Like Waves and Drops of the Ocean

Waves and little drops play their timeless dance,

Rolling, bubbling, splashing and spraying,

Rising and falling silently or reaching high to crash and tumble,

From shoreline the steady timeless rumble or quiet lapping.

 

Coming into form then merging and returning to formlessness,

Always an inseparable expression and action of the sea,

Seeming to revel in motion when towering dramatically and suddenly,

Or languidly rising and falling rarely cresting with power dormant.

 

Wave and drop a brief and minuscule extension of vast ocean,

Shaped by the winds of time and chaotic turbulences amidst a familiar flow,

Oblivious to massive tides and planetary forces that also shape their paths,

Of forming and re-forming, again and again merging with the source of their substance.

 

Their own watery substance reflecting the unfathomable depths below,

Every wave and drop expresses unique beauty of infinite form and detail,

Each necessary in the passage of time to the continuity of the whole,

Ripples united in a play of the vast sea and the elements that shape them.

 

Always apart in form yet unified in substance,

Sometimes crashing together, moving indefinitely apart, always moving in pattern,

The waves and little drops know no name or definition,

No views and differences of opinion about their nature, source or destiny.

 

There is no argument or agreement about the depths beneath,

No consensus required on preferences for conditions,

Of wind, sun and rain, for calm stillness or storm,

Each one manifested by the same energies and elements that form them.

 

How grand that we know our own nature,

That knowledge, name and form allow us to evolve ourselves while in form,

Shaping and developing our own world around us as well as our little selves,

Our source and destiny a great ocean of life and consciousness from which we rise and merge.

 

Must knowing the form come with the folly of forgetting the unseen whole,

Treachery of knowledge, power of naming and categorising entrapping the mind,

Consuming identity and nature when defined by separateness and conflict,

The vast inseparable source reduced to division, or rejection or forgotten altogether.

 

It is only in knowing the waves and drops minutely,

Relative to the inseparable interactive elements of ocean, wind, and earth,

Vast whirling planets and space that direct the tide and bring it all to bare,

May true understanding arise embracing both form and formless forces.

 

Yet does knowledge reveal of the beauty of the calm sea and terribleness of the storm,

The humility in feeling the vast power of ocean and earth and their gift of life,

Vital freshness or bite of salty wetness and the glory of riding cresting wave,

Knowing that arises from realms of the heart and in the rich depths of experience.

 

Heart and mind, knowledge and experience, form and formlessness,

Material and consciousness, phenomenal and ethereal, master and servant,

One without the other a blissful ignorance or sorrowful suffering,

While embracing what is, as both and neither is to come nearer to creator.

 

Only in detail are we uniquely personal and evolving understanding,

All else is diversity in unified experience of shared challenges and forces,

Directing the farsighted to oneness of realisation and revelation, eternal being and meaning,

Glorious and miraculous that we are also that, the vast and unified ocean of consciousness.

 

By Colin Chenery

Photo credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/bostik/6310836292/”>bostik_</a&gt; via <a href=”https://visualhunt.com/re2/90ba41″>Visualhunt.com</a&gt; / <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”&gt; CC BY-NC-ND</a>

Authentic Being, Love and Bliss is Closer than You Think!

Much of spiritual experience seems to be about finding a place within ourselves that is less of our own conscious manufacture, and rather a place within ourselves that is there already when we let go. If there is truly a deeper more authentic inner presence and higher Self, then we all have an intrinsic capacity to not only recognise it, but to actually feel more at home there, as it is by definition who we really are.

It is here we must realise the bedrock of deep and abiding peace. This is opposed to fleeting glimpses of insight we may get when identifying with transient moods and mindsets that are geared around adjusting and surviving or thriving transient outer conditions. It is from this deeper sense of self we can discover our own love and a universal unconditional love as one and the same.

Personal spiritual experience at its beginnings, during its progress and maturing must include regular times of relaxing the mind and body completely. Our intent and personal insight are key, as are teachers or sources of inspiration, along with learning to put what is important to us into action. Yet the quiet private moments is where we can learn to rely on the full experience of what remains when everything to do with the body and thinking mind have fallen away.

