"Are we fighting against a darkness that doesn't exist? Is this concept of duality an illusion of our current state of consciousness? ....What if it is learned consciousness?"
I've been contemplating the idea of duality lately and feeling it in both my internal and external worlds. When I look at the world around us, it seems that politics has become polarised into two different camps - the left and the right - and neither can see the other's point of view. In-fact we have lost the ability to have rational discussions on social media about the issues that affect us all. All mature dialogue has disintegrated into name-calling and physical fighting (even in our leaders) - where has our intellectual and sophisticated society gone?
The world feels polarised and our behaviours are becoming more and more irrational. There's a saying that talks about the left and right hand that don't know what each other is doing, but what's more important is acknowledging that we are more than just hands; we are whole and complete sentient beings capable of both great evil and enormous love and compassion with these hands. Both of those extremes exist within all of us at any given time.
But so do I, I feel polarised within myself. And if I'm feeling it, I imagine that many other people are feeling the same.
The idea of duality is a fairly recent one in human history. The first known written story/poem/epic ever written was the story of Gilgamesh from about 3000BCE. It was the very first written narrative to record combat between good and evil. From there our ideas in stories evolved to always include this dualism - light/dark, Isis/Osiris, God/The Devil. By the 5th Century CE the theology of the Devil was firmly established in our psyche. In more recent times, I too have been caught up in the Shiva/Shakti, masculine/feminine dualities of our beings.
The word duality comes from late-middle English meaning having a twofold character also shows contrast. But what existed prior to this? If this was the first concept of evil what existed before?
Are we fighting against a darkness that doesn't exist? Is this concept of duality an illusion of our current state of consciousness? What if we are in this internal battle with ourselves and others that simply is an illusion? What if duality doesn't exist as a part of the human condition? What if it is learned consciousness?
I feel this frustration that arises within me and I feel torn by this polarising force that just doesn't feel right for me. Maybe I'm living in this utopian world where I only want to see peace in and around me. But I do sense this duality within ourselves and the world coming to an end - we are coming to a point of conflict where the duality will cease to exist in its current form. Donald Trump, for all his flaws, has unconsciously highlighted this incredible duality that exists both within us and in our world and that's probably his purpose for being.
And yet, the solution is simple: to surrender the duality and bring the polarisation of each hand and into the place of the heart, the centre of all beings. The place that is love. It begins with us centering into love.
© Alyssa Curtayne 2018
"What I’m finding that the only thing I know for sure is where I am now. I cannot make any promises for the future or plan too much because ultimately I will die, and the path that I take there will be dependent upon my decisions and reactions in the now."
Richard Dawkins, in his 2006 book, The God Delusion, proposes that all religion, particularly those with a creator of some form, is a kind of collective delusion, “that a belief in God is both irrational and profoundly harmful to society.” This theory is often applied to Christianity, Judaism and Islam, but increasingly I’m finding it coming up in the worlds that I inhabit. I have always been, I suppose, a spiritual person in the sense that I appreciate nature with a huge sense of gratitude; I am in awe of this planet from the microcosmic to the macrocosm of all that science has discovered. But I have never been religious in the traditional sense.
When I was about 10, I discovered that I was the only one of my primary school friends who wasn’t Christened, and I was mortified. What was I missing out on? I attended Sunday School briefly and after my parents discussed it with the minister, who astutely advised to wait until I was old enough to make my own decision, I didn’t get Christened. I vividly remember writing a poem about Jesus and was quickly put in my place by a girl who asserted her literary and religious dominance.
I needed to convert to Islam when I was about to be married, as my ex-husband is a Muslim. However, Muslims believe that all people are born Muslim and nobody converts, they revert back to what they always were. Needless to say, I didn’t take this reversion seriously and said all the right things to become Muslim so I could marry. But I didn’t revert from anything because I have never had a label attached to my belief, so in my mind, nothing changed.
