Category: The Inner Shaman Views: 1905
I have written variations on this theme before but no one can ever hear this enough times so here is another go at it. Put your thinking caps on and get ready for some real reality twisting ideas. I will start out slow and then move faster. This is not an article you want to read when you are tired, spaced out, or distracted. It will make no sense to you. Make sure you are alert, awake, and focused and you will find it more interesting, even enlightening. Here goes.
People believe they are relatively free to think and be whatever they want. They think they determine who they are in life, are in control, and can steer themselves consciously wherever they want to go. In fact humans are so deluded they actually believe they are independent of the thoughts and pressures of their families, their social circle, and their cultures. In short they often feel they are the captain of their own ship despite the huge contradictions in their behavior and the outcome of their actions. The truth is embarrassing. Studies in social psychology show just how sheep-like people actually are. Countless studies have shown how social pressure works to control people’s choices, their values, and their beliefs. Many people are quite willing to shock a subject to the point of death if they are told to do it by an experimenter in a lab coat. When shown various lines of unequal length, people will eventually change their opinion to “They are all the same.” if enough people say they are. We are simply not the free thinkers we think we are. When up against social pressure we can doubt ourselves and change our behavior and even our beliefs in a heartbeat.
I remember with some chagrin that when I was a freshman in high school I was attracted to a certain girl who went to an all girl’s high school. However that girl’s high school was considered “not cool” by the elite boys in my Jesuit high school. They only went out with girls from a “cool” girl’s school across town. Due to social pressure I didn’t follow through on my attraction because I didn’t want to be criticized. I let social pressure control me.
People believe their choice of political parties, clubs, or social groups are based on solid convictions but it isn’t really so. They often belong so they will be accepted by their peers and social groups. They may be doing it to please their parents, mentors, teachers and other authorities. In no small number of cases they are doing it to spite those very same authorities. So who is acting freely? When one looks closely at people’s behavior it is mostly machine like, stimulus response oriented, and robotic. Sometimes this is easier to see in people of a different culture than your own. For example we may just shake our heads when we see the North Koreans following their dictators without question even if they are starving to death or treated very poorly. We were shocked at people’s willingness to follow Hitler without question, or we are currently horrified when we see young people from all over the world willing to become suicide bombers for ISIS. However it is harder to look at our own sheep like behavior as consumers, followers of fads, followers of religious prejudices, and willingness to let the government commit atrocities in the name of our safety.
Studies in hypnosis deepen the case against free will. Under hypnosis it has been demonstrated that people will do almost anything if so directed. They will bark like dogs, become rigid like boards, shiver as if they are freezing, and sweat believing they are too hot. Indeed people’s skin will actually blister if they believe they are being burned by a hot poker.
So it appears that we are not really free thinkers, not independent, and are not who we thought we were. We are a world of robots completely hypnotized and controlled by the corporatocracy (fascism), like it or not. It is as if the matrix series of films is actually true.
But wait. Maybe there is a ray of light here. Studies in hypnosis show that you cannot command someone to commit a murder if it is against their deepest core values. There is a limit to the control, to the influence you can have over another person. And inexplicably people have been known to rebel, to stage revolutions, to refuse to do what they are being commanded to do even under pain of torture and death. Just when it looked like human beings were hopeless we get another view. So let us go into this possibility that humans might just actually be free at special times. What accounts for this?
As long as the false personality runs the body, the person is a hopeless robot behaving in a machine-like stimulus response manner. They are completely hypnotized by the one and only physical universe based ego that tries to control the entire human race. Some people think they have a personal ego but that is not true. Ego is ego and there is only one of them. Everyone’s ego behaves in basically the same way. Only the issues it tries to manipulate are personal. The reason there is only one ego is that there is only one human being with many faces. We are all one and that is not just a nice theory. It is an actual fact that is almost impossible to fathom.
