What It All Means is a fresh formulation of the perennial philosophy addressed to the serious spiritual seeker in the twenty-first century. Author Salah weaves together Eastern and Western wisdom traditions, personal mystical experiences, and modern scientific discoveries to produce a portrait of the universe that is completely different from how it appears to our senses.
In What It All Means, you will discover that the universe is ultimately spiritual, not material, and that it is alive, self-aware, and infinitely intelligent. More dramatically, you will see that your human life is similar to an illusion, a dream, or an image in a mirror-that your true nature is one with the Source of the universe and is therefore eternal, formless, pure awareness, untouched by the limitations of the material world.
What It All Means is a book that just may change your life-undoubtedly for the better. Open it anywhere and read a couple of pages. You won't be disappointed.
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What It All MeansRecognizing the Divine Self Within
Balboa PressCopyright © 2011 Salah
All right reserved.
Chapter OneYour True Nature
The meaning, purpose, and goal of life is to know yourself, to commune with God, and to single-mindedly desire to unite with Him—all three of which are in the end the same thing. When you understand and accept this underlying principle as the reason for your existence, and you never lose sight of it no matter what else you do, and you pursue it as intensely as a drowning person pursues a breath of air, you will one day without a doubt attain the ultimate prize: Union with the One Mind, the Mind of the universe.
When you experience this mystical union, which is the ultimate destiny of all human beings, you realize that you have been asleep and dreaming all your life. The experience awakens you to the relative unreality of ordinary life and you begin living the real, eternal life that is your true nature.
What follows is an effort to describe this awakening and the kind of life to which it leads.
Our Everyday Mind
Our ordinary, rational, everyday mind is only one type of consciousness. It is a functional tool used in our day-to-day activities to help us navigate the demands of the material and social worlds. It is a servant of the body and the ego, and as such, is concerned with physical survival and with obtaining pleasure and avoiding pain. For example, we use it to figure out how to make money, how to drive a car, and why we should avoid poisons and war zones. In these and similar functions, the rational, reasoning mind is indispensable to our material welfare and general well-being.
This everyday mind, however, has a major drawback or limitation in that its method of analysis is to separate, categorize, and label things. It conceptually chops up reality into thousands of pieces, finding distinctions everywhere and judging some things good and others bad. The ordinary mind sees things in isolation and only in terms of their utility to the body or the ego. For that reason, it never sees holistically or beyond surface appearances.
A Higher Consciousness
There is a different "place" in the mind, however, that is far from our ordinary consciousness. This place is reserved only for those who sincerely seek to know God; for those who ceaselessly contemplate the mystery of existence, the beauty of Being, and the miracle of awareness; and for those who cultivate reverence, awe, and gratitude for the life they've been given. This place is empty of egotistical desires, free of conceptual thoughts, and unencumbered by judgmental opinions. Distinctions such as those between self and others, good and bad, and life and death, do not exist there. In this place, you find only silence, stillness—and God. When you visit this part of your mind, God awakens you from the dream you call life by revealing to you its illusory nature. When that happens, you feel as if you've died to your old ways and been born anew. You begin to relate to reality as a whole, not to its seemingly separate parts. You begin to see the inner, deeper meaning of things, not merely their outward appearance. Nothing is ever the same for you again because you now live in a deeper consciousness and perceive things through the eyes of God.
If you realize (make real) this extraordinary state of being and consciousness, which is your true nature, you will have found the secret and purpose of existence. You will understand who you are, why you're here, and where you're going. You will foresee your soul's destiny in both this lifetime and after death. Moreover, if you're one of the fortunate few, you may even get a glimpse of how the mind of God works.
Do these promises sound outlandish to you? Out of reach? The delusions of a lunatic? Well, I assure you they are none of these things. These promises are as real as your breathing. When you recognize the Reality I'm talking about, and your consciousness merges with it, you will automatically benefit from an enhanced awareness that you didn't even know you had. This Awareness will become your companion and guide for the rest of your life, spontaneously revealing to you many of life's secrets along the way. If you sincerely and diligently study and apply the message in this book, you will no doubt succeed in finding this hidden treasure and, along with it, the peace that surpasses all understanding.
You should know, however, that experiencing this heightened state of awareness does not ensure that you'll get everything you want in life in terms of material comforts, personal relationships, or other such worldly benefits. Nor will you be able to avoid illnesses, accidents, the death of loved ones, or other difficulties. Books (and there are many in the self-help sections of all major bookstores) that promise positive outcomes in all areas of life all the time are written by false prophets. I have never read a self-help book that enabled me to make millions, for example, or avoid arguing with my wife, simply by thinking positive thoughts. Life always comes in twos: good and bad, health and sickness, life and death, and so on. It is impossible to have a body without experiencing these dualities. The most one can hope for is to transcend them. A life where every desire is satisfied and where suffering is completely absent is impossible. You cannot obtain it by following the pseudo philosophies of self-help books or even by living the reality I'm describing in this book. We call such a perfect life Heaven. Don't look to achieve it here on earth. Do not be deceived by sellers of snake oil.
