In all of nature, humankind alone seems to have a virtual monopoly on psychological suffering. This does not need to be, for as written centuries ago in the great and timeless wisdom of the ancient scriptures, the time has come to know the ‘Truth that shall set you free.’ Wind Chimes is an encapsulation of this wisdom, giving the reader a sound basis for their own further spiritual search.
It is intended to simply guide you directly towards your own realization of the absolute Truth of Being, of your Being, no matter who you are. This deep truth is not something to be attained, but has always been within you. It is through this realization that freedom, true and lasting freedom, can finally be known on a direct experiential level. This knowing will lead you to a deep sense of inner peace and an effective, stress free way of living. A true ‘Simplicity of Being.’ In the words of an old saying, ‘If not NOW, when?’
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(The Simplicity of Being)
By James R. Heldwein, Linda Gibson
Balboa PressCopyright © 2014 James Heldwein
All rights reserved.
WHAT IS REAL?
The truth, in all its splendor, in all its simplicity, in all its Glory "seems" so radical in nature, since we as the human race know ourselves as "only" a thought based entity. For it is we, who having strayed so far from our intended and natural state of Divinity, exist in a radically altered state of consciousness.
There are likely to be as many responses to this question as there are readers. Some have probably never even considered it, thinking that to ask this question is a waste of time, superfluous to their everyday life. They believe that all that can be discerned with their senses, all that appears to be material, is obviously all that there ever is. There are those in whom this question may induce deep philosophical thought. Still others may think that this question is going to lead to a religious, spiritual, or scientific analysis in the course of this text. Those seeking merely intellectual stimulus may be disappointed, whereas to those who may never have before considered the question a different viewpoint may be revealed.
The discussion here of what constitutes "reality" is not intended to stimulate excessive deep thought, but rather is presented to address the dire state and subsequent suffering currently holding most of humanity in a tight grip. The truths put forward here are not within the sole ownership of the writer, but have been penned innumerable times, and in many formats, throughout the history of mankind. The intention is to provide an alternative approach to this question in order that those who have either never questioned, or who have not understood before, may finally see, as Jesus Christ said: "the truth shall make you free."
To date, for the majority of mankind, there appears to exist only one order of reality which I will call "relative reality" or "relative truth." For our purpose here, the terms truth and reality will be treated as synonymous and interchangeable. Many believe that only objects which can be perceived by the senses constitute all of existence, and this belief would be what is termed "relative reality." This would be all that I can see, hear, smell, taste, feel or touch. The chair on which I sit, the book I read, the voice I hear, the food I smell and taste.
This material world appears to be all that can be known as "real," which is to say it appears "real" in relation to the physical senses, and therefore seemingly represents all that actually exists in this world of the relative. Furthermore, all that is received by the senses is then filtered through the lens of each individual's personal perception and colored by the storehouse of knowledge, memories, experiences, and all the conditioning of society. The conditioning of society can be political, religious, cultural, racial or regional in its origin, but this does not matter, for the mechanism of distorted perception is the same in all instances. This obscuring of "truth" can be very destructive indeed and accounts for all man-made major upheavals in our so-called "civilized" society.
The rest of this chapter and indeed much of this book will be concerned with what I will term as "absolute reality." In order for this to become clearer it is necessary to take a step back and view all that is from a completely different perspective and then understand the criteria by which all that is absolutely "true" or "real" can be defined.
There are only three main criteria to be met. The first and foremost is that all of the absolute must be eternal and as such has no beginning, no end, and is a dimension where time, as we know it, does not exist. The second is that it must be a universal, encompassing order of reality. The third criteria is that it must be changeless and therefore unaffected by what may happen in the relative realm.
These definitions may conjure up all sorts of ideas and labels depending on your own background and learning. For the Christian, the word "absolute" may be seen as that which is called "God." In other disciplines the label is different, such as Krishna, Divine, Universal Intelligence, and Brahman - to name a few. There is no deliberate intention to omit any names given to the eternal, but in this context there is no need to dwell on any particular "label." To do so would make this text lengthy indeed.
Assuredly all world religions stem from ancient texts or scriptures, and apart from differences in terminology and methods, all point toward the same absolute truths. Some quotes may be given from these ancient writings in order to illustrate this connection. Indeed, how could it be otherwise as all are using the same criteria to attempt to define that which is termed "absolute." Words, by their relative nature are of course limited, and many texts use parables, metaphors, epigrams, paradoxes etc. in an attempt to explain the unexplainable.
The teachings of Jesus, as written in the Holy Bible, consisted of parables and metaphors. The Tao Te Ching made use of a series of ingenious epigrams. The Bhagavad Gita used a simpler narrative form. The attempts of these often ambiguous teachings to convey "truth" still eludes most. Many ancient teachings have become religions and use a "middle-man" to interpret, deeming the teachings too "difficult" for many to read on their own. During the course of this text, the absolute will attempt to reveal itself through some of these methods and also by more direct explanations.
