That is the chorus of a popular Spanish song by Ruben Blades: “Pedro Navaja.” – “Life gives you surprises.”
I grew up with that song and listened to it so many times that I knew it by heart.
Ananda was riding his bicycle along a popular bike path. He has ridden that path many times. As never before, Ananda stopped 3 times to accommodate his gear. As he was reaching a bridge, which overlooks the bay, a 10-year-old kid took the middle of the road. He was about 100 yards in front of Ananda. Then the kid decided to turn around unexpectedly as he was looking right and left minding his own little world.
Ananda saw him going towards the right and in a split second decided to avoid him by going left.
The kid “decided” to go left as well and now they were 20 yards apart. Ananda looked at the kid’s eyes and he appeared to have seen Ananda.
Ananda was going about 20 miles per hour and used his brakes to avoid a collision…. That split “decision” allowed Ananda to “fly like a bird” and to go off the pavement into the rocks near the bay.
Nothing happened to the kid.
Ananda landed on top of the rocky area. He felt groggy as if he had received a punch.
Ananda stood up and spat blood from his mouth.
The father of the kid who saw the incident walked by and apologized profusely while the kid’s mother was scolding the kid for not being careful.
Ananda said to the kid : “You didn’t see me?” No response. The father of the kid arranged Ananda’s bike, which was fine after all.
Ananda stood for a few minutes before leaving and waved good-bye to the kid who didn’t look back to him.
Ananda understood at that point the forces of destiny.
Ananda had to go through that experience. It was completely in his hands to avoid it, but it seemed as if the kid’s mission was to allow for this incident to happen. Ananda checked his gear 3 times but that was the exact time, the kid needed to show up at.. the right time.
Ananda wasn’t angry at all but appreciative to be alive for he understood that this had to happen and that there is a deeper meaning than falling off the bike.
Ananda spoke with his friend Mathias, the wise tree.
Ananda: “ Friend, you have warned me sometimes about dangerous incidents to be extra-careful, but not this time. Why?”
Mathias: “ That tells you that Mathias respects what it is in destiny. Mathias knows that this accident is meant to soften you. It is part of your necessary life experience.”
Ananda: “Soften me? Indeed. I have 3 stitches on my lip and bruises with lacerations in my right leg and left hand.”
Mathias:” This accident could have been a lot worse. Your internal organs are fine. You just have minor cuts and contusions.”
Ananda:” Yes, I realize that I could have been hurt badly or even be dead by now. It amazes to know that I landed on sharp rocks…”
Mathias: “ What protects you now is that you are living for the common good. In your path, you are learning to be one with yourself just to be in communion with everyone else.”
Was that a miracle? Shall I burn some candles and worship God or my friend Mathias thanking them for allowing me to be “alive”?
Obviously that experience has a particular purpose in my life, which if I had “followers,” they could call that a miracle and “alleluyah” the incident as a proof of a miracle.
However, that is not the point of experiencing the accident.
To soften myself. That is the lesson that Life has chosen a particular way to teach me.
Every life experience is catered for an individual. Destiny is already there waiting for the path to be walked by the life walker, nevertheless; to live for the common good is the best life insurance; for it is not just about our own life, our own family, our own religion… but it is about the common point of communion with everyone, with the Totality.
When we become trapped in labels and traditions from society, we may not be able to listen to our inner voice based on an indisputable feeling, which will let us know the way we should act in life.
Ananda does not feel the same feelings for his family members as his sister Raysha does.
Even though Ananda had mostly a good relationship with his parents; the feeling is not as strong as it could be for Raysha.
Ananda asked Mathias, the wise tree about that.
Mathias responded: “Raysha is related with both family trees; your father and your mother.
You Ananda… you are related through them indirectly, through Raysha.”
Ananda then asked: “Which one is my direct family link?”
Mathias responded: “The Universe.” 🙂
Obviously, there is information that has value at a particular point in time. Knowing what is Ananda’s direct family link will be only intellectual information at this point. That is of no consequence.
