exploring self-realization, sacred personhood, and full humanity
"The word enlightenment conjures up the idea of some superhuman accomplishment, and the ego likes to keep it that way, but it is simply your natural state of felt oneness with Being... a state of connectedness with something immeasurable and indestructible, something that, almost paradoxically, is essentially you and yet is much greater than you." Eckhart Tolle
Editor's 1-Minute Essay: Being
Mortimer Adler, Syntopicon Essay: Being
Frederic W. H. Myers, in the afterlife, transmitted to Juliet S. Goodenow, Vanishing Night: “You [shall] find whatever you search after. In all the category of experience, you gain what you are searching after — in literature, in art, knowledge, science, invention, love-attainment, in culture, wisdom, riches or treasure… All is accorded you. The spiritual embodiment of your life work is your treasure in Heaven, those laid up by yourself [that is, what you have made of yourself, reflecting your particular talents], your treasures, your mansion, your reward for all you have done on the Earth Plane is laid up by yourself, for yourself, when at last you attain your reward for deeds done in the body. No arbitrary avenging angel awaits you. Creation afforded you in the beginning the implements of industrious labor to satisfy the craving of hunger of the body, and for the satisfaction of the soul. Within your complex organism the Creator placed a guide [that is, your particular desire and sentiment, which reveal destiny] — your passport through the world and through eternity.”
Rollo May: “Finding the center of strength within ourselves is in the long run the best contribution we can make to our fellow men. ... One person with indigenous inner strength exercises a great calming effect on panic among people around him. This is what our society needs — not new ideas and inventions; important as these are, and not geniuses and supermen, but persons who can "be", that is, persons who have a center of strength within themselves.”
Yasutani Roshi, Zen master (1885-1973): “The fundamental delusion of humanity is to suppose that I am here and you are out there.”
Eckhart Tolle: “For love to flourish, the light of your presence needs to be strong enough so that you no longer get taken over by the thinker or the pain-body and mistake them for who you are. To know yourself as the Being underneath the thinker, the stillness underneath the mental noise, the love and joy underneath the pain, is freedom, salvation, enlightenment.”
Carl Rogers: “What I will be in the next moment, and what I will do, grows out of the moment, and cannot be predicted.”
Henry David Thoreau: “I cannot tell you what I am, more than a ray of the summer’s sun. What I am I am, and say not. Being is the great explainer.”
Mohadesa Najumi: “It doesn't matter if you don't want me, I want myself”
Yong Kang Chan: “Loneliness is an invitation to go deeper into our being. It wakes us up to the wholeness and completeness we already are.”
Eckhart Tolle: “The philosopher Descartes believed he had found the most fundamental truth when he made his famous statement: "I think, therefore I am." He had, in fact, given expression to the most basic error: to equate thinking with Being and identity with thinking. The compulsive thinker, which means almost everyone, lives in a state of apparent separateness, in an insanely complex world of continuous problems and conflict, a world that reflects the ever-increasing fragmentation of the mind.”
Mokokoma Mokhonoana: “Doing is often a subconscious escape from being.”
Life In Two Spheres, or Scenes in the Summerland, by Hudson Tuttle, channeled testimony from the other side:
"Wretch! Wretch! Wretch,” he exclaimed in anguish."Oh, that I had never been born!”
The Sage, taking him by the hand, raised him up, saying: "Self-accusing child, why blame yourself thus? Blame no one for their follies, but the circumstances in which you were placed. They were bad; popular opinion, before which you bent , was bad. All tended to make you what you were. You have a germ of native goodness in your being, or you would not thus accuse yourself. Arise! weep no more! The future is bright.” ...
"You have corrected me aright; I acknowledge your superior spiritual powers of perception reverentially."
"Reverence not me; I am no more than the others. We acknowledge submission to no one. Each is his own individual sovereign, to think and act as best pleases himself, if he is regardful of the rights of others and is measured by his worth alone. If you are thankful express it, not by words or gestures, but by actions. Reverence not me, but truth. You are still prejudiced on this and kindred subjects, and your prejudice must be overcome."
Plato: “For it is clear, on the one hand, that have you been familiar with these things for a long time—whatever you wish to signify when you utter "being"—and, before this we used to believe it, but now we have been perplexed.”
Osho: “Be — don't try to become”
Albert Camus: “Every act of rebellion expresses a nostalgia for innocence and an appeal to the essence of being.”
The following is from Robert H. Kirven's "A Concise Overview of Swedenborg's Theology
These titles are not part of Swedenborg's theological vocabulary. They are not names of topics that Swedenborg discussed under different headings. According to most conventions, they are not theological terms at all, but philosophical or metaphysical concepts that are assumed as part of the basis of theology. Nevertheless, they must be discussed in an overview of Swedenborg's theology. The reasons for that should be apparent soon.
