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What Is Real And What Is Unreal?




Al's talk, relating to Yaani's story:




Contrast the play of the divine child who always knows himself and who is always in undiminishable joy, with the actions of a dog who happens into the room of mirrors. Everywhere the dog looks he sees other dogs facing him. He becomes agitated and ready to defend or attack; he bears his teeth and snarls at the band of dogs surrounding him. Now he finds that his adversaries are also getting excited and signaling threatening gestures. He becomes afraid, adrenaline rushes into his blood stream and he prepares to fight for his life. He barks and growls and menacingly faces one after the other of his attackers to keep them at bay.

But there is no relief, the standoff continues and the threat is unabated until he finally wears himself out, becomes weak and gives up. He becomes defenseless. Amazingly, the band of dogs around him relax as well and cease their attacking gestures. Of course, the whole scene of threat and attack and the anguish that resulted from it, was all concocted in the dog's mind. A shift in perception would have been so very easy to make and would have so completely changed what he sees and experiences, but it is a seemingly impossible task for dog-consciousness to manage.

Through the law of karma, the dog realizes that he himself is responsible for all his actions. It dawns in his consciousness that everything he seems to do to someone outside of himself, that every hurt he inflicts, he himself will suffer from; and that whatever he appears to be doing to someone else he is really doing to himself. Eventually he realizes that all these projections perceived to be others outside of him are really just himself. When the dog learns to look lovingly on his reflections, 100 dog reflections look lovingly back at him. Every kind act he takes is magnified and returned a hundred-fold. It has been said that when you take one small step towards the divinity, the divinity takes 100 steps towards you. Align yourself with truth and all the awakened and realized beings of the ages will come to bless you and shower their grace.

And so, this whole story is our story. It is the story of our daily progression through the house of mirrors of our dreams. In time, the dog changes his perceptions; he reverses his spelling and instead of a d-o-g, he becomes the g-o-d that he has always been. This change in perception need not take eons. It can happen in an instant. Right now we can leave our dog-consciousness behind and return to God-consciousness. Nothing need be done. We only need to stop giving our false perceptions continued validity by perpetuating the belief that they are true. To let go of our belief in the reality of illusion is the only spiritual practice that is required of us. Truly, we need do nothing; we merely need to be willing to stop reinforcing life-times of mistaken seeing and conditioning by continuing to see the false as true and thereby making the error real.

You are the divine child, playing with all these seemingly different reflected images of yourself. And now you are in process of turning inward and leaving the house of mirrors behind. Just a few more moments and your awareness will again be bathed in the infinite joy of self-absorption. You simply do not realize it yet.
Sai Baba illustrates the letting go of false beliefs, by calling attention to a handkerchief he holds in his hand. As he clutches the handkerchief, he says, "Holding on is what is difficult." As he lets go of the handkerchief and it falls to the floor, he says with a twinkle in his eye, "Letting go is so easy." In other words, when we give up all efforts to hold on to and give meaning and value to the illusion, the truth reveals itself naturally, of its own accord. It is all so simple.

Sometimes the shift in consciousness comes quite unexpectedly for it is available every moment of our day. All that is required is a willingness to commit our lives to it totally and relinquish all efforts to hold on to even the least part of the illusion by considering any of it to have real value. To attempt to purify or sanctify the illusion with sacred forms and rituals and incantations, in other words, to attempt to bring truth into the illusion, as some spiritual paths advocate, will not get us there. Even our attempts to spiritualize our lives within the dream and hope thereby to awaken to truth, will also not do it. All these efforts will not get us there because we are already there. In the end all our efforts directed towards achieving awakening turn out to be futile, because we don't believe we are already there. It is like looking for our eyeglasses, when they are sitting on our nose and we are using them to look for the eyeglasses we think we lost. We won't find them that way.

What does get us there, is our recognition that we are already there.... that we have kept the illusion alive through force of habit and through non-inquiry, and this has covered the realization of our truth. We have constantly reinforced the illusion by all our daily actions and thoughts, by our judgments and perceptions as separate individual beings. We need but to stop feeding the illusion with our belief in its existence. When we no longer see differences and specialness, then all we see wherever we turn is ourself, the one Self. In Christian terms, all we see is the face of Christ, everywhere. Then love abounds, and illusion, shorn of all our beliefs in it, wastes away and vanishes. Being no longer obscured, the truth which was always there unaffected, but which illusion appeared to have covered, now stands revealed. That is all.



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