Mathias also added: “Raysha will have feelings of motherhood towards her father who is almost ready to depart into another experience. Raysha had been her mother in another life.”
Then, Mr. Intellectual and Mrs. Devotional come into the picture:
“ But … that is not logical… That is nonsense.
If you are the daughter how could you be the mother at the same time? “
“My belief is that this is the only lifetime and then you either go to hell or heaven. There is only one life according to the Holy book written by God.”
Feelings don’t lie.
As we learn to observe all the labels that we use to categorize people into brothers, sisters, aunts, etc. Those categories already define the type of relationship that we are allowed to have now.
That is neither “good nor bad.” Our feelings and not our thoughts are the catalyst for action or reaction, that is why it becomes important to know ourselves by acknowledging our emotions first, to find our feelings.
Sometimes, we may meet someone that we would like to get to know better in a relationship, just to find out that “she feels like a daughter.” What do you do?
Do you rationalize that experience as: “ That is nonsense. She is not your daughter.”
The feeling will not go away, could you get married with your daughter? 🙂
Honesty is not just a word.
Life has many “spider webs” which will connect us in different ways and at different times. That is, what you feel very strong about today may not be later on; (that is why dogmas are necessary to keep the same thing in our awareness) the interesting challenge is to learn to act according to the present time, by respecting the whole experience, the circumstances, the individuals involved and our feelings as well.
That comes with growth in life.
Life is truly a teacher.
Ananda was sharing with Mathias, the wise tree; about the experience of his father, who is in the hospital about to depart to a new experience; which is known as death or life, depending on our perspective.
Ananda: Here is a good person suffering by being conscious of his organs shutting down one by one and knowing that he will not survive. How is that going to be helpful for him to learn about detachment from the perception of the self, the “I,” in less than a month?
Mathias: He needs to die of the self. Look at you, how many years have it taken you to die from your old self?
Ananda: It has taken me at least 11 years, but you have helped me. What about him?
Mathias: Look. It has taken you 11 years of your life for Ananda to appear. Your father will learn that experience in less than a month. Do you remember your experience of feeling alone for such long time? Is your father alone?
Ananda: He is not alone.
Mathias: He is walking towards the abyss, the wind is blowing on his face and he does not want to jump because he feels that emptiness. We tell him: Jump! Do you need a push? But he will not jump.
Even though he has a powerful mind which is able to keep him alive despite major organs of his body not working, he does not realize about the beliefs that he has in his mind which are keeping him afraid.
Jump! Nothing will happen to you, you are eternal…
Ananda: He needs someone to trust. Just like when people have a belief in a God who will help them. I don’t know who he may trust like that.
Mathias: What would you tell your father in a few lines about the experience of dying from the self?
Ananda: To embrace the experience. To disconnect from the pain with his powerful mind and to erase all beliefs about death.
Mathias: Did that experience of dissolving the arrogance of the self happened to you because you did something specific in your life?
Ananda: No. It just happened.
Mathias: Share that with everyone. It does not matter what you do in life to make something happen, what is meant to happen… will happen despite your doings.
Ananda spoke with his father for the last time. Ananda thought he could help him “jump” for his father had listened to him in the past.
“Dad. You have always had a powerful mind. Your mind controls your body as you are doing it now. But your mind has also beliefs which are giving you fear of what we know as death.
Fear because of having a “Me.” When the “Me” faces that there is no “Me,” there is fear of losing that, which is known.
That is death.
We are eternal. There is only life.
Embrace that experience!
With much love, always.”
Raysha and Ananda’s father, keeps “fighting for his life” at the hospital.
He is hooked up to feeding tubes and a respirator, which provides 75% of his breathing.
Ananda’s mother is suffering by seeing that scene. Ananda’s father is conscious but unable to communicate. He seems to “come and go” from that state.
Even though the doctors know that there is “no hope,” their role is to keep him “alive” as much as possible.
Euthanasia is forbidden in that country, for the catholic belief is that “ an innocent life is being taken.” “Human life has a dignity which needs to be absolutely respected.”
