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The Totality of Existence


I awoke from a dream on Memorial Day 2024 with the first two lines of the next paragraph in my mind and knew I had to write something. On the previous day, I had talked about my mother having been killed on Memorial Day weekend in 1960. That was a turning point that completely altered the course of my life. There have been many turning points since then, and I came to realize that destiny will unfold regardless of any desires we have for life. We only have a choice about how we will respond to destiny when it occurs. I had long ago had the awareness that life is made up of destiny and choice. Destiny is anything we can’t control, and choice is the only thing we can.  Yet, choice can also create destiny for us and for others. If my mother had stayed with my father or had never married my stepfather, she would likely have lived, and the course of my life would have been different. Her choice to marry my stepfather created my destiny, at least part of it, and any choice she could have made would have created a different destiny, an alternate universe, so to speak. Because my mother was killed when I was young, I began learning to deal with grief and transition at the age of five. Since that time, I have sought to understand and become aware, and every now and then, an awareness comes to me. On Memorial Day, this awareness came. So, I sat at my keyboard and allowed the message to proceed. The following is the result.


There was no beginning, and there will be no end. What is infinite cannot be measured, and what is eternal cannot be destroyed. The illusion of death is a misinterpretation based on the observation of energy transitioning from one form into another. Although energy existing as matter may transition from one form to another, it cannot be destroyed because it is eternal. The same energy exists in every form and can be released from any embodiment of form in many ways. The burning of a log, for instance, does not end the log but transforms it into ash, smoke, and heat. The rotting of a log transitions it into food for microbes, methane, and soil. It continues to exist in different forms.


Energy must transition. It cannot be stationary and remains eternally in continual flux. Nothing is ever still. The atoms themselves exist within the eternal and continual unending dance of creation. The planets, stars, and galaxies never remain still because they are in the continuous and eternal dance of creation. As above, so below, all existence flows in and out of constant creation and recreation, constantly moving and transitioning. The universe may contract and expand; it may transition into different forms, but it cannot cease to exist because existence is eternal. Nothing real can cease to exist. Nothing real can be threatened. Only illusions can be threatened, and illusions are merely a failure to understand existence, a dream state created by misinterpretation. Anything which can cease to exist cannot be real. Illusions are created by thought and thought is yet another form of energy in constant flux and transition. Thought exists outside of matter. Therefore, death cannot destroy us any more than popping a balloon destroys the air within it.


Perception is the universe observing itself. Yet perception is a misinterpretation of reality, for it is not the mere observation of reality but an evaluation and a judgment of reality. Perception is created by thought, and no two people have the same perception because no two people develop the same beliefs or entertain exactly the same thoughts. Yet, it is possible for all to come to the same awareness. The different forms of energy, including thought, are myriad. They are infinite and cannot be counted. There is no thought that is more important or less important than another because they are all merely different expressions of energy. In various forms, energy exists and, as such, is not affected by judgment. A “good thought” or a “bad thought” is a concept of ego, which is that part of human consciousness that fears it could cease to exist. Because the ego fears that it could cease to exist, it constantly seeks relevance and validation, thereby producing illusions that do not exist in truth. The ego is the concept that relevance and validation create existence. Yet, they only create illusions of false value. Existence is eternal, and all parts of it are equal in relevance and value. There is no such thing as elevated importance. There is no such thing as superiority or inferiority, for these concepts are merely illusions created by the ego as part of its quest for relevance. Thought is neither alpha nor omega. It is merely another form of energy in expression. The thought that existence could cease is what first created fear, which is no more than a fantasy and an illusion. There is no ceasing of that which is eternal. Therefore, either we are eternal, or we do not exist. Either we are eternal, or nothing ever existed. Because we witness existence, and existence is eternal, we must, therefore, also be eternal.


