Amid the storms of unknowns and torrent of frigid pelts of hail, an author finds the inspiration, knowledge, and tools necessary to understand consciousness as a road map to connection to something far beyond…
by: Rayya Deeb
Staring down the barrel of the 24/7 news cycle that spits a fully-automatic assault of politics, poverty, war, viruses, the Climate Crisis, school shootings, intolerance, violence towards women and minorities (and the list goes on,) a sense of overwhelm rips through me. Could it get any crazier? We collectively ask this question time and time again…and, yes, somehow it does. Meanwhile, as the wild world continues along and does its thing as it so equally beautifully and mercilessly does, back in 2011 something incredible happened to me: I became a mother. Blessed with the most beautiful, unconditional love for this boundless bundle of joy, I found stillness in the chaos. First one, and then a couple of years later, another pure spirit came into this world under my watch. My instincts kicked in and I knew that I would do absolutely anything for them. But, in a harmonious bubble of peace and certainty we live not, and after they arrived, the storm of unknowns became more intense. Under the torrent of frigid pelts of hail, I felt helpless in protecting my kids. Sitting in a growing concern for the pains and sufferings of humanity, I felt a glimmering of hope that there had to be some way for me to do good by my babes.
In 2013, with a sweet little two-year-old girl and a bun in the oven, I found myself compelled to better understand the future world in which they would one day exist. Ray Kurzweil’s futurist theory of The Singularity stole my attention on a “Netflix-and-chill” kind of night. Taken by the intriguing possibilities for this impeding full-speed-techno reality, I never quite made it to the “chill” portion of the night. The convergence of man and machine and the acceleration of computers to a point that, not outside of our lifetime, machine intelligence will be billions of times more powerful than all human intelligence combined, were ideas far too fascinating to ignore. Kurzweil had gotten into my head, and from that point I dove headfirst into a mind-expanding, perspective-shattering rabbit hole.
It was technology’s developmental velocity and its embedment in human life that inspired my first novel, Seneca Rebel. The realistic science-fiction story allowed me to explore our relationship with technology through the eyes of Doro Campbell, a highly intelligent, yet somewhat naïve, teenage girl in a near-future world. I consider myself a tech-optimist (see disclaimer at paragraph’s conclude), inasmuch as I imagine the endless possibilities of where technology will advance, and that they they will unfold as a direct reflection of the capabilities of the human brain. Current advances such as nano-robotics in medicine and globalization of the internet are examples of the positive manifestation of our human potential and are encouraging outcomes of the goals: Save more lives and increase global connectivity. Where it all goes from here will be shaped by nothing more than the choices people make. It all comes back to us repeatedly telling our kids, “Make good choices.” It seems that being equipped with the wherewithal to make decisions from a truthful and loving place will undoubtedly steer what is to come towards the better, and technology will mirror just that…or it won’t. Hence my disclaimer: Enter free will and what we do with it.
Continuing along this journey in love, truth, technology and life, I penned Seneca Element, the second book in The Seneca Society series, that found our protagonist, Doro, challenged to silence the exterior noise and explore her relationship with her deepest self. This is no simple feat; yet, this expedition is the very nature of life itself. Not unlike Doro, all of us are conditioned in unique ways over the course of our lifetimes. Love, heartbreaks, career highs, childhood traumas, financial extremes, disease, miracles, the joys and pains of life and death, guilt, shame, pride, you name it, individually and collectively, we face it. Our minds and bodies do not function independent of one another and with the unintentional neglect of the internal self, and the absorption of any and all of the above plus all the trivial stuff, stress inevitably befalls us, reaping havoc on our systems and proving to be a complete distraction to what matters most…at least it did for me, momentarily. I found myself hitting a real rocky low point and my journey, not unlike Doro’s, turned inward.
In a serendipitous turn of events, I visited a coffee shop — ironically enough called Longevity — and there I met a barista who recommended a book to me that would change everything. Little did I know that ordering Letting Go by David R. Hawkins was actually the equivalent of ordering a yellow submarine to submerge deep down into the sea of my Self as well as to light the way for Doro’s journey yet to come, in The Seneca Society, book three.
I found Hawkins’ voice to be unrivaled by any other “self-help” book, Ted Talk, or seminar I had ever come across, and that is why my husband and I read nine of his books in six months. The results of devouring these pages, and many a consciousness podcast beyond them, resonated in our individual lives, our relationship as a couple, with our kids, our family unit, our friendships, and overall in the beautiful life we continue to design. Our gratitude for it all has deepened beyond what I ever imagined possible and a fresh inspiration now flows through me, greatly influencing my purpose as a writer, artist, and human. I credit Hawkins’ delivery of the knowledge and tools necessary to understand consciousness as a road map to connection to something far beyond the notion of me. Mother Teresa’s praise of Hawkins, who dedicated himself to the upliftment of mankind, was as follows: “A beautiful gift of writing. You spread joy, love and compassion through what you write. The fruit of these is peace which you know.” Without prescribing a specific doctrine, yet drawing on spiritual parallels from various ancient and holy texts, his words elicited incredible clarity and the ability to recontextualize our human experience. My awareness was brought back to the pure way we arrive in this world before the barrage of outward influences and the sum of all our experiences seep in to shape our perceptions and the decisions we make.
This submarine that is constructed of the combined genius of Letting Go, Healing and Recovery, Reality Spirituality & Modern Man, Transcending the Levels of Consciousness, Truth Versus Falsehood, Discovery of the Presence of God, Power Vs Force, The Eye of the I, and I: Reality & Subjectivity has been truly life-changing for me, and has offered profoundly insightful trips into “other” bodies of water as well. The voyage across these depths, demonstrated that rivers, streams, and aqueducts inextricably link these so-called “other” bodies of water as perceived by our ego-based, dualistic viewpoint. Life on the physical plane is interconnected in every sense. Our physiology is in accordance with science and the natural laws of the universe and our connectivity can be seen inside the very fabric of the natural world. From the fungal communication networks in forests to deep inside our physical being, in matter, down to the atoms, and particles — where the protons, neutrons & electrons become entangled and the behavior of each one affects and depends on the other.
