Question: I really like Deem Spencer’s song titled soap. It makes me think of washing my troubles away. How do we get cleansed by God’s soap, so to speak? Is completely washing one’s troubles away possible?
Michael Richardson-Borne: Yes and no. From separation, there will always be trouble– washing away all of one’s perceived troubles still leaves the separate self, which is the foundational trouble that opens one’s experience to the pain and suffering of continuous drama. Being blindly embedded in the separate self is the equivalent to experiencing constant trouble. From non-separation, the same troubles will exist for the most part but they are seen through as a by-product of the separate self, which is not real. When separation ceases to be real, troubles become a natural part of the theater of life, moments that occur, but to no one in particular. This impersonal beingness rooted in the realization of non-separation is who you really are.
When there is only one kind of trouble and it’s known to be the separate self, the rest of life’s foibles become crumbs from the main course, specifics from the general ledger. Not knowing your true self becomes a singular antagonist– it creates opposition and, thus, the potential for trouble to exist. But it also creates focus and a known that empowers a seeker to get to the real work. After this antagonist is seen to be not separate from the true self, the belief in an other transforms into a unity that existed prior to the separate self’s existence. This is non-separation.
When you realize what the separate self is not, troubles fade into oblivion while still existing in the world as the separate self knew them. What the realization of non-separation does is clarify who this turbulence or chaos is happening to. The key to being washed by God’s soap, as you put it, is to remember that you are not the author of experience. Resting in this realization frees one from trouble. You don’t experience the trouble, you are the trouble– while having no control over when and if it happens.
Q: The artist seems so genuine and the song seems to be coming straight from the heart. I don’t detect any pretense. How can I tell if someone is separative or coming from a place of non-separation?
MR-B: First, and most importantly, let’s remember that it’s not you telling if something is this or that. Ask yourself who the I is that is able to make this judgement– that is the only question that needs to be answered. Once non-separation is realized, questions of this or that are erased forever. Who do you think is making this judgment?
Q: For me, the separate self, for you, non-separation.
MR-B: It’s always non-separation for both of us, you just don’t see it yet– but if you really wanted to tell if Mr. Spencer knows the self, you could just ask him. His answers will reveal the depth of his understanding and whether he has come to know non-separation.
Your question seems to be flirting with the difference between egoic authenticity and non-separation, which is true authenticity. The former is full expression of the separate self where the expresser still believes themselves to be the author of their actions. The latter is fullness of expression with the realization that the separate self is not self-authoring.
Q: In the video, the artist violently wrecks a toy room in the background while, in real life, he looks calm and composed in the foreground. This reminds me of America and the recent election. Most people were silent or tight-lipped on the face of things but there was obviously a deep-seated anger in this country running under the surface.
MR-B: America is a microcosm of the macrocosm of separation. Like all nations on the planet, America was built with a belief in the separate self at its core.
When the separate self feels isolated, alienated, ignored, shamed, etcetera, the common reaction is sadness and anger experienced by an individual. When sadness and anger are experienced personally, the emotions fester, and the outcomes of this festering can be easily viewed every day in our world.
Right now, with the world’s primary assumption being the existence of a separate self, the best a government or country can do is to make these separate selves more or less comfortable. Again, at its best, the goal seems to be happiness or contentment without any elected official really knowing what either of these is when it comes to non-separation. They’re shooting in the dark.
This leaves the game of government to focus on ways to pacify the separate self– whether this be in the direction of the citizenry or special interests. But what we know from experience is that the separate self will never be happy or content for long– which leads to regular flare-ups of sadness and anger which leads to festering emotions and on and on the cycle goes.
Government is basically adult parenting for countries while their adult children hopefully grow up
enough to leave the house of separation by seeing the separate self for what it is– an illusion.
Q: To continue with this thread, if the destructive background of the video is the subconscious, what is this saying about who we are and how we function as human beings?
MR-B: Psychologists like to talk about how the subconscious runs individual behavior before asking themselves what runs the subconscious. In essence, they’re claiming that the subconscious runs the separate self which is saying that it runs the unreal.
Our inquiry is deeper than not knowing what your separate self is going to do because it’s driven by something you’re not conscious of. In the psychologist’s inquiry, there is still a separate self that is self-authored by an aspect of an individual’s subconscious. The subconscious is still revealing itself to the personal via external behavior. In non-separation, the subconscious does not run an individual’s life because there is no individual there to manipulate.
It can’t be said any simpler than this– you are not a self-authoring individual. Start and end with this and see where you land. Who we are and how we function has yet to be truly investigated.
Q: My favorite line of the song is “we will not win, we will not pass– unless you put the holy water in a shot glass.” Can you tell me what you hear as you take in this line of poetry?
MR-B: Sure. Non-separation has no opposite.
The global institutions addicted to the separate self and its rule will never create anything different (this includes “liberals” and the so-called cultural elites) unless we begin to bring supposed opposites together into a prior unity that transcends the separative notion of unity.
We will not win, we will not pass– unless we put the holy water in a shot glass. That’s non-separation. The entire world is a playground for awakening.
Q: I thought of one more question!
Q: How are words put together? There must be somebody there to put words like this song together meaningfully.
MR-B: All words arrive without effort if you pay attention. All you have to do is sit there and a thought-stream composed of words will come. The mind simply runs on autopilot– all you do is notice what is put in front of you to greater and lesser degrees. The separate self loves to take credit for these thoughts and words– its very survival depends on this self-authoring dream being reality. People fight tooth and nail the world over to keep the illusion of self-authorship in place and will do virtually anything to remain distracted enough to not have to take a look inside.
We even worship individuals for their ability to put words and music together. And these men and women accept the credit as if they have ownership over what they’re being celebrated for. Both sides are delusional in ceremonies of separation. These kinds of award shows are on weekly to monthly here in the States.
Non-separation sees that we are being lived. It’s an impersonal existence that includes the personal. It’s not that we can’t or won’t celebrate achievements. I think we can and will. The context will just be completely different as all achievements will be an honoring of an impersonal self.