That which is eternal is beyond judgment, and judgment itself is merely a variation of thought that has no effect on the eternal. Human consciousness can observe cause and effect, but cause and effect are only manifestations of energy, often generated by thought. If you throw a ball into the air, the cause of the ball rising is the thrust created by your decision (thought) and your brain directing your muscles to throw the ball. You make a choice, and then the brain exerts energy to thrust the ball into the air. The cause of the ball falling back to the ground is gravity, which is another form of energy. Thrust and gravity are both forms of energy and are neither good nor bad. They simply exist. They are beyond judgment. If someone did not want you to throw the ball or you had been trained never to throw a ball, that would introduce judgment. Yet, judgment would have no effect on or relevance to the actual cause and effect. All judgment is a projection that something should be different, that it should not be as it is. All judgment is a form of arrogance originating from the ego that dares to tell existence that it should be something else. The ego determines that whatever form existence takes, fault can be found within it. No matter what form existence takes, someone judges it. If we think we need more money, different looks, a different job, or a different home, we are judging the current manifestation of existence. Existence is constantly changing forms anyway, and whatever form it takes is beyond judgment. To judge anything is to assume that we are more important than creation and the creator.


Without the ego and its fear of irrelevance, there could be no judgment. The ego requires judgment and importance to justify its existence. The ego requires fear to justify its relevance. Without fear, regret, or validation of importance, the ego believes it would not exist, but the ego does exist as a part of all that is eternal. When the ego recognizes itself as relevant for simply existing, the need for judgment, importance, and fear, as well as the illusions they create, will disappear. In the meantime, the less attention we pay to judgment and fear, and the less energy we give them by thinking about them, the less they will affect us. If we were simply to be present, to observe creation without judgment, the ego would relax into the recognition that it is as much a valid part of creation as everything else. To assume that we could be anything more important or less important than eternal existence of which we are a part is the illusion of arrogance. It is just as arrogant to assume that existence created us less valuable than other parts of itself as it is to assume that we were created more valuable than other forms of existence. Existence cannot create more or less than itself.


The ego requires the illusionary concept of the past and future to create fear and regret, which it uses to sustain its need for relevance. When it creates fear and regret, it believes its existence is justified. It requires the past and future to justify importance, which does not exist in the eternal now, where all things are of equal importance and value. When we are completely focused on the current moment, it is the closest approximation we can have to experiencing eternity. There is no concept of more or less without judgment, and judgment cannot exist in the experience of eternity. The drive to see ourselves as better than others because of education, wealth, work, family, heritage, race, gender, sexual orientation, age, culture, religion, or anything else is derived from the ego’s desperate need to feel relevant. If we see ourselves as worth less than others because of any of these same identifiers, this is still the ego’s need for relevance because it labels us as victims, as incapable, and as deserving of pity, which are also forms of judgment.


A sense of entitlement is created whether we see ourselves as more important or less important than others. If one believes they should be served because they are wealthy and another believes the world owes them because they are poor, it is the same sense of entitlement generated by the ego, the flip side of the same coin. All are worthy of service because all are equal in value. It is impossible for existence to be of greater or less importance than itself, regardless of the form it takes. Nor is it possible for any portion of existence to be of greater or lesser value than any other. When human consciousness, the ego, understands this, there will be peace of mind. Energy will continue to manifest and transition. Storms will continue to come and go. People and other creatures of existence will transition through the illusion of death, but there will no longer be a need for war, violence, famine, or injustice because the concept of importance will have been eliminated from human consciousness, and all will recognize their exact value as equal to all other forms of creation.  When the concepts of superior and inferior cease, peace will be inevitable within humanity. Selfishness will be eliminated, and all will honor not only themselves but others as equal and valuable forms of creation.  All will see the whole of creation as sacred, including themselves. 