Religion has skirted the edges of my life and I have met some wonderful people of all faiths but I wonder if Richard Dawkins was right all along and we are all under a delusion? If I transfer that thought process to my recent growth and development, I am very influenced by Buddhist and Hindu teachings, particularly around my yoga teacher training. Interestingly, I think all religions originated in India and the big five; Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism are just a different interpretation on the same thing. Somehow the message gets warped and it turns into its own version of events and wisdom. The culture that is developing in the new age or spiritual community is an interesting one and I’m asking myself now if we too aren’t under a delusion of belief; if the things that we all started out believing are being warped into this ego-version of what it originally was. Our shared stories are turning into something else.
So if all oral and written stories aren’t true and there is no great God or Goddess, what are these stories? Are they just a way to explain our existence? Are they a way for our tiny minds to find some meaning in why we are here? And why are we here? What is the point of life? And why haven’t the beliefs of Indigenous populations become more mainstream? The reason for our existence is truly a question that has no answer and not one of us will ever find the answer. So many people turn to religion because it is familiar, it is comfortable, it creates community and there is historical evidence of sorts that the people in the stories were real or that they provide lessons in the best way to be human.
I’m finding that I’m questioning all of my beliefs at the moment and I think that is a healthy way to be, I get to be conscious about what I believe in. I love the human story, our collective history, and while growing up in Australia has been a fairly Western, Christian version of events, I’m constantly asking more questions about the human story in other parts of the world. We are all influenced by so many things and in this age of the internet, while we have limited censorship (at this stage), ideas can spread and, in technological terms, go viral. That, to me, is so exciting. We can start to hear the voices of other humans and not just from Western, English-speaking countries.
And the future? How can I be sure of the future and do I really want to know what will happen? If I spend too long worrying or thinking about the future, I miss the dragonfly that lands on my chair or my children asking for my attention, or being thoughtful as I vacuum the floor and being grateful for electricity and a home to live in.
What I’m finding that the only thing I know for sure is where I am now. I cannot make any promises for the future or plan too much because ultimately I will die, and the path that I take there will be dependent upon my decisions and reactions in the now. There is no delusion in the present. The messages that go to our brains from our senses; what we see, hear, feel, smell, taste and intuit that is true, it’s how we interpret and react to them that then defines us and our human experience.
©Alyssa Curtayne, 2016
Last week with the “Blue Moon” it got me thinking about what we value and why. A blue moon is a second full moon that occurs in a calendar month. My newsfeed was awash with advice and recommendations about the blue moon and what we can manifest in this once-in-a-blue-moon sort of event. I have no doubt of the power of the full moon for manifesting and of the new moon for letting go. This is not about the moon’s powers. This is about the value we attach to things without asking the questions.
As in the previous blog, I’ve been questioning everything. And I mean EVERYTHING! If we look at the blue moon, it is based on the concept of months as in a calendar. Just as days of the week are human-made, so are the months. If we were to be true to the cycles of this planet, we would divide it by the moon’s cycles not calendar months, that is January, February and so on. There are thirteen moon cycles in a year based on the movement of the moon around the earth and there-in lies another human made concept: Linear Time. There are no “rare” moon events just because the calendar says so.
The fact that it is the number 2015 is a human construct designed to keep us feeling some sort of control in a linear time-space continuum. But as physicists know, time is not linear, yet, here on this planet we as a society create it so. Through the simple act of the blue moon, I have dismissed the names of days, calendar months and numerical years in my worldview. And don’t get me started on European season names that were imported to Australia when half of the country exists in a wet-dry climate cycle and things like autumn make absolutely no sense. Aboriginal seasons with their intricacies of plant growth, types of wind and rain, and when animals breed make so much more sense in such a diverse country.
Countries – they are names again! I could go on forever with these human-made constructs that we don’t ever question. I think John Lennon said it best when he said in Imagine, “Imagine there’s no countries, it isn’t hard to do, nothing to kill or die for and no religion too.” But what’s been happening even more in recent years are images coming back from the International Space Station of Earth from space. In those pictures, there are no delineated lines marking what is mine or yours, or even theirs from space. From space, we share this blue planet that we call Earth. Even the boundaries of our homes, our lands, our fences separate us. Traditional societies shared spaces and lived in relative harmony. I’m not suggesting that there weren’t conflict over territory, but in general it was shared spaces and there was a mutual respect for another’s space. Until we delineated “mine” and “yours”, it was “ours”.
