The Enduring Myth of the Buddha: New Book Release

The story of Siddhartha Gautama, who became the Buddha, connects the human psyche to the transcendent. My new book, The Enduring Myth of the Buddha, is rich in metaphor that touches the heart and has the power to turn the egoic self back onto itself to question your very essence. 

Maybe you’re wondering: What the heck does this mean?

The egoic self is what we commonly call “me,” and we are referring to a person who we only believe we are — complete with ideas, memories, dispositions, preconceptions, fears, biases, and attitudes that interfere with our seeing life for what it really is, which is the source of suffering. To move past this egoic self is to end suffering and find a life of compassion; and this was the core of the Buddha’s teachings.

Siddhartha ultimately discovered that we suffer due to the way our minds are psychologically conditioned to believe we are separate from all others. Because we do not realize that everything is available to us, we are always desiring to get or attain something to make us feel whole and happy. To truly understand this fact of life takes enquiring into your own sense of self to find out what you are beneath this conditioned mind. And this is what Siddhartha had done, and once he knew he became the Buddha — the awakened one.

This book has little to do with Buddhism as a religion, and mostly to do with Buddha as a mythical figure whose life, actions, words, and relationships are full of power that bring to the fore compassion, humanity, love, respect, deep thinking, caring, and the transcendence beyond human suffering and desire. This is a light and interesting study that appreciates the metaphor and myth in the Buddha story to reflect on your own life. While it is most common to regard the life of the Buddha as an historical fact and a suggestion to quiet the mind and avoid attachment, the Buddha myth is really a much deeper teaching, and I have used the teachings of other enlightened persons who were able to elucidate what it means to be awake in a world otherwise perceived by the limited mind of the egoic self.

I am not a Buddhist nor a Buddhist scholar, and The Enduring Myth of the Buddha is not an academic work; I leave such writings to the experts. My interest in writing this book was to explore the depths of the myth, as well as to make it clear that a myth, despite popular misuse of the word, does not equate to a lie. Rather, a myth is a story that guides you back from the objective to the subjective to find out who you are at the core. As such, it does not matter whether you are a religious person, an atheist, or merely interested in a subject  that moves your thinking about your self beyond materialist, scientific, religious, and academic thinking.

The Buddha’s teachings have endured for millennia for a good reason that is fundamental to who we are as human beings, and if we regard his story literally then we are apt to miss the richness of his hero’s journey.

How do you create reality?

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)

by Vic Shayne
Consciousness: The Potentiality of All Existence: Exploring reality and belief as a subjective experience

For many years I had read how we create our own reality. This was a great puzzle to me. Of course, it’s quite easy to repeat what others have said and then convince yourself that it’s true. This is called belief. Belief is not knowing; it is not a realization. You can believe that out of body experiences are real, but unless you have had one — or a thousand — then you don’t really know what it feels, looks, or sounds like. It remains an idea, but not a realization. You can also believe that life has a purpose, but it is only the mind that tells you this out of belief and not as a fact. And you can believe that you create your own reality, but unless you fully see this then it remains a belief.

Consciousness is the totality of all that is. It is existence at all levels, including all pairs of opposites that we call duality. Consciousness is a field of potential — what may or can happen — as well as the entire range of experiences, phenomena, expressions, and thoughts. The contents of consciousness is consciousness; it’s the whole enchilada, so to speak. And this totality is each one of us. It is as much in us as it is us. When we say that it is in us, this means the “us” of consciousness, and not the “us” of individual bodies, minds, and brains.

The two faces of human beings
We can look at the person in two ways. One way is how most people understand themselves, because it is the default. When the mind is conditioned by authority figures, parents, teachers, relatives, and all sorts of information and ideas, the egoic self is formed. This self believes that it is a body and all that is identified with the body — ideas, memories, relatives, friends, possessions, talents, and so on. The egoic self is just a belief, because it is temporal and it is changeable. The other way to regard a person is as an expression of consciousness. Consciousness is the natural state of being, while the egoic self is artificial and created out of belief. Consciousness is the whole, and the egoic self is a fragmented worldview of the self and all others.

