Human Nature

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by DCH Park

Sun Moon fullOne day, as the Sun was passing through the sky, gazing at the entirety of the Earth, it suddenly occurred to him that although he saw many things in his brilliant gaze, he didn’t see everything. He saw the stones and the soil of the earth and its rivers, lakes, and seas. He saw the mountains and the valleys, the snow and the ice and the clouds but he didn’t see very far beyond the surfaces of things.

He pondered this for a long time and it seemed to be true so he took his questions to the Moon. She represented the cool, dark parts of existence just as he represented the fire and light. She was nurturing, bubbly, and active, though much of that activity was hidden. He was calm, still, and clear.

She healed through her connections. His gaze was penetrating. Healing was present in his gaze but almost as an afterthought – a facet or unintended side effect of clarity of perception. For her, healing was a central focus.

In the Sun’s view, there was no need to go anywhere or do anything because you already were everything. You just had to find yourself. – At least that’s the way that he had always looked at things. Perhaps there was another way. Perhaps there was another whole half of the Universe that he knew nothing about. That’s why he sought out the Moon.

When he found her, he said, “I penetrate everything that I see. I gaze brightly and light up the whole sky when my eye is open. Yet I don’t see everything.”

The Moon said, “That is true. There are things beneath the earth or under the ocean or ice that you cannot see. There are things beneath the surface that you cannot see. There may be things in the hearts of things that no one can see – invisible things that cannot be seen but that nonetheless have real and important effects.”

Ever one to cut to the heart of things, the Sun said, “If they are invisible how can I see them?”

“Perhaps ‘seeing’ is the wrong way to think about it. You cannot see what is invisible but you may know something is there and how it behaves through its effects, even if you can’t see it. You can see the effects even if you can’t see the thing directly.

“You know a rock is just beneath the surface of a river even if you can’t see it by the ripples it creates.”

The Sun thought about this. He looked at the Universe all around him in a new way. Then he said, “So I can know what is there even in the darkness, even when I can’t see? I can know it by its effects?”

“Yes. Connections are there, even in the cool darkness, though they are invisible to the eye. They are always present, even in the daylight.”

“Hm,” replied the Sun. “Let us create life together so that we may witness the cycle of birth and death so that we may learn. What ripples will life leave behind as it passes through the Universe?”

Then he concluded, “I look forward to understanding you better. We may each understand the other better because of this.”

The Moon nodded her agreement.

So it was done. And the animals and plants filled the earth and for a time the Sun was very busy with all of the life. He was fascinated with all the dramas that played out, though he never intervened. He just watched.

The Moon was happy, too. She was delighted with all of the creatures and plants. It was as if the various forms of life completed her feminine aspect somehow.

Yet ultimately it wasn’t enough. They sought each other out again. The Sun was pleased that the Moon seemed to be so happy. He hadn’t expected such a palpable change. He said, “Life seems to agree with you.”

The Moon said, “Have you seen the fish? Of course you have, at least sometimes. There are so many kinds! And the different flowers! And the bees! The mammals! Not all of them but many of them have such soft fur!

“And the web of connections!” She went on, “It got so much richer when we added living things! It’s amazing!”

He felt it, too. The web of connections was much richer and more complex than it had been but it still didn’t open things up as much as he’d like. Or maybe it was that it wasn’t quite opening things up the way he’d wanted. Or maybe what they’d done so far wasn’t enough – maybe they could experience more by going deeper…

He said, “I sense that something more is possible. I’m not sure what. Maybe something more self-aware or something more aware of connections to the rest of the web or something more aware of the Universe.” He paused, deeply submersed in the feelings and images that came to him.

Then he said, “Maybe something that can better articulate what’s going on inside so the invisible things can be made plain. Maybe all of those things. Maybe none of them. Maybe something else.

“What do you think?”

The Moon pondered this in silence. Then she said, “I hadn’t thought about it that way. Actually,” she smiled, “I hadn’t thought about it much at all. I was having so much fun with everything else but now that I think about it, I see that you’re not wrong. What do you want to do?”

“Let’s go one step further. Let’s create Man. Let us create a child together so that he may live through the cycle of birth to death and let us learn through him. He will be a part of each of us so he will know the penetrating light as well as the connections in coolness and darkness. He will know both and will be able to share what he knows.

“We may experience life and the getting of wisdom and its benefits through him.”

“Hm,” the Moon said. “Not a bad idea. Let’s do it.”

So the Sun and the Moon, representing the masculine and feminine aspects of the Universe, worked together to create Man. He was a part of each, so he reflected both feminine and masculine aspects. In fact, he combined these different aspects in surprising ways. He was a part of the Universe and reflected its masculine and feminine elements but he was also a separate being. He was a part of the whole and whole in himself and he knew it.