Lost in words and concepts, “respect” becomes another philosophical debate of “pros” and “cons” which legislature will be fond on getting into.
But that doesn’t solve the “experience” of Ananda’s father. The “black and white” belief of a religion supported by legislature is meaningless when your father is the one experiencing their rigid views.
Raysha took her father’s hand and told him about the story of “life after this life.”
Ananda spoke with Mathias, the wise tree; about this incident.
Mathias: “Do you think that your father is suffering in that experience?”
Ananda: “Yes and No. When he is conscious of the hospital it is yes. When he is conscious of the other experience that he had with you and Raysha in a different realm, obviously not.”
Mathias: “ Your father wants to keep fighting. He requested that to the family in a conversation about death and dying. The question was, what would you like to happen if you are in a hospital unable to speak for yourself? He said: “Fight it until there is no more.” Do you remember that? “
Ananda: “Yes… but there are others seeing that scene as well….why continue with this when there is no hope? Why go through that suffering?”
Mathias: “ Suffering is the way that life has to make someone bow down. When there are layers of arrogance and pride, suffering will break that mentality. Don’t you think that when you feel as if your heart is about to explode from your chest, that this is the best time to learn and think about detachment in life?”
Ananda: “No. “
Mathias: “Yes. It is. That lesson will be learned rapidly in that intensity. It is necessary for the next stage when Mathias will present you father to the Gods of Olympus. You know that there is no death. If Ananda knows that, what should be his attitude to others who are suffering by watching the scene? The answer is not intellectual. Feel it.”
Ananda:” To accept things as they are. To feel compassion towards my family clan. We are all together in this, related. Compassion because I feel their suffering, but at the same time, I know that a lesson of life needs to be learned.”
Ananda’s mother didn’t want to go to the hospital to see her husband in that condition. She felt pressured by the “ El que diran” (The unspoken belief in latin-american culture that every person’s actions in society are subject to the scrutiny and criticism of every person they know.) Ananda gave her comfort by assuring her that no one in the family will judge her. She needs to recuperate. Everyone has a limit and she has reached hers.
The “black and white” laws and religious beliefs are completely unaware of human intention. The action is not the problem but the intention is.
Since we cannot “measure” intentions with honesty, we cannot create laws for society. That is why, laws are only based on actions and to label them as “good and bad” becomes necessary.
Inner honesty is the main requisite which will allow someone to live harmoniously… even to sleep well, until death arrives.
Be true, open and enjoy the lessons in life which will bring a different consciousness, to look at things from yet another perspective.
No dogma included nor laws to abide.
Let us put everything together. Let us add some depth to these sharings.
Reality is what we make up of our perceptions. There is a collective perception, which many times is called “reality” but that perception comes from a certain type of consciousness which is fed through information.
That is, what we have learned is merely agreed upon information.
My eyes can see. I do not know if someone else can see exactly what my eyes are able to see. I may call “reality” to what my eyes perceive, but it is far from “reality.” My eyes are able to perceive something according to the way those eyes were designed to “see.”
The same is for every sense, for every perception. When we identify this in ourselves we could have a greater openness, greater understanding.
Someone may spend their life trying to find what is truly “reality,” but how is that person able to perceive that reality? Through the same senses which are designed to see in a particular way.
Mathias, the wise tree; was speaking with his friend Ananda about deep things…. 🙂
Ananda: Friend, I can see now, how a belief may not necessarily be my experience, but in a collective consciousness, that belief must be accepted to belong.
Mathias: Who are you?
Ananda: If I do not use any belief system and just out of my own realization; I am pure, dynamic consciousness.
Ananda: Yes… it is continually evolving, changing.
Mathias: …but what type of consciousness are you?
Ananda: type? I don’t know.
Mathias: Just feel it, friend. Forget about thinking.
Ananda: … well, nothing comes up…
Mathias: Look… Tell me what do you see?
Ananda: I see a tree.
