Are We Looking for God

Are We Looking for God

I want to write in my blog because the last few weeks have been so packed with enjoying life that i have forgotten to write anything. I am not sure what that means yet, but I wanted to get it on paper that from my vantage point, at this moment and with the age that I have arrived at, being content with two to three swims a day in a massively turbulent ocean has been as helpful as running the clothes through an old wringer washing machine. I feel cleansed and squeezed dry of all aspirations and have found myself content with meditation, mindfulness & good food.
Tumbling around in a warm ocean while sitting in a tropical depression is not the kind of depression that I am use to dealing with. The depression associated with climate seems predictable and even fun, while the depression that enters the mind like a starving termite enters a piece of wood is entirely too profound to be considered when sitting in the sun. That’s an essay for another day.

Just to make sure that I drive the point home to my readers, I am trying to make you envious. I am wanting you to feel jealous of this respite in the salted, sun drenched stretch of beach known to the Treasure Coast as Surfer Beach. In addition to every one being 19 or 27 and gorgeous, the beach is nearly deserted for miles. The sand is a soft white sand that warmly pushes up through your toes as you drift down toward the turbulent sea, and the glistening beads of water that give everything an emerald and sapphire coloring, erupt from everywhere.

I took Maddie for a walk and a swim this morning and she went her own way and i did not see her again for 40 minutes or so. Eventually she found her way back to me, smelling like a wet dog, covered in beach sand with her tongue hanging out saying–water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink. We meandered back to the the house and she lapped at the water from the out door shower as I rinsed the encrusted sand from everywhere.

One last point in this short post. I want to emphasize that I deserve this contentment with life. First, I worked for it. But most important I not only worked at this, but I studied and researched this. I mean happiness does not come on a whim and it is not securely given like a plaque or a gold star. It is a success that must be cultivated all the time. This does not mean that the cultivation need to be hard dirty work, some might be, but for the most part, happiness comes from knowing how your mind operates and then putting into practice what needs to be done over and over again in order to achieve the richness and the crispness that gives life its colors. Mindfulness, the creating of an awareness that you are somewhere in there doing the experiencing is crucial to feeling a sense of well-being. I am much more than the sum total of my ego.

Mindfulness and well-being go hand in hand. And, weather you approach this from a psychoanalytic perspective, a Zen perspective or a spiritual perspective, each perspective leads to the same end. Enjoying the journey, remembering that the process is as important as the outcome, and above all recalling yourself time and time again to the knowledge of the sensation that is the moment–this is the way forward.

I re-read parts of zen bible while I was here enjoying life and what struck me most was that it was offering a formula and that it seemed to be saying follow this formula and you will be given the way. It sounds christian. Maybe it is. I mean I think that what ever it is that we find, at some level most of us want to call this God. It is difficult to say you believe in God while at the same time professing to be a scientist. But in the long run the two are not incompatible. The Great Spirit, The Universe, Consciousness, A Higher power, The Light Within–these all have in common that they are a substitute for the word God which had become so over used by religion than many of us had to abandon the word because it was just too confusing to reconcile a bearded man on a thrown with a staff in one hand and a globe in the other with what in the 21st century we have come to know as a source of energy. In a way happiness has more to do with physics than any other academic discipline.

The energy of a positive attitude, Norman Vincent Peale aside–is what we are looking for. We are looking for God. We want to find that place internally or externally that feeds us with a sense of peace and a sense of serenity and a believing and an allowing for the good in the world to flow through us. So, if we are in college, in school or in church or in a monastery; or if we are in a lab or an orphanage or a hospital, we are seeking comfort. God gives us that comfort even if how we understand this is that our internal awareness coaches us toward life giving, life affirming events. I can skip a great deal of angsts and simply say: Thank God, this has been a wonderful vacation.