This is getting beyond thinking and conditioned self identity to experience the substance of simply being, connecting with what many teachers and masters of all traditions refer to as the higher Self, spirit or changeless self which where our true sense of completeness and connection lies. It is so close, we can miss it, for it is within the consciousness with which we think and do. The trouble is we focus on our projections of consciousness and identify with them.

If we strip back the teachings of Jesus to the essentials and modern language, he taught the only way to spiritual consciousness and God-consciousness is to be in constant contact and identification with it through faith and authentic receptivity while living from good-will to all. Many teachings provide hints on developing this through prayer and meditation or communion, as well as applying this developing awareness to value-based thinking and living.

This approach is a universal approach, at the heart of all spiritual practices. It is independent of what we do in the world but not independent of how we do things. Naturally, the ideal of constant spiritual consciousness means doing all things, big and small, with a certain quality of mindfulness and soulfulness. It is a lofty ideal that is extremely difficult yet the practice yields great benefits. The path and destination then become one and the same. Love and goodwill in a mindset of service is harmonious to such a great desire, ideal and goal. It takes regular and committed practice while we attend to the tasks of living.

Our existential nature is an inseparable part of the universal source of life and consciousness. This ideal we can imagine and gradually understand more through experience. Personalising it as a cosmic parent, in whatever form we relate to, helps connect our personal human nature with this transcendent yet intimate state of consciousness. It helps open our mind beyond our separate and conditioned thinking to deeper and greater subtleties of love, joy and good-will to all life and creatures. It takes us not only beyond conditioned mind narratives, but beyond the intellect itself to a consciousness that includes intuition, creative and spontaneous realisation and gradually calm bliss and joy.

The Divine as ‘Father’ or ‘Mother’ invokes a personal love that is more than dissolving into a void or mindless mindfulness. This personal invocation encouraged by many masters and seers of all religions and persuasions harmonises our human nature with our cosmic nature which is of causeless pure love and pure consciousness. Aligning as a child to a parent creates humility, so we can drop our own narratives of the experience itself. This is necessary so we can be fully present and experience rather than intellectualise. With faith this approach helps us to step from searching to finding and being.

We can feel gratitude for life and awareness in any given moment, rather than the forgetful arrogance by the conditioned mind and manufactured ego that operates as separate self and self-made. The higher self is inseparable from the parent consciousness where child and parent, creator and created are one, just as in meditation the observer, observed and observing all become one.

Finally, the divine as parent connects us to our shared source and destiny as brothers and sisters. Humankind is aligned in spiritual unity which transcends differences of gender, race, culture, socio-economic status and even religious or idealogical affiliation.

Only through experience of our own true nature can we connect with the true nature in others and recognise our natures as one and the same. Nonetheless, integrity to basic morals and refined values are the foundation and framework in which we find fulfilment of quality and personal experience in this connection.

The realisation of being spiritual beings as brethren, not orphaned in a vast empty universe, but each a small yet integral part of a living and conscious evolving universe is at the core of true teachings beyond commentaries, rituals or institutions built around them.

Personal spiritual experience allows us to consciously commune and nourish ongoing personal experience and truth in life and with each other. Applying this in thoughts and actions, privately and with others, we can embody our own spirituality, yet be united at its depths -the spiritual ‘kingdom’.

Only spiritual realisation can truly transcend and harmonise the many persistent and inevitable divisions in the world. Personal spiritual practice is the means to harmonise and realise these ideals. Personal sovereignty lies in the true freedom this provides.

What Is Spirituality?

spirituality      (spɪrɪtʃʊˈalɪti,spɪrɪtjʊˈalɪti/ )

noun :   the quality of being concerned with the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things.

Religion (the institutions and established systems of belief in a divine power) and religious belief should cultivate spiritual experience. Spirituality itself is a subtle distinction to define and can be found in the simplest moments in life.