He could perceive himself more clearly than any other living thing and thus more clearly perceive and act upon the divinity within himself. He was no more divine than any other part of the Universe but he could know he was divine and thus he could create his own fate. Other living things were hamstrung by their inability to perceive themselves. Thus they were trapped in their own fates and didn’t even know they were trapped.

It was possible for Man to free himself but he wasn’t created free. He wasn’t created imprisoned, either. He could choose his fate but if he didn’t choose for himself, a fate would be chosen for him and he wouldn’t be free even if he considered himself free. Chains don’t disappear simply because you ignore them. In the same way, a Man who doesn’t choose for himself isn’t free, no matter how much he insists that he is.

On the other hand, the mere act of making a choice proves nothing. Many a stage magician and con artist have thrived by getting people to choose the way they wanted them to without letting them know their choices were planned in advance. It is necessary to perceive what is constraining you in order to free yourself. In order to perceive things clearly, Man has to practice perceiving.

This is the nature of the essential struggle that every person must go through. Each person must choose for him or her self what to accept as true and what to live by. This is not a reflection that there is no truth, on the contrary. However the only place to find truth is within. Ironically, the only way to find the truth of the Universe is to become familiar with the invisible things. This is the opportunity presented to Man.

Thus, the Sun and the Moon, and the whole of existence are able to live and experience through Man. The connections that Man has with the rest of the Universe also mean that the Universe is connected to Man. Indeed, Man is free to find and honor the divine spark within himself but he is also completely himself. It is as if the more he surrenders to the divine, the more himself he is.

Alternatively, the more he resists the divine he finds within himself, the more he insists on being or doing a certain thing because “he” has decided he wants to, the more he loses himself. It is a paradox for sure.

© 2015, David Park. All Rights Reserved.

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Wake Up!

by Ingrid Dean

Photo by Meagan at /www.flickr.com/photos/meaganjean/3696204192/, (CC BY 2.0).

About five or six years ago, I had just gotten off work and was driving home alone, towards Adrian, Michigan.  It was close to midnight and I was tired after working the afternoon shift.  I was driving about sixty-five miles an hour along a highway with farming fields on both sides when I fell asleep at the wheel of my small pick-up truck.  My truck was headed straight for the north shoulder of the road.

Just as my vehicle hit the gravel on the shoulder, I heard a loud voice shouting, “WAKE UP!” WAKE UP!”  I opened my eyes and realized I was looking at the steering wheel section just above my lap.  My head was tilted forward; I knew I had been sound asleep.

Awake now, I looked toward the passenger seat and saw a man sitting there.  He was staring me right in the face, leaning toward me, and yelling at me to wake up.  I could only see his outline because a bright glow seemed to come from within and around him.  We were looking at each other, eye-to-eye, but the brightness was so great, I could only see the contours of his face and body.  I’ll never forget his intent stare.

I immediately looked forward and realized I was approaching the top edge of the ditch.  I didn’t panic.  I took my foot off the gas and steered back towards the roadway.  Once I had the truck under control, I looked toward my passenger–but no one was there.  I could still see a dim light glowing, but it soon faded away.

It was no dream.  I saw a man, and I felt his presence in my truck.  This is an experience I will never forget.  If I had driven off the roadway at the speed I was going, chances are my truck would have flipped and death or serious injury would have been the consequence.

I truly believe a guardian angel saved my life that night.

 

More like this and some of Ingrid’s other work can be found at www.spiritofthebadge.com.

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Expectations

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by DCH Park

As I write this, I am over 50 years old. I imagine that there are more than a few individuals who are reading this (at least I hope there are) who are much younger than 50 who expect themselves to be well off by then. They see themselves living in certain conditions when they are 50. They imagine a certain lifestyle. They imagine that if they haven’t already, by 50 they will have “figured it out.”

When I was younger, that’s what I thought. I believed that I was gritty and honest enough to be truthful about what was going on even if no one else was. I believed that my gritty honesty would inevitably lead me to the truth and that truth would empower me. I considered gritty honesty to be the quickest way forward.

I had no guides, no teachers in this. Although the creative greats, whose artistic, scientific, and other achievements I studied, had many interesting insights to offer, practically all of the teachers and peers I encountered in life were focused on financial security within the social milieu into which they were born.

No doubt, most of them were motivated by genuine concern. In the name of clear-eyed honesty, they probably looked around and saw what was available in society and defined themselves and what was possible in terms of what they saw. They took it for granted and tried to make the best with what they saw. At least that’s what I understood of what I saw of their behavior.

Nevertheless, I was surprised and disheartened by the number of people whose attitudes were shaped by what they saw. They seemed to be aware of or concerned with only what was presented currently – not by what was possible or right, regardless of how they saw themselves.

