Photo by Almos Bechtold on Unsplash

Illusions of the world always draw more attention than Truth in the world. That is human nature. Truth is eternal, still, never changing. Illusion is movement, drama, change. We are continually drawn to focus on our mind, the source of illusion. Even when we realize we are the peaceful stillness known as Truth, it can be difficult not to become hypnotized by the illusionary content of mind. It’s why we look at the movie not the screen. We listen to the notes, not the rests. We marvel at the stars and planets, not the space.

When a rich man asked Jesus how he could be saved, Jesus told him to give his possessions away. Get rid of the objects. In other words, he would still have the Truth of wealth, he just had to be willing to not be caught up in the illusions of wealth. Money burns. Coins melt. Possessions can be lost or stolen. True wealth can never be taken away but few of us consider True wealth very valuable.

When we are preoccupied by the activity of our mind, we lose who we really are and, in that, we are operating under a kind of hypnosis. We’re in a dreamlike, pretend world where we believe the cartoon actors, props and sets are real. We imagine ourselves to be one of them and forget we are not that but we are so much more. Meditation can often help us focus our attention onto Truth and away from the illusion. Still, it can be a daily practice to not get caught up in the wonderful, delicious, exciting mind stuff.

Beyond Appearances

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

“Do not judge by the outward appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.” – John 7:24 [New American Standard Bible]

In spiritual work, there is regular need for “translation” of appearances into reality. Often those translations meet resistance from the mind, which constantly seeks tradition, reason and logic. While those are useful features in the so-called physical world, the human mind is not always the best interpreter of reason for the spiritual domain.

I consider spiritual study to be the study of the “essence” of reality. Some people, understandably, don’t care for the word “spiritual” because of its religious connotation and while they may argue we have no spirit, most would agree all life has an essence. We all have noticed at some point there seems to be more than just appearances to this world. We can both see and touch a rhinoceros but we can also think of a rhinoceros which has no appearance at all to anyone but our own inner mind.

Spiritual translation is usually more complicated that that, however. Think about getting a gift from a four year old which, from appearances, looks like a beaten down lump of clay. “It’s you, Daddy!” they tell you. And, while you have probably spent more than a few days in your life feeling a bit like a beaten down lump of clay, you know this gift is more than what it looks like. You easily look past the outward appearance of the gift and you are able to see its essence, which is pure love. It’s why you hang on to that seemingly horrid lump of clay for the rest of your life. Seeing love in a broken down lump of clay is what “judging by right judgement” means. It’s spiritual translation. Appearances are usually the worst way to judge reality.

Don’t be too concerned when your mind starts giving you crap about what you are experiencing spiritually. One eventually learns to ignore what the mind says. The mind only knows about appearances so in spiritual study it isn’t often of much use. Still, a good portion of spiritually translating appearances is coming to some sort of agreement with the mind. “Yes, it certainly does appear that way, mind, I can see your point.” Your mind will argue forever that a lump of clay can be nothing more than a lump of clay and, seriously, how can you be anything other than a body I see right before me?? Yes, it certainly does appear that way, I can see your point.

Simply stay aware that the reality of a situation is almost always beyond the appearance. Like desert mirages or train tracks that come together at a point or an Earth that is a flat disc. Look beyond the picture. It’s where the Truth is. Mind and every appearance it is responsible for will have you believe life is a multiplicity of individuals, objects, thoughts and events happening during several points of time in many locations.

The simple reality is, it is all only Awareness being Aware of Itself. 

What Still Stands?

When you choose to deconstruct your faith, pay very close attention to what survives, what remains standing. Those things are pointers to what is ultimately true.

Shaking The Dust


Image by Daniel Kirsch from Pixabay

“And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.” – Matthew 10:14, The (Christian) Bible

“In Biblical times, when leaving Gentile cities, pious Jews often shook the dust from their feet to show their separation from Gentile practices. According to the New Testament, when Jesus called his twelve disciples, he sent them into Jewish lands and told them, in a reversal, to perform the same act against the non-believing Jews.” (Wikipedia)

This little instruction to his disciples, from Jesus, when he was sending them out to teach the Gospel, has remained one of the most useful reminders in my own life. While it was certainly meant as powerful symbolism, for me it serves as more practical advice to walk away from any person (or people) who choose to remain in an atmosphere of resistance or non acceptance of Truth. There is no need for me to provide additional resistance by fighting against them or telling them how wrong they are; simply remove myself. It matters not if I am dealing with family, friends, neighbors or strangers. Anyone who wishes to embrace ignorance, intolerance, hate, bigotry, nonacceptance or unenlightenment should be left to their life of doing so. It is not for me to change their mind or attitude, unless they ask me to. My most effective option is to remove myself from their presence. In fact, Jesus suggests to not even take their dust with me when I go!

The symbolism of shaking the dust from my feet is about much more than dust. Do not take anything with me when I go. Do not take any hatred. Do not take resentment. Do not even take remembrance. Let it all go before leaving. When I walk away, walk away clean. Isn’t that a drastic departure from what we see and do today? We vilify and call each other names on social media and in person. We’ll resort to character assassination, shaming, slander, verbal abuse and worse when we disagree about what others say or how they choose to live. To those who display ignorance, we answer with our own ignorance and meet their resistance with our own resistance. We create a fistfight rather than peace, succeeding only in becoming equal to those we resist.

There is no reason to ever remain in an environment of abuse, hatred or disrespect. There is no reason to reside in the presence of those who refuse to accept Truth. There is also no need for us to add to the situation with our own words and spirit of negativity, hatred and resistance. Often, the most effective, compassionate and peaceful action is simply to walk away. Shake the dust and walk away.