As we walk these halls of Life viewing the world and ourselves through our limited and often times limiting perspectives, who can really fathom the depth of another? Didn't we all at one time believe in Santa Clause? Didn't we all believe at one time, that when we closed our eyes we disappeared? Didn't we all used to believe we were the center of the world? Where did those perspectives go? Are we now sure that we have it 'really right', or are we still clutching at temporary viewpoints and transient opinions, unknowingly defending mirages? Who can really judge who sees clearly? Who can really say who is deluded? Who is really in touch with reality? Perspectives change and for the most part do not belong to us, but rather happen to us. All perspectives are partial, and because they are partial, they are incomplete (even this one). Because they are incomplete they are in a sense, a lie (even this one). A perspective is one particular view point of one particular 'viewer' (person), from one particular space, frozen in one particular moment in time. One moment's perspective is also the next moment's food. But if we are going to share a perspective that is always a partial truth and also a partial lie, can we at least do so while holding the perspective lightly? Can we see through our own limited views, thus freeing ourselves from their limiting nature? Because all perspectives are by nature temporary and partial, can we simultaneously see from and also see through our own opinions, judgements, biases, views or perspectives? Consider: as you lay on your deathbed in your final moments, how important were those perspectives you defended through out your passing life? Where are those perspectives now?
Let me be clear. I have grown weary of belief systems and do not wish to peddle a new one. I am somewhat uninterested in new perspectives and would like to avoid trumpeting my own. Rather, what I would like to attempt to point at here is something that is 'no-thing', but which might remind us of our own greater identity. I am interested in the one Light of Life in which all belief systems, all perspectives, yours and mine, arise, float, and fade. The one Light of Life is the common ground of all experience, but is not an experience at all. Rather it is the open space that makes all experience possible. I'll explain?
We are for the most part, a product of a series of random events and processes that are completely beyond our control. An accident really. An accidental miracle. Many millions of years ago, there was nothing. Then, a Big bang. Now, there is everything. Universe? galaxies? solar systems? stars? planets?. and ? Life? Life set forth the eventual evolution of a species with all the conditions and potentials necessary for the unfolding of joy and suffering, peace and war, birth and death, creation and destruction; a species that can re-create itself via intimacy and love, and destroy itself and the planet that sustains it through fear and hate; the human species.
I am a particular product of all the influences of being part of the human species. Being born of the union of one particular sperm and one particular egg from two particular people, in a particular time in history, in a particular place in a particular society with a particular culture, I am a product of a particular language, race, gender, biology, psyche, and multiple other particular factors too numerous to consider. Little of this was in 'my' control. If any of these factors were to have been different, I would not be the 'me' that I am. What I am is a miraculous product of chance, and so are you.
Don't get me wrong. I am not attempting to push the idea of irresponsibility. But as an example, watch your next thought arise and answer the questions, "where did that thought come from?" and "did I ask for that particular thought now?" Even your answers to those two questions will invariably be influenced by myriad factors.
Every thought, feeling, experience, and perspective was and is conditioned by all previous thoughts, feelings, experiences, and perspectives. As an infant I was provided with many situations I didn't ask for, and was shaped and molded by the conditioned choices I made at every turn, as were those choices. Who I feel and think I am is a result of all I have experienced. This is not an avoidance of responsibility, but a simple common truth. We are to a large degree creatures of habit, conditioning, and circumstance. Over my 38 years, due to many circumstances and situations beyond control, I have established particular patterns of reactivity such as anger and fear, as well as patterns of occasional empathy and friendliness. I am often arrogant and condescending, periodically humble and gentle. These particular patterns have served to give me my particular and unique personality or, 'color', if you will. I am now accountable for how this particular color is presented to the world. But once again, even that perspective itself is the product of all that has come before this moment. Even the idea of personal responsibility/accountability is at least partially a socio-cultural construct.
As an individual I am a unique color of Life. But that unique color is illuminated by the one common Light of Life. I am exactly the same as you as the one common Light of Life, but also infinitely different as a particular and unique color. The particular color that I am is a product of chance and is for the most part, beyond my control. The one common Light of Life that I am is also beyond my control.
When one comes to this understanding they stand on the brink of despair, and also on the brink of freedom. When this understanding arises, a new perspective arises with it. The perspective is this: in any given moment, I can relax my identity and open as the Light of Life that I am, or I can contract as the particular patterns or color I have acquired due to circumstances and events that have occurred.
If I contract as the particular pattern and circumstance that have occurred, my identity takes the shape and form of my limits and fears. My identity and therefor my happiness and suffering becomes dependent upon the conditions that surround me and that I mistakenly use to define me. I become identified with the patterns of behavior and thought that have resulted from all that has happened in my life. My identity is based upon conditions, and therefor my happiness and sense of freedom is always conditional.
If I open as the Light of Life that I am, my identity is without pattern or condition. If I open as the Light of Life that I am, I become, in a sense, the colorless open space and Light in which all patterns and conditions appear, reside, and disappear. My identity is without condition, and therefor my happiness and sense of freedom is condition-less. Nothing I have ever done, felt, or experienced makes any difference to the Light of Life that I am.
When we identify as the one Light of Life, that Light grows stronger. As that one Light of Life grows stronger, our unique color simultaneously becomes intensely magnified as that one Light of Life shines as, and through us. We become more fully who we truly are, rather than a faded or half-lit shade of a dreary color obscured by fear and contraction.
We are all a play of color and Light. At times we are uniquely colored. At times we are the common Light of Life. And sometimes, in the moments of our greatest truth, we become a play of such vibrant color and intense Light that we simultaneously express our full humanness and our full 'divinity'. Color and Light, Humanity and Divinity, woven into a brilliant rainbow of Life. Not sometime in the future, but right here and now.
May we all remember the one Light of Life, illuminating our truest and most brilliant colors as a gift to the world.
Aaron McNaught is the owner and service provider of a Red Deer based company called: Aaron McNaught Education/Consultations.
He offers varied and unique approaches to Healing, Growth, and Life Exploration. As a personal consultant, Aaron specializes in working with anger, grief, stress, and addiction, and in assisting individuals to restore meaning to their life.
Aaron's main passion is Public Speaking. Drawing upon the gifts of his words and his presence he reminds people of their Enormity and Magnificence. He describes himself as a 'Wake-up Artist', which means he helps people remember or 'Wake-up' to who they truly are, beyond stories and descriptions.
Aaron is the author of a forthcoming book, entitled,
Waking Up to Life: Celebrating the Graces of Suffering and Awareness.
He lives in Red Deer Alberta Canada and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org