Readers can utilize this text as a kind of "compass" to further their own self enquiry into what constitutes absolute truth. The lessons of spirituality are only the "road map" pointing towards this sublime destination. It cannot be reached by the mental process of thought, as that is also relative, dependent on individual conditioning and therefore open to many differing interpretations. Instead, the mind has to become silent in order that reality and truth can be revealed to those who earnestly seek and wish to experience for themselves. In this way the absolute can be said to be known.
Of course throughout the ages, many ancient scriptures have done wonderful work in trying to convey the essence of the absolute. The most enlightened spiritual masters have used their uncommonly profound mastery of words to thereby empower the earnest "seeker" to uncover the mysteries of life itself, and some of those words will be quoted during the course of this text. All that which is absolute cannot be ultimately encapsulated within words, yet it is at a deep level of the utmost simplicity. It can be known but not "understood" in the conventional mind-identified state.
Numerous practices aim to facilitate the process of knowing, including that of prayer, meditation, yoga, stillness, and many others. The process itself is a valuable means of seeking a peaceful and meaningful existence and this will be further expanded upon.
Some may wonder what can be gained by spending one's time sitting still, with a silent mind, apparently doing nothing. This is the complete opposite of what our western tradition has conditioned us to think of as a "worthwhile" activity. "How can you just sit and do nothing?" we may be asked. We are conditioned to think that we should be using our time to achieve more, compete more, earn more, acquire more, and in this way, "have it all." Yet more is often less.
Many that manage to gain all that is relative, material, also find they are still unhappy and dissatisfied. It is actually a well documented fact that a disproportionate number of people that appear to have "made it" in the world, such as the movie stars, singers and other celebrities, often suffer from a great deal of drug and alcohol abuse. When one finally has it all, and yet then finds that sense of incompleteness and emptiness has again set in - then what? What do they do when they realize that all they thought would complete them only ends up serving as a convincing illusion and nothing more? Then some may start to question whether there may be more to their existence than all that is apparent.
Jesus said that we need not struggle, strain or strive for the whole Universe to avail itself unto us.
All things will be added if we "seek ye first the kingdom of God." Furthermore, he told us that the Kingdom is not found "Lo here! or lo there!" but instead "behold, the kingdom of God is within you."
Of course the Christian religion does not have a monopoly on the eternal truths. In the Tao Te Ching, the Bhagavad Gita, and also many other ancient texts, much is said about "going to the source." What is now termed "spirituality" is universal in embracing all ancient scriptures but without adhering to any one set of religious beliefs. This encourages each person to take nothing for granted but instead to go deep within to discover truths directly from the source. The source existed before all material creation, is inherent in all living things, sustains all, and is eternal. All human beings have the ability to know the truth, if we can, even if only temporarily, put aside all of our acquired knowledge and all of our conditioning. This is because knowledge and thought are only of the past, bound by conditioning, and therefore an impediment to any realization of the utmost simplicity of absolute truth. This is the paradox of our existence.
We need to discover for ourselves how to realize the difference between the relative and the absolute, as well as understanding that in our physical life, we embody the essence of both. To truly be aware of this, as a personal experience, is to attain the freedom of which Jesus spoke. The terms salvation, enlightenment, Christ consciousness, God consciousness, Buddha nature, Nirvana, and others are used synonymously to embody this realization of complete freedom. These ancient teachings were intended to lead us to become aware and to know that we are all so much more than that of the relative. We cannot yet begin to comprehend the full wondrous nature of our deepest selves.
Now, I ask you to be patient while a modern day metaphor is presented to you. Some use of imagination will be required, since to attempt to encapsulate an eternal truth in metaphor can only provide a glimpse "through the curtain."
Imagine, if you will, that you are seated in a state-of-the-art movie theater, waiting for your much anticipated film to begin. We will assume that this movie has won many Academy awards for best screenplay, actor, director and so on. House lighting ushers you safely to your seat. A large, blank white screen is now in front of you, as you make yourself comfortable with your variety of expensive snacks and beverage. You pay little attention to the screen, as it is still, white, blank. There are some sounds from other movie-goers around you, yet the background silence of the theater goes unnoticed. The large boxes on the walls are a state-of-the-art sound system, designed to complete your sensory experience by bringing about an entirely different sense of "reality." This is achieved by simply (albeit) temporarily shifting your attention according to the dictates of the production team. This shift of perception you of course inwardly know to be of the relative, but choose to forget in the pursuit of your own entertainment. The house lights dim, and after some ads, the drama begins. Suddenly a brilliant array of light, sound and motion fills all your senses.
With the unfolding of the story, your sensory perceptions are fully involved, your emotions are stirred, and you are completely enslaved. On cue, you laugh, cry, are angered, and even feel driven to embrace the victim and curse the perpetrator. With total involvement your heart may race and your blood pressure rise as your sympathetic nervous system pumps adrenalin throughout your body. Perhaps it is a love story, inducing "feel good" hormones to circulate. No matter what the storyline, most likely your body reacts on cue, exactly in alignment with the artfully presented film.