Mathias: You have a thought of seeing a tree, which automatically makes a separation between “you” and the “tree.” Those labels, “you” and “tree” define and separate.
Is there any separation between the thought and the thinker of that thought?
Ananda: No! There is not.
Mathias: Friend, then what are you?
Ananda: Everything!! Now I understand! 🙂
Mathias: That is Totality. Only labels and the thoughts about those labels separate things.
When we talk about thoughts, the question could be: Am “I” truly, willingly creating those thoughts? If “I” am then how is it so hard to stop them? 🙂
Please consider the questions above. If you go into it, you may find out your relationship with life and you may know for yourself as to why, enjoyment of this experience of life is important.
Many have “knowledge” about the movie of life, but they do not see the relationship between thoughts and that movie of life.
Many have a belief in God, but they do not see the relationship between the word God and their beliefs of what that word means.
Buried in beliefs then, it is impossible to see that we cannot define, the indefinable.
Mathias; the wise tree, was “humanly happy” to see his friend Ananda open to life and enjoying the experience of living. Life is a precious experience to share with “everything” and “everyone,” from dawn to sunset and beyond… From listening to the morning orchestra of birds, to hearing the human sounds and voices throughout the day….
Life is consciousness. Everything is consciousness, although there are different degrees of it.
Mathias: Once your consciousness is open to life, there is joy, enjoyment. Nevertheless, there is still a division. There is “you” and everything else.
The next step is integration with the Totality. This is what some refer to experiencing “nothingness.”
Ananda: Friend is voidness or emptiness necessary for that integration?
Mathias: That is right.
Ananda: I will definitely be open to that experience. The paradox could be “Oneness through nothingness.” Nevertheless, I could not pinpoint how that openness comes. What is the point when someone experiences this openness?
Mathias: As you remember, Mathias mentioned at one time that growth happens through suffering. Mathias could give you a different answer. Mathias could tell you that this happens because of a particular practice or a particular clothing that you wear; but no….
Ananda: But… many people experience great suffering and still there is no openness in them…what I could see is bitterness instead. Why is that?
Mathias: Because those individuals rather live with their fears. They have a terrible toothache. They are aware of the pain and they want for the pain to go away. They sit in dentist chair, they are afraid of the dentist, afraid of the noises that his equipment makes, afraid of the whole experience… These individuals will decide to live with that pain. They will get up and run from the dentist’s office even if the tooth gets rotten…
Ananda: I can see that integration with the totality could bring fear in some. It sounds like losing the sense of “I.”
Mathias: In that state there is no desire. What are you going to desire if you are everything at the same time?
Greater openness to life happens according to your consciousness and… according to time.
Ananda: Perhaps this integration with the Totality is what some religions call as” Being one with the Father” or “merged with God.” Their consciousness may be unable to see that God is part of that Totality as well, but they are only able to see separation: “Me and God alone,” as if the rest was something different, something foreigner… when “God consciousness” is perhaps the greatest integration there is.
Mathias: Friend, are you ready for integration?
Ananda: Yes, my friend… although I have no idea how this could be.
Mathias: Do you remember the ball bearings in a roller skate?
One ball bearing cannot find its true purpose until that ball bearing realizes that there are more ball bearings needed to move a wheel in the roller skate… Once that ball bearing realizes about being part of the roller skate, then we could say that the consciousness of that ball bearing has opened… but oh!! All of the sudden the ball bearing realizes that there is a foot in top of the roller skate and with that obviously there is a different consciousness…greater opening my friend, new realizations!
Ananda went to the Ocean after this conversation. As he was looking at the dance performed by the waves of the Ocean, the coming and going accompanied by the soothing sound of the water hitting the shore and the nearby rocks and shells; there was a profound relaxation felt when there was no thought about “me” remaining.
Ananda realized at that moment about the immensity of the “roller skate” and allowed for that moment to “be” while his mind was empty of thoughts… 🙂
At that moment, he “understood” what is meditation beyond a discipline or a ” 20 minutes practice,” and he “understood” what is peace without thinking about it.