These attitudes potentially shape whole lives. That’s why it is so important to be aware of the attitudes you have. One place attitudes can be clearly seen is in college. I was shocked by the number of people whose attitude toward college was vocational. They were looking at college as a way to secure a better job. They weren’t concerned with the truth or understanding better (or at all) what was going on. They just wanted a high-paying job. In fact, when I was in college, folks objected whenever a professor looked more deeply into something. They literally hissed whenever anything was brought up about why something worked. They were only concerned with how it has been shown to work so they could apply it better and make more money.

I suspect that the emphasis on making money has only grown more intense since that time. However I understand that there is a growing segment of younger people who are dissatisfied with mainstream attitudes and are searching for a better way. I submit that better ways are possible but to understand them, it is necessary to grasp why things work the way they do.

For better or for worse, right now, the emphasis on making money seems to be commonly accepted. We stop noticing things that commonly happen. There is evidence that even on a cellular level, things that happen very often lose their poignancy. Who hasn’t noticed that the best chip in the bag is always the first one?

However there is nothing in principle stopping you from getting another bag some time in the future and enjoying that first chip all over again. The observed behavior is consistent with there being a latency effect involved. As the period between sensing a chip in your mouth and the next time you have a chip in your mouth grows shorter, the response to the next chip becomes muted.

It’s as if the sensors in your mouth have to be primed or activated to fire and once they have fired, it takes a certain amount of time for them to become primed again. This is exactly the way we understand what happens.

What’s more, the mere expectation of the taste and feel of the chip can be enough to mute even the first chip. Notice how if you eat chips every day or with every meal and every snack, you will come to know the flavor and crunch of the first chip and come to want it less. You will become familiar with it.

Even though the period between one first chip and the next first chip has not changed, you come to want that first chip less. Notice that your experience of the first chip is different but the action of eating the first chip hasn’t changed. The only thing that has changed is your expectation.

This implies that at least part of your experience is determined by what you expect. I have found that managing my expectations can be a very potent way to free myself.

Before we leave this, however, it is interesting that we are socialized to assume that something has greater veracity as it becomes more common. We assume that the more commonly we hear, see, or understand something, the more true it must be.

Combining these two different treatments of common things is instructive. The more common something is, the more true we take it to be. Also, the more common something is, the less we tend to notice it.

This implies the taking of something for granted. We are not trapped in this behavior, but it does seem to be the default for now. What common experiences do you take for granted?

When I was very young, I accepted certain “explanations” and then proceeded to integrate them into my view of the world and how it worked. After that, I continued to integrate them onto every level I created because I took them as fundamental aspects of reality. They were just the way things worked.

I have become very practiced at overlooking these assumptions so realizing them again so they could be understood and healed took a while. Over the course of those 50 years of life, I have taken some right turns and some wrong turns. The right turns are ones that led to greater understanding of my inner voice. The result was always at least as good as I had imagined, usually better, and always surprising.

Take a chance. Be delighted.

© 2015, David Park. All Rights Reserved.

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Letting Resistance Crumble

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by DCH Park

What’s true is true. What’s more, what’s true on one level is true on others. This is reflected in and reflects the fractal nature of the universe. It accounts for the creative insights that engineers, scientists, and artists have. It means that it is meaningful to draw from one part of existence to understand another. This includes personal experience of the universe. Since you are part of the universe (since everyone is), this also includes experience of yourself.

I was recently reminded of a personal experience that I once had that has echoes in other areas of my life. I remember that I once massaged someone with a hand that was in the final stages of healing. Before the massage, the hand felt stiff and my thumb felt relatively inflexible.

This made for good deep tissue massage, since I worked with my stiff hand and pushed muscle against muscle. I remember the sensation of tissues in my hand opening. It felt like a piece of hard candy dissolving in my mouth. It got smaller and smaller and then finally broke up into tiny pieces before it disappeared.

This sensation came back to me recently. It has become clear that a significant majority of US citizens now indicate their support of gays, lesbians, etc. and their morality. In fact, as I write this, a couple of cases before the Supreme Court of the United States finished their arguments a week ago and made it clear that there is no compelling legal argument against gay marriage.

What was interesting to me was that on the night of the conclusion of oral arguments before the Supreme Court, FX, which is a branch of Fox Television, a remarkably conservative organization, broadcast a version of the movie, Forgetting Sarah Marshall that was very different than what they had broadcast in the past.

Previously, they had broadcast a version that was heavily censored and changed. Words were substituted in some cases. For example, “asshole” was replaced with “rascal.” Key scenes were cut and the characters were “cleaned up.” However the version that FX broadcast that night restored all of the original stuff.

The end result was that the movie was much more adult. It was a truer representation of the ways that adults can behave with each other. It was also arguably much funnier.

What is interesting to me is that the gay marriage debate in this country shows the exact same characteristics as the stiff hand and the hard candy. The time scales for each are different but the ways in which they change are the same.

In each case, the thing seems impossible at first. The change seems too large or too radical. Nevertheless, dissolving things little by little makes a difference. At some unpredictable point, a remarkable thing happens. The shrinking obstacle suddenly breaks up and disappears. The way is clear.

