*Brian Wilcox. 'Reaching Skyward ~ Trees, Pisgah National Forest'. Flickr
A continuance of dialogues with a sage who did not see himself as a sage, but others did; from Brian K. Wilcox. "Meetings with an Anonymous Sage."
These nondual offerings are not for persons satisfied with conventional religion or spirituality, have antagonism toward one or the other or both, or simply enjoy intellectualized gluttony on ideology. I trust persons who will benefit from these offerings, those sincerely receptive to truth, in all its boundlessness, and desiring to serve the good of all beings in loving compassion, will be led here by divine Guidance. Those without these two qualities, I ask to read no further than the following blessing. ... Amen... Peace be with you, and All!
* * *
no before, no after
arises the thought before and after
no before life, no after life
no teaching, no belief, only Presence
* * *
A question was posed in group sharing time, I was raised on the teaching of belief in heaven and hell as future places of abode, after death. I believed this for many years; now, I'm ambivalent about it. What do you believe about this?
First, you said "I was raised on," and this means such belief did not naturally arise within your beingness, rather a social matrix which had already held this teaching as true conditioned you to this belief. You said, "teaching," which is belief, nothing more or less. However, a teaching, or a belief, is not the one Truth, nor is it equal to truth as an idea characterized as true. The one Truth, as all-encompassing Presence, boundless sky-like Being, is free of all truths and untruths. I ask, knowing this, can you return to the spontaneous spaciousness prior to the teaching and, so, before the question you have asked me? Can you return there?
By your guidance, I have many times.
Was heaven or hell there? Is heaven and hell there?
How about birth and death, was one or both there?
Was time there?
Were you there?
It seemed more like I was observing it all.
What was, and is, there?
Just a sense of presence.
How many presences? One? Two? Three? More?
This one Presence is not a thing, not an object. Presence is self-existing; the Creating One cannot Itself be created. This is why we can say Presence is Nothing. The one Truth is no-thing. No thing, including heaven or hell, exists in unoriginated, so pure, Presence. And, since you, which is really a self-sense only, seemed to be observing this one Presence, you, too, as witness of That, must derive from It. That free of witnessing cannot arise after the witness arises; the witness arises from the Non-Witness, from Pure Subjectivity, or That knowing Itself without needing to observe Itself as an object to see and know. In purity of Being, to be is to know, in one, eternal moment.
From where arises such belief as I was taught?
The potential and, so, formation of all thought arises from the thoughtless Presence. All teachings of paradise or damnation arise, then, from the same one Source. Heaven and hell, nirvana and samsara, these arise even as fantasies in dream at night. What we call reality is absolutely unreal, while relatively real, again, as a dream. And, when you awake in the morning and recall the dream the prior night, you realize this was a dream, every aspect of the dream relative. Belief, indeed entire systems of belief, are dreams.
So, relatively, heaven and hell arise in the mind, like dreams do at night?
Yes. A little verse I wrote about oneness and duality...
you create another
Living in love
you live in neither
So, you don't believe in either?
I neither believe nor do not believe.
Then, are you an agnostic?
Agnosticism is a belief system.
So, what about an afterlife?
life being life
how a before or after
So, life is endless?
The Supreme Being holds within all sense of duration. Time, too, is dreamlike. In the one now, there is no time, in direct perception is timelessness. The idea of endless duration is an idea, even as the idea of life having a beginning is an idea. When you see a clock and think "11 o'clock," you have absolutely thought nothing, what you have thought is, again, a superimposition on Reality. There is no time, or the sense of or thought of, within true Being, this Being you share in oneness with the Supreme One. So, no questions of what happened before birth or will after death subsist in the purity of Being Itself.
*Brian Wilcox. 'A Beautiful Arrangement'. Flickr
(C)Brian K. Wilcox, 2019
The theme of "Lotus of the Heart" is 'Living in Love beyond Beliefs.' This work is presented by Brian K. Wilcox, of Maine, USA. You can order Brian's book An Ache for Union: Poems on Oneness with God through Love, through major online booksellers.