War and Peace

“You fight others all the time for your survival as a separate body-mind, a particular name and form. To live you must destroy. From the moment you were conceived you started a war with your environment – a merciless war of mutual extermination, until death sets you free.”

~Sri Nisargadatta

By virtue of merely being born into this realm, we are told by the preachers that we have inherited various sinful and undesirable qualities as part of the total human package – nasty companions riding along on our shoulders, disturbing our peace, and poisoning our experience. Perhaps they come in the form of negative traits and tendencies carried over from our poor performances and failings in previous lives, as some religious stories would have it. Then again, maybe they arise as the result of an “Original Sin” caused by a regrettable decision made long ago by the progenitors of the human species, as other religions hypothesize. In any case, we are told that we are stuck with this primordial calamity, a spiritual infection that resembles a kind of malignant software program that in turn needs to be purged from the system if we are to have any chance of lasting peace.

Certainly, we had better “do something” to rid ourselves of this apparent affliction! We are encouraged by the authorities on sin and karma to embark on some sort of purification process or pursuit of redemption in order to attain the peace which is inherently lacking. Thus begins the endless internal conflict where the mind is divided against itself in a war zone of its own making, featuring opposing camps of light and dark, good and evil, grasping and aversion, and the ensuing elaboration of an all-encompassing struggle in life and relationships.

This never-ending battle manifests as the felt sense of chronic discomfort and dis-ease, self-doubt, neurotic ambivalence, and for many, the more clinical psycho-pathologies. To these, all sorts of methods, schemes, and life-long strategies are systematically prescribed by the priests and doctors as remedies against the projected nemesis. In fact, the preachers have been kept in perennial business by promising via all manner of propaganda that their cult or scheme is the best one for the job of pacifying the mind and heart, even to the point of waging physical war with other cults over which one is superior in producing peace (regardless of how ironic that might seem to an outside observer).

So, how does the conception of this disease become reified in our psyche? From where does the dissatisfaction stem? Upon sincere and thorough investigation, we can recognize that it arises from ignorance – ignorance of our true nature and condition. To begin to understand the root of this ignorance, we need look no further than our own mind, since this misunderstanding is nothing but a state of consciousness. When we stop and break it down, we can observe that there appears to be a steady stream of thoughts which we take to be ours, apparently infected with all manner of bugs and bothersome critters, so that we can never truly and deeply rest. In the course of our cognitive development, we become so habituated to this state of chronic disturbance that we never even question it. We just assume that it is the “normal” condition of being human – “normal neurosis”, in psychological parlance.

To complicate the matter, we tend to imagine that we are independent entities, separate from the world of myriad sentient beings around us. In our struggle to acquire and maintain what we believe we need to survive and flourish , we engage in a perpetual state of competition and conflict with these perceived “others”. Of course, such a paradigm of virtual war precludes the experience of any true compassion. Moreover, such a state of precarious consciousness is reflected back to us in all our relations, because everyone is under the spell of a similar delusion. Ignorance is self-reinforcing, rendering us all suspicious of each other. We walk the earth — a threatened, restless “stranger in a strange land” – alienated not only from others, but also from ourselves. It’s a literal nightmare, a horrible dream!

The wise, rather than merely accepting and even fueling this fabricated struggle, will instead turn attention around and trace back to the beginning of the conflict itself, eventually recognizing through inquiry and consequent insight that whatever appears is mind, and that mind itself is essentially a shadow. Attempts to catch it and control it are futile. That’s just shadows chasing shadows. One can’t control or eliminate a shadow by running after it and trying to grasp and manipulate it. As the great Adept Milarepa noted: “When you run after your thoughts, you are like a dog chasing a stick. Every time a stick is thrown, you run after it. Instead, be like a lion who, rather than chasing after the stick, turns to face the thrower. One only throws a stick at a lion once.”

