James C. Wilhelm, Contributor
The sun had risen above the horizon billions of times before anyone took meaningful notice of it. Then, after billions of unnoticed sun cycles, a being witnessed the dawn of a new day and wondered.
Though its eyes had seen this glowing object rise into the sky many times before, on this morning it knew that it knew and it knew it was separate. And thus began humanity’s quest to return to the innocence of the one.
This initial instance of self consciousness was the dawning of human awareness and though this antediluvian human lacked the words of language, it realized that in addition to being separate from the sun, it was dependent upon the sun for life itself. In this moment of awakening he or she perceived both beneficent wonder and mortal fear. The unprecedented awareness of the sun’s wonderful warmth brought with it the the realization that night may never again become day.
The fearful possibility that the sun may one day fail to appear in the sky inspired in this human a profound sense of obeisance; it began to relate to the sun in a way that we would recognize as worship. With the advent of spoken language, humans gained the ability to teach each other about the importance of the sun and how to worship it to ensure its ongoing presence in the sky. They also used language to develop and pass down stories about their historical origin and their place in the world relative to other life forms and the objects around them. Their observation of the sun inspired stories that served to explain its apparent motion in the heavens and its importance to the planting and harvesting of food.
While our ancestors’ belief in the power of the sun and in the separateness of all things worked to keep them alive, this basic belief carried within it the seeds of potential destruction.
Because the story-telling tradition is volatile and results in changes to the stories throughout time, there can be no certainty about the reasons or the timing of early human conflict. As early as 10,000 BCE, long before the invention of writing, the archeological record reveals that various families or tribes of humans fought against each other. Evidence of violent conflict exists in the form of fortified cities, wounded skeletons and weapons dating to that period.
The proximate causes of these conflicts probably involved the possession of various territories and resources. The ultimate cause, however, can be attributed to their mistaken perception of separateness and individuality. The very gift of self-awareness, so important to what it means to be human, contains within it the means of human devastation.
The first known instance of war between humans was recorded about 500 years after man learned to write. This conflict took place in 2700 BCE between the people living in Sumer, which is known today as Iraq, and those living in Elam, which is part of modern Iran. The war was fought in the location of the city of Basra with possession of territory and resources as its stated cause.
The English word, war, is derived from the German word “Werran” and it means “to cause confusion.” In his classic book, On War, Carl Von Clausewitz states, war is a “continuation of politics carried on by other means.” War has been a part of our human reality; it has been happening since humanity’s beginning. War is the extreme example of the results produced by man’s perception of separation from his fellow humans and his world. And we humans have the ability and the power to end it.
When we perceive ourselves as separate from other humans, other living species and from our environment, we can lose all sense of the intimate connection that exists between our own wellbeing and that of other humans, other species, rivers, vegetable gardens, forests and deserts.
The destruction of life, wealth, and environments resulting from the human perception of separation stems entirely from our gross misperception of the nature of our essential reality. As Shakespeare’s Hamlet explained in about 1600, “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
Everything that exists, everything we can perceive or know, consists of energetic motion. Everything that comes into our experiential field, including the bodies we are now inhabiting, is held together by energetic potential. Our observation of the universe actualizes its potential in accordance with the habits of prejudgement that we bring to our experience even before we experience it.
We make use of the raw potential of unbounded reality in ways that tend to extend our bodies in time. We accomplish this with a minuscule fraction of the data potentially available to us. We do it this way because we mistakenly identify ourselves with the bodies we carry around and we think we will lose something if we do it any other way. That is, we think we will lose our life.
Life learned how to use energetic information to keep living long before single cell entities figured out how to keep themselves alive with more than one cell to manage. We humans are, in general, still sensing and using just enough of the unlimited potential that surrounds us and moves through us to keep alive this thing that we think we are. This is what we’ve been taught and this is all our human minds know.
Our highly developed data filtration system allows a very tiny amount of information to enter the neural processing network. The network then interprets this data as sight, sound, somesthesis, taste and smell. And it is with this grossly limited data that we arrive at the ideas and concepts that have us believing, feeling and behaving like we are the masters of life on earth.
Fortunately, the perceptual conditioning that creates our world of multiplicity is simply a habit that can be transcended, changed, broken. This habit has taken hold because it has worked to keep us alive; but life is so much more than the mere extension of our bodies in time. We humans – each of us – is the embodiment, the very essence, of unlimited potential.
The sense of possibility, wonder and fulfillment you may have glimpsed from time to time is the voice of your true self telling you that you are more than your body, more than your personality. You are the eternal Self that creates and sustains everything that exists, ever has existed, and ever will exist. That is who we humans are and all of us are one within that ultimate Self, the ground of all being – timeless, self-shining, love.
Humans have been speaking this truth to each other for thousands of years; the voices singing this song of love, of unity, of the limitless nature that we are continue to increase in number each second of every day. You are one of those voices.
The oneness that we are with each other extends to our unity with all that is. We are the awareness and the bliss of pure being right now; we are that essence and we are the words and the path that lead us back to the essential self that we always have been and are right now.
Many of us humans have been talking and writing about our true self for a long time, thus making available to us today many different words focused on taking us out of our minds. Yes, out of our minds, because our minds are that limited, filtered part of us that thinks we are all separate. The self that we are simply uses the mind to accomplish the tasks of everyday life. Remembering our true self is not something that we approach with a rational process of logical problem solving. It is a leap that we take; a leap that connects back to Self.
Millions of words have been written and spoken about how we can open up our filtration system to allow more information into our sphere of awareness. When this occurs, as it has throughout human history, and is happening right now for many individuals, we become aware of a larger reality. That awareness opens the windows of our mind through which we fly to the timeless beauty of all that is. This is who you really are and always have been: unborn, never to die, pure awareness of being.
Flying through the windows of our mind reveals to us our true nature, our interconnectedness with each other, with all living species and our living environment. Oneness becomes completely obvious. It is then that we know and in the knowing we realize that any action taken by anyone impacts the whole and that whole includes the original actor. Thus, the ultimate recipient of all that we do is our own self.
About the Author
James C. Wilhelm is an international spiritual teacher, self-development mentor, author, lecturer, philosopher, Emmy award-winning television producer, and successful entrepreneur. He has shared his experiences of practical mysticism around the world for more than 40 years. Jim has translated his mystical understanding into practical knowledge that we all can apply in our lives.
Jim has recently published his second book: I Am God and So Are You – Discovering the Power of Your True Self
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