I was mindlessly scrolling through the airplane’s magazine on my recent flight to Hawaii when I suddenly noticed a small paper slip titled, “Signs of The Times: A Love Letter from Jesus”, that a previous passenger (probably intentionally) placed in there. Or perhaps even Jesus himself? Believe in miracles they say, right?
The serendipity of it was too interesting to me, or perhaps the magazine was too boring, so of course I opened it up and read it.
Joy. Love. Peace. Understanding.
These words kept repeating themselves throughout the text.
Jesus was a wonderful non-dual teacher. All the great teachers were, yet somehow the religions we formed on the behalf of their teachings led to division, discrimination, and many wars.
We need to change the questions we ask about such figures and the figure we all call “myself.”
Instead of asking who was Jesus, we need to ask what is a “Jesus”?
Ask not who was the Buddha, but what is a “Buddha”?
It’s not only about asking who am I, but what am I?
It’s not as much about the characteristic of that person as it is about the essence of personhood.
When we ask “who?” we refer to the appearing individual characteristics but the nature of Self has no individuality and does not appear. It’s just is. Same as that the present doesn’t appear, it’s always here.
We don’t ask “who is this tree?” although the tree is also a living organism, made of the same elements. Why more often ask what is a tree?
The focus on who make us inquire about the characteristics, not the essence. We can say that one tree is tall and rough on the surface but it’s not what a tree is.
We can say that one person is smart a woman or a beautiful man but it’s not what a person is. What’s seems to appear on the surface is just a trained behavioral pattern of looking at what is.
What we call the world is not what we see, it is a way of seeing. It is appearing in accordance with our way of seeing.
What is a person?
We call ourselves human beings but what is a human being?
I recently had a conversation with a psychotherapist who shares love for the non dual understanding. He asked me about myself and I shared that at this point the only words I find to describe the experience called “myself” is being present. The rest is a bundle of titles and socially conditioned descriptions I find no connection to or any use in.
We shared that some of our favorite non dual teachers from history described themselves similarly, perhaps using different words. I added that I don’t understand why over history people perceived them as some uniquely enlightened person or such.
He said, “well, there is claiming in it, isn’t it?!” (about my answer being present).
It was an insightful comment by him and I took a few moments to ponder upon it. “What am I claiming by saying that?” I asked myself.
I listened for a few more moments but what came up was “nothing. I claim nothing.” To me it seems like everyone else always claim something “I am this and I am that. I like this and I hate that. I am a better and I am worse. I am successful and I am a failure. Mother. Father. Entrepreneur. Nurse. Happy. Sad. A human being…”
What all of these claims are for? Everyone claim things about themselves all the time. Is there claiming in not claiming anything about ourselves?
Am I a human being? I don’t know, what do you consider a human being?
A quick dictionary search on my iPhone says…
Am I a human being? Well by this definition definitely not. Am I a man? I’m not sure, spending 30 years in very men dominated environments like sports and military that deep inside I never felt very connected with, made me doubt it. Many of my coaches used to scream and use cuss words every time they didn’t like something, is that a man?
So I’m definitely not one. Strike 2.
Well I do act like a child many times, does that count?
Distinguished from other animals by superior mental development…? Yeah, that’s it! I am superior so that make me a human being!
Really, this is how we distinguish ourselves from the environment, by claiming our superiority?!
Being a human being is being superior, but if everything is interconnected, inter-being as Thich Nhat Hanh said, why do we even call ourselves human beings?
Although I enjoy my humor, I’m deeply sad that the main way we use to distinguish ourselves is superiority. My heart aches when I think that this is how we perceive ourselves. IHow come such a poor, divisive, and untruthful definition appears in our dictionaries?
The dictionary is the Bible of the dualistic faith. It’s full of stories and definitions that are too often accepted blindly. How often we say “let’s check in the dictionary.” We need to check about the dictionary! What is a dictionary anyway?
“A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices.”
We invest so many resources right now into the environment and protection of endangered species. Perhaps we first need to change our dictionaries. How we perceive ourselves is how we treat the world.
We relay on research and history, we sit in hundreds of hours of history classes in the education system and no one teaches us about the nature of ourselves. Well, if we rely on history so much, let’s try to find even one example in history where a sense of superiority led to a positive outcome.
I have tears in my eyes thinking how much pain we have caused during such a short period of time that we “human beings”exist.
What is a human being to you?
What are you?
Joy. Love. Peace. Understanding – Mahalo Jesus.