Even our names that we are assigned at birth, define our gender and expectations of behaviour even before we have become solid in our new bodies. We parent girls and boys differently and have different expectations on them; girls are “soft and need nurturing”, boys need to “stop crying and toughen up”. Where did these values come from and how do they define us from external pressure? Where are the parents who value the child’s soul and allow them to grow and be who they are?
In his book Seven Secrets of Time Travel: Mystic Voyages of the Energy Body, Von Braschler (Destiny Books, 2012) explores the concept of time as an illusion on the Earth plane with physical limitations. We restrict the possibilities of existence by restricting ourselves in linear time. We are caught in a cycle where time defines us, not us defining time. No longer do we follow the natural rhythms of the Earth and ourselves but we fill our lives with constant activity without ever stopping in the stillness.
Many of the great thinkers: Aristotle, Leibniz, Issac Newton, Immanuel Kant, Albert Einstein, H.P. Blavatsky and more recently Nicholas Tesla knew that this concept of time doesn’t really exist, except in our minds. We spend our lives rushing around after electronic clocks, when the concept of measured time; seconds, minutes, hours is an artificial construct and we are suffering with an enormous amount of stress-related health conditions, because we are unable to allow the natural rhythms of the Earth work with our own natural cycles and to allow the soul to unfold like a flower without pushing and pushing to do this course, or earn that money or have this skill or be more “spiritually advanced” than other people, it all seems very survival focused. Braschler says that our sensory perception; sight, sound, touch, taste, hearing, limit our Earth experience, instead we should be trusting our higher consciousness and exploring beyond the cultural and social structures. Yet, these experiences in the higher consciousness, “cannot always relate to normal frames of reference that are comfortable for our rational lower mind to process and resolve.”
This planet is ours. We all share it. When we start to separate ourselves by name, gender, days, months, countries and the ticking of a clock we do our souls a dis-service. We are creating this external construct of linear time and perceived identity, which does not exist. We all perceive what we want to see and what we have been socially conditioned to see. Immanuel Kant said that time is a tool we use to keep our thoughts orderly. So what is the key to overcome these social and cultural conditionings? I have some thoughts:
1. Firstly, question where your values come from. Is the blue moon any more powerful than a regular full moon? The answer is in the energy you put into your desire. July is an artificial measure of time that we use to track the Earth’s annual cycle around the sun. The months compartmentalise the year into manageable chunks that we arrange our lives around. Even Wednesday is “hump day” the day half way to the weekend. What sort of world are we living in where we rush through the “week” in order to get to the weekend where we can do what we really want to do, where we can actually follow our soul’s callings? What a phenomenal waste of the present moment!
2. Secondly, if you are a woman, track your menstrual cycle by the moon. Of course this will be harder if you are on synthetic contraceptives. If coming off these, you need to have all the necessary discussions. I’m not a doctor or your partner. Do your research, ask the questions. For me I know that my period comes around the new moon and I ovulate at the full moon. I always have. For other women, the cycle is reversed. Hospital staff and midwives repeatedly report that babies come in clusters around the full moon. I haven’t done the research, but I’m fairly certain men too have their own natural cycles.
3. And the final thing that I would suggest is to ground yourself deep into your body and soul and live in the moment. It’s one thing to cognitively know to be in the moment and another to be driving the kids, while listening to the radio and have your mind reel off the thousands of things that need doing. Just drive. Be present. Really listen when someone is speaking and be mindful of thinking about your responses. Just listen. Just be. Time as we have created it truly is illusory. We need to unplug ourselves from thinking we don’t have enough time, that there is a hurry, that we allow the world to define ourselves from the outside.
We need to return within and trust in our souls to guide us to where we need to be. We can control time, we can be the masters of it and not be driven by it, we just have to change our perception of what we view as true and as always, Question Everything.
