Finding Peace in Life and Death clarifies philosophical, spiritual and scientific perspectives to determine the fate of our existence, and helps guide us to the state of mind necessary to find peace and happiness; so we can enjoy life, and accept death.
"We don't just experience the world around us...
We create the world around us...
Then we experience life from the world we create!"
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Finding Peace in Life and Death
A Synopsis of Reality Versus the Human Mind
By Patrick Baxter
Balboa PressCopyright © 2015 Patrick Baxter
All rights reserved.
Death: Part I
Albert Einstein wrote the following letter to Norman Salit who had asked him for a few words to ease the pain of his older daughter after the inexplicable and sudden death of her younger sister:
"A human being is part of the whole, called by us "Universe", a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest – a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creature and the whole nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely but the striving for such achievement is in itself a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security."
Albert Einstein to Norman Salit, March 4, 1950 – condolence letter. Copyright © The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Think of the Universe as a great ocean, and our lives are waves on that ocean. On the surface it appears that each wave is separate, it has a beginning (birth) out in the ocean, and an end (death) when the wave crashes to shore. However, the wave can never exist without the ocean. Unfortunately, we are so focused on the Physical Reality of "being a wave" we see ourselves as separate, individual entities with no real connection to the ocean and the other waves. In our life as a wave we are so distracted by Physical Reality that we forget we are part of the ocean. All of these senses are new to us, the feel of the contact with the air, the sights, the sounds, the smells, it's all new, and it's all a distraction from whom we really are. Now throw in the pride of being a "big wave", or the envy of bigger waves, and the ego of how our wave is building ... it's not hard to see how we can completely lose sight of our Essence and our connection to the ocean.
Now, when that wave crashes to shore and releases its energy, all that it is, is returned back to the ocean to disperse, mingle, share in the experience of all waves past and present, and be at One with the ocean (Universe). Eventually the wave resurfaces and is reborn. Now, the newly reborn wave doesn't have entirely the same form and structure as its predecessor, but its Essence is the same.
Your Essence is Divinity; it is your connection to the Universe. Since Divinity is Pure, there can exist no judgment, no ego, no pride nor prejudice. The Divinity and Oneness of the Universe has No Hierarchy. What may be challenging for some people to come to terms with is that regardless of our role in life, whether you are a king, a healing master, or an axe murderer, within our Essence is Divinity, and within Divinity is Equality; and in the after-death Oneness of the Universe our various roles in life are understood and accepted for their necessity and the perspective that they each contributed (good or bad) to Life and Physical Reality. And since Divinity is Pure, and in Purity there can exist no judgement, the concept of a Heaven for the good and a Hell for the bad is an impossibility. A Heaven (or God) that retains the mortal concepts of judgement, segregation, and condemnation, based on our actions taken in our brief experience in Life and Physical Reality, is a contradiction to Purity and Divinity and therefore cannot exist.CHAPTER 2
Personal value seems to be something with which people have a hard time identifying. There are no levels of personal value, only levels of perception. And, inasmuch as there is only one value for all humans, there are unending levels of consciousness or enlightenment. The futility of attempting to increase our own personal value or self-worth is something with which we need to let go. Try to approach a plane at which someone's opinion of you is of no consequence, and realize our opinion of others should be correspondingly benign. Focus on understanding that we are more than that which is seen, our mortal bodies are of secondary relevance to our lives. Plato said "You can destroy the horse, but you cannot destroy the horseness", I think this is what he was saying: our human body (horse) comes and goes, but our Essence (horseness) is eternal. I am not that which you see, I am not this body, I am that which experiences all of the external stimuli that this body is capable of accepting. The mind has three levels, our Conscious, our Sub-Conscious, and our Essence. The Conscious mind tries to maintain order by rationalizing events as we see them, perceiving them as we have been conditioned, and finally accepting them, not as they have occurred, but as how they have been perceived. Our Conscious mind interprets events in a way so as to ensure the preservation and comfort of the body – the priority is the horse, not the horseness!
Our Essence is who we are, our "horseness". It cannot be conditioned, it simply is. It is, was, and always will be – constant and unvarying, but yet gradually evolving. Our Conscious mind tries to focus more emphasis on Physical Reality, it builds a strong case of how we should feel based on seemingly tangible evidence, and experiences of our own and of others, but in the end Physical Reality will always be secondary. In the end our Consciousness dies with our body and our Essence is liberated, once again at One with the Universe.
The Dalai Lama said:
"The mind registers every event, no matter how small. Hence we should devote our most serious efforts to bringing about mental peace."CHAPTER 3
Essence(Webster's definition): the most significant part of a thing's nature; the sum of the intrinsic properties without which a thing would cease to be what it is, and which are not affected by accidental modifications; an immaterial spirit; being.