Perhaps it is always this way. What has changed in your life and body? How has that change occurred?

© 2014, David Park. All Rights Reserved.

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Finding Your Shape

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by DCH Park

One of the things that keeps coming back to me over and over in different situations is the realization that there is a difference between deciding what you want or what you’ll dedicate yourself to and discovering what you are dedicated to.

There are a plethora of differences, each with its own subtlety or implication but in my experience, all of them devolve from a single, central one. At least that’s the way that I discovered it in my life and that’s how I try to talk about it when it comes up and that’s how I try to teach it.

I have found that it is a hard concept, often taking years or more to fully explore. Often words are lacking for specific concepts. Sometimes it is not explored at all, instead, being rejected out of hand. In this way, it is like math or history. To be sure, it has similar power to ask the hard questions and invite, almost demand, sometimes difficult explorations to find answers to those questions.

I find that asking such questions is the most natural thing in the world. It’s as natural as breathing or walking. Small children do it naturally and universally – so much so that it has led to multiple cliches. Unfortunately, as children grow into adults, it is one of the things that they learn not to do. Also, when creative types of all stripes talk about being “childlike,” they are usually talking about the wonder, curiosity, and joy that a child welcomes the universe with. These qualities are closely related to asking questions. They are so closely related that quieting one leads to quieting them all.

This is why I was surprised to find that discovering what you’re dedicated to can be so hard. In the interests of full disclosure, let me say that I am still exploring what this means in my life, too. What I find is that the more aware I am of what is important to me and who I am in the world, the more clearly I can realize myself.

This has direct and immediate consequences. For example, the current direction of my career is one that I could not have predicted less than a year ago but it is a direct consequence of my greater insight into myself. It is a direct articulation of my answer to the direct question of what excites me.

This question had hung around for a long time, but the awareness and clarity from which the answer came is new. In this life, it came out of my second stroke and the near death experience that came with it.

I do not advocate strokes or near death experiences, but what I learned is interesting and useful. I learned that it is possible to be numb to pain. I had learned to numb pain. In fact, that was part of what I was holding on to. I was holding on to it in the name of life. I was assuming that if I felt no pain, there was no pain, no damage. It sounds silly, but that was my belief. That numbness was in me was a revelation.

Of course, healing required me to accept myself as I was. In order to do that, I had to first see myself clearly and honestly. That’s the value in realizing your numbness. There’s a difference between being numb to pain and having no pain. When you’re numb to pain, you’re numb to everything. Its like the numb part is a dead weight. You know it’s there logically. It takes up space but you can’t feel it.

When you have no pain, everything is alive. If something interacts with that part, you know it’s there even if you can’t see it. The richness of what’s available is profound and the contrast is a sharp one. That not withstanding, though, that richness is something that is often diminished and ultimately ignored by the attitude that leads to numbing.

As I healed, it became apparent that I was not alone in my numbness. The prevailing attitude seems to be that numbness is always preferable to pain. This seems to be true and is in the culture even when being simply honest about the pain can lead to healing and elimination of the cause of pain in the first place. This seems to be held as true even when simply treating symptoms and numbing yourself leads to further damage and greater pain later.

In my case, the numbness that I induced was centered around career and money. As I felt deeper and deeper into what I was numb to and why, I was able to heal it. As I healed it, I gained greater and greater clarity into my answers to hard questions. I actually asked myself those questions deliberately in order to open that space for answers.

I found that it is true that the arc of my life came clear or clearer anyway. I still had choice within that arc. I could even choose to live outside of that arc altogether. Specifically, I saw how every choice I had ever made in life was related to this arc. Ether it was a way to further explore and express it or it was a way to avoid exploring and expressing it.

That brings me back to the original question with which I opened this essay. What I realized was that the difference between deciding and discovering can be found in how much thought or logic you apply and possibly when you apply it.

It is difficult because many of society’s messages are centered on this idea, but deciding what you will dedicate yourself to (and then possibly applying discipline to stay on “the straight and narrow”) is an intellectual exercise. It is an application of logic and as such is divorced from life and you.

Discovering what you have already devoted yourself to, on the other hand, is an exploration of life and being alive. It is an expression of what excites you. You can hear it in someone’s voice when he or she is talking about what’s exciting. It’s the answer to the question, “What do you do (would you do) even though (if) you aren’t (weren’t) paid to do it?”

We are often numb to such questions so we don’t hear our answers. Often, we are afraid of the answers because we can’t see how they might lead to living financially. An old cliche is that figuring out “how” is not our job. What I have found over and over again in this life is that not only is it not my job to answer “how,” but the universe always provides a way to live. It’s my job to trust it and get out of the way.

It is like the roadrunner in the old Warner Bros. cartoons. Stepping off the cliff edge onto thin air might require faith at first, but it is rewarded. Not only does the universe catch you, it does so gracefully and painlessly. It does so in a way that not only leads to further insight and healing, it does so in a way that is also joyful.

