same applies to our health. Our habitual attitude–whether we are grateful for health, or fearful of disease–plays a huge role in what we apparently experience.

Nichola Tesla, who was one of the greatest inventors the world has ever known, stated the following: “If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency, and vibration.” Perhaps the subject is worth a little investigation; especially if doing so can lead us to awarness of our true Self–not the costume comprised of name and form–and protect our health at the same time. We can deliberately create our well being. Such doesn’t occur by chance.

Dare to dream (and care for one another).

With heartfelt regards,

Art

Copyright © – 2020–R. Arthur Russell

Bunker Time (Five Years Post “The Virus”)

Bunker Time (4)

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

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

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

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

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

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

“How we got here?” he said.

“Yes.”

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

“What do you mean?” said Minda.

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

“Like what?” asked Minda.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“You okay, Grandpa?” Minda said softly.

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

With warms regards,

Art

Copyright © – 2020–R. Arthur Russell

 

 

Truth of The Game

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dare to dream (and care for one another).

With heartfelt regards,

Art

Copyright © – 2020–R. Arthur Russell

Methuselah’s Birthday

man in white crew neck shirt wearing black sunglasses holding black ceramic mug
Photo by Luis Quintero on Pexels.com

The golden globe peaks its head above the horizon, and Methuselah smiles. Sunrise–he has won again! “Ahh,” he thinks, as he dribbles that first cup of coffee, “life is grand.” He’s also happy for another reason: Tomorrow is his birthday; he’s turning six-hundred-and-fifty-two “years young!” He’s proud, too, for except for the fact that he’s had to purée his meals since his early 600’s, when his last tooth fell out, he’s in excellent health. He could easily pass for five hundred. All of his friends are invited to the party–oh, wait, they’ve all passed; so he’ll be celebrating alone. “Oh, well,” he thinks, “more cake for me.” His eighth wife (“hmm, now what was her name?” he thinks) would have been happy to bake it for him. Methuselah’s also proud that he’s still active. Every morning, he leans forward and attempts to do one “I-can-still-touch-my-toes.” Trouble is, he lost spincter control (in that region), about a hundred years ago; so every time he bends over, well, let’s just say it gets windy.

***

In truth, our bodies can live to a ripe old age, and we can be healthy, too; despite the picture painted by modern medicine. The greatest error of our human ways occurs when we mistakenly assume our body–the costume–as being our identity. Thus, we naturally fear its “end” because we believe that such equates to the end of me. We are not now–nor were we ever–the body-mind. We are the light that shines through it–the silent witness (Awareness) that has watched as we apparently lived all of our personal shenanigans. Edgar Allen Poe was not merely being poetic when he referred to our lives as A dream within a dream; he was stating fact.

Our misguided fear related to the demise of our body can lead us in many wrong directions. It can lead us to methodically count our vitamins one-by-one every day, and spring in fear if we have missed one; it can lead us to mistake a long life for a good life; it can lead us to deny ourselves decent pleasures that could have added immeasurable joy to our days; it can lead us to postpone plans for the perfect day–that imaginary day that only exists on the horizon of our mind.

Instead of focusing on our little “i,” (the one experiencing tremendous fear during this current period in world history), let’s rally together and joyously celebrate our shared humanity. When we know our true Self, we realize that there is nothing to fear. We can shift our self-centered attention from our conceptual self and help Methuselah–or someone else–celebrate their life. I’m sure Methuselah would be happy if we helped him celebrate his birthday. It is by shifting our focus from the me, me, me that’s afraid of dying, that we truly live. Maybe I could arrange  to have dentures made for Methuselah. What can you bring?

Dare to dream (and discover your true Self).

With heartfelt regards,

Art

Copyright © – 2020–R. Arthur Russell