Thursday, December 3, 2009

Tales: The Water's Fine - (1)The Maya of Individuality

"Yeshua said: If you bring forth that which is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you."
Logion 70, The Gospel of Thomas

This profound and timeless lesson by the Gnostic Master Yeshua speaks of ancient spiritual concepts, like The Kingdom of Heaven, The Tao, and Buddhist Karma, and in two little sentences underlines the whole of Modern Psychology as well: Freud, Jung, Adler, Maslow, and more. This is scripture that was left out of the New Testament, and largely purged from history by the Roman church.

For me, it inspires this first of three explorations into the Hindu concept of Maya, a term often defined as "The Illusion of Life," but is closer to delusion – the intellectual and emotional investment people make in various unreal surface "realities" or constructions in order to give their lives definition and purpose. I've heard it compared to living by looking at a map of your surroundings, rather than using your senses to experience them. It's the development of our sixth sense that enables our ability to perceive maya, and is the goal of Buddhism, Jnana Yoga, Gnosis, and Jungian Individuation.

Water has always stood for the mysterious depth of being, the unity of all things, the fluidity of spirit, the profundity of the unconscious. With that in mind, consider the New Testament metaphor of Jesus' "walking on the water," most often thought of literally, as something Jesus could actually do. He could, and so can you.

A Religious Literalist would attribute this ability to the human manifestation of an all powerful God, who can basically do whatever the heck He wants without regard for the physical laws of nature. An Agnostic Scientist, who needs a rational explanation for any magic trick, might suggest that Jesus was a master of quantum reality, and commanded the mechanics necessary to engage a phase transformation of the water on a sub-atomic level, temporarily changing it's physical characteristics to support his weight.

Both of these explanations only serve to separate us from the Divine by making any kind of real identification with the experience impossible. Which way can you realistically use to walk on water? Maybe Yeshua, the "Nazorean," Gnostic teacher had something else in mind.

Consider the water metaphorically standing for the depth of your personal experience; the formative moments, patterns of coping, and genetic predispositions that constitute your psyche, and provide the foundation for "who you are," determining your life actions and beliefs. The effects of those early experiences assert themselves in your conscious mind, often positively, when you remember a life lesson you've learned in the past, and make decisions based on that knowledge. Sometimes you might still behave irrationally, ignoring the lessons of your past and acting out on some destructive impulse, out of habit. You know you're acting irrationally, but the reason you have to do it is rooted in your subconscious mind, the "...that which is within you," in our opening quote by Yeshua.

When we don't know why we make certain life decisions, or harbor certain beliefs, it's time for some healthy self-examination, "If you bring forth that which is within you" – especially if it's manifesting as self-sabotage. If it's a destructive script we're compelled to act out over and over. (People experience this a lot in bad relationships...) Then it's our karma, a place our past actions are bringing us to so we can learn the lesson and move ahead with our lives. In these cases, our Ego forms some unfortunate opinion about how to "protect ourselves," which becomes a kind of survival instinct run amok. Often it's about something we feel we must have, or something we're clinging to. But if it's not Love, let it go. You're not protecting anything. There's nothing to protect. It's more likely, you're doing new damage based on old damage.

Time to dive in! to your conscious past. Jacques Cousteau around your memories, the circumstances and experiences that may have formed this instinctive need to repeat certain actions. Things arise from the depths to help you. Answers may have been staring you in the face all along.

"To dive into these dark waters and stay conscious, you have to take off your individual personality and leave it on the shore." Eknath Easwaran

Now comes the hard part about "walking on the water." Some destructive behaviors arise from deeper down, from your unconscious mind. These are based on experience that hasn't just been repressed subconsciously, but has been fully suppressed, deep in the watery reservoir of your psyche. Ancient fears. Shameful fears. The simplicity of being that you had as a child is stuck in the mud at the bottom by this stuff. You may never be able to fully "bring forth" these deep motivations, but you can become more aware of them. There are ways of bringing them into the light, where they might "save you," rather than stay within and "destroy you."

First, sit in meditation, where you learn to recognize the false internal voice of the neurotic Ego. It's easily recognizable: anything that's judgmental, comparative, or fearful...anything that's not Love. "Bring [that] forth..." You are not that. Disassociate yourself. (I discussed this method in more detail back on 11/11, in "Tales: Through a Glass Darkly.")

Next, realize there are seven billion people here, all going through very similar experiences. You are not so special or so important. Individuality is something of a delusion that your Ego will cling to, even if it destroys you. There's nothing to hide, everyone knows who you are already. They are the same thing.

If you believe it's especially difficult  even inescapable, if it's just "who you are, and that's all there is to it," if you just react, fearfully and unconsciously, then you'll sink into those depths and drown.

"What you do not bring forth will destroy you." In Matthew (14:30), Peter takes a stab at walking on the water, but as soon as his fears take over, he sinks. Guess who saves him? The simplest interpretation of this is look to Christ to save you, but that might lead you to neglect the actions you need to take yourself.

There are lots of creatures who walk on the water all the time. They're insects. They're just being. Their "personal gravity" isn't great enough to break the surface tension of those dark waters, so they can simply skate across the surface, using all that underneath as support. We can do that too, when we lighten our personal gravity and know we're not that special – except for Love. We have nothing to fear, nothing to protect. We never have to be what we used to be.

When we "bring forth that which is within you," we can use all that deep, murky stuff as a foundation for just being what we are truly meant to be, and "What you bring forth will save you." Then you can walk on the water too.

"Water finds it's power by seeking it's lowest point."
Zen saying

The book: How to Survive Life (and Death), A Guide To Happiness In This World and Beyond is now available everywhere, but ask for it it at your local bookstore!

No comments:

Post a Comment