Our mind has three levels: Conscious Thought, Sub-Conscious, and Essence.
Pure, true information is originally passed from Essence (which accurately sees and experiences all, in an absolutely unbiased way) to our Sub-Conscious mind. Our Sub-Conscious mind then interprets that information and either discards it, or passes the interpretation along to our Conscious mind. Our Conscious mind then interprets the information (interprets the interpretation from the Sub-Conscious mind) before reacting or consciously dismissing the information.
So, Essence communicates directly with our Sub-Conscious mind; our Sub-Conscious mind communicates directly with our Conscious mind; but our Conscious mind and Essence do not communicate directly with each other (see – Bridging the Gap between Conscious Thought and Essence).
The Equatorial Plane lies at the border of Essence and Sub-Conscious, between the peaks of Conscious Thought and Physical Reality. At birth we pass through the Equatorial Plane, out of Essence and into a mix of Sub-Conscious, Conscious Thought, and Physical Reality. In life our mind floats at various levels of enlightenment between the Equatorial Plane and the Superficial Plane; while our Essence, or Eternal Being, remains above the Equatorial Plane. At death we transcend the Equatorial Plane back into pure Essence and Divinity; while Conscious Thought, Sub-Conscious, and Physical Reality fall away.
Physical Reality affects our Conscious mind not directly, but rather through our Sub-Conscious. That is, all external information is first received by our Sub-Conscious before it is (or isn't) passed on to our Conscious mind.
Our Sub-Conscious mind filters the input from the senses (physical reality) because our senses register more information than our Conscious mind wants to process and acknowledge. Our Sub-Conscious mind either, accepts the data and passes it along to the Conscious mind for interpretation, or it blocks the data being received by our senses, based on our Conscious mind's preconceived rigidity of valuation, or our disposition and openness to new information.
For example: A butterfly passes the backyard; some may not "notice it" (edited out by the Sub-Conscious as unimportant); while some will acknowledge it (the information, judged to be worthy, is passed on from the Sub-Conscious to the Conscious mind) only to be consciously dismissed as unimportant; still others will acknowledge, appreciate and even study it, and when the butterfly poops, they may acknowledge that too. The point to remember is that in all three cases, the raw data registered by the Sub-Conscious up to and beyond the butterfly poop is the same; only the content passed along to the Conscious mind or filtered out by the Sub-Conscious is different.
I was making lunch plans with a friend of mine from college recently when I was reminded of this principle, as it related to the situation.
My friend is a psychic medium and she was telling me that the restaurant that we were going to (a very old building that used to be a mill a hundred years ago or so) had some residents from the spiritual side. I said maybe we'd get a show with our lunch. She told me that a week earlier she had been to dinner with her husband and the spirit of an old man came and sat down across from her (beside her husband) and stared at her.
I started to say that I'd never experienced anything like that in public before, when I realized that probably wasn't true at all. I had never been aware of anything like that in public before. That doesn't mean it's not happening all around me all the time, it just means that most of the time I'm not open enough to be receptive of it.
Like most people, my spiritual connections usually take place in the night, on the verge of sleep, or just coming out of sleep, or even during sleep. It's the only time for most of us that our mind will open enough to be aware of spiritual existence. Before our conditioning and understanding of Physical Reality sets in and closes the door to Non-Physical Existence.
It's the same as with the butterfly example ... it's all there ... the difference is how much our mind is open to accepting, and how much does our conditioning block or edit out.
Our Sub-Conscious mind's editing filters are a direct reflection of our Conscious mind's disposition, valuation, and rigidity. Our Sub-Conscious cannot be blamed for our missing anything. The main purpose of our Sub-Conscious mind's filter is to help our Conscious mind work more efficiently by eliminating the input that would be deemed frivolous or worthless by our Conscious mind (reducing the clutter somewhat like a "spam" filter on an email program). The Sub-Conscious editing filter also has the ability to block information deemed too potentially harmful or damaging to the Conscious mind (self-preservation instinct). Self-training of the Sub-Conscious mind begins at birth.
The "Ego Trap": A high valuation of self creates a correspondingly low valuation of external stimuli and information. In other words – Ego insulates us from valuable information – it chokes off the ability to recognize new facts, because what we already know is perceived as being more important or valuable. Our Conscious mind needs to remain humble, but with that humility also recognize the Divinity that lies within our Essence.
"Innocence is indeed a glorious thing; only, on the other hand, it is very sad that it cannot well maintain itself, and is easily seduced." – Immanuel KantCHAPTER 4
Interpretation of Reality
Now imagine that along the Equatorial Plane lies a mirror that reflects perfectly the true picture of reality for the Sub-Conscious to interpret. Also, consider this as a two-way mirror, so not only does this perfect mirror "reflect" the truth of Life and Physical Reality, but also the truth of Life and Physical Reality is recorded by Essence through the mirror, so that it can be accurately recalled at any time. A truly enlightened mind lying at the Equatorial Plane would see Life and Physical Reality with 100% accuracy without judgement or Ego. While a mind lying at the Superficial Plane would see Life and Physical Reality with 0% accuracy, as the true picture reflected by Essence would have no impact through the Sub-Conscious, and Ego would manipulate truth to support its own ends.