Not all spiritual practices or approaches are religious, such as yoga practiced with traditional authenticity and many techniques of meditation. Some sects of Buddhism can also be classed as non-religious. Many cultures cultivate spirituality in a great range of traditions, cosmologies and paradigms that may or may not include their connection to nature, celestial forces or the practitioners own inner transcendent nature. There is a common thread in what is characterised as sacred and spiritual.

Like many saints, masters and poets, we can contemplate such attributes as love, bliss, purpose, friendship, uplifted beauty transcendent and in nature and the sense of selfless service. Or we can delve directly into the most profound way we connect with the essence of existence and reality. Contemplating meaning in such moments helps us to align with a greater sense of goodness and connection in a living and friendly vast reality. Universal truth and being can be no less than the sum of all our most true and noble insights and experiences of life. It is also obviously much more. Personal or impersonal, a greater or pure consciousness beyond our sense of self is a subjective experience of vast potential just as love is.

The conviction or even the idea that the universe is living and conscious, is expressed inspiringly in Deepak Chopra and Menas Kafatos’ 2017 book “You are the Universe”. In this book they conclude with a theory of “qualia” which acknowledges ‘qualities’ of experience as fundamental to the observer and the observers existence and reality. Everything we can conceive and perceive is inescapably our own subjective view and experience, even through our man-made devices and equipment. ‘Quanta’ (the smallest sub-atomic unit) and Newtonian laws are discussed as two distinct levels or frameworks of laws and observations of the known material universe only, and so far short accounting fully for unanswered questions let alone the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of continued existence and experience. The ‘quantum’ realm particularly reveals the relative and surprising aspects of time, space and the interaction between the observer and reality itself.

Essentially, the book puts forward that our universe being random and stable from the big bang is against vast odds that would have it imploding or exploding, never forming even molecules if a vast array of variables of were even minutely different. Even more freakish is that such an unlikely random event evolved self-consciousness beings from only matter. Much is discussed along these lines drawing on known science theory and many new conclusions about how the universe formed. An existing but refreshed and interesting argument embracing science and philosophy is then presented that the universe arose and is still evolving from cosmic consciousness experiencing itself through a multi-dimensional universe of energy, matter and conscious beings.

Human unconditional love or compassion, self-less friendship and the vital essence of being alive is as much a part of the absolute and infinite consciousness as is our sense of profundity, divinity and sacredness. These are attributes experienced universally among all cultures, ages and people in many forms and guises. They are a few of many attributes of subjective reality and conscious awakening (becoming more aware of our ‘true’ nature) connecting us closer to a qualitative and subtle sense of universal consciousness. Conscious awakening is often associated with a realisation and identification with the observer of experience (experience including thoughts and feelings). The observer is unchanging pure consciousness compared to observed experience. With this shift of awareness comes a sense of presence, greater mindfulness in each moment. Identification with the observer gives a sense of blissfulness and freedom from physical and worldly attachments and aversions. It frees us from being at the effect of thoughts, feelings and experiences yet able to be present in them more fully.

The contemporary view of spirituality as quoted in the dictionary definition above, associates soul or spirit with a quality of being. It indicates a shared recognition in our society of a quality of consciousness or sense of being with soulfulness or spirit. This recognition is not intellectual or emotional yet is a subtle depth and quality of being widely accepted despite diverse beliefs about its meaning and implications.

Nonetheless, whatever one’s beliefs, personal spiritual experience transcends ideology and is arguably the domain that unites all true spiritual and religious paths but is not restricted to them. If ‘soul’ or ‘spirit’ are truly part of our true nature, then this level of ‘being’ is available to anyone and everyone. Buddhist and psychological approaches associate meditation in mindfulness or the pure conscious background to mind activity with bliss, wellbeing and enhanced levels of documented levels of consciousness.

Not only spiritual practices can cultivate a persons sensitivity and awareness on a ‘soul’ or ‘spirit’ dimension but so can lifestyle (choices of music, foods, environment) and social life (friends with whom one can share reflections and experiences ‘soul to soul’). In India, the term ‘sattvic’ is used to describe such harmonising and more spiritually aligned influences and vibrations.