What you will gain from the teachings in this book, however, is a supreme understanding that will allow you to transcend your problems. This awareness will change your life by changing your outlook on important matters such as money, relationships, health, death, and so forth. You'll see these things for what they really are and not as they have appeared to you up to this point. No longer will you identify with them as integral parts of your identity. You'll see that who you are, your real self, is not determined or defined by the amount of money you have, your relationships to others, whether you're healthy or sick, or by any other condition or circumstance in which you find yourself. Although these aspects of your life remain important, you will learn to dissociate yourself from them. You'll begin to deal with them with the same detached attitude you'd have if they were happening to someone else.
Your new awareness will reveal to you that the outside world does not impose these situations and limitations on you but that they arise from within. As such, you will learn that there is nothing to doubt or fear in the world because, at your deepest level of being, you are creating from within yourself the external conditions that make up your life. In a flash of illumination, you realize that not only are you responsible for your past circumstances, but that you have the power within you now to change them consciously! Do not feel insecure, therefore, about your material circumstances, your health, your relationships, or anything else. All these things issue from and obey your higher consciousness, which is unceasingly ordering all affairs for your benefit and welfare. All you need to do, then, is access this level of consciousness, listen to its advice, and trust it completely. It is a living spirit that will communicate directly with you if you allow it. It will tell you what you need to do to change your circumstances. Any time your faith waivers, it will remind you of its presence and show you anew how it's working in your life. It may do this through a passage you read in a book, a smile a child gives you, a song you hear on the radio, or in any one of a countless number of other ways. Believe me, with all the benefits that it will bestow on you, it won't be long before you're singing its praises. You'll learn to trust it more and more every day until a day arrives when it becomes second nature to you.
This new awareness and attitude will enable you to deal wisely with whatever life throws your way, and you will do so with utmost confidence. During good times, you will delight in your pleasures, do good things, and savor both with a newly found passion for life. More importantly, during bad times, although you will continue to experience suffering, you'll be able to rise above that suffering. Your life will have a magical quality to it, as many things that appeared ordinary before are now seen as miraculous.
The Consciousness that I'm asking you to seek, experience, and integrate in your life is nothing less than the infinite divine intelligence that permeates and governs the universe. It is the power or energy that causes the earth to spin on its axis and orbit the sun, giving us day and night and the seasons. It is the intelligence that grows your hair and nails, digests your food, and circulates your blood. It knows to make fruit trees bear fruit and flowers to bloom. It is the awareness of which your awareness is but a spark. This consciousness is your Source and end, your true self. It is at the same time the Source and end and the true Self of all created beings.
When you realize it, when you actually commune with it as easily and intimately as you now do with your own self, this Awareness becomes your friend, guide, and teacher. Its presence gives you a feeling of comfort, joy, and bliss. More importantly, because its knowledge is infinite, its instructions are profound. It will never lead you astray. It will light the path in front you and allow you to walk safely and confidently wherever you go. It will equip you with all the tools you need to effortlessly deal with any situation or circumstance in which you find yourself.
Strange and wonderful things will start happening to you. Serendipitous coincidences, large and small, will begin to multiply in your life. For example, the right person will appear to finance that project you've considered for a long time but didn't know where to get the money. An article in a magazine that you pick up casually at the doctor's office will have all the information you've been looking for, whether it's to solve a problem at work or deal with a troubled teen. A car will vacate a parking space in a crowded lot just as you're approaching. That old friend you haven't seen in a long time but have been thinking about will suddenly call and ask you to lunch. These and many other fortuitous happenings will proliferate in your life.
Not only that. Although you'll still get sick occasionally, you'll begin to enjoy better health. Although your relationships with your spouse, children, colleagues, and friends will not become perfect, they will become more harmonious. Your job performance will improve. You'll also either figure out ways to make more money or willingly start living a simpler, less materialistic life.
The best part about all these developments is that they'll happen to you spontaneously, with little or no effort on your part. In fact, the less you struggle to attain material or tangible objectives, the better things are apt to work out for you. All that's required of you is experiential knowledge of this transcendent Consciousness, the One Mind of the universe, and attentiveness to its principles.
You must trust it completely, for it is your real Self. When you do, it will perform all the work for you. The One Mind will align everything and everyone in the universe in a manner that ensures that you receive exactly what you need when you need it for your optimum material and spiritual development. The only condition it imposes on you is that you have faith and patience and allow it to do its work unimpeded.
