Question: You need to stop trying to be God. This is some kind of power trip.
Michael Richardson-Borne: When you say “trying to be God,” expand a little on what you mean.
Q: You’re telling me what is correct, and what is not. It’s like you don’t respect and appreciate the multiplicity of views I’m stating. You don’t agree with any opinion except your own. It’s denigrating. At best, you don’t know that you’re doing it. At worst, you’re trying to control my mind. I’m all for spiritual exploration – it’s why I’m here and why I read all the time. But it crosses the line when there’s no room for the way I feel about things. You have your way and I have mine. I will listen to everything you have to say – but I don’t have to agree. If you can’t accept this, it’s just a guru complex on your part. Your theory about Non-separation sounds good – but there has to be a space for people like me to critique it. To challenge you. You can’t just be God and expect everyone to follow.
MR-B: I acknowledge what you’re saying and sympathize with your concerns. I hear you would like more of a dialogue and less of the question-answer format where the relational dynamic is somewhat uni-directional. I hear a desire to make room for debate rather than perform what seems like a constant stump speech. Am I hearing you properly?
MR-B: As much as I’d like to comply with your request, the request itself is one I can not participate in as an invitation to Non-separation. Even if we found common ground on a critique, this would still be empowering a divisive mode of interaction – two individuals competing for (or agreeing with) “what’s right” is the communicative style that results from the belief in separate autonomous individuals. If I participated in this kind of dialogue, it would be a disservice. I would merely be reinforcing the very assumption I’m inviting you to question – the assumption of a separate self.
Can you see how the conversation you’re asking for simply doesn’t exist in the relational context of Non-separation? If not, everything I teach, every word that is spoken through me, points to how this is the case.
I’ll stop here and ask for your permission to continue. If you don’t want to hear it, I understand. If you do, I’m happy to respond more fully.
Q: Please do.
MR-B: Let’s begin with the notion of “trying to be God.” Most people, maybe you as well, take this to mean the attempt to be an all-powerful being that is able to operate on and beyond the human sphere, a divine figure that is external to both your internal and external worlds. Trying to play God is either a literal or metaphorical interpretation of this definition – but both of these understandings are based on an identical assumption of separation that brings with them the same fear of control and manipulation. One interpretation submits to this fear, the other doesn’t. So, in the first case, a supernatural God manipulates or controls your mind and destiny. In the second case, a human plays God by seizing power to manipulate or control your mind and destiny. But notice the assumption that both of these interpretations miss, notice what has truly usurped control of your destiny. Doing this will lead you to the beginning of the Path of Non-separation.
Because you don’t understand the nature of manipulation, you are absorbed in a chess match that pits concepts against one another and takes your mind’s calculations of this word game to be real. Meanwhile, who you truly are is left under the radar, not playing God, but being God incognito. The separate self is the only imposter that can play God. Once you are aligned with the truth of Non-separation, playing an imposter of God is no longer on the map as all imposters are effortlessly played by God. Knowing this frees you of the edgy fear you hold against “others” you perceive as attempting to take your power. Control is from the inside of the inside’s movement out rather than from the outside in. But, right now, you prefer not to notice this.
Most times, where you are speaking from is where the depth of experience and inquiry freezes. It is here where the world stops, ground to a halt by the satisfaction of one’s conclusion about “the way things are.” God, both mythic and humanistic, is left outside of the self as a conceptual object – left as something that can exist outside of the self. But ask yourself what both of these viewpoints leave unexamined? Ask yourself what you are leaving unexamined.
Q: I spend my life trying to be aware of my thoughts. Being mindful. I’m sure some of my thoughts slip by without notice or are completely unconscious. It’s these missed thoughts that I leave unexamined.
MR-B: The importance of missed thoughts has nothing to do with the inquiry I’m inviting you to begin. Missed thoughts must have a separate entity there to miss them, to be concerned about missing them, to have fear of missing them. This separate someone believes there is something to achieve as you become better and better at being aware of thoughts. It places an importance on the movement of the mind that the remembrance of Non-separation knows is arbitrary. From separation, there is a sporty atmosphere where an individual can win or lose at counting thoughts. From Non-separation, this sport is just another act of divisiveness – an action believed to be an autonomous effort for the good or the betterment of a false self.
Missing a thought is like missing a taxi driving the streets of Indonesia while you’re flagging one on a street corner in France. It’s irrelevant. It’s like suffering from starvation in Rome while being unconscious of an apple in Cambodia. Just as there is no nutritional value in conceptual apples, there is no value added to your self-inquiry process by gorging on thoughts or trying to stop thoughts that are thousands of miles away from the real. Ask yourself why you project importance on a story missed by a story? Ask yourself if two stories can even miss one another. Does a story missing a story even make sense to you? If not, realize this is what you are telling me is happening. You are saying the story of your separate self is leaving the stories that are your thoughts unexamined. You are putting yourself in a position where there is a split between the objects of awareness, the individual that is aware and awareness itself. And you expect me not only to buy into this but to participate in the charade while pretending it’s authentic. Who’s trying to control whose mind here? Who’s trying to be God?
