Sunday, August 26, 2012

Miles Kimball — The Egocentric Illusion

Miles Kimball reflects on David Foster.

Confessions of a Supply-Side Liberal
The Egocentric Illusion
Miles Kimball

Perennial wisdom, the universal mystical spirituality, or "core spirituality," at the heart of all religions and wisdom traditions is about liberation from "the egocentric illusion" also known as spiritual ignorance.

Jesus in the The Gospel of Thomas, logion 3: "...if you will not know yourselves, you dwell in poverty and it is you who are that poverty."
Thomas O. Lambdin translation

(for jrbarch)


jrbarch said...

Thanks Tom! Enjoyed the read but still wondering about the connection between the two articles?? I thought the MK article was thoughtful in spirit but a natural constraint evident; the quotes a mixed bag (flowers and weeds, probably because whoever gathered them up didn’t know the difference) – hope that doesn’t sound arrogant. When somebody says – “I decided I did not believe in God” there is both decision and belief: there are those who believe there is no God and there are those who believe there is a God. Both are believers. It is always better to know; and if one does not know, to say simply – ‘I do not know’. If one knows, then belief is automatically included and in its proper station. If someone has never ever experienced something in their life, then they are absolutely correct to ‘believe’ it doesn’t exist: but that doesn’t mean that they know, or that their belief is true.

On egocentric illusion: the part I liked the most was -

Sometimes I imagine consciousness as one light that shines through many windows.

On the quotes attributed –

I shall give you what no eye has seen and what no ear has heard and what no hand has touched and what has never occurred to the human mind.

I read a haiku once and modified it a little to suit my own experience:

"I can see you fly...
You are an angel, high above the ground - looking up, looking down!
Above a star, threaded to the sun ..."

I think this is where MK & DFW may have read too little into their experience. Mind constrains and limits, it has a natural ring-pass-not; the door to freedom for me, is the heart – the heart calls each day for the traveller to journey within. The heart is relentless in its quest: it is mind that has doubts and distractions. I would like to help in letting people know that there is more. That the heart can fly ….

In regard to the particulars of the discourse and ‘illusion of egocentricity’, I would say -

I am real (for now). My persona walks this earth, but within a persona is a part of consciousness that can definitely soar. Using words as poor symbols: the day my heart opened was the wonderful day this became known to me. Looking within, ascending, looking above - I see …. a ‘spark’ from the ‘Sun’. It is that which gives me life, gives me existence - ‘my spark’ as it shoots forth from an incomprehensible Sun. Even though I am separate, finite and infinitely small, I realise the incredible truth: ‘there is a drop within the ocean, everybody knows that. But that there is an ocean within each drop, not everybody knows.’ [Kabir]. I would say each human being is a triplicity: spark, consciousness and persona, animated by one Sun. I am not a believer: I like to know. Words and books are great, but I need to know. My heart sings with complete joy in the presence of that Sun (I am a fortunate witness) – it is a different kind of knowing!!

I don’t think I really worship anything; freedom for me is to bathe in the energy of the Sun and enjoy it as far as I humanly can. I think of myself as a teeny little firefly in the face of a majestic Sun – you cannot worship something that you cannot possibly understand! All you can do is enjoy its presence. The persona is of the world and must deal with the world as it finds it – hopefully with love and intelligence (attributes of the energy of the Sun). The persona likes to find something or someone to cling on to. It doubts and gets lost in its pursuits, its unconsciousness and stupidity (have just read Bill Black’s latest on the Irish ‘famine’ of British kindness); it lives in fear. The angel (consciousness) loves to fly free and bathe in its source. The angel pounds on each door (the heart) because it wants you to know too (angel and persona are one anyways). Sorry about the imagery … words are pretty useless.


jrbarch said...

(cont) …
When the Sun withdraws its rays from the persona and the consciousness, I have no idea what happens? The breath leaves: it began with breath, it ends with breath. Haven’t experienced it yet thank G.O.D. Until then, the gift of life, the appreciation and gratitude, the knowing and understanding, the deepening discovery of what is in the ‘universe’ inside, the seed that blossoms under care, I hold in trust. I trust. The creator to me is Energy; IT’s known qualities are Will, Love, Intelligence. I don’t think it is personal in any way; at least it has never said hello to me! Would scare the living daylights out of me if it did! It simply bathes me in light – like it does everything else. I have experienced this Energy inside of me since 1974 – it is the only thing in ‘my universe’ that has an ultimate reality. I think we are the only ones who worry about shadows and fear. I don’t think we should mix up the affairs of the persona with the affairs of the heart; nor the heart with the warmth, beauty and power of the Sun. I think we should get our human priorities straight. Along with others, I greatly admire your efforts in this field.

I think we are each the center of our universes for as long as we exist and our challenge is to understand ourselves, understand our true nature, which means we have to– ‘know thyself’ (then do unto others etc in the world of the persona ….): what exactly is a human being? After 200,000 years of evolution, what exactly is a human being? I don’t think we are those little puppets that are spoken of in the media … we are not owned by our countries or institutions, despite the bits of paper. We are not a play! We are real! We should seek out our reality, not destroy it.

Believe me, I am a very common, ordinary garden variety type human, so that means this experience is available to anyone. There are many people around this planet who know what I know, and many much deeper. For me, it is in the heart of a human being that evolution finds its ascension – the door must be opened; keeping my door open is my commitment to me. Opening it is each individual’s opportunity – the heart knows the steps it needs to take if we only knew how to get out of the way. I cannot help anybody else other than to say in all sincerity: ‘please follow your heart’ – that is my honest limitation. The heart is only interested in the Divine – that is its ‘nature’. The persona is interested in everything else – that is its nature. There need be no conflict between the two; it’s just a matter of priorities. I would simply like to let people know that there is more! What you are looking for is inside of you; always has been. Ever since the days of the caveman we have wanted more. Even a little baby wants more and it just doesn’t stop until the last breath.


*The only thing I really know about Christ is that, despite giving it his best shot, two millennia later humans still have no clue what is inside of them, nor how to get along with one another, even though it was plainly spelt out. That is what I read in those quotes! Turning a simple and beautiful experience of the heart into fragmented religions and even more excuses to fight, distracting the persona in a global setting, seems to be our human downfall … the world is a funny place for this plant of the heart of mankind to grow!!

Tom Hickey said...

Mind constrains and limits, it has a natural ring-pass-not; the door to freedom for me, is the heart – the heart calls each day for the traveller to journey within. The heart is relentless in its quest: it is mind that has doubts and distractions. I would like to help in letting people know that there is more. That the heart can fly.

Well said.

BTW, Hazat Inayat Khan introduced the Sufi symbol of the winged heart to the West. It's proliferated. I hope the meaning has too. images