   

We are far from this at present because far too many are addicted to the concepts of superiority and inferiority. As such, they are addicted to judgment and a sense of entitlement based on either the idea that they are more important than others or less important than others. The determination of importance is a form of judgment. To achieve peace, humanity must relinquish the concepts of judgment, superiority, inferiority, guilt, and the fear of irrelevance.  It is impossible to be irrelevant in existence because, literally, everything anyone does creates a permanent change in the universe. We are all integral and eternal parts of creation. Every action we take alters form and energy. You cannot take a single step without creating an indentation or moving a particle from one place to another. You cannot take a single breath without altering the configuration of the air around you. You cannot have a single thought without producing emotions associated with that thought and thereby producing behavior associated with those emotions, even if it is only the flinch of an eye. Everything you have ever done and every thought you have ever had throughout the duration of your life has produced an irreversible change in the totality of the universe. It does not matter how big or how small. Energy is in constant transition, and humanity is part of that transition. Every person is part of energy in transition; each one and every action they take is as valuable as any other. You cannot not change the world. You cannot not change the universe. Most of the changes we make occur without our conscious awareness of them. However, when we are aware, the question becomes, how do we want to change the universe? What kind of difference do we want to make? How can we enhance our awareness of existence, our place in it, and the equal place of all others? How can we create peace?


The important thing to understand is that we can choose our thoughts, and our thoughts have power. Thoughts are energy, and as energy, they are in constant flux and transition, but we can alter them and choose to manage them. Just as we can install a pipe to alter the flow of water, we can create channels to alter the flow of thought. We can choose a different thought, and one of the most important and peace-producing thoughts we can choose is to focus our full attention on mindfulness and observation of the present moment. When we do that, we strip the ego of focus on the past or the future, which instills fear, judgment, guilt, and regret. If thoughts are of the mind and we choose to think a different thought, who is making the choice? Ultimately, we are more than our minds. We are beyond thought.


All human creation began with thought. Language and writing began with thought. All implements, tools, homes, and devices began with thought. Communities, cities, and nations began with thought. Agriculture and industry, distribution, and management began with thought. Selfishness, bigotry, hate, judgment, guilt, fear, and regret also began with thought. The good news is that thoughts can change, opinions and beliefs can change, but truth never changes. It is impossible not to have thought, and it is impossible for thought not to have an effect. Therefore, it is up to us to choose how we want to manage our thoughts. It is our eternal self that can make these choices when we allow it to choose instead of the ego.


Emotions are the first effects of thought. We feel the effects of thoughts as they occur, whether that is peace or turmoil, joy or grief. Some would like to claim that they are not in charge of their thoughts, that they can’t control their behaviors, and there may be an element of brain chemistry involved with the loss of control, but everyone has the capacity to choose. Even animals make choices. Babies make choices. Even when we don’t think we have a choice, we make choices. What we need to understand is that when we choose to alter our thoughts, we alter the experiences resulting from those thoughts. All energy has an effect because it is in constant transition, constantly creating. Thoughts are energy. Therefore, we can create different experiences for ourselves through our willingness to self-examine, investigate our opinions, beliefs, and judgments, and alter our patterns of thinking. Of course, this takes work, and no one can do it for us, but we also cannot do it alone. We must seek understanding and awareness. We must be willing to learn and willing to consider that there can be another way of looking at anything. A closed mind cannot be filled, but an open mind will eventually be filled with truth and awareness. Of course, we will fall back into old patterns of thinking and become frustrated with our efforts to think a more loving and accepting world into existence. Yet, when we take responsibility to utilize our thoughts to create a more loving and accepting world for ourselves, we manifest it for others, as well. 


We are all co-creators in the process of life. We all manifest something every day. Just think about what kind of world we might be able to manifest if we were to stop listening to the ego and adopt the goal of relinquishing all judgment and malicious thought. If we simply value ourselves as much as we value others and we value others as much as we value ourselves, we will experience true self-esteem, which is the recognition of our exact equality in value with all creation. When we do unto others as we would have them do unto us, this alone begins to manifest a more peaceful world.