Recognize, right now, that you can’t tell me anything other than what is part of a pre-existing unity. Consciousness can only reveal itself to itself as an invitation for the total to align with the totality. As a reflection of this realization, I welcome all challengers and challenges because neither has anything to do with me personally. I am an invitation, not an opponent. Recognize that I’m not attempting to convince you to become something that you haven’t always been. I’m simply pointing out two things to you that may be of service to your journey. First – God is not something “to be” individually as total individuality is an illusion. And second – you are still under the spell of a separate self.
Q: Prove to me that you’ve broken this “spell” you describe. If I’m the one trying to be God, teach me how to stop.
MR-B: Trying to prove something to you is just a push to be personally heard in the field of separation. Besides, there is no proof I can provide in this moment that will be anything more than an opportunity to literally become me and my words as they’re spoken. Ultimately, there is nothing to prove – there is no finality, just perceived movement. Even if I could convince your mind, the depth of this convincing would just touch the surface of the real issue at hand. Non-separation is not something I can hand to you like a gift or prove to you with an intellectual argument. I can only be a lived invitation as we wait for what can be thought of as your moment of grace.
Q: Hold up. If you’re not claiming to be God, you’re, at least, claiming to know what God is. You’re claiming to know God and to be able to show him to the rest of us.
MR-B: The mind cannot know what God is fully because the mechanism for knowing is also God. Take a moment and notice the lag between what you are and what is known by the mind. And then notice that the lag is not disconnected from what is known. All that is known and all that is aware is a whitewash of “empty joy” infusing the suffering of presumed separation. This empty joy is Non-separation.
By saying this, I am not showing you a flip deck of characteristics that comprise a God. If anything, you are showing God to me, and the rest of us, just as much as I am to you because the movement we are is arising as itself. The way I spoke that is probably confusing because none of us are showing anything to one another. We are the thing being shown, period. And this period is not inside of time – the beginning and the ending have no place in Non-separation other than as concepts of the separate self.
Also, notice that “what God is” indicates a terminus – an object that can faithfully be described. Can a supposedly limitless being have a terminus? This is not a Godly paradox or a mystical question – it is simply an illustration of the confusion of the separate self.
Q: Here’s the thing – we say the same phrase about professionals like doctors, scientists and artificial intelligence researchers – they’re all trying to be God. But they’re actually doing something. I give them a pass because there is a service attached to their actions. They are active in the world, solving tangible problems. You talk about the ephemeral. There seems to be a huge difference.
MR-B: What I speak of gets mistaken as ephemeral due to the separate self’s attachment to the body and its focus on behaviors in a world outside of itself. Our materialistic society, with its hazy attention on the supposed solidity of science and the commodification of feeling, makes the internal lesser than the external. The body always comes first – the mind is a mere happening of the body, as is consciousness. But understand that what you think of as ephemeral is the solid and what you think of as solid is the ephemeral. Non-separation is not some pie in the sky phantom feel-good invention for religious types. It’s available to be seen just as readily as I am here before you. It’s always present gently waving at you – waving as you. But, right now, you think you’re too good for it. You’re acting like the popular kid who’s too busy being seen to say hello to the nerdy kid right in front of your face.
To devalue the ephemeral is to be scammed by the culture of separation. You are revealing that you have taken the bait – you have the hook of separation in your lip and don’t even recognize it’s there. You unconsciously feel the pinch of separation. But you have grown so accustomed to the discomfort that you find it a normal part of waking life. You are being dragged around by the pole of a fisherman while believing you are swimming freely. You have no idea that you are one with a fishing pole, a fisherman and a boat. And, then, on top of this, you dismiss the ephemeral as less important because you have no idea that the ephemeral is the weather – that which brings rain, the water that maintains your aquatic life. You dismiss weather as irrelevant without knowing it’s there in any way except conceptually. It’s not concrete enough for your mind and therefore you believe it plays no role in the conditions of life – when it’s the only condition of life. In this metaphor, weather is Non-separation.
Q: I hate to say this, but if what you believe is true, maybe you’re all frauds then. You elevate yourself above the common man and behave in a way to keep this structure in place.
MR-B: From separation, every word you say and every object you behold is fraudulent. Only the fraudulent can exist from a fraudulent belief in separation. As you look at me, you immediately turn me into a fraud because the entire dream around you is fraudulent. I am merely an aspect of this fraudulence. What you are speaking to is your own fraudulent reflection. And this fraudulence is a reflection of the only person that can try to be God – the person who lives life based on the assumption of a separate self.