There is a famous line in the New Testament (1 Corinthians 13: 12-13) that reads: “For now we see through a glass, darkly . . .” Indeed, whatever is seen, felt, thought, imagined, or remembered is not really so. Upon thorough inspection, we can see that it all amounts to mere fantasies of interpretation on perception. Furthermore, we can recognize that the conflict itself is essentially our own creation — stress and suffering we’ve been perpetrating on ourselves, based on second-hand beliefs and dysfunctional programs we have been incorporating into our system since we were children.

By earnestly investigating its smoke parade and inquiring into the nature of this conditioned and conflicted mind, we can notice that attention becomes quiet, supple, and fresh when freed from any fixation on the mind’s streaming contents. If we persist in that attitude of “non-dwelling” – grasping at no provisional identity based on the sense of separation and opposition — we can let go and relax into the ensuing dynamic stillness.

Sitting, standing, walking, lying down – we stay with this stillness, refraining from attaching to whatever arises in mind,  surrendering any effort to manipulate thought forms. Even if demons or angels appear, discard them. Let go, let go, let go. Ultimately, surrender even the one who would surrender, the apparent witness of mind. As the Taoist sage Lao Tsu noted, “To a mind that is still, the whole world surrenders.”

Persisting in this practice, we can recognize something that is, after all, rather obvious. That is, regardless of any effort or non-effort, there is not a single thought that we can hold on to. Thoughts automatically become self-liberated. As Nyoshul Khenpo writes in his “Letter in Praise of Emptiness”, “In this there is not a thing to be removed, nor anything that needs to be added. It is merely the immaculate looking naturally at itself.”

One thought arises, and then before the next thought arises, there is an empty space. That empty space is the native natural state — fully, nakedly revealed. The thinking mind is absent in that space. All we need do is simply relax into that, remaining free of all focus in that transparent, sky-like spaciousness. The practice then is just returning to that unfabricated aware space as often as possible, even in the midst of activities, rather than chasing after and being run around by thought forms. It’s brilliantly clear, awake, and “knowing” without the need of thinking, because it is always between two thought events.

The sense of self — the feeling “me” — is a thought event, a mental construct, that appears in the space of awake awareness like a cloud appears in the empty sky and vanishes in the next moment. It’s just another thought. It is not ours, not who we are. We are the awake-ness that knows itself as itself. Resting in the spaciousness of one’s own primordial state, we can recognize that the same energy which was manifesting as thoughts, feelings, memories, and sensations now appears as the pure delight of our own innocent nature.

In the course of this natural ease of being, we may notice that we are not even really “located” in any fixed space, whether between or somewhere beyond thoughts. Rather, everything appearing is recognized as our own omnidirectional display, the display of a holographic projection of mind, expressing itself as the immense vastness of the celestial heavens, as well as the humble weed flowering between the sidewalk cracks. Spirit manifests subject and objects to infinity, while remaining unidentified with and un-implicated by either. Timeless, motionless, inconceivable.

Awareness and experience are not two — there is no distance between them. Each moment, however it manifests, is the perfect form of our self-expression. There is no right or wrong, better or worse, higher or lower form. All forms are recognized as the quicksilver shine of the light behind the veil of mind – luminous and transparent. That is the “second birth” — spirit baptism. This clear radiance will illuminate and clarify all, including the empty nature of both self and phenomena. In the process, loving kindness and compassion are also realized to be inseparable from emptiness.

For those who might imagine that this realization leaves one floating in some cloud of spiritual bliss, oblivious to the mundane world of pain and suffering, nothing could be further from the actual reality. Rather than leaving one standing aloof and detached, it brings the whole spectrum of experience vividly to life, as if one had been sleepwalking, and is now fully awake. Moreover, in such brilliant clarity, a genuine empathy for all of life arises naturally, because the illusion of separation has been directly seen through and dissolved. At such point, loving one’s neighbor as oneself is simply the right thing to do, because one realizes that the appearance of separation is a hoax we may have once fallen for, but in light of this recognition, it becomes utterly clear that our neighbor literally is our self. Now, living a life of simple integrity, while refusing to indulge the poisons of greed, envy, hatred, and ignorance, is joyfully embraced as the natural way we were meant to live and express our true nature.