That is a major focus of my ongoing explorations – to understand from personal experience some of the ways that discovering yourself can lead to joy and vice versa.

© 2014, David Park. All Rights Reserved.

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The Difference – IV

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by DCH Park

There is a further subtlety at work in choosing arbitrarily to “prove something,” including to yourself. It’s not immediately apparent. This may be due to its invisibility, which is also why so many people get drawn into it, either as an advocate or as an opponent.

For what it’s worth, my practice is to notice what is said and how I react to it. My reaction comes from me. By noticing it, I can notice myself. My practice is to notice what is said and my reaction to it to better understand my own private view into what is true and to express what is true.

I find that in that way, I am able to experience more freedom and joy within myself and hear others around me more clearly. To be sure, reacting to what I hear and say is a part of that process but my goal is to be more aware of things, not less aware of them.

I thus try not to use those things and reactions as shields or excuses. I feel them and at the same time practice being aware of myself feeling them so that they can serve as bridges into the deeper part of me rather than as blockades.

What I have also found, to my delighted surprise, is that the more I share what I find to be true with others, the more truth there is to share. This can take many forms. One of these is that the more I share, the more I have to share. Another is that the more I share, the more I give permission to others to do the same. A third is that other people see and voice pieces of the puzzle before I do but I can recognize what they say as the truth.

Another, which is always unexpected and delightful, is that someone may say something which no one had ever heard or even thought before, yet as soon as it is said, its truth is recognized. I can say it, so can others. The list goes on.

In every case the recognized truth provides a solid stepping stone to another truth and often to many truths. Such honesty also leads to freedom. In the cases when apparently solid truths have led to wounds, healing those wounds has led to even greater truths that would have remained hidden if the wound had been allowed to block the path. If I had seen the wound as a barrier, a tender spot to be avoided instead of as what it can always be – the shortest path to the other side – I would have stopped on the near side of the wound and whatever I saw it as, anger, fear, numbness, a small annoyance, or something else, would have become simply a part of the backdrop. It would possibly become invisible. In my experience, healing something always leads to something more.

What I notice is that many people have heard that one thing or another leads to wealth and that as long as you “toe the line” and follow one set of rules (their prescribed set) wealth, ease, and health are the inevitable or logical outcomes.

When I take a step back, I notice that all such systems are saying the same thing. Details differ from system to system, but the goal is usually defined in terms of wealth. That wealth may be yours or it may be someone else’s. Either way, the worldview that lies at the heart of such views is that:
The material world matters (as revealed by material wealth, for example); and
You don’t have a choice about everything in the material world.

Thus, taken together, these attitudes toward the material world have various implications. One of these is that healing is impossible. It is impossible to experience the world differently by doing nothing more than heal yourself because you are completely separate from your surroundings. Therefore what affects one cannot affect the other or if both are affected, those effects are unrelated and/or complex.

This runs counter to the observation that it is possible to experience change in the world by doing nothing more than healing yourself. The implication is, of course, that you contain the whole of existence, which only makes sense if the world is a reflection.

This means that it truly is fruitless to try to effect change in the world while holding yourself constant. At best, you can change yourself as you change the world. However my tendency has been to change myself in order to change the world.

The things I lament in the world, the disease, war, poverty, etc. are reflections of me. They must be if I can find the world in me. This means that as I find those things within myself and heal and fully release them, the world will be transformed.

On the other hand, if I accept the reality of the world and insist on the separateness of the world from me, such wounds and strife are inevitable. They are inevitable as long as I accept them as part of the world.

Thus, choosing what you want and trying to exercise Law of Attraction in this way is the same thing as trying to hold down a good-paying job, a house in the suburbs, two cars, and a family with a spouse and a couple of kids. They are both ways to emphasize the independence and reality of the material world. They are both ways to deny or reduce the power of healing yourself.

Another view would be that you are born to have a certain shape in the universe. Some people have called it your mission but that sounds like something you do rather than what you are. In the same way that you are born to have a certain color hair, a certain look in your face, etc., you are born to have a certain shape in the universe. What is your shape? What is your truth? Not what you want – which often determined or influenced by material reality – what is your being?

© 2014, David Park. All Rights Reserved.

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The Difference – III

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by DCH Park

This may sound mean. In fact, in a way, I hope that it does. I also hope that you will ask the next question and seek out the deeper truth reflected in the (apparently mean) saying rather than sitting with the surface meanness and dealing only with that.

The mean, unexpected thing is that you make no progress toward your true self by choosing something arbitrarily. The idea is usually that by choosing arbitrarily, you choose unpredictably and that if your arbitrary choice is fulfilled, that must mean that you are powerful.