As I began to work through (and continue to work at) dissolving my formidable ego’s limited perspective, I started to develop a deeper compassion for people; even the ones with whom I found myself at odds, or by whom I felt wronged or judged. One in particular I had a hard time coming to terms with was fairly recent. I had been receiving gaslighting behaviors so toxic that my ether was poisoned and my spirit inadvertently became dimmed. In retrospect, however, I believe I was “opting in” and the reality is that the choice to engage, absorb and teeter between the victimhood and heroics of the ego mind was always mine. The sense of overwhelm I felt during that phase of my life was causing me to speak from a very reactionary part of my brain, but rather than holding that as a regret I choose for it be a source of growth. My eventual acceptance stemmed from seeing in a new light that we are all doing the best we can at any given moment in time based on the parameters of our individual life experiences and this pertains to that person, and myself, just as much as every single living being. All of us are perfectly imperfect, unfolding our stories together. None of us know exactly what others have gone through but we absolutely have a choice to accept and love people for who they are at their core rather than judge them. Either way we choose will have an effect that ripples outward to others. In Hawkins’ words, “Every thought, action, decision or feeling creates an eddy in the interlocking, interbalancing, ever-moving energy fields of life, leaving a permanent record for all of time. This realization can be intimidating when it first dawns on us, but it becomes a springboard for rapid evolution.”
We cannot erase past experiences, nor can we control the projections and judgments of those who function in a state separated from their truest Self. The only way we can develop our individual consciousness, and hopefully, ultimately the collective consciousness, is by transcending these variables and past situations, to move beyond them. I’d venture out to believe that if and when we rise collectively in this consciousness, our internal knowingness would be immeasurable in comparison to the smarts of artificial intelligence. When we seek to grow, to heal, and refine ourselves through consciousness studies and integration of various methods of self-care, meditation or religion, we also become more in tune with our intuition. In this process it is important to remember that establishing healthy boundaries and determining the most beneficial investment of our energy for our personal growth is an act of lovingness in itself. Intuition arises not from a stress state, but from an internal analysis of a mixture of factors that include experiences, knowledge and universal intellect — an analysis only made possible in a calmed state. Otherwise known as the third-eye chakra in Dharma traditions and yoga, intuition isn’t something that can be forced, but is nestled inside the deepest point within us all, providing an infinite source of wisdom that no book, or intelligent thoughts can deliver.
The point of transcendence of mind is the settling, unity and stabilization of mind to move beyond our ordinary, limited state and reach the field of universal love. Many a great teacher and sage have advised that there is a frequency that is reached in the pinnacle of mind, body and soul, an unseen dimension where we originate from, and that the realization of this in our Self is enlightenment. It is then and there that outward noise such as the rapid-fire barrage of news cannot demolish the utter delights found in all that is externally magnificent. Music, food, art, the experience of life in all its fullness may become powerful beyond measure. By no means have I mastered the process. In fact, I struggle every morning just getting my kids out the front door in clean socks without feeling insane. Whether or not I can identify and describe the desired pathway as I try to here, it is only through the continual application of diving deeper into my Self that I may ever actualize the space I envision. This trust and dedication in the process is true for me in life and art. None of this contradicts ancient wisdom within Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism or The Vedas, but only enhances it and further clears our path to connecting with the divine. “The kingdom of God is within you,” is a common thread across many different religions and schools of thought and I can’t imagine any other more powerful truth.
If consciousness begets our loving awareness, and the greatest gift that we can give to ourselves and others in this life is the perfection of our own lovingness, then the dedication to becoming highly-conscious, loving beings is the most relevant exercise to realizing our truest human potential. Before our minds were reprogrammed to operate on autopilot, to think and act in snippets, to behave with reactionary tendencies stemming from the necessary, yet highly primitive parts of our brains, we were more true to ourselves than we have become over time. But we have everything within us to become mindful of our thoughts, to truly be the change we want to see, to surrender our egos and let love guide us, to make the kind of good choices we suggest to our kids, and in essence, lead by example. If we can strive to bend that “arc of the moral universe” towards a more beautiful existence for all, I’d say it’s worth a shot. As Hawkins said in Letting Go, “Love is a way of being. It is the energy that radiates when the blocks to it have been surrendered. It is more than an emotion or a thought— it is a state of being. Love is what we have become through the pathway of surrender. It is a way of being in the world that says: “How can I be of help to you? How can I comfort you? How can I loan you money when you’re broke? How can I help you find a job? How can I console you when you’ve suffered a major loss in your family?” Lovingness is a way through which we light up the world.”
Rayya Deeb is an artist and writer born in London, England, raised in Northern Virginia and currently living in Southern California with her husband and two daughters.
Grab a copy of Seneca Rebel (ATM Publishing) here!
Grab a copy of Seneca Element here!
I had a thought, call it “This Week’s Thought”, which said this: Faith can be ironclad yet still leaves an area of torment. It’s a great comfort, faith is. It helps to contain the torment. So many souls are in torment on this planet. It’s impossible to be compassionate without building an area of acceptance of my own torment (mercifully diminishing at present) and the torment of others. This faith is not blind. lt comes from experience, study and introspection. As I enter the “elder” phase of my life this faith is essentially love in all its aspects. Thank you, Raya, for your wonderful work.
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