Ontology is the study of being. Epistemology is the study of knowing. They are studies that are basic to understanding the act of understanding. They are so basic that it is impossible to think at all without making ontological and epistemological assumptions. Those assumptions are so abstract that they are difficult to verbalize, so most people simply assume them before beginning to think and never think precisely about what it is that they are assuming. Therefore, I will try to make clear what the ontological and epistemological issues are before pointing out the ontological and epistemological assumptions that underlie all the theological ideas in Swedenborg's works.
I think the best way to focus on these two topics is to convert them to questions. That is the way they first came into focus, back at the beginnings of rational thought. The ontological question is, "What is?" The epistemological question is, "How do I know?" Those two questions probably are the toughest questions—as well as the most stimulating and productive questions—that human beings have ever asked. It is hard to think for long about one without asking the other, but let's start with them one at a time.
What is? Try to stick with that simplest form of the question, because most of the paraphrases that seem to clarify it turn out to change the question in a way that leads to a lot of others. For instance, if you change it to, "What is real?" or "What is included in reality?" you set up polarities, such as between reality and imagination. Then you have to ask, are there contents to your imagination? Unless you say that things you imagine are, then what are you imagining? If you do say that anything you imagine is—in the sense that it can be included in the list of what is real—can you say that an imaginary object is, in the same way, or with the same meaning, that you say that the paper this is printed on is? (Forms of the verb "to be," are in boldface here, to remind you to stop at them, focus on them. We are so used to using it as a copula between subject and predicate that it takes a special effort to think of being in its absolute sense—the opposite of not-being.)
Getting back to the question "What is?": Would you say that the paper that these words are printed on is? If you do, then you probably would say that the ink on it is, too. The ink is printed in patterns or shapes that we call letters, and the letters are grouped into what are called words. But if you say that letters are, in the same way that inkmarks are, then you're led to saying that words are, also. If there are such things as words, they were before they were printed, and they still would be if you erased them off the page. The paper and the ink and the patterns of inkmarks can be seen or touched, or both. However, words, to be words instead of inkmarks, must be thought. Now, if you say that there are words on this paper (and the paper is, and the ink-marks are), you say that things are which may be seen, but need not be; and things are which are thought, whether they are seen or not. So in just saying that there are words on this paper, you've said that there are two kinds of things—sensible things (things which senses perceive), and mental things (words, meanings, ideas, which the mind perceives). In fact, you've said even more. You have said that the two kinds of things that are, are interconnected, or inter-related: inkmarks are, and inkmarks are words; words are, and words are ideas; and ideas are. Even though inkmarks are not ideas, inkmarks and ideas meet and relate in words. New ideas cause new patterns of inkmarks to be made and new patterns of inkmarks cause new ideas to be thought.
There are two kinds of things, both real (imagination produces ideas and ideas are real) and both capable of affecting or influencing the other. "Two kinds of things are" is one answer to the ontological question.
Is it a good answer? One way to judge that is to compare it with some of the other answers that have been proposed. One of the first was that earth, air, fire, and water are all that really are everything else is some combination of those four elements. This paper, for instance, isn't air, because it doesn't evaporate; isn't water, because it doesn't dissolve (it may come apart into pulp, but you can still find it in the water); but it is partly fire, because part of it will burn ("go back into" fire), and it is partly earth, because the ashes left after burning it will go back into earth. Things like ideas must be mostly air, because when you quit breathing, you don't have any more, so they must have returned to their original state...
Hermann Hesse: “They both listened silently to the water, which to them was not just water, but the voice of life, the voice of Being, the voice of perpetual Becoming.”
Eckhart Tolle: “To know yourself as the Being underneath the thinker, the stillness underneath the mental noise, the love and joy underneath the pain, is freedom, salvation, enlightenment.”
Alan W. Watts: “What you are basically, deep, deep down, far, far in, is simply the fabric and structure of existence itself.”
Soren Kierkegaard: “The most common form of despair is not being who you are.”
Osho: “Up to your intellect, the whole world can come and make contact. Up to your feeling, only love and friendship can come and make contact. Up to your being, only you; not even your lover can come.”
Albert Einstein: “Still there are moments when one feels free from one’s own identification with human limitations and inadequacies. At such moments, one imagines that one stands on some spot of a small planet, gazing in amazement at the cold yet profoundly moving beauty of the eternal, the unfathomable: life and death flow into one, and there is neither evolution nor destiny; only being.”