I feel like my life is a soap bubble that has floated down stream and got stuck on a branch. It has puffed up to full size and anyone who sees me in this condition would remark that I seem lively and full of brilliant color. I am so light that I could even float away. But then I can so rupture my delicate skin on a twig and pop. Everything that was wonderful about me, my complexion of shiny gold, suddenly can turn into a simple drop of water. My experience seems so magnificent at first, but then I realize I share it with butterflies, nations, and even stars.
I can only speak my thoughts as they come to me, as time passes. The thought from which the universe derived happened outside of time, so did not slowly develop in design. Everything contained in the universe was there all at once at the beginning, including the design of me.
I try to understand and to talk about the infinite, but I am unable to do so because I am stuck in time. I cannot possibly be in time and talk about an all-powerful thought that exists outside of time. My words, if I spoke or wrote or thought them at my very best capability, would still be outpaced by the continual unfolding of a universe expanding outside the context of time. Like others, I can only approach the infinite with my very limited analysis. What I am unable to analyze because of the limits of being stuck in time is only an infinitesimal part of the mind that continues to rule the universe. In the amount of time it might take me to get my thoughts from my mind out into nature through my speech, the Greater Mind has spoken vast new stars and galaxies into existence. I will never be able to catch up.
Eastern thinkers see the Infinite Mind as being one that is stable and unchanging. Western thinkers see movement, where the details of an individual’s existence become most important, and a passion for progress is the greatest goal in one’s life. Each step of development in the western way of thinking keeps one moving toward a perfection that may never be attained.
Modern people enjoy forgetting about themselves and want to always be distracted from looking within. Looking within is a terrifying event because it makes people feel really small and completely lost, especially when they realize that what is outside of them will not last forever, even though it is tangible and the daily phenomena around us are easily identifiable. What is inside of us is not so easy to discern because it is so vast, as vast as the universe, and takes a different way of looking at self to even begin to understand. Great thinkers, talented people, avoid looking within, and instead become so adept at thrilling us or entertaining us with such a trivial view of life, that we all become hoodwinked into emulating them as best we can, thinking that they are showing us the road to greatness or to happiness. We become more educated, but more satisfied with trivia, and thus more superficial.
The civilizing and inspiring tools that earlier, religious cultures have handed down to us, were more about Eastern thinking, rather than Western thinking. The people who came before us, though less educated and less inundated with cultural clutterings, knew the difference between the happiness brought on by the circumstances of living within the limits of time, and the happiness that comes from fixing one’s mind on things eternal. The beauty that can be seen around us was at one time thought to be a sort of mirroring of a greater model of beauty that exists in an unseen universe that controls this one, so that when we see beauty in this world it gives us a glimpse of the greater. The traditional western belief in God at one time gave us a better ability to focus inward, rather than become distracted by the rhinestone nature of change and movement. Rather than look for thrill and excitement and requiring constant entertainment, the western mind once cultivated a pure joy that was not associated with day-to-day circumstances.
Modern science has had such a huge influence on how we see the world and how we think about ourselves. Science originated from the concept that universal rules governed the universe, but could not detect any universal mind that performed the activity of ruling or governing. So the Eastern way of thinking, which was also a part of the western way of thinking, got dropped by scientists, in favor of studying the changing universe, rather than the unchanging. Some moderns sense the pain of what was lost when western thinking changed its point of view and forgot about the unchanging. They have the instinct, which was placed in them at birth, to contemplate what lies within, as well as to be thrilled to have a perception of the mind of God, a sense of worship. These qualities or abilities seem to be valued less and less as our culture and its heroes focus on the trivia of what is changing rather than on what has always been.
We have become so caught up in adopting and following what is new, with little regard for what we leave behind, that we are losing our understanding of who we are. We are too willing to change for the sake of change. If I did not carry my own constant body temperature with me when I go the snow country, I would be in trouble. If I have no sense of being an individual and carrying around inside of me a connection with the divine, then I am susceptible to being redefined by the whims of the society in which I am whirling. I’m a taxpayer, a citizen, a face in the crowd, but not a person. I become a statistic that a merchandiser is interested in exploiting, but I have no soul.
If I continue floating down this stream as a bubble, I will surely pop. To change, I must become an individual whose identity is not influenced by the current. Why would I want to be vulnerable to every stick jabbing out of the bank of the stream, always fearful of having my temporary existence exploded? Having an inner life will get me completely out of that stream.