God's Will and the Peace That Passeth All Understanding

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Joan Tollifson

God's Will and the Peace That Passeth All Understanding

Post by Joan Tollifson »

To me, God is another word for Unicity, Totality, One-without-a-second, intelligence-energy, the Tao, Here / Now, Consciousness, Truth, What Is, Just This, emptiness, or whatever we want to call the undivided living reality. It is THIS, right here, right now—the tweet tweet tweet of the bird, the whoosh whoosh whoosh of the traffic, the barking of the dog, the colors and shapes, the sensations of breathing, the awaring presence beholding it all—all of it an unbroken wholeness, seamless and boundless—ever-present and ever-changing, without beginning or end—at no distance, utterly immediate, without separation, no inside or outside, no subject or object—just this, as it is.

I don’t think of God as a guy-in-the-sky who is planning out and willing his next move, and therefore, as I see it, expressions such as “God’s will,” or “thy will be done” are simply pointers to the fact that life is as it is in every moment. It is as it is because of infinite causes and conditions (and even that is a mental overlay on top of what truly passeth all understanding). To add, as some people do, that everything is unfolding as it “should” (as “God’s will” seems to imply) feels extra to me—as if there is some plan for how things “should” be. Better to stick with simply it is as it is.

Obviously, as living organisms, we are incredibly vulnerable and subject to pain, disability and loss. No matter how much money we have or how many walls we build between us and “them” (whatever we think might threaten us), insecurity remains, for it is the very nature of organic existence. No form endures. When we are completely identified with one perishable and apparently separate bodymind, this is a very frightening situation. We are trying to survive as one wave on the ocean, trying to grasp and hold onto water, trying to freeze and pin down the movement that life is.

But when there is the recognition of the larger happening that we all are, the ocean itself, there is peace. We recognize what cannot be destroyed, damaged or broken. We see that there is no way we can ever go wrong, that EVERYTHING is God. We see that we ARE the movement of life, not some separate thing that is being swept along in it. No-thing ever really exists (stands apart), and no-thing is ever really born or ever really dies. When that is recognized, it ends the suffering associated with the illusion of being a separate fragment with free will on a journey toward a better (or more terrible) future. This is the peace that passeth all understanding. It is the peace that is at peace with apparent conflict, upset and disruption, the peace that depends on nothing.

But even with this realization, life inevitably includes pain. Just the mere thought of a painful illness, a terrorist attack, or being pinned under the rubble in a catastrophic earthquake can fill the entire bodymind with dread. These are scary thoughts—but that’s all they are right now, thoughts. And if one of these things actually happens, the reality of it won’t be the same as our fearful fantasy. And one way or another, whatever apparently happens, we will survive it, whether as this ever-changing form we call the bodymind or as the great (beginningless, endless) happening itself. Ultimately, our whole life, all of human history, and the entire universe is like a passing dream, a dream that includes everything imaginable and unimaginable. Recognizing the dream-like quality of all that appears doesn’t invalidate the beauty or the pain. It simply means it has no inherent or lasting reality, no ultimate meaning, no great purpose beyond simply being as it is.

Awakening is not about getting a grip, figuring it all out, having the right set of beliefs, landing in some correct formulation, or surviving as this form. It’s the releasing of all that, the relaxing (melting, dissolving, letting go, free-falling) into the unformulated and indescribable living reality of this (timelessly present) moment—prior to labels, judgments, categorizations, explanations, definitions, comparisons or any other conceptual overlay. Of course, this unbroken wholeness includes EVERYTHING, even labels, judgments, categorizations, explanations and all other conceptual overlays, so awakening isn’t about the absence of all that. But when consciousness mistakes the map for the territory, or the label for the thing itself, or any story for the living actuality—and especially the story of being a separate, independent self who has to “make something of my life” and “do the right thing” and “get somewhere” and “be somebody,” then there is suffering. Awakening sees through these mirage-like mistaken identities.

That doesn’t mean we deny the apparent person altogether -- that would be ridiculous. I still know that I’m Joan and that this is a BBS post. But simultaneously, there is also the knowing that I am not limited to Joan, and that “Joan” is no-thing that can be grasped or separated out from everything else that is apparently not-Joan, and that to call this present happening “a BBS post” is a relatively accurate and useful description, but that ultimately, no one can say what this present activity (this BBS writing-posting-reading) is. It’s never really some-thing that can be objectified, grasped and understood.

Liberation doesn’t fixate on any mental construct or cling to any particular experience or any single “level” of reality (whether absolute or relative, boundlessness or particularity, zoomed out to the undivided whole or zoomed in to the personal story). Life moves freely because EVERYTHING is included and NONE of it is actually personal, not even what seems to be our personal story.

