The correct starting point for any creative activity is an acceptance of the present situation, exactly as it is. However, to start from that starting point you need to be able to see what’s there, and you can’t see what’s there if you are involved with it. And by involvement I mean that you’re looking to something outside of yourself, something in your environment, to give you a sense of meaning and purpose. You can’t see properly what’s in front of you if you are involved with what’s in front of you. You see it through the eyes of your involvement, your attachment, and those are distorted eyes indeed.

Awareness and involvement—as long as we are alive, these two factors concern us. Trouble arises when human beings go beyond simple awareness of what is present to emotional involvement with it. In other words, they are aware of and involved with the same thing. This is a form of inbreeding; it’s a form of incest with the environment and it inevitably leads to a breakdown at some level. If you’re looking for evidence of this, just look at the world in which we live, the human condition, with all of its conflict, corruption, pain and suffering. This is simply the result of people being involved with what they are aware of, and I would suggest that the ultimate end of this way of functioning is death.

There’s a way of engaging with and expressing life that has to do with what I simply call “being.” This is where our centring belongs. If a person is oriented in being, he or she has a new vision with regard to what’s already there. The same things are there, but they are seen differently. They begin to be seen as they really are. But this can’t happen if you’re wrapped up in what’s there. We’re familiar with the old saying, “Couldn’t see the forest for the trees.” There is a lot of truth in this statement. If you’re hugging a tree, how can you see the forest? And most people are tree huggers. The tree might take the form of another person.  They get emotionally involved with another person and they hug them, and then say, “I can’t get this relationship to work; there’s no chemistry here; it’s pretty much dead.” Of course it is if you’re hugging a tree, as if to squeeze some meaning out of it. You can’t see the relationship as it really is. You can’t see the forest.

We are human beings. The human part of us—body, mind and heart—was designed to be a sense receptor for being, for the wholeness of being, not just for that isolated little ego-self with which most human beings identify. In identity with being we’re connected to whatever it is that governs and decides what is to occur throughout the cosmos. But this natural sense receptor gets jammed if there is involvement with the environment. Not that there is anything wrong with being aware of the environment, but the involvement needs to be with being. In each present moment of perception there’s a natural cycle that needs to be completed. The sensory data must be allowed to go through to being; if it’s blocked along the way by personal involvement of some kind, nothing meaningful can happen.

The reason human beings are so completely tired and exhausted, worn and weary is that they’ve been acting unnaturally, and unnatural action is tiring; it’s a drag. People who habitually function this way hit the pillow at night in a state of exhaustion. They have had an enormous amount of sensory data coming to them during the day, and instead of passing it through to being where it can be coordinated and translated into intelligent action to creatively handle each circumstance, they’ve been hugging it and letting it pile up in consciousness, resulting in sensory overload. It all gets stuffed down into the subconscious mind where it engenders insomnia or dreams that are mildly disturbing to downright nightmarish. Hence the wisdom of an evening sanctification process where anything that has accumulated in the subconscious mind from the day’s unwholesome involvements can be cleared out through a conscious connection with being.

So this issue of awareness and involvement ultimately becomes a spiritual matter; every moment of awareness must be linked to being, so that invisible essence at our very core provides the impulse and motivation for all of our thoughts and actions. In other words, being runs the show, and when we are connected with others who are doing the same, we experience the delight of spiritual communion, even spiritual intimacy, and together build the equivalent of a sun on earth.

Manning Glicksohn is a retired school teacher who presently resides in Victoria, British Columbia.