Shall I Push Myself on Others, or Pull Everything In?

A human has only one single moment in which to exercise free will, and that of course is now. It seems the choice is whether to act or to react, to let circumstances carry us along or to chart a new course.

But there’s a misperception in setting these up as opposing principles. To react is also to make a decision, to take action. Otherwise we’d be without thought. And it doesn’t seem the human lot to escape thought.

We can’t react to something without at least some reflection. An anticipation of remorse, perhaps, or delight. To act is also to react, otherwise we’d be operating in a vacuum.

Our actions are predicated upon past influences.

Stepping back is the glue holding things together for us humans, the oil lubricating the machine, the matrix of consciousness.

Meditation. If I take an action I’m well advised to do it conscious of my surroundings, the history of moments that brought me here. With an eye to the impact my action will have on all around me. Common sense? Stepping back and dividing self into action and awareness of action is self-awareness. And this is the single thing that makes us human. It makes us two parts, watcher and watched. There’s an old story that called this knowledge of good and evil.

When I choose not to take action, when I want to “go along with” what’s happening in my life, it seems this also involves stepping back. Otherwise there’d be no conscious will. While we can choose to make less of a choice this is always watered down by awareness of what we’re doing — by some bit of stepping back. And by stepping back I bring action to that stepping back, because to step back and view the flow of my life is to affect it, and that in itself is action.

I can’t take a real look at what I’m doing without affecting what I’m doing.

Doesn’t Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle tell us that? When I look at something I change it. Now why is that important? Because we’re not separate from the world around us. Our consciousness is the the one thing causing creative change. That’s the other secret, the other magical tree. We are separate within ourselves, watcher and watched, yet we are not truly separate from the world. We’re imbedded in it so we may as well consider ourselves part of the universal mind.

Ever wonder what “Created in God’s image” means? I always think of Leonardo da Vinci’s diagrams of human beings with arms outstretched. I tend to think the idea must be that God looks a lot like that too. Maybe not. It’s our creating by means of consciousness that is God-like.

We create all the time and in these small acts of creation we impact the entirety of this universe.

We can choose to either push ourselves onto the world or observe and pull everything into our creative will. That’s the paradox and the trick here: stepping back engages true creativity while the blind push to make does not. An existential question because in the case of the push we create something, a sand castle perhaps, that lasts for a moment against the wash of time. In the case of the pull, by stepping back and pulling the whole universe towards our awareness, our action involves everything. Awareness, presence…and power.

By stepping back from action we join forces with everything.

How can one be all-knowing and everywhere at once (omniscient and omnipresent)? One would have to have the whole universe within oneself. From the perspective of the intellect, the entire universe is within oneself — how would you know that there’s anything outside what you can see? How would you know there’s anything of what you see not generated within your own consciousness?

So we’re a subset of the universe and yet in some way we’re mixed in with the whole thing.

This knowledge could be the fruit of the Tree of Life (the one humans were barred from eating lest they became like gods). The Tree of Life, in this version of the story, must confer upon us all that we miss to become god-like. Omniscience, Omnipresence and Omnipotence. Yet given it’s the Tree of Life you’d think it would give Eternal Life too?

In the story the concern was eating the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil wouldn’t satisfy humans. They’d next eat the fruit of the Tree of Life and “become like us.” Eternal life is cool but what use is it without the power of the Omni’s?

What if we already have omniscience, omnipresence and omnipotence but don’t know it yet? Maybe the Tree of Life is another Tree of Knowledge.

It boils down to the moment of experience, but this time it’s the location of that experience that matters. Our place in the universe is more as DNA in humans is related to other earth creatures. We’re all connected, related, likely descended from a single unit. Sentient life in this universe may be “in God’s image” in the sense that it is sentient through creativity. Consciousness is by its nature creative. Something happens, through consciousness, that connects us with everything.

The mere choice to join forces with the universe or stand against it is the hairsbreadth barrier separating us from god-like powers.

The choice to push ourselves on life or to pull it in may constitute the Tree of Life. If we could hold onto the perspective we’d have it... (to consult the old story again: yea, he casteth out the man, and causeth to dwell at the east of the garden of Eden the cherubs and the flame of the sword which is turning itself round to guard the way of the tree of life.) Uh oh. Blocked. And don’t you feel it? Every time we step back our minds are flooded with chaos, like universal static. I feel it right now, waiting for the next words, pulled by myriad physical, mental and social concerns, wondering whether my line of logic will collapse into empty rhetoric. I take the flaming sword to be intellectual death, the failure of intellect to rise above the dirt of this world. Chaos, decay, and the fertility of an unknown force bringing constant life up all around us.

A hairsbreadth barrier, perhaps, but a dimensional barrier only crossed by the death of the individual. How disappointing…

Eternal life is omnipresence, omniscience and omnipotence in time. Who ever said those three characteristics of God are limited to three dimensions rather than four? What’s the difference between omnipresence and immortality if time is a dimension? Made “in God’s image” we’re creative and in other ways nearly godlike. We’re part of universal knowledge and presence, should we choose to notice. By eating of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil we have a constant existential dilemma. “Do I step back and notice what I perceive and find a way to respond to that?” “Or do I push a pre-existing agenda in pursuit of an outcome?” That’s good and evil.

If we ate the fruit of the Tree of Life and broke through the barrier of time and space our will would stretch across all creation through all time.

The best kind of living forever would be to live in every moment and every part of the universe at the same time. Through it’s closed and interconnected nature we already live in all parts of the universe. But it’s not clear that we’re aware of it.

Our current station is continual choice between stepping back to observe, or getting lost in what is happening. Ironically if we choose action, choose to push our own agenda, that’s actually getting lost in things, which is passive.

And we sink down into the earth, we discard the golden key of consciousness and are gone.

We can choose not to act on our own preconceived agenda. We can step back and pull reality in towards ourselves through observation. We become for a moment omniscient and omnipresent and through acceding our power to the greater picture, omnipotent. To take action is to be passive and descend into darkness. To step back is to open oneself to true action that will create a universe that has never before existed.

Cool. What about living forever. Do we get that too? Just guessing, but stepping back, if one can do it well, joins our consciousness with the big picture, and that sounds to me like Nirvana or Heaven. Eternal Life. For being good. So, step back from trying to do things for your own preconceived reasons. And step back from just going with the flow. If you step back from making “selfish,” self-isolating choices, then you’re allowed to eat from the Tree of Life and live forever and everywhere at once.

To make a pun about our culture’s pervasive directive to serve the common good: if you can step back from your own selfish agenda Santa will keep y0u on his list and bring presence.



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Kent Mitchell

Kent Mitchell

Traveler, Writer, Designer. Seeker of Truth.