Living Untethered: Beyond the Human Predicament
Sitting on a planet spinning through vast outer space for a handful of years—in the broadest sense, this is the human predicament. Earth has been here for 4.5 billion years, yet each of us is limited to roughly an eighty-year ride on the planet, give or take a few years. We were born onto the planet, and we will leave it when we die. That is simply the truth. What is not such a hard and fast truth, however, is what our few years on Earth are like. Undoubtedly, life on the planet can be a very exciting experience. It can bring enthusiasm, passion, and inspiration at every turn. When it unfolds that way, every day can be a beautiful adventure. Unfortunately, life on Earth rarely unfolds exactly as we want it to, and if we resist, our experience can be quite unpleasant. Resistance creates tension and anxiety, and it makes life a burden.
To avoid this burden and be able to fully embrace life, wise ones throughout the ages have taught the importance of accepting reality. Only by accepting reality can we work with the flow of life as it passes by and create a better world. All of science is based on studying reality, learning her laws, and then working with those laws to improve our lives. Scientists can’t deny reality; they must fully accept reality as the starting point of their endeavors. To fly, we must fully embrace the law of gravity, not deny its existence. The same is true in the spiritual realm. Teachings such as surrender, acceptance, and nonresistance form the basis of a deeply spiritual life. But these concepts can be difficult to grasp. In Living Untethered, we are embarking on a journey into the sheer reasonableness of acceptance and the great gifts it promises: freedom, peace, and inner enlightenment. Acceptance is best understood as nonresistance to reality. Try as you may, no one can make an event that has already happened not have happened. Your only choice is to accept the event or resist it. During our journey together, we will explore how and why you make this decision. But first you have to understand who is within that has the power to decide.
You are certainly in there; you have an intuitive sense of existence inside. What is that? It is awareness of Self, the most important topic we could ever discuss. Since we’re going to take a deep dive into the spirituality of acceptance, we must start by understanding who is in there accepting or resisting.
There are many ways to approach the nature of Self. Let’s go slowly and start with something very simple. Imagine someone comes up to you and asks, “Hi. Are you in there?” How would you respond? No one would actually say, “No, I’m not in here.” That would be the ultimate non sequitur. If you’re not in there, who responded? You’re definitely in there, but what does that mean?
To isolate what “you in there” means, imagine you’re shown three different photographs. The photos are held up one after the other, and then you’re asked, “Though the photos changed, was it the same you who saw all three of them?” Your response would be, “Of course it was the same me.” Very good; that helps us get our bearings. From this simple exercise, it’s clear that you in there are not what you look at; you are the one who’s looking. The pictures changed; you who saw them stayed the same.
It’s not hard to understand with photographs that you are not what you look at, but there are some objects we identify with more than others. For example, our bodies. We identify with our bodies enough to say, “I’m a forty-three-year-old woman who is five foot six.” Is that really who you are in there: a forty-three-year-old, five-foot-six-inch female body? Or is the body something you in there are aware of? To sort this out, let’s start with your hand. If you were asked whether you can see your hand, you would say, “Yes, I see my hand.” Okay, but what if it got cut off? Don’t worry about the pain; just for a moment imagine it’s gone. Would you still be there? Wouldn’t you notice that your hand is gone? It’s like the changing photographs: When the hand was there, you saw it. When it was gone, you saw it was gone. You in there who “sees” did not change; what you were looking at changed. Your body is just another thing you see. The question remains: Who is in there doing the seeing?
Note that we didn’t have to stop with the hand. Surgery has become so advanced that, with the help of a heart-lung machine and other medical devices, surgeons could remove a great deal of your body—and the same sense of Self would still be in there, aware of the changes. How could you be your body if it changed that much, and you in there stayed the same?
Fortunately, to help you realize you are not your body, we don’t really need to go that far. There is a much simpler, intuitive way to approach this. Surely you’ve noticed that your body didn’t look the same when you were three, ten, twenty, or fifty years old. It certainly won’t look the same when you’re eighty or ninety. But isn’t it the same you in there looking at it? When you were ten years old and you looked in the mirror, did you see what you see now? No, but wasn’t it you looking—then and now? You’ve been in there the whole time, haven’t you? That’s the core, the essence, of everything we’re discussing. Who are you? Who is in there looking out through those eyes and seeing what you’re seeing? Just like when you were shown the three photographs, you were not any of the photos—you were the one looking at them. Likewise, when you look out at the mirror, you are not what you see—you are the one who sees it.
Little by little, through the use of these examples, we are revealing the nature of Self. Your relationship to what you see is always one of subject-object. You are the subject, and what you are looking at is the object. There are many different objects coming in through your senses, but there’s only one subject experiencing them—You.
PART I: Conscious Awareness
Chapter 1. Awareness of Self
Chapter 2. The Conscious Receiver
Chapter 3. Living Inside
Chapter 4. The Three-Ring Circus
Chapter 5. Exploring the Nature of Things
PART II: The Outside World
Chapter 6. The Moment in Front of You
Chapter 7. The World You Live In
Chapter 8. The Origin of Matter
Chapter 9. The Power of Creation
Chapter 10. It’s Not Personal
PART III: The Mind
Chapter 11. Empty Mind
Chapter 12. Birth of the Personal Mind
Chapter 13. Fall from the Garden
Chapter 14. The Veil of the Psyche
Chapter 15. The Brilliant Human Mind
PART IV: Thoughts and Dreams
Chapter 16. The Abstract Mind
Chapter 17. Serve Mind or Fix It
Chapter 18. Willful and Automatic Thoughts
Chapter 19. Dreams and the Subconscious
Chapter 20. Waking Dreams
PART V: The Heart
Chapter 21. Understanding Emotions
Chapter 22. Why the Heart Opens and Closes
Chapter 23: Dance of the Energy Flow
Chapter 24. The Cause of Moods and Emotions
Chapter 25. The Secrets of the Heart
PART VI: The Human Predicament and Beyond
Chapter 26. The Human Predicament
Chapter 27. The Paradigm Shift
Chapter 28. Working with the Heart
Chapter 29. Neither Suppression nor Expression
PART VII: Learning to Let Go
Chapter 30. Techniques for Freeing Yourself
Chapter 31. Low-Hanging Fruit
Chapter 32. The Past
Chapter 33. Meditation
Chapter 34. Handling the Bigger Stuff
PART VIII: Living a Life of Acceptance
Chapter 35. Dealing with Blocked Energies
Chapter 36. Transmutation of the Energy
Chapter 37. The Power of Intent
Chapter 38. Exploring the Higher States
Chapter 39. In the World but Not of It
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|Epub||May 13, 2022|