‘Tis a gift to be simple. As I begin to pack and put myself back together to get myself back to the office and to what i do for a living, I do this mindful that I have been blessed with a very deliberate opportunity. My life’s work is searching. I search for myself and for those who i love. I search and help people to organize themselves in such a way that they they will come to understand exactly how their particular mind works. And in discovering they will begin a practice that will help them to discover the divine within, not just once but over and over agin many times a day. Reflection on the moment is the best defense against an ego hell bent on robbing us of joy. As i become mindful that the experience of now is the breath of life, I can let go of some of the aspirations that are overwhelming, and let myself flow gently down the stream of life, anticipating that my needs will be met if i am in touch with my instincts as well as with my ego.

It amounts to a belief that we can indeed trade in fear for joy and gratitude and that this is a fair trade for everyone involved.

Dr. A. L. Dussault,

the majuscule & the miniscule

the arrival of now in the moment is a curious experience characterized both by thinking and by allowing the experience to unfold without a thought.  it is a paradox and a quandary all at once.  there is no way to escape the moment.   our very fact of aliveness proves our being in the moment.  however, having said that, it is a very different experience to pass through the moment with no consciousness of it than it is to experience the feeling of being in the moment with a consciousness of it.  the difference is slight in terms of space, but huge in terms of phenomenological experience of it.

i found myself explaining it to a patient recently in this way:  picture your self at the back door of your home.  the door is open and you are standing in your kitchen.  there is a threshold  which is about six inches in width.  as you step outside and cross over the threshold you have traveled the distance of less than one step; yet, the experience of being outside is extraordinarily different from where you were a moment ago standing in your kitchen.  the distance in space and time is infinitely vast and microcosmically small all at the same moment.

the experience of feeling connected to the the moment as opposed to being in the moment without feeling connected to it has that same paradox that surrounds it.  i am in side my house in my kitchen and only six inches away from being outside in the vastness of the cosmos without having the shell of the house around me.  not having the shell of the house around you give you a vastly different experience of the cosmos.  there is a parallel here to the mind field in which the ego is born.  the egoic house sits in a vast mental field much larger that the ego itself.  for sake of differentiating the two I use the term “ego” for one and the term “self” for the wider mental field of consciousness.

the alphabet poses a similar question.  when we write the word in the majuscule “BE HERE NOW” it is both the same and different at the same time as “be here now.”  so, the concept that i am addressing is a simple one, and a difficult one at the same time.  we can not help but pass through the moment, but unless we train our mind to recognize the moment as the “now,” there is a pretty good chance that we will miss the experience of the now.  the value of experiencing the moment  lies in the notion that by experiencing the now we are able to access a stillness, a lack of urgency to life; and if we are able to get that concept we are able to make decisions about our wants and needs based on knowing the experience of well-being. instead of aiming for well-being and while  experiencing the feeling of lack.

the feeling of lack is not present in the experience of the current moment and because of that fact we are able to base our values and conditions on a known/experienced feeling of well-being.  this is the essential element of any law of attraction.

by giving-in, subjecting ourselves, freeing ourselves or surrendering  to “is-ness” we feel the fullness of our vitality & we are able to feel an unbiased sense of aliveness and oneness with the universe.  concepts of judgement, and concepts of self criticism seem to disappear from our consciousness.

one last point about the experiencing of the moment:  there seems to exist the possibility that for some people the defenses of the ego are such that experiencing the moment becomes impossible.  the on-going “background thinking-voice” that we hear a moment before we sleep may in some people be so “loud” that it prohibits the attention being drawn to the moment. for some people it might take an external attention to distract the mind from paying on-going attention to the on-going voice.  an example that I can draw from my experience is the sound of cello especially being played in low registers.  the sound is so soothing for me that i feel compelled and drawn to the sound and while there listening, i find that I have had not consciousness of the background voice…i mention this because in order to fully enjoy the experience of entering the moment we have to find a way to distract ourselves from the egoic voice or else the voice will surely keep its grip on the mind and we will not get to the stillness and the calm that provides us with the exit sign from the ego……