To satisfy this condition, you must, when deliberating any issue, first put yourself in the posture of an observer or witness. As thoughts stream across the screen of your consciousness, look for the highest, most noble thoughts pertaining to that particular issue. Disregard your personal will and preferences, obey these thoughts, and reject any ignoble thoughts that may arise from your baser impulses. If you do these things faithfully, the One Mind will invariably guide you to the right course of action in every situation. For example, if you're about to tell a lie or say something hurtful, it will cause you to sneeze or cause someone in your company to interrupt you, thereby giving you a second or two to reconsider. You'll see the sneeze or the interruption as a signal from the One Mind that what you were about to say is damaging to you or others. You will then say something different or nothing at all.
The One Mind will also protect you from other types of harm. For example, it will cause you to miss taking that plane or train that subsequently crashes. It will position a slow-moving vehicle in front of you on the highway to prevent you from getting a speeding ticket or becoming involved in an accident. It will make the wait at the restaurant of your choice prohibitively long to prevent you from getting food poisoning.
Sometimes, as a corrective measure, the One Mind will also act negatively as if to punish you. For example, if you have bad thoughts about someone, such as "I hate so and so" or, "So and so doesn't deserve that promotion, or that big house, or that beautiful wife" or, "I am so much richer, handsomer, or smarter than so and so," then you're setting yourself up for a fall. The correction you receive will be in proportion to the severity of the ethical lapse. If the negative thought is not deep or dwelled upon, then you may only stub your toe or bump your head. If, on the other hand, hate, jealousy, or conceit preoccupies your thoughts, you may suffer severe headaches, stomachaches, or other more serious diseases or accidents. The next time, therefore, you bite your tongue or twist an ankle, stop and take note of what you were thinking at that moment. I bet you'll find it wasn't a very nice thought.
Furthermore, there's a cumulative effect to your thoughts and actions. Whether your punishment or reward is immediate or delayed depends on how far along you are on the spiritual path. The closer you are to living the Truth, the more immediate are the social and physical consequences of your thoughts, words, and actions. A spiritually advanced seeker, for example, is punished immediately if he or she lies, and quickly recants. An average person who lies, on the other hand, may not experience the punishment for months or years. Keep in mind, though, that you are "rewarded" and "punished" only to help you advance on the spiritual path, not to give you material boons or to harm you permanently.
Now, some will call the types of occurrences I've mentioned here mere coincidences and say that they're nothing more than sheer luck. When you understand Universal Consciousness, however, you discover that there are no accidents or random occurrences in the universe—none. This is because the fundamental reality of existence is that all things are one, working consciously, knowledgably, and intelligently together, as cells do in the body, for the greater benefit of the whole.
When the One Mind discloses this truth to you, you'll understand why you should love your neighbor as yourself and why you should do unto others as you would have them do unto you. You do these things because you realize that your neighbor and all others are you. Because of this epiphany, you will look at all creation with loving kindness and treat all living things with tenderness and respect. They, in turn, will return the favor.
This attitude toward others and the world, as well as all the practical, social, and personal ramifications that flow from it, is the signal practical consequence of the mystical worldview. It results in ethical conduct, altruism, faith, hope, love, and charity. Behaving toward others altruistically and lovingly is ultimately the best way we can help ourselves.
* * *
The first step on the path to union with the One Mind is seeing the world correctly—as an illusion—and turning away from it. The following poem encapsulates this vision and the subsequent three chapters elucidate it.
When you see beyond the illusion
Of the phenomenal world,
You see that you haven't really lived.
I projected a world
With birth and death
Buying and selling
The sun and a moon.
Unbeknownst to you
I placed you in the dream.
Sleeping, you dream along with Me.
Now, when I chose to wake you up
I whispered love songs in your heart.
The world vanished.
All that's left is you and Me.
More music and you vanished.
There was only Me.
In Truth that's all there ever was.
Excerpted from What It All Means by Salah Copyright © 2011 by Salah. Excerpted by permission of Balboa Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
1. Your True Nature....................11
2. The World as Illusion....................21
3. Row, Row, Row Your Boat....................31
4. Living in a Hall of Mirrors....................43
5. Making Sense of Science: Mysticism and Physics....................47
6. Revelations from the Inner World....................81
7. There is Nothing but God....................85
8. An Encounter with the Source....................103
9. Die Before You Die....................113
10. What's Wrong with Your Ego....................137
11. Do God's Will....................143
12. You Are What You Think....................151
13. Creation Attests to God....................165
14. You Judge Yourself....................167
15. Be Thankful....................171
16. Reality Unfolded (A Summation)....................173
17. Listen to the Song....................177
18. One Random Thought at a Time (aphorisms)....................183