Spiritual experience transcends thought and beliefs. Beliefs may determine what we make of it, and like meditation even pave the way for a clear personal experience and conscious shift. However, the experience freed of interpretation and mental-narrative is where many spiritual practitioners aim to immerse themselves when in communion or meditation, or through prayer, then eventually attain it continuously. It is possibly what Christ referred to as approaching God like a child. Opening ourselves to feeling close to a greater universal presence or consciousness, albeit through glimpses and intuitive knowing, is a mark of progressive spirituality.

So to, is the recognition that it is a shared and existential nature we all share. Pure spirit or pure consciousness at a spiritual level can provide an authentic sense of brother-hood and sister-hood. It is a real transcendent nature, consciousness of the pure subjective experience beyond all human doctrines and beliefs. As more people recognise the essence of a living personal spiritual experience holds a truth and absoluteness that cannot be contained by our unique and conditioned interpretations and beliefs we can respect differences in ideologies yet know when we are aligning in the same essence and reality.

Progressive spiritual attributes are also indicated by enhanced appreciation of beauty and goodness underlying the negatives and positives of worldly appearances. A universal theme in spiritual and religious practices is living from values of love and compassion, support and service to others, and removing ones self from purely selfish desires.

The bottom line universally is that of harmonising ones self and as a society by cultivating the primary drive of intent and action from love or compassion.

The dictionary view above connects “quality of being” with attributes of “soul” or “spirit”. Based on the discussion above, spirituality, as concerned with ‘spirit’ and ‘soul’, can be extended to being concerned with ‘consciousness, life and energy’. Distinguishing it as “opposed” to anything concerned with “material and physical things” may be an old distinction. I would suggest spirituality is concerned with realities beyond ‘purely material and physical things’ yet inclusive of physicality. To the spiritually awakened, all things are spiritual. To the spiritually deprived, nothing is spiritual.

Thus ‘spirituality’ represents a holistic and contextual knowledge and understanding of existence and life.

Crisis can also harness an instinctive need to develop our sense of ‘the whole’, so spirituality out of necessity can develop as we collectively gain greater maturity and knowledge as a global society, along with the issues that we have created.

From contemplating the big bang and the ensuing universe to each and every daily action, can we attune to the wholeness and profoundness of conscious existence – something coming from nothing and, nothing we can grasp with the intellect, mysteriously being behind everything. We must re-attune ourselves beyond material wonders and distractions to that which is soulfully known and felt without form. In this way we can redefine the simple presence of consciousness practically. We can rediscover humility, wonder and a sense of sacredness towards the power, profoundness and infinite potential which is our gift of life and consciousness. Being authentic with this as part of the art of being more fully ourselves, we find our own pathway through our unique life and practices. Connecting beyond our conditioned ideas of self to Divine Mother or Father can still be a high and powerful concept during such intimate and personal moments of insight, awareness and revelation.

Key Points

  1. Religion and Spirituality are not the same thing.

  2. A spiritual universe is a living conscious universe.

  3. Universal consciousness is no less than the most noble attributes of human nature.

  4. Spiritual practices, lifestyle and social factors can cultivate values, spiritual meanings, communion or alignment towards a transcendent or cosmic consciousness.

  5. Nearness to the presence or sense of a higher presence or universal consciousness is indicative of spiritual experience as is recognising it.

  6. Enhanced appreciation of beauty, goodness, truth and meaning come with spiritual awakening.

  7. Engaging in higher values through support and service to others, especially through love or compassion is central to spirituality.

  8. Unification of mind and soul tis through a sense of universal love.

  9. Our inner nature and global circumstances combine to create greater tension, prompting many to instinctively attune more to their spiritual personal nature and shared well being with others.

  10. Identifying with our sense of spiritual connection authentically and beyond our own conditioned thoughts and habits can provide the basis for our inner practice.