©Alyssa Curtayne 2015
I don’t know about you, but I’m finding the nonsense in the media and on social media exhausting and somewhat surreal. Are we really in a world where we are allowing the poisoning of our water by fracking? Are we really in a world that values coal energy over renewables? Are we really in a world where politicians are serving their own economic and self-serving needs rather than for the people? Are we living in a world where people protest the rise of “multiculturalism” in the street as a result of being manipulated by politicians into believing that different is bad? I’m experiencing a sort of disbelief about what I see happening in my world, in our world and I feel a sort of helplessness about what to do about it. I feel a sort of helplessness that I’m watching this insanity just get worse and worse and there is no-one standing up to change it. What can I do about it except vent on social media, sign another online petition or call my local politician? Especially since government checks and balances are continually being dismantled to call them to account.
At school, we teach critical thinking, we work at getting students to question things and I’ve always questioned everything. I don’t know when it started, probably with my affair. It made me question marriage and the connection between people. It made me think deeply about who I am and what my values are. But in the past week, I’ve been questioning everything about the world and the universe. Maybe it was the discovery of Kepler, the earth-like planet that has a 382 day year but maybe it was something else. Maybe it is part of the death of the part of me that is trying to be “normal” and fit into the world. How do we be in the world and fully be ourselves but not sit by and allow this insanity to continue? Or is the answer to be fully ourselves and the world will change by us simply being the change that we want to see in the world?
Question everything. That means everything. What is real? What is true? How do we know truth? Where do we find it in a world full of information and manipulation? Are we being manipulated by and about everything, including our beliefs, values and identity? Is our identity based on what we are told? Is it through socialisation? Even before we are born, our identity as male or female is predicted and wished for. As soon as we are born, the first question that is asked is: Is it a boy or a girl? Not, is the baby healthy? Our identity is socialised into us even before we exist. That’s not to say I wanted to be a boy! I’m completely happy to be a woman and have the experience that I have had and am having.
I’ve been reflecting on my beliefs and how much of who I think I am is based on what I’ve read or heard or seen from other people’s interpretations of the world. And I wonder how much of my belief is based on what I store in my head? Where does belief come from? Is it a cognitive, brain thing, or is belief based on the feeling or an experience? If you put your hand on a hot stovetop and burned yourself, is that memory of the burn there still in your body when you see fire, or a stove or hear the song that was playing at the time?
I feel like I’m caught in two worlds, one where I am striving to be normal, to fit in, and the other which is the world where I feel right at home, centred and full of joy. Feel like living two parallel but distinct lives… teaching – a world where I work because it funds my life, but my spiritual self that is crying out to be set free from the insanity of the world and just be me.
When I go out in the world it seems all so meaningless. But what has meaning? What is the source of meaning and does life have to have meaning? Do we have a greater purpose or is that another untruth that we have been sold in order to feel like our lives are worth nothing unless we are living our “purpose”? What the hell does that mean? I want to disconnect from the world and return to the truth, my truth, my inner knowing. Every time I set foot outside my door, nothing seems to make sense. I feel like an alien in a strange land. The world seems to be overtaken by a survival insanity that has no point. But how do you disconnect when we have allowed our lives to be completely dependent on an internet connection and a small, hand-held device?
As always, when I’m writing a blog, something comes to my attention, and this time a banned TEDx talk by British writer Graham Hancock. While he advocates the use of psychedelic drugs, specifically, ayahuasca to open minds to consciousness, the line that resonated most for me was his description of wisdom from Amazonian Shamans about the west: “You guys have severed your connection with spirit. Unless you reconnect with spirit and do so soon, you’re going to bring the whole house of cards down around your heads and ours.” And they're right. We are disconnected.
I think the more I learn about the world, the more I see the interpretations of other people and how THEY see the world. If someone is at a stage in their life where it is all about consumption of material goods, who am I to judge? Who am I to say that the way I live is better? It just is what it is. They are where they are and I am where I am. Should it be my job to make the world better by pushing and dragging other people into a place that I perceive to be right? No, it should not. Is it my job to be fully authentically me and to follow my heart? Yes. It is. So today, I am focusing on not judging others for being who they authentically are and not carrying the whole weight of the world on my shoulders, because the world that I NEED to focus on is my inner world. I am taking the Amazonian Shamanistic advice and re-connecting with the spirit that dwells in me, around me and in all of us and taking advice from Gandhi from the quote that has driven my life, “Be the change you wish to see in the world” and putting my energy into the things that I can change and taking my energy away from the things that I can’t.
©Alyssa Curtayne, 2015