You Are It
The same thing that beats your heart creates the universe.
Who or what is it that beats your heart? What interprets the sights that you see? Everything you see, hear, smell, touch, and experience are you. It is you that translates vibrations into sounds, waves into sights, and molecules into scents. We are doing this every second of the day. We are not conscious of it, but we are still doing it. This force is the same thing that makes birds fly or stars twinkle. It is what gives our bones form. There is a fundamental underlying connection between all ideas, experiences, and objects. We are very much a part of this process. It is in the same way that our surroundings become as much a part of us as we become a part of our surroundings.
We as humans are alienated by our feeling of being independent agents.
We as humans think that we always have to do. Just being is not acceptable anymore. This need arises from the feeling, and deceptively so that we are independent agents. We think that we act, feel, and experience the universe from an independent viewpoint. In order to better understand the reality that we live in, we must learn more about how it is that we exist within it and what sort of things we do that are very dependent on our surroundings.
Our perception of the world is a mental construct.
The world that we call physical is a dance of your neurons. You observe objects, and situations by bringing them into your view of reality. You take in information and create a mental construct of what you believe the world to be. This construct is limited by the amount of data that you can bring in, process and store. This limited perspective leads us to make assumptions about incomplete data.
We live in limited mental models of reality.
Having a limited quantity and quality of information leaves space for our intuitive feelings to be at best flawed and the worst downright wrong. The point here is that our mental state is formed by the world around us, mostly by what it is that we are experiencing right now. There is also some contribution from memories or past experiences, but because of their temporal location, have a lesser impact upon us.
We become a product of our immediate surroundings.
Because we take in so much from our surroundings, we are an integrated part of them. The things that you experience influence you in ways that you are both aware and unaware. If you grab a hot tea kettle, you immediately become aware of being burned and react to your surroundings quite violently and without much control. This example is one extreme. At the other end of the spectrum, are things such as subtle social cues, that you receive from others, such as when we get a “bad gut feeling” about someone. This feeling is your unconscious mind at work gathering more data than you can consciously realize, but still not enough to be entirely accurate.
We exploit our surroundings.
We as humans are very dependent on our surroundings to survive. We look at the surroundings as something that serves us. We see a piece of food, and we look at it as a tool for survival, for nourishment. We do not see the entire cosmos in an apple. There was the need for the soil, the sun, the rain, the warmth. The land is nourished when things perish. For the rain to come, the sky had to become cloudy. For the heat to come, the earth had to tilt. So when we eat an apple, we are partaking in a vast system of events. It took many, many processes to cultivate, grow, harvest, transport and finally eat the apple. Your body then uses many operations to break the apple down and use it as energy.
The systems perspective of reality.
What can we learn from this apple? Life and reality are a series of intertwined events or systems. They ultimately form a web. We are as much a part of that network as an ant, or an elephant, or the sun, or a supernova. Nothing can exist without everything. It is important to realize that we live in a very complex and dependent world. That what we have mainly experienced forms us into who we are. We are then further and more intensely influenced by the things that are going in the present moment.
The web of life.
This web is extrapolated in two directions. The first is across all events but also across every second of time. Time is an arrow. It points and travels in seemingly one direction. At every point in time, the web that connects all physical things is being altered; it is shifting. So the network is at least three dimensional. That is it connects all things, beings, and events across space. It also relates all things, people, and events across the time horizon. The complexity of this web and our limited perspective of reality are the two factors that make it tremendously difficult to see.
Here are some implications of the web-like nature of reality.
When we come to realize, fully understand and better yet, fully accept the web-like nature of reality, an exciting thing happens. We can rest entirely in the fact that things are in fact the way they are. That is to say; things are as they should be. A physical reality constrains us. This physical reality consists of not only words and actions but thoughts. That is to say that we are constrained by the structure in which we live as to what sort of thoughts, words, and actions will come to be. Being limited by reality is the primary issue with positive thinking. If a glass is broken, no amount of positive thinking will bring the glass back. That is the same as saying someone who was not educated in the best of ways can merely think positively and become president of the united states. There are bounds in our reality within which we must live.
How are we to improve upon ourselves?
We are profoundly influenced by the happenings of everything in the universe. Due to this fact, it becomes difficult to improve ourselves intentionally. That is to say; it is impossible to deviate from what is happening at this very moment in time. Additionally, if you want to improve yourself, you must know what is better for you. How do you know if something will be better for you? How is it that you know if you will be better off or not? If you do something, will you be in a better state or status? You must first understand where you would like to go before you go there. If you truly know yourself, you will find out that it is impossible to see. It is like standing here and saying the grass is greener on the other side. The only way you know the grass is greener is to go and hold it and have a look. You cannot know until you go there and by then it is too late. If the grass is in fact much browner, you are already there and having a much less desirable experience.
Lifting yourself by your bootstraps is impossible.
As Alan Watts says: “You can't lift yourself up by your bootstraps. You can't put out a fire with fire. And if you try to get rid of your ego with your ego, you'll just get into a vicious circle. You'll be like somebody who worries because they worry, and then worries because they worry because they worry, and you'll go round and round and get crazier than ever.”
There is nothing that can be done.
If we try to improve ourselves and end up worrying about, worrying about, getting better, then there is only one thing left to do. This is to realize that there is nothing to be done, we are the way we are. We follow the path that we have to. We do not have the experience that we want to have. We have the knowledge that we have to have. Once we come to terms entirely with this, it becomes a space for us to be able to rest. The flower does not strive to be better by blossoming; it just does because that's what flowers do. If we do not fully accept this, we are destined to endless busy work and doing for the rest of our existence.
If I don’t know, that’s what teachers are for, right?
Now perhaps, you may be thinking to yourself, I do not know how to improve myself, but someone else who has been successful may. So when you look to someone who is successful or a guru who seems to have attained enlightenment, and you say to yourself “Well, they have made it, they can show me the way.” That implies two things. The first is that they, in fact, have found a way to long-term happiness and fulfillment. It also implies that their methods, if they did “work” will also be valid for you. That is like saying I have figured out how to make chocolate chip cookies. You need peanut butter cookies. You come to me to learn how to make chocolate chip cookies. No matter how hard you try to make peanut butter cookies with a recipe to make chocolate chip cookies, you will always get chocolate chip cookies to no end.
A guru is a metaphorical alarm clock; they wake you up to reality.
The real job of a guru is to make you realize, that there is no particular thing called ego. That the little you that you construct inside of your head does not exist. It never has, and it never will. Things go on as they are. Trees grow, flowers bloom, your body will die, and another will grow. Life is a series of chaotic events. It is much more random than people would like to believe. That is the fact of the matter. Once you realize this, you are liberated. There can be no trying. There is only being. Like a tree, we grow, we live, and we die. That is it. Also like a tree, we are part of a very complex and interconnected web. The web supports life. Without it nothing would be able to be fluid, nothing would be able to be alive. This fluidity is the beauty of reality.
Sources (of Inspiration):
“Alan Watts How To Become Unstoppable”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kilVwL7JkU0
“Alan Watts - Improving Yourself (RARE LECTURE)”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQEEO2GPcts