However, one lesson that can be extracted from modern shamanism is that no choice is arbitrary or unpredictable. If you gravitate toward something or even imagine something, the question to ask might be, “Why did you gravitate toward that thing or why did you imagine that thing?”

If you imagine meeting a dolphin or gravitate toward holding $1 Million, why did you imagine that? You could have easily imagined a completely different animal but you imagined dolphin. You could have gravitated toward a new house or a car or boat. Why did you gravitate toward your imagined goal?

We choose the things we choose because they have some significance for us. That significance is unique – even if someone else makes the same choices, that person will have different associations with those choices and even the same choices will thus have different meanings.

Therefore, each choice provides an insight into the chooser – you. By being aware of your choice (and perhaps the other choices available) and knowing why you made the choice you did, you come that much closer to healing yourself because you come that much closer to realizing you apart from your actions and the choices you make.

There is a difference between who you are and the choices you make, between your being and your actions or doing. Realizing that difference is critical and powerful. Healing comes in between them. It becomes possible to embrace your being without getting distracted by your doing.

Conversely, Ego sees itself as benefiting from confusion between being and doing. Ego sees itself as benefiting whenever doing is confounded with being. It sees itself as benefiting when doing disappears into being. When it becomes invisible.

Healing only becomes visible as a choice when being is separated from doing. That’s why Ego loses healing. Ego tries hard to confound the two.

My teenaged son was surprised to learn that you are just as controlled by something when you fight against it as when you accede to it. This leads me to suspect that this idea, though a reflection of a deep truth, is not part of current culture. Part of me notices that I am controlled by something to the extent that it is invisible to me.

To what extent can this be found in culture? To what extent is everyday life controlled by invisible things? How can invisible things be seen?

The answer is simple and also maddening. Look.

Contrary to popular belief, the human visual system is an amazingly subtle and accurate one. It can also be trained (or the human brain can be trained) to “see” things that aren’t there and to ignore things that are. Look. Dare to see what is truly present. Amazingly, the simple act of actually seeing what is there can be a subversive act. It is subversive only in that it gives the lie and the lie is only effective as long as it seems like the truth. It is effective only as long as it is invisible.

As a child, you saw things more simply but you also saw them more clearly. You saw more directly what was right in front of you. You had to literally spend years learning to see what trusted adults said you should see. Dare to see like a child again.

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There is a further subtlety at work in choosing arbitrarily to “prove something,” including to yourself. It’s not immediately apparent. This may be due to its invisibility, which is also why so many people get drawn into it, either as an advocate or as an opponent.

For what it’s worth, my practice is to notice what is said and how I react to it. My reaction comes from me. By noticing it, I can notice myself. My practice is to notice what is said and my reaction to it to better understand my own private view into what is true and to express what is true.

I find that in that way, I am able to experience more freedom and joy within myself and hear others around me more clearly. To be sure, reacting to what I hear and say is a part of that process but my goal is to be more aware of things, not less aware of them.

I thus try not to use those things and reactions as shields or excuses. I feel them and at the same time practice being aware of myself feeling them so that they can serve as bridges into the deeper part of me rather than as blockades.

What I have also found, to my delighted surprise, is that the more I share what I find to be true with others, the more truth there is to share. This can take many forms. One of these is that the more I share, the more I have to share. Another is that the more I share, the more I give permission to others to do the same. A third is that other people see and voice pieces of the puzzle before I do but I can recognize what they say as the truth.

Another, which is always unexpected and delightful, is that someone may say something which no one had ever heard or even thought before, yet as soon as it is said, its truth is recognized. I can say it, so can others. The list goes on.

In every case the recognized truth provides a solid stepping stone to another truth and often to many truths. Such honesty also leads to freedom. In the cases when apparently solid truths have led to wounds, healing those wounds has led to even greater truths that would have remained hidden if the wound had been allowed to block the path. If I had seen the wound as a barrier, a tender spot to be avoided instead of as what it can always be – the shortest path to the other side – I would have stopped on the near side of the wound and whatever I saw it as, anger, fear, numbness, a small annoyance, or something else, would have become simply a part of the backdrop. It would possibly become invisible. In my experience, healing something always leads to something more.

What I notice is that many people have heard that one thing or another leads to wealth and that as long as you “toe the line” and follow one set of rules (their prescribed set) wealth, ease, and health are the inevitable or logical outcomes.

When I take a step back, I notice that all such systems are saying the same thing. Details differ from system to system, but the goal is usually defined in terms of wealth. That wealth may be yours or it may be someone else’s. Either way, the worldview that lies at the heart of such views is that:
1. The material world matters (as revealed by material wealth, for example); and
2. You don’t have a choice about everything in the material world.

Thus, taken together, these attitudes toward the material world have various implications. One of these is that healing is impossible. It is impossible to experience the world differently by doing nothing more than heal yourself because you are completely separate from your surroundings. Therefore what affects one cannot affect the other or if both are affected, those effects are unrelated and/or complex.