At last, even emptiness and fullness are revealed to be mere conceptual designations by the light which shines beyond both. When this light is joined with one’s living experience and “embodied” in conscious relationship to all, then life becomes spontaneous and actually very simple. Somehow, this heart has found its way back to itself – not as some independent “I” — but as That which lives me. The war with oneself is ended. Shanti, Shanti Om.

“Let go of what has passed.
Let go of what may come.
Let go of what is happening now.
Don’t try to figure anything out.
Don’t try to make anything happen.
Relax, right now, and rest.”

let go

See also:

About Bob OHearn

My name is Bob O'Hearn, and I live with my Beloved Mate, Mazie, in the foothills of the Northern California Sierra Nevada Mountains. I have a number of blog sites you may enjoy: Photo Gallery: http://www.pbase.com/1heart Essays on the Conscious Process: https://theconsciousprocess.wordpress.com/ Compiled Poetry and Prosetry: http://feelingtoinfinity.wordpress.com/ Verses and ramblings on life as it is: https://writingonwater934500566.wordpress.com/ Verses and Variations on the Investigation of Mind Nature: https://themindthatneverwas.wordpress.com/ Verses on the Play of Consciousness: https://onlydreaming187718380.wordpress.com/ Poetic Fiction, Fable, Fantabulation: https://themysteriousexpanse.wordpress.com/ Poems of the Mountain Hermit: https://snowypathtonowhere.wordpress.com/ Love Poems from The Book of Yes: https://lovesight.wordpress.com/ Autobiographical Fragments, Memories, Stories, and Tall Tales: https://travelsindreamland.wordpress.com/ Ancient and modern spiritual texts, creatively refreshed: https://freetransliterations.wordpress.com/ Writings from selected Western Mystics, Classic and Modern: https://westernmystics.wordpress.com/ Wisdom of a Spirit Guide: https://spiritguidesparrow.wordpress.com/ Thank You!
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14 Responses to War and Peace

  1. mikael says:

    This is exactly what I to persive in this reality.
    And your description is superb and spott on. Its not about selfishness or egoistical perseptions to introvert at all, its the beginning, the alfa and to the omega, is a path we all tred, what we putt into it, reflects back, everything, and everythin have consequencess, everything.

    Whats been feed into this reality, is vitale, feed love and respect, kill an animal with maximum serenety and seriousness, do it so the animals isnt harmed or traumatisedm and your consciousness is as clean as the Lions is.

    Life and death, is the circle, without death, no earth, no soil, nu basis for growth, no nothing, life is the field we must realise what we are, energetic entetys of divine powers, and thats why there are Gates we all must go thure, all in the mental aspects, in the self.

    You see, poeple dont like this, its mutch easyer to blame others, itsnt it.
    That is the singlemoust dangerous and life threatening think of them all.
    In wars the problem is obvious.
    But in your everyday life its drowning and strangeling your possebilitys.
    In the bitter end, its your, and nobody elses.

    The second is reality.
    What is that. We are in a universe, and matter is 5% of it, And in that 5% our Sun is in the vincitys of an spiral gallaxy, and the big bang simply states that WE are the sole starting point of the expanding universe. The 5%. And that medival statement is justifyed with “sientific” methodes, as the redshift of light to indicate speed, and that away form the present point of referance, aka our planet, exactly like the Vaticane sayed and stated a millenium ago.
    I firmly belive there is some fundamentals that is not correct.
    Bigg Bang is not science, its religion disquiced as science, a belife system, upheld with flawed perseptions of reality and have been and still is heavely influented by Others as the Faith based Church of various kinds.
    The sole critic on Darwin is based on the facts, there is no evidence at all, the timelines are flattout forgerys and lies. The first animal/creature on our Planet was a Trilobite, and that Trilobit hadd fully fledged eyes, and that eye contruction and way of functions and its capasity and possibilitys was ther from the very beginning, and that is a FACT.
    That was the nighmare to Darwin.
    And he knew it.

