You don’t have a soul – part 2

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Continuing previous post about the soul. You don’t have a soul, you are a soul, you have a body currently at this lifetime, living a human life.

What? So my essence is not a human, but a soul? 

Yes.

I don’t understand.

It is kinda difficult to grasp… because we have to communicate using words, and this is beyond words. I didn’t invent these descriptions – I read these over many books or listened to many talks: Each of us, all beings, are sparks of light from the same source. Waves of the same ocean. Leaves from the same one tree.

If the source is one, that means we’re all the same and connected?

Yes – only outer shell is different. The essence, the innermost, is the same. Personality, physical body, race, gender, age, family, nationality, all these are just outer shell.

But I feel so disconnected! I feel very separated from others. 

Yes that happens… as one gets born into a human body one forgot about his oneness with the source. And identify more and more with the shell. Now when one totally forgotten about the connection, one forgot about its essence too, and thought one is the shell and there is nothing more than the shell. This identification with the shell happens in so many layers. Example – one identify with the stuff one own, one derive one’s sense of self worth from the car one drives, the bag one carries, the shoes one wears, the zip code, the hair color and hair style, etc. Example of other layer – one thinks one is a woman, a wife, a sister, a mother, a teacher, and so on.

So should I discard the shell? 

The shell is like a vehicle. A vehicle assists you to go through a journey, from one point to another. Without the vehicle, one will be in limbo. If one is on a journey, one would make sure the vehicle is in good working condition.

What to do then?

Use the vehicle to move forward to connection, to integration. With this shell one can express, create, communicate, love, serve. Use this capacity to develop greater connection with others, and with the source.

The search for connection, towards integration, is inherent in human. Along the journey, at one point, one will eventually ask “Who am I really? Why am I here? Where am I going?”

This topic is so abstract and I tried my best to put it into words. I’ve attempted to write about it before:

If you’re into this kind of thing, here are some reading/listening suggestion:

  • Bhagavad Gita – Krishna speaks to Arjuna. Krishna is the source, Arjuna is the soul that misidentified with the shell. There are many versions available online.
  • Alan Watts – many of his lectures are on YouTube. Highly recommend his book “The Book On Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are”. Here’s an excellent discussion about this book on brainpicking.
  • Eckhart Tolle
  • Adyashanti

Youniverse

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It’s not that we are better than the universe, we are part of the universe. We are in the universe and the universe is in us.
~Neil deGrasse Tyson

This week’s post is that kind of post that shows the reason why I started blogging. It’s my self-conversation put into written words, because I think better when I write (characteristic of INFP type personality). This post may read random, jumpy, and may not make sense. Continue with your own discretion.

Definition of ‘You’ and ‘Universe’ from dictionary:
You – used to refer to any person or to people in general
Universe – the totality of known or supposed objects and phenomena throughout space; the cosmos; macrocosm

A google search on ‘youniverse’ reveals that there aren’t a fixed definition of it yet. There are some apps and business using it as a brand, trendwatching.com named ‘youniverse’ as a trend, and R.C.W Ettinger published a book titled Youniverse.

My own thought behind ‘youniverse’ is that you, me, us, everyone, and the rest of creation, is the same, coming from the same source, and going back to the same source. There’s a saying “We are all made of stardust” – this goes well with ‘youniverse’.

I’m reminded of this anime Ghost In The Shell (1995). The story is set in the futuristic Japan, where robotics and cyborgs are deeply integrated into human life. The heroine, ‘Major’ Motoko Kusanagi, a squad leader of an all-guy special cyber law enforcement team, has a full cybernetic body except of her brain. Motoko wonders whether her “ghost”, or her soul, is real – whether she still have any humanity left. She thinks perhaps her memories of past human life is artificially generated, and she was never human at all, but purely synthetic.