This runs counter to the observation that it is possible to experience change in the world by doing nothing more than healing yourself. The implication is, of course, that you contain the whole of existence, which only makes sense if the world is a reflection.

This means that it truly is fruitless to try to effect change in the world while holding yourself constant. At best, you can change yourself as you change the world. However my tendency has been to change myself in order to change the world.

The things I lament in the world, the disease, war, poverty, etc. are reflections of me. They must be if I can find the world in me. This means that as I find those things within myself and heal and fully release them, the world will be transformed.

On the other hand, if I accept the reality of the world and insist on the separateness of the world from me, such wounds and strife are inevitable. They are inevitable as long as I accept them as part of the world.

Thus, choosing what you want and trying to exercise Law of Attraction in this way is the same thing as trying to hold down a good-paying job, a house in the suburbs, two cars, and a family with a spouse and a couple of kids. They are both ways to emphasize the independence and reality of the material world. They are both ways to deny or reduce the power of healing yourself.

Another view would be that you are born to have a certain shape in the universe. Some people have called it your mission but that sounds like something you do rather than what you are. In the same way that you are born to have a certain color hair, a certain look in your face, etc., you are born to have a certain shape in the universe. What is your shape? What is your truth? Not what you want – which is often determined or influenced by material reality – what is your being?

© 2013, David Park. All Rights Reserved.

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The Difference – II

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by DCH Park

The world is a reflection. No doubt, this is something that can be widely recognized. Perhaps you have heard it before in your life. It is a saying that I knew immediately. I can’t put my finger on the first time I heard this. Perhaps it’s part of the culture. Perhaps it’s something that I always knew. Perhaps it’s something that everyone knows. Nonetheless, I know that the first time I can consciously recall hearing it, my reactions were (1) of course, (2) everybody has heard that (or everybody knows that), and possibly (3) so what?

Taking the last thing first, I notice that there is an expectation that noticing the world is a reflection is universal and useless. There is also a voice that says that this is wrong, the world is not a reflection. No doubt, it is the same voice or it is connected to the one that maintains the saying is useless. The weight of history seems to be that the world is not a reflection. We don’t see in the world what we wish to see in ourselves. The lesson of history seems to be that we have to work hard in the world to make even a small change in it and that our characters are implicit only through our actions.

We even seek to discover our own characters through our actions.

But note that this is not what the adage says. It does not connect what we see in the world with what we want to see in ourselves. It connects what we find in the world with who we are.

The word “reflection” implies a mirror. If we see in the mirror an image of ourselves and notice that the image we see is dirtied with mud, we do not reach into the mirror to groom ourselves. Yet reaching into the mirror is tantamount to reaching into the world.

What is perhaps not as widely known is that we don’t immediately recognize ourselves in the image in the mirror. We have to learn to see ourselves. In fact, showing creatures their own reflections is often used as a test or indication of intelligence. Perhaps the universe or God or the quantum field is similarly showing us our reflection in the world and waiting for us to see ourselves.

Extending this idea for a moment, if you see mud in the mirror, you do not reach into the mirror to remove it. You groom yourself and the reflection changes effortlessly. Could the same be true in the world? Is it possible to change the world by changing yourself? Is it possible to change the world by changing only yourself? How do you change yourself? How do you know what to change in yourself?

The last question is a good one. For that, the same adage comes to the rescue again. Many people hear about the importance of happiness, joy, peace, silence, etc. and they strive to achieve those things. I have often heard as a result the recommendation that you should choose to focus on (or only focus on) those things that make you happy, peaceful, etc.

The idea is that by focusing only on things that you like or want only those things will grow. The expectation (voiced or unvoiced) is that what you don’t like in your experience or about yourself will drop away. At very least, it is expected that it will stop growing due to lack of attention.

However, in my experience, the things we would rather not look at rarely go away. They rarely even stop growing. In my experience, as we become more successful, as we get bigger in the world, so too do our issues. The things we don’t like about ourselves are nonetheless ourselves. We take them with us wherever we go and whomever we become.

This is why a common cliche is to annoy an “enlightened being” until he or she “cracks.” At that point the claim is often made that the “enlightenment” is nothing more than a facade and the true person beneath is as troubled as any other.

However, the idea that the “world is a reflection” offers another path into this. Notice that another quality of the reflection in the mirror is that it tells you what is wrong and where it is. You don’t clean your shoes by attempting to brush your shirt or embracing your hair. It would be silly to even try. Yet we do exactly that with our reflections in the world.

By the same token, we treat a smudge or greasy stain differently from the way we deal with caked-on, dried mud. We are likely to benefit even more greatly from individual attention to things that come up within ourselves.

I have found that once I genuinely heal myself and release what irritates me, I never have to revisit it. The things that once annoyed me no longer annoy me. The tricks are to not get lost in the annoyance, pain, fear, etc. and to find that pain. That’s where reflections in the world can be handy. Once I find the pain, I can heal it.