Likewise, in the diagram below, much of the true picture of Life and Physical Reality would be absorbed into the mind of line "A", whereas very little truth would be accepted by the mind of line "B". The portion of true reality that is accepted by the mind is highlighted in black; the portion of true reality that is lost in interpretation is displayed as hash marks (this portion could also be considered "False Reality").
So, the greater the emphasis, or value, we place on our Conscious lives and Physical Reality, the more distorted the true picture becomes. The portion shown in hash marks is distorted to reflect a picture that we perceive as most beneficial to our lives in Physical Reality. Our minds are much more powerful than we seem to want to accept, so we end up manipulating ourselves out of the truth, so that we can be right.
Here's an example: Have you ever had a disagreement with someone when the truth is so obvious to you, that you're amazed that they can't see it? Well, maybe they can't ... or maybe you can't. How can two interpretations of the same event be so different? Because our Ego needs us to be right; Ego places Physical Reality and our Conscious lives above all else and manipulates the truth to accommodate a false sense of reality created to support our "false self" (again, the priority is the horse).
In the interpretation of reality sequence, there is a brief moment of absolute clarity and purity in that instant before Conscious Thought and emotion react. That is, during that moment after Reality is reflected by that perfect mirror of Essence, Reality exists in its fundamental purity before it is distorted by our Sub-Conscious mind. Then, ultimately, reality is further distorted and interpreted by the Ego of our Conscious mind. Our Sub-Conscious tries to pass along the truth from our Essence, but Essence and Sub-Conscious are passive – "Here's the truth". Whereas Ego is active – "That can't be accurate, here's the "real" truth".
This is where we start to see three separate levels of the mind at work. So in truth, our reality (in Conscious Thought) is two interpretations removed from actual (true) Reality. And yet we continue to view our reality as absolute, above any question or qualification.
I mentioned in the last chapter that in and around sleep is the only time for most of us that our mind will be open enough to be aware of spiritual existence. This is because of the augmentation of that "brief moment of absolute clarity and purity in that instant before Conscious Thought and emotion react". The impact of Conscious Thought (Ego and emotion) are minimized in and around sleep (obviously Conscious Thought doesn't play a big role when we are unconscious); so that window of absolute clarity and purity is opened up so that we have more time to absorb the truth being reflected by that "perfect mirror of Essence" before that truth becomes distorted.
The sole function of Ego is to interpret reality in such a way as it suits us best. To quote Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men: You want the truth? "You can't handle the truth!" Sometimes we are wrong, sometimes we make mistakes, sometimes we are selfish, sometimes we hurt others (even unintentionally), but these are all things that Ego must shield us from seeing. Interpretation is a lie, it is not true reality, our reality does not exist; our reality is merely a creation of our own mind.CHAPTER 5
Bridging the Gap between Conscious Thought and Essence
The mind floats on a horizontal plane between the Superficial Plane and the Equatorial Plane.
Control can't be given to Essence, but control can be acquired by Essence; by intentionally limiting the impact of Conscious Thought. In recognizing the protective self-conservative nature of Conscious Thought, and consciously minimizing the over-reaction of the autonomic self-preservation instinct (basically pulling back the reins on our "horse", or our natural tendency toward self-centeredness), control begins to shift away from our autonomic consciousness (and toward the Equatorial Plane), thereby creating an opportunity for our Essence to express itself through our Sub-Conscious.
Excerpted from Finding Peace in Life and Death by Patrick Baxter. Copyright © 2015 Patrick Baxter. Excerpted by permission of Balboa Press.
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Table of Contents
Part One: The Role of Reality in Life And the Pursuit of Happiness, 1,
I Death: Part I, 5,
II Self-Worth, 11,
III Essence, 15,
IV Interpretation of Reality, 23,
V Bridging the Gap between Conscious Thought and Essence, 29,
VI Happiness, 33,
VII Focus on the Good, 41,
VIII Compassion, 45,
IX Forgiveness, 53,
X The Paradoxical Commandments, 57,
XI Death: Part II, 61,
XII Conclusion, 71,
Part Two: The Second Coming: The "I" of the Beholder, 77,
I The Miracle of Birth, 81,
II Living in Vibrational Harmony, 87,
III Removing Reality from the Equation, 93,
IV About Time, 101,
V How Do I Make My Life Better?, 113,
VI Stories Behind the Songs, 129,