    The biology is a feild that moust scientis see as weird, but there is the same fundamenst and perseptions of it, comed to an conclution that moust scientist finds a bitt weird.

    I am baffeled by the low level of critique, the issue is not even understudd by most of them at all.

    This is not Religion this is a way of interpitate reality, the materialistic word is a dead end for our spirits, we must evolve beyound this.

    Thread lightly, and respect everything, and the world will behave the same way back at you, if you reconcnise this or not, is your problem.
    Never forgett that.


    “Your beliefs become your thoughts,
    Your thoughts become your words,
    Your words become your actions,
    Your actions become your habits,
    Your habits become your values,
    Your values become your destiny.”
    ― Mahatma Gandhi

  2. rahkyt says:

    Let go.

    And become a weirdo. 🙂


    Ah, to choose to express outside the matrix and live truth, not playing the games of “controlled folly”. I made a choice to retain certain aspects of self/personality after my last satori experience and in recent weeks I find emotions and material concerns once again surfacing as time-killers, as they used to. I wonder sometimes if it was the right choice? I suppose it was, for me, but the freedom of letting go and fully living this truth without consideration of familial or societal norms ever beckons … bless, bredren!

    • Hehe, welcome to weirdo-ville, Brother! 🙂

      Yes, we will be brought back from even the most profound and liberating “spiritual” experiences to the work at hand, until we reach the point of full integration on every level — physical, emotional, mental, and soul. And what is that work? The great Thai Forest master Ajah Chah summed it up succinctly when he advised:

      “Do not try to become anything.
      Do not make yourself into anything.
      Do not be a meditator.
      Do not become enlightened.
      When you sit, let it be.
      When you walk, let it be.
      Grasp at nothing.
      Resist nothing.”


  3. alexandra says:

    I have enjoyed reading your posts. Thank you sharing…

  4. Thanks for this (((Bob)))) 🙂

    • Bob OHearn says:

      We are on the same wavelength, Brother!


      • Yes, very much so.

        It’s becoming clearer and clearer for me how simple our predicament is. And how simple the solution is- yet also not so “easy” to apply, when our minds are lost (caught up) in their own illusory spinning…

        Thus the helpfulness of descriptions such as yours.

        Namaste, brother.

      • Bob OHearn says:

        Indeed, as they say, “the devil is in the details”. 🙂 Embodiment of realization is a life-long art, and why we are drawn back here — to perfect our game, so to speak. Really, it’s a play of love, and whatever is still waiting to recognize itself as love.


  5. Bob OHearn says:

    “The first and most conspicuous effect of Illumination into full Cosmic Consciousness is one’s awareness of the utter absence of evil, sin, or shame. There is no thought of such an unbalanced condition while in the one ecstatic condition of perfect balance, which the Light of love is.

    That which Man calls evil, sin, or shame or any of its attributes, such as anger, jealousy, worry, fear, cruelty, lust, or the greeds which lead to murders and wars are unbalanced conditions created by Man who has not yet learned the law love, which demands equal interchange between all opposite conditions in all human relations.

    Man, himself, has manufactured evil, sin, and shame because of the impossibility of keeping himself in balance due to his greeds, which impel him to take what he wants without giving in order to be regiven. There is no such thing in Nature as evil, sin, or shame. Nature is never unbalanced. The heavens give light and rains to earth and earth regives equally of her forests, crops, and vapors that replenish the heavens.

    That is Nature’s manifestation of the law of love, which keeps Nature ever in balance.”

    ~Walter Russell

  6. Bob OHearn says:

    “An effortless compassion can arise for all beings who have not realized their true nature. So limitless is it that if tears could express it, you would cry without end. Not only compassion, but tremendous skillful means can be born when you realize the nature of mind. Also you are naturally liberated from all suffering and fear, such as the fear of birth, death and the intermediate state. Then if you were to speak of the joy and bliss that arise from this realization, it is said by the buddhas that if you were to gather all the glory, enjoyment, pleasure and happiness of the world and put it all together, it would not approach one tiny fraction of the bliss that you experience upon realizing the nature of mind.”

    ~ Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche

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