The thinking mind is always trying to get a grip, so it will try to make something (some-THING) out of unbroken wholeness or boundlessness or God—even to put those words (“unbroken wholeness” or “boundlessness” or “God”) on this-here-now makes it seem like some “thing” (this but not that). We use words to point, but beware of clinging to the words—the word “water” is not water. Because totality has no limits and nothing stands apart from it, there is no way it can be objectified. As has been said, you can use a thorn to remove a thorn—but then you throw both thorns away. You don’t hang on to the helpful thorn or it quickly becomes an obstacle. Don’t cling even to the no-map map. And if you do cling, recognize that there is no “you” doing this apparent clinging, and that this too is simply a momentary activity of being, a momentary shape that undivided wholeness is taking, a momentary appearance in a fleeting dream belonging to no one.

If we let all our descriptions and conceptualizations and beliefs go, what remains?

If you’re thinking of an answer, or searching for one, drop that and simply BE what remains. There is no way to really say what this is, and yet, here it is—utterly obvious, unavoidable and undeniable. How simple can this be?
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Post by Tdarcos »

Jesus H. Suffering Christ on a crutch I must hereby formally apologize for every time I posted a response that was way too long.

All I can think of about this spammer posting another message that probably nobody here has any interest in, is...

They are illustrations of this true proverb: "A dog returns to its own vomit," and "A sow, after washing herself, wallows in the mud." - 2 Peter 2:22
"In violent times, you shouldn't have to sell your soul."
- Tears For Fears, Shout
Tony Parsons

Post by Tony Parsons »

Until I recognise who I really am, my life can be
largely driven by that which I fear.

It can be my fear that engenders my belief in a
beginning and an end.

It is my fear of losing myself that can perpetuate
and sustain my drive to survive and continue, and
what I long for and fear most is the absence of
my self.

Fearing weakness I strive for control, fearing
intimacy I strive to be aloof, fearing subservience
I strive to be dominant, and if I fear being ordinary
I try to be special.

The things I can be afraid of are endless, because
if one fear is overcome I can put another one in its

If there is present awareness, fear is seen clearly
as an abstraction ... a future anxiety born from
memory's blueprint. If the story that engenders the
fear is dropped, I discover that all I am left with is a
physical sensation which is raw and alive. Now it
ceases to overrun me and quietly takes its place in
existence. It is the same with physical or emotional
pain. When I cease to own it I liberate myself from
its bondage and see it simply as it is.

If I cease to label suffering as bad, and mine, it is
possible to allow it simply as energy in a certain
form, and it can then begin to have its own flavour
which can take me deeply into presence.
The nature of suffering is that it speaks deeply to
me of another possibility. By desiring pleasure and
avoiding pain I chop in two the very root of that
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Post by Flack »

Didn't rhyme. C-.
"Jack Flack always escapes." -Davey Osborne
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Post by pinback »

Also the formatting was terrible. Nice cut and paste job, Tony, you idiot.
Above all else... We shall go on... And continue!
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Post by Billy Mays »

pinback wrote:Also the formatting was terrible. Nice cut and paste job, Tony, you idiot.
I don't know who that Parsons account is.

The formatting is fine, it's the type of formatting you would see on a pamphlet or some sort of junk mail bullshit, something most people would throw out if they received it it the mail, so it is essentially parodying the worthlessness of his speeches.
Tony Parsons

Post by Tony Parsons »

For me the first realisation of enlightenment, or of
the nature of who I really am, is not something that
can be expressed. What happened cannot even be
called an experience, because the separate
experiencer needed to be absent for it to emerge.

However, what accompanied that happening
was a realisation of such simple magnitude and
revolutionary content that it left me awestruck and
quite alone.

One of the things I came to see is that
enlightenment only becomes available when it has
been accepted that it cannot be achieved.

Doctrines, processes and progressive paths
which seek enlightenment only exacerbate the
problem they address by reinforcing the idea that
the self can find something that it presumes it has
lost. It is that very effort, that investment in selfidentity
that continuously recreates the illusion of
separation from oneness. This is the veil that we
believe exists. It is the dream of individuality.

It is like someone who imagines that they are in
a deep hole in the earth, and in order to escape they
dig deeper and deeper, throwing the earth behind
them and covering up the light that is already

The only likely effect of extreme effort to become
that which I already am, is that eventually I will
drop to the ground exhausted and let go.
In that letting go another possibility may arise.
But the temptation to avoid freedom through the
sanctification of struggle is very attractive.
Struggle in time does not invite liberation.

Life is not a task. There is absolutely nothing to
attain except the realisation that there is absolutely
nothing to attain.

No amount of effort will ever persuade oneness
to appear. All that is needed is a leap in perception,
a different seeing, already inherent but
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