© 2013, David Park. All Rights Reserved.

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The Difference – I

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by DCH Park

When I was younger (I’m showing my age), it as popular to quote, “A difference that makes no difference is no difference.” If you research it, you will find that it is attributed to James Blish and the novel Spock Must Die!. With that novel, I believe that Blish helped to create what became novel serializations or novelizations of series. He (and probably other, unnamed innovators) was (were) critical in the creation of modern merchandising.

I don’t remember much of the book and I wouldn’t be surprised if the book turned out to be mediocre at best. However, I do remember that quote. It speaks to the nature of difference and similarity. What is it that distinguishes one thing from another? At what point are similar things so similar that they are the same thing? Can those differences and similarities exist on one dimension and not another? Are some dimensions important for some things while other dimensions come into play for other things? How can you tell? How do you tell? Is this what is meant by “no difference”?

For whatever it may be worth, I invite and encourage you to experience that difference – what it is and how you find it – for yourselves. Along those lines, I notice how tricky assumptions can be. They’re all around us in the world we experience. We can, for example, assume or expect things to be a certain way just because they have been before. We can cease to see these assumptions and expectations because they seem so ubiquitous. We take them as parts of the background, take them for granted, even though they aren’t either and we can become annoyed, even blaming and angry, when those assumptions are challenged. In short, we can come to consider them to be invisible (we can certainly practice not seeing them) and become annoyed or angry when that invisibility is pointed out.

What are you protecting? Why are you protecting it? Would you be less yourself if you stopped protecting it?

I have found, admitted to myself really, that what I was protecting was an idea or collection of ideas about myself that didn’t necessarily have anything to do with who I actually am. Some of them might have represented who I thought I wanted to be or how I wanted to be seen. Others were adopted from outside. They often represented how others expected me to behave.

At any rate, what I finally admitted to myself is that regardless of where they came from or how they originated, the only power they had in my life came from me. I had to accept it into my worldview in order for it to have any power over me. – Ironically, I was free to see myself as small and I would be small if I saw myself that way but only because I was big.

An objection to this that I’ve heard over and over is the idea that there are some things that you simply can’t control. There are some things in your life that you might wish were otherwise or might wish to go away, but they don’t. I’m talking about the idea that you don’t have choice, at least not with everything.

The idea is that there are some things that are done to you and not by you. It’s the idea that you don’t have choice.

One of the things that I observe is that those individuals who freely celebrate their lives tend to grow from their experiences. They don’t resist them. They welcome them. They deepen their experiences of themselves through their trials and tribulations not in spite of them.

Even diseases and accidents can be seen in this way as stemming from wounds that can be healed. In this way, healing the original wound is freeing. Accidents and diseases can cease to be real. Healing yourself can bring you that much closer to realizing and articulating what shape you have in the Universe. It can bring you that much closer to expressing who you are.

© 2013, David Park. All Rights Reserved.

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The Healing – VI

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by DCH Park

There is something that comes up for me in the context of healing. It is something that I have heard before but didn’t fully appreciate before. It is similar to other things in that my practice of Huna has aided me considerably in my ability to understand this and apply it in my life.

The thing that I recognize is the idea, the truism, that wherever you go, there is only one of you there. No matter how many might be present in a given situation, there is only one person there.

This idea has many guises. Another of the more popular ones is that the “world is a reflection.” Whatever difficulty or turmoil you may find around you, it somehow reflects you and comes from you.

As we looked at in a previous essay, if you notice that your collar is mused up in your reflection, you are not served by trying to reach into the mirror, directly for your collar. You are better served to reach in the other direction, away from the mirror to reach your collar.

It may sound silly to try to reach into the mirror but in principle that is exactly what many of us try to do. This is not surprising or it shouldn’t be. We are very carefully taught over a period of many years to reach in the wrong direction. What’s amazing is that healing is close at hand, but not in the directions that most of us are reaching in.

Nevertheless, such healing is possible and available. It is easier than we ever imagined it could be.

Thus, it is possible to change the world around you by changing only yourself. Such change is only possible because the whole universe – all of existence – can be found within you.

It’s been said that a model of the universe is a bottle that contains itself. Such a model gains power by directly containing everything. This is the same power that you or I and/or everyone has. This is why you can experience change in your life by doing nothing more than healing yourself.

Huna provides philosophies and techniques for thinking about and handling these concepts. Leaving deeper realities aside for the moment, there is a simplified version of updated Ho’oponopono available for free on the internet.

The deeper practice of Ho’oponopono makes it clear that all things are connected and that healing yourself alone leads inevitably to changes in your life, but even with the free version of Ho’oponopono that is available online it is possible to clean yourself up and thus to experience change in your life.

© 2013, David Park. All Rights Reserved.

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”The Healing – VI” by DCH Park is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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