"True self is non-self, the awareness that the self is made only of non-self-elements. There's no separation between self and other, and everything is interconnected. Once you are aware of that, you are no longer caught in the idea that you are a separate entity."
"Freedom is not given to us by anyone; we have to cultivate it ourselves. It is a daily practice... No one can prevent you from being aware of each step you take or each breath in and breath out."
"We need enlightenment, not just individually but collectively, to save the planet. We need to awaken ourselves. We need to practice mindfulness if we want to have a future, if we want to save ourselves and the planet."
Thich Nhat Hanh, Zen Master, Poet, Peace Activist
The past 5 essays have dealt our potential for an expanded consciousness. Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh shares the following analogy: as a unique individual we are like a wave; simultaneously, we are an expression of the ocean. We are the ocean. Imagine that the ocean is Divinity - universal consciousness.
We can notice that the wave was never separate from the ocean. Rather, it is a momentary form that the ocean has taken. A person who is "enlightened" has realized - in body, mind, emotions and spirit -that they are both wave and ocean. The liberated being, while living as an individual in our world, simultaneously experiences the Whole - or the infinite "Ground of Being."
What would it be like to realize a Self that transcended the birth and death of our limited empirical being (as a wave)?... to realize a Self that is actually the Great Ocean" or in another image, as "the Great Fertile Void" - out of which everything arose, and which has been called "your true face before your mother and father were born?"
What would it be like to perceive and welcome God or Ultimate Reality in every other being and ourselves? The great majority of us do not have this perception; the Hindu word to describe our usual condition is maya - illusion; the Buddhist word is avidya - ignore(ance). With some effort we can realize (make real) our birthright. This is called being "liberated." Liberated from what? From the egocentrism, sociocentrism, and ethnocentrism into which we've been conditioned. Attachment to our "wave-ness."
Humanity is now faced with a choice. A combination of compulsion and opportunity may contribute to growth in consciousness and push us to create a new world.
This will entail growing beyond (while including) the secular scientific materialist paradigm in which we've been embedded for the past 300 years.
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