The kind of movies, the sort that totally involve you, are those that many will pay to see, often over and over again. The "stuff" that earns accolades and awards. As the plot nears its climax, so accordingly does your emotional response. The movie ends, the house lights come up, and the blank white screen reappears. Filing out of the theater, your sense of reality may have shifted, even if only for a short while. The shared emotional experience can cause total strangers to talk to each other, to connect with each other while discussing the intricacies of the story. The production has thus been successful in its aim of whisking you away from your "real" life problems and concerns, if only briefly. If it was indeed a masterpiece it may even have managed to change your viewpoint on the message contained within. If so, the whole experience will have succeeded in arousing a "shift in consciousness" in you, even if only for a short time.
Not wishing to oversimplify, I will however take a brief moment to expand on the significance of this little metaphor. The blank white movie screen, though not of course eternal, represents the ever present "One," the source of all life. This is your soul, spiritual nature, and in short, the absolute truth of your Being. This "screen" is eternal as it is ever present. It was there before the "movie" began, there, still and silent, as the drama unfolded and ended, and there again as a backdrop for countless future dramas. The multi-colored lights of many stories will be played out upon that blank surface. No matter how intense the emotion, how real it all appears, that screen remains totally unaffected and unnoticed by you, even though it is the essential background to the whole experience.
Perhaps your movie contained a forest fire or explosion, yet the movie screen doesn't get burnt or destroyed. Should there have been a waterfall, or flood, the screen does not get wet. This is again so obvious that one does not even "think" about it. This bears repetition as the white screen is obviously taken so much for granted, that during the movie one simply does not think about it. It goes without saying that without the huge white screen the story simply could not be. The screen represents the backdrop of our own lives, that of the unmanifested, which sustains us and remains unchanged, no matter what drama is playing out on the surface of our existence. It is the source of our life energy, no matter what heartache or joys are being played out in our "story."
Perhaps more difficult to comprehend, is the awareness that everything, all that appears material and solid to our senses, from an absolute viewpoint, is simply not real. All the experiences, events, and dramas that make up our life story differ little from the play of multi-colored lights that seemed so real upon that blank, still screen. No one will ever see the same "movie," or share the same vantage point of life. All that we think we see and experience is filtered through our own perceptions and past conditioning. We all interpret what we think to be the same situation completely differently. Our life dramas involve all our senses and emotions and therefore seem so all important and serious to us, but however, like the movie, are fleeting and ephemeral. Yet what deeply sustains our lives is the same for every living being.
The absolute truth of our innermost being, like the still, silent screen, does last, and importantly, remains totally at peace no matter what appears to happen out there, To know the truth is to know the "white screen" of our existence as it really is, and then to be aware of that backdrop of deep peace and stillness of all that is real, in every sense. To know the eternal source, is to know the absolute truth of our existence, leading us towards endless peace, joy, and unconditional love. This eternal source is always there and is all that we are, even if often obscured by the intense dramas unfolding upon the relative "screen" of our perceptions. It is therefore only necessary to remove this veil to uncover our true Divine self. To uncover the true depth of our self is therefore a clearing away of all that is "untrue" within, rather than a search for something that can never be found, outside, in the world.
So let us now begin our journey of unearthing all that of the absolute that the ancient scriptures have pointed to throughout the millennia. Firstly we will re-examine all that which constitutes the relative and serves to hide our essential true nature, as only then are we able to go beyond it and know directly the complete peace of the "heavenly" realm. At first there may be only brief glimpses of that "peace that passeth all understanding," but soon, longer periods of this wondrous experience can be known. The yearnings of our soul will have touched the infinite, enabling us to see beyond the habitual lens of distorted perception.
When we are able to delve deeply within and dwell eternally in this bliss, then we will finally know the ultimate Truth. There is no label that can describe this state of consciousness and that is no longer important. Once known, all of eternity will open up to you, and all that once seemed so important will matter no more than those multi-colored lights, flashing upon the surface screen of your consciousness. They are no more than moving shadows. You will now become that "white screen," reflecting the images of the world, but no longer affected by them. You come to realize that you have returned home to your eternal essence. You were blind, but now you will SEE.
Excerpted from Wind Chimes by James R. Heldwein, Linda Gibson. Copyright © 2014 James Heldwein. 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.
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Table of Contents
Verse (from "So It Is"), viii,
Preface: How This Book Came Into Being, ix,
Chapter 1 What is Real?, 1,
Chapter 2 The Greatest Deception, 11,
Chapter 3 Who, Or What Then, Am I?, 19,
Chapter 4 Human Consciousness And Ego, 25,
Chapter 5 Inner Peace, Our Birthright?, 35,
Chapter 6 Inner Space - The Highest Stage of Human Evolution, 41,
Chapter 7 Be Still and Know, 46,
Chapter 8 Spiritual Practice - Your Return Home, 54,
Chapter 9 Spiritual Awareness Now, 61,
Chapter 10 Thy Kingdom Come - Thy Will Be Done, 70,
Chapter 11 A Benediction, 76,