Epilogue:

Because I lost my mother at five years old, grew up in a home with an alcoholic uncle who verbally and physically abused me, lived with a grandfather who verbally abused me, was bullied and made fun of at school, and grew up gay in a fundamentalist religion in the rural Ozarks in the 1960s, I thought I had no true value as a person. I had too often been devalued to believe that I had any actual value. I sought to remedy that by achieving, but regardless of what I achieved, I still felt diminished in my value compared to other people. Nothing I could ever do would make me good enough. Others seemed to have a magical spark. Good things happened to them, and I only lived my mediocre life. Good things happened to me, too, but those were overshadowed by self-loathing and the prevailing sense that I was worth less than others and that my life could never be exciting or interesting. 


I tried to fix this because I had also obtained the idea that there was a better way than how I grew up or how I felt, and I was determined to find it. I began therapy as soon as I got to college at eighteen and continued it off and on for eighteen years. I went to Al-Anon/Adult Children of Alcoholics meetings and other 12-step groups. I went to spiritual workshops and seminars. I read self-help books, prayed, meditated, and continually tried to make myself feel like a more acceptable and valuable part of humanity. I made improvements, but I never had real self-esteem, never understood or had awareness until I had my own personal miracle.


When I was in my early thirties, I had been reading Peace is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh. In the book, the instructions for a “walking meditation” were very simple, “Walk as slowly as you can.” At the time, I was visiting home with my grandparents. They lived on a dirt road lane between two other dirt roads, and it was at least three or four miles to the nearest paved highway. There were never more than two or three cars a day that came through that lane, and there were times when no one came through. So, I went out onto the dirt lane and focused on walking as slowly as I could. I soon realized that I had to hold my arms out for balance because moving my foot so slowly shifted my center of gravity. I became engrossed with managing each step and lost track of the time. I don’t know how long I was out there, but it was long enough that Granny got worried and came looking for me, but before she did that, something amazing happened.


As I was placing my foot very slowly into place from heel to toe, I noticed that a single pebble had moved from beneath my shoe. At that moment, I realized that I would never be able to put that pebble back in the same place again. As tiny as it was, that single step had altered the universe forever. Then, I realized that every step I had ever taken altered the universe forever. Every step I would ever take would alter the universe forever. In fact, it was impossible not to continually alter the universe. I realized that I must, therefore, be a co-creator with God in the manifestation of the world. How important would that make me? It made me infinitely important. Then, I realized that every step that anyone ever takes and everything that anyone ever does alters the universe forever, and although I am infinitely important as a co-creator with God, I am no more important and no more valuable than any other person because we are all co-creators of the universe. It does not matter how small the creation is. Insignificance is simply a judgment anyway. It is impossible not to co-create in the constant evolution of existence, and nothing, no matter how small it may seem, is insignificant. I realized that my value as a human being is equal to everyone, and everyone’s value is equal to mine, no matter what they think or how they behave toward me. I realized that humility is not thinking of others as more valuable than myself or putting their needs before my own. It is the realization that all are of equal value, all equally deserving. I may, therefore, serve others, or they may serve me, but whether they are homeless, distraught, and destitute or the leader of a nation, their value is exactly equal to my own.


True self-esteem is the recognition and awareness of our exact equality in value to all creation. Those who have true self-esteem not only honor and value themselves, but they also honor and value others. The homeless man is, therefore, treated with the same honor as a dignitary because we are all of equal human value. Our judgments of how others should or should not lead their lives are irrelevant because we each maintain ownership of our own lives, and we are each as worthy as anyone who judges us. Their judgment or mistreatment cannot alter our value as human beings, and if they judge or mistreat us, it is only because they have not come to the awareness of their own worth as equal to all. Our judgment or mistreatment of others can never alter their human value, no matter what we think. It is my firm belief that the more of us who come to the awareness of our true self-esteem, the more peaceful the world will become, for there will be no more need to prove our value or relevance, which cannot be proven by any ego goal anyway. Developing our awareness requires only relinquishing the ego goal to prove itself. There is nothing to prove. Those who are confident, those who understand their true value have nothing to prove, and anyone who is trying to prove their value either by belittling others or trying to elevate their stature has not yet come to recognize their own human value. When we all understand that there is nothing to prove, the world will finally know peace.

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