An empty self can contain the whole while being empty.
In Spirituality the whole contains the part, but the part is also the whole… 🙂
Nevertheless, Kathy was sad. Her thoughts from a “bad” experience in the past were hunting her. Whenever she heard the name “Bart,” that sparked an emotional turmoil, which could change immediately her usual “happy “ self. Kathy was currently going out with another person, Ralph…. A “good guy, ” smart professional and detail oriented but used to living alone and doing his “own thing” without getting permission from no one… except his big dog, “Rufus.” 🙂
Ralph was going out with Kathy, but all of a sudden he disappeared without leaving a clue. No phone calls returned.
Kathy was disappointed. Kathy realized that everything is insecure in life, that anything could happen at any time to dismantle her wishes and expectations. That frustrated her.
Kathy felt depressed, all alone… by herself. 🙂
Kathy was Ananda’s friend. They met “fortuitously” in the market. Ananda brought Kathy with him to visit Mathias, the “wise tree.”
Ananda: Friend, Kathy has this sadness in her which will not go away. What do you suggest for her to do?
Mathias: Kathy is feeling the overwhelming weight of the “I.” That heaviness does not allow her to be light and easy. That heaviness is a strong burden separating her from being part of feeling the joy of the Totality.
Ananda: How being part of the Totality will make her happy again?
Mathias: Friend… you could explain to her how to become joyful again… That is in your experience.
Ananda: Well… There are no words to explain that. It just happened with your help.
Mathias: It is all in you. Nothing could be given to you which does not already exist in you. The words will flow, explain your experience to her.
Ananda: The “I” or the ego is like a huge column inside an empty room. Anything that happens in that empty room will have that column as a reference. If there is a toy on the floor, that toy is “3 feet away from the column.” You see? It is about the column.
If a fly enters the room, everything is OK until the fly decides to climb the column… at that point that fly must be removed… but if a butterfly is there instead of the fly, then anything must be done to keep that butterfly there…. It embellishes the sense of “Me.”
Remove that column so the room remains empty of references. That is it.
Kathy: I sort of understood your example, Ananda. But… if you remove the column the room will collapse…
Ananda: That is the illusion.
Kathy: How do you do that?
Ananda: It happens… once you are aware that there is more than “you” in life 🙂
If you go to a beach and sit by the shore, observing the Ocean; just sit there and appreciate the moment without comparison or judgment. After some time, bring a common feeling between you and Nature. It could be love, goodness, beauty, etc. Let that feeling expand out of you and then empty your whole being so there is emptiness, just like an empty room….at that point perceive anything inside you which does not fit in with your current experience in Nature, such as a feeling of anger or a recurrent bothersome thought and move that sensation out of you with your feelings… that is called “cleaning yourself” then after that, feel grateful to life and continue feeling and appreciating Nature.
Kathy: Do I have to do that 10 times a day? Is that some sort of “spiritual” exercise for me to do? You know that I am not a religious person.
Ananda: No. You can do that as you wish. It is just a way to remind you that there is more than “you.” This reminder will stick in your being like no words or self-help books could do. It is just to give yourself the opportunity to feel part of all, the Totality.
“You” are “You” but also “You” are part of everything.
The empty room usually feels affected when something enters it, but if after an experience in life that “inner” room remains empty, then you are ready for another experience…. It will be “brand new” and not the “same old thing.”
When you keep on accumulating things, then that room feels overwhelmed with stuff. That room does not have the space to “heal,” to be clean.
Kathy: Can you be more clear?
Ananda: That ego is the one that you feel that you need to protect, the one who is unsatisfied, the one who makes a “big deal” out of life experiences. It is the one who traumatizes our experiences in life when they do not go according to our wishes or likes. If our inner “column” in the empty room becomes damaged through an experience, then the mind cries out for help, for hope, for a savior… at that point you will search for such things to “numb you” from your pain… but the inner column will still be there…
The empty room is joy.