A dialogue between Motoko and her second-in-command, Batou:
Motoko: “Maybe all full-replacement cyborgs like me start wondering this… that perhaps the real ‘me’ died a long time ago, and I’m a replicant made with a cyborg body and computer brain. Or maybe there never was a real ‘me’ to begin with.”
Batou: “You’ve got real brain matter in that titanium skull of yours. And you get treated like a real person, don’t you?”
Motoko: “Has anyone seen their own brain? My believe in my existence is only based on what my environment tells me.”
Batou: “Don’t you believe in your own ghost?”
Motoko: “And what if a computer brain could generate a ghost and harbor a soul? On what basis then do I believe in myself?”

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Motoko and Batou – Ghost in the Shell (1995)

It’s an interesting anime, makes one think about life and what defines human life. Here it is on youtube. DreamWorks will produce the feature film, scheduled to be released April 2017.

What’s the relation between an anime and the universe?

Like Motoko, along the journey of life, some of us at one point start to ask “Who am I? What am I? Why am I here? Where am I going?” Having these questions, and trying to find the answers, is a blessing in itself – that means we’re starting to see through the dark glass. We’re starting to wake up. The veil is thinning. The fog is less dense. The colorings are diminishing.

Alan Watts (1915-1973) answered these questions in this 4-minute video. See it, listen to what he was saying. Let it sink… and see it again, and again. Once is not enough.

I thought it’s best to put this into Q&A format.

Q: Who am I? or What am I?
A: You’re it. You are the universe. I am that. Tat tvam asi. Aham brahmasmi.

Q: Why am I here?
A: Because you are the universe. You are here to experience yourself.

Q: Where am I going?
A: Nowhere. There’s only here and now. And I just realized that ‘nowhere’ is made of not only ‘no’ and ‘where’ but also ‘now’ and ‘here’. Interesting hey.

Q: If we are the universe, why don’t we feel like we’re the universe?
A: Because we have delusion, like Arjun in Bhagavad Gita. We forgot, we don’t remember. We mistakenly identify ourself with this ‘I’, this body, this mind, and subsequently with the other things the ‘I’ is identified with (species, family, career, roles, gender, nationality, religion, etc). Our vision is covered with the veil of avidya (ignorance). We think we’re separated, while in reality we’re all one. The edges and boundaries (the skin, the ‘I’) are not separator, but rather a medium, a bridge, a connector, an interface between us and the rest of creation. It is this illusion of separateness that stops us from being here and now. It is this illusion of separateness that makes us think there’s a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, that feeling of something is missing, and we think we have somewhere to go, something to achieve. And this stops us from being here and now.

Q: Why do we have illusion of separateness in the first place? Why not just stay in the one-ness?
A: In order to experience, there has to be: A. the experiencer, and B. the thing to be experienced. So, there’s the Subject, the experiencer, who experiences, and there’s the Object, the thing to be experienced. What happens is the experiencer is so caught up and busy experiencing that he forgets his true nature, he forgets he is not separate.

Q: Why some experiences are ‘good’, and some experiences are ‘bad’?
A: In order for something to be experienced, there’s gotta be a gradation of different qualities attached to it. This qualities have two far ends, two polarities, like a magnetic field has north and south poles. And here comes duality: yin yang, light dark, hot cold, dry wet, up down, something nothing… it’s the foundation of an experience. Because in order for the Subject to experience light, there has to be darkness, because if it’s all light, without anything other than light to compare it with, the experiencer couldn’t tell that it’s light, there’s no difference, no point of reference. However, ‘good’ and ‘bad’ is only our perception. In reality there’s no good and bad; the experience is just is.

Q: Why does the universe wants to experience itself?
A: Universe is playing the eternal game of Hide and Seek with itself. It’s Lila, the divine play.

Q: You’re not making sense.
A: I’m trying my best to put this into words. I’m forever learning and may not be skillful enough yet to write this down. Feel free to accept or reject it.

For the benefit of those who didn’t watch the youtube above, here is Alan Watt’s words. I posted it before here along with a quote by John Hagelin, a particle physicist, and he used scientific terms but the meaning is the same.

You are something the whole universe is doing, the same way as a wave is something that the whole ocean is doing.
~Alan Watts

Image from http://www.nasa.gov