The physical universe is characterized by multiplication. There are endless supplies of everything, blades of grass, bugs, people, planets, suns, and galaxies. You could say that there are population explosions going on all over the place. Certainly there is no shortage of physical bodies. They seem to be popping out everywhere even more than resources can accommodate. The physical universe is a grand illusion. Looking at it is like looking through a prism or walking through a hall of opposing mirrors, making it appear that there are thousands when there is only one. So, in a manner of speaking there is only one robot, the false personality, and there is only one free, independently choosing being, essence, a God self that has been referred to as the “Only Begotten Son.” That is code for the fact that there is only one of us. As usual, we just forgot for awhile.
There are those who might say, “But wait, I thought that was Jesus and he is not me.” Oh yeah! You want to say that he is over there and you are over here and you are two separate beings. No, that cannot possibly be true unless your philosophy is flawed, because ultimately there is only one Spirit, not many. The illusion is that there are many. “But, but, oh my god this is absolute heresy.” Ok, call it whatever you want, but heresy according to who or what? This is just simple logic folks. Spirit or God is everything and nothing. We are included in everything and nothing. So there is only one everything and nothing. Not many everythings and nothings, or are you are saying God is not everything? Sorry, you cannot have it both ways.
Of course you can just disallow the whole thing and say that there is no one Spirit, that life is all just random stuff and lots of it that just so happens to be around. Well, Ok you can think that but it leads to utter meaninglessness. Not only that but it flies in the face of the world’s most intelligent teachers and thinkers. Is there an example of one great being comparable to the Buddha, Jesus, or Krishna who taught that life is meaningless. No. Not one.
So now let us continue to be consistent. If everything is one then there cannot be one robot self and one awakened free choosing self because that would make two. We have to pick one or the other as being everything. If we pick the robot self we are utterly screwed for a variety of reasons but not only that, it cannot possibly exist. Why? Because in order to have a robot you have to have something that commands the robot or programs it and that requires two. So it must be an illusion according to our definition that all is one.
If we pick the awakened self who is conscious of choice then we are in better shape because that is closer to our definition that all is one. However if all is one then what is there to choose? Ah, now that is a bit of a conundrum. The being can only choose to be itself and that dear folks is what is called enlightenment, where we are all headed. So, there is no ego, no false personality, no robot self, no machine after all. It is all an illusion. What is not an illusion is the free conscious awakened self that is everything. That highly conscious self is having some very interesting dreams, dreams of growing, dreams of awakening, dreams of being in various states like being human. These dreams are of a temporary nature, impermanent, volatile, but highly compelling adventures in consciousness. In the end because of our dreaming that we are evolving creatures, humans and other sentient beings, we experience that we are more than we were, even thought that is quite impossible. Or is it?
Perhaps now you can understand what the Native Americans mean when they say, “Behold the Great Mystery” while standing on a mountain top. Perhaps this is also what the Zen Buddhists mean when they say, “Keep don’t know mind.” In the end it is not possible to understand everything through the limited intellect. We are hopelessly outgunned by the cosmos so to speak.
In the end it is best to look at others as mirror images of ourselves and treat them as such. Even more it is best to understand that others will be as we think them to be and we are as others think us to be. If someone considers us to be stupid then we are strangely a little more stupid and if they see us as lovable then we are more lovable. If we want others to behave better we need to see them that way. If we think of someone as an a—hole then they become more that way. After all we are all creators busy creating ourselves and each other through projection. Think about it. This is either hilariously funny or absolutely horrible. Which is it for you?
Happy trails or maybe I should say, Happy trail, or better still, Happy Tail.
José Stevens PhD is an international lecturer, corporate team builder and organizational coach, consultant and trainer. A psychologist, licensed clinical social worker and author of more than twenty books and numerous articles, he is also co-editor for A Journal of Contemporary Shamanism and a board member of the Society for Shamanic Practitioners. He is the founder, with his wife Lena, of the Power Path School of Shamanism and The Center for Shamanic Education and Exchange, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating youth in indigenous cultures. He has completed a ten-year apprenticeship with a Huichol Maracame in Mexico and has studied with the Shipibos of the Amazon and the Paqos of the Andes for the last thirty years.
Go to: www.thepowerpath.com
ॐ Namasté - Blessings!
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