Everything is consciousness, and because we are all consciousness then we know of all of the dualities of hot and cold, good and bad, caring and uncaring, smart and stupid, loud and quiet, tall and short, wild and controlled, chaotic and ordered, and so on. As Freud said, there is a part of the mind that is our face to the world that we want others to see us as. We have a real “us,” but we don’t want others to know this is what we are, and this includes all of the bad, negative, and unseemly aspects of consciousness. Freud called this moral and ethical face to the world the Superego.

The writer creates reality
When a writer creates a book, a play, or a movie, she taps into the totality of consciousness that lies within her — as her. If she remains in the egoic state of the individual self, then she cannot create reality, because the egoic state is limited to itself and not the totality of existence and thought.

A writer can create terrible and cruel villains, heroic protagonists, characters that hold secret flaws or inclinations, slimy creatures, evil sociopaths, and altruistic sages. The entire breadth of potential behavior, mindsets, and actions is at the writer’s disposal. Why? Because all of these are in consciousness, which means that they are with her. And it’s a bold thing to write cruel characters who lack compassion and are apt to be destructive. It’s bold because it is an admission that such characteristics are within the writer. But because they are in all of us, as the audience we become involved in the story and find it believable, even if it’s science fiction. It only needs to be written realistically in order to have this effect. In essence, the writer is creating reality, and when we sit in the theater watching all of her characters, the action, and the scenery, we are experiencing the writer’s reality.

As consciousness, we all are the creators of our own reality, each and every waking moment, as well as in every moment of a dream or daydream. Can you see this? Don’t take my word for it; look into this. And when you look into it, consider that all of the good, bad, and indifferent are within you — not you as an individual, egoic self, but rather “you” as the totality of consciousness.

Delving deep into consciousness in my new book

When I wrote Consciousness: The Potentiality of All Existence: Exploring reality and belief as a subjective experience, I knew I was jumping into turbulent waters, because there is such a huge divide between materialist science and spirituality. Strangely, as I discovered in the process of writing, both religious people and materialist scientists base their opinions about spirituality on beliefs. This is a hard pill to swallow, because both ends of the spectrum swear that they are right and that they have the answers to life’s questions, including what consciousness is. But it turns out that a belief is a belief, and this is what shapes most people’s opinions and actions.

Consciousness isn’t a book for everyone, because it’s quite honest in its approach to who we are and why we see the world in our own unique ways. Honesty does not sit well with the egoic sense of self. This egoic mind, or persona, has been conditioned since birth to believe it is a body and all of the attachments and identities that go along with it. In essence, people are not who they take themselves to be — they are amalgams of thoughts that are unreliable, ephemeral, and changeable.

But, trust me, this book is easier reading than it looks!

In Consciousness, I discuss all sorts of ideas of what consciousness is, according to the experts who ironically really do not know very much outside of their own guesses and iffy conclusions, whether they are scientists or self-proclaimed New Age experts. If you are alive, you are experiencing consciousness.

This book also dives into the many experiences in consciousness — near death and out of body experiences, dreaming, lucid dreaming, intuition, hallucinogenic trips, imagination, quantum entanglement, and more.

It’s so easy that it’s hard
So how do you get to the bottom of what consciousness is? The answer is so easy that it is mostly overlooked. In addition to my experience with many years of self-enquiry meditation, I turned to some of the most respected and profound teachers who have realized their own natures by waking up to what they are not. That’s right, what they are not. This means that we all have the ability to observe our own state of being and see where thoughts come from, how they rise and fall, and how they accrete to form a sense of self.

A number of gurus have taught about finding one’s true nature as consciousness down through the ages, from Buddha to Rumi, and from Jiddu Krishnamurti to Ramana Maharshi. These individuals have all said the same thing: You cannot rely on information, teachings, rituals, religion, ideas, thinking, or practice to realize consciousness; you just have to observe with great persistence, desire, and interest, and eventually it dawns on you who you are.

If you are too tied to your beliefs about who you are, as well as the teachings of New Age philosophy, religion, or materialist science, then this book isn’t for you. But if you want to understand yourself at the deepest level and are willing to let go of your preconceptions and suppositions, then buy the book and investigate into your own nature. It’s quite rewarding if you can do it.

Happy reading!

#neardeathexperiences #outofbodyexperiences #dreams #quantumentanglement