Surfaces reflect a great many of this world's problems, especially if that's all you're looking at. Since they're most of what we see and seem to interact with, they're easily mistaken for being the compelling, important parts of life. But as we all know, surfaces can be deceiving, so what about the unseen?
You can neither tell a book by it's cover, nor the content of a person's heart from their hairdo or the clothes they wear. You can't see a turmoil's cause by the chaos it has created. Our vision can't penetrate into the whirring masses of subatomic particles dancing within the space of seemingly solid objects. There's an exponential, inwardly expansive relationship of the inside of everything visible in our world to it's outside. It's only in-visible.
Confronted by a world of surfaces – appearances, behaviors, perceived intentions, temporary "final results" – it's hard to react appropriately, because we'll often be reacting out of that limited vision of ours. Out of ignorance, or needless self-centered fear. We have to look for more, to look deeper into the spirit arising from the thing, wherever, whatever, or whoever it is.
"The great Tao flows everywhere
It fills everything...
All things owe their existence to it
and it cannot deny any one of them...
Tao is eternal...It brings all things to completion
without their...knowing it...
[it] is the home to which all things return...
Tao te Ching, 34
This occupation of everything by spirit is as mysterious as it is miraculous, and is truly the most important, interactive, and profoundly compelling aspect of being. Whether we can readily see past the surface of it or not, we know everything (every place, thing, person, action, occasion) holds and releases it's authentic nature. It's energetic origins, material intentions, psychic describers.
"...I am the All.
The All came forth from me
and the All came into me.
Split the wood and I am there.
Turn over the stone,
and you will find me."
The Gospel of Thomas, Logion 77
One thing we we do know for certain is that our first response, if it's based on what appears to be "obvious," is often going to be wrong. Usually, we can tend to demonstrate the ignorance of our ego when we rely on some visible affirmation, some (self-enhancing) surface label that ego insists on. We know damn well that these surfaces are always changing, and that beneath them all there's a depth of causality from DNA to diet, from character to karma, that remains pretty invisible. Still we tend to habitually shortchange our potential to look deeper.
What we very reliably know for sure is that everything we witness with our eyes, our minds, and our hearts is definite proof of our shared composition – our ineffable connection to everything and everyone. We share 99.9% of our elemental make-up with all other life on Earth, proof of the shared substance and motivation of our Source. "There's more going on here than meets the eye..." We've all said to ourselves, so what if we start by engaging with all of our senses? What if we ground our reactions in that acknowledgement of our common mystery first, and then seek a truer way to witness the "more" that's going on here?
"I am ever present to those who have realized me
in every creature. Seeing all life as my manifestation,
they are never separated from me. They worship me
in the hearts of all, and all their actions proceed from me.
Wherever they live, they abide in me."
The Bhagavad Gita, 6:30-31
The depth of "The Spiritual," is understandably hard to get a handle on (unless you've really experienced being disembodied) because it's the physical nature of our brains to require some kind proof, and...oops – that's usually surface stuff again. In fact the real proof is constantly around and within us all, within the shared mystery we all experience intuitively. Everything is empirical. Everything, and everyone is carried by that "nonlocal," "transpersonal" energy that even our current state-of-the-art Science empirically validates.
"...wherever you turn, there is the face of God."
The Qu'ran, Surah 2:115
We just need a different, simpler way...maybe a more careful, more generous, more respectful way of looking, like: What if we just counted to three before we react or respond – you know, give the inner spirit a chance to arise a bit? Let it demonstrate it's root cause. Allow ourselves to witness our shared part within it first, before we say or do something we shouldn't (like, waiting to send that hastily written e-mail). Then we may discover that we always have the luxurious opportunity to do absolutely nothing.
Putting it most simply, Compassion for all things (which ends up being compassion for yourself) is the key to this different vision of Life; and possibly even the root of all spiritual evolution. Listen to what a guy who knew all about science and mystery had to say about it:
"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 creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty."
Read about this and much more in:available direct on this page or online. The first book: How to Survive Life (and Death), A Guide To Happiness In This World and Beyond is available the same ways – but ask for it it at your local bookstore!