Steven J. Shupe
Steven J. Shupe
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Table of Contents
You are the eyes and ears of creation, a wondrous vessel of perception within
Know thyself. An ageless piece of advice given by many wise thinkers in many cultures. Two simple words, but a concept if courageously followed to its extreme, opens the door to the mystery, to expansion, to losing one’s false self-identity and the limited world upon which the human ego is based. And then you are free to merge into the All, into the universe that is you.
Unfortunately, overcoming one’s colossal case of mistaken identity as ego is no small task in a culture constantly bombarding us with a stream of schooling, advertising, psychology, and songs all reinforcing our narrow human self-image and its insatiable desires. Amidst this daily din of consumerism and conflict within the mainstream, a quiet pool is difficult to find upon which to reflect and to focus beyond our surface image into the depths of who and what we truly are—at least for the typical Western mind.
AH, BUT YOU ARE NOT TYPICAL, are you my adventuresome colleague and reader? I can picture you now with pages in hand, wind in your hair, ready to boldly go where no grasping ego can tread, eager to discard a lifetime of false conditioning that keeps you grounded to the mundane. You duck into nearby phone booth to shed your bland suit and distorting eyeglasses, emerging swathed in bright color to leap gracefully into the heavens. Up, up, and away—to destination unknown. [Ed. Note: This paragraph and the following four are reprinted from The Nyxall Chronicles, The ‘I’ of the Storm, Chapter 2.]
So let us flex our mental might from lofty heights and look down at the past which, gratefully, failed to keep us fully grounded to the norm. When first joining the ranks of humanity via birth canal and a slap on the fanny, our infant bodies entered the metropolis with no notion of a self. That concept, however, was already forming within parental minds as they bestowed an appropriate name on our swaddled vessel to fit their expectations of the person-to-be, and shaped the infant with their particular values, hopes, and hang-ups.
By the babe’s second year, this artificial construct of ‘self’ was successfully implanted into our pliable minds where it took on a life of its own. And my-oh-my, did we not defend this shining self-image and its possessions, positions, and personality to the hilt? Gazing back upon my persona’s course through decades past, I cringe at the smoldering wake of chaos left by my identity’s struggle for survival against all who dared threaten its self-importance and comforts.
Yet how strange to staunchly defend something so arbitrary in form. What if little Ronnie Reagan as a newborn had been accidently swapped at the hospital with the infant of visiting Russian diplomats? Or consider if you had been adopted at day-one and taken to live with your new parents in Mongolia or Botswana or Cleveland. No doubt, you would be equally embracive of your alternative self-identity and faithfully defending its name, religion, loved ones, cattle, yurts, and sports teams that mean nothing to you now.
In short, our seemingly rock-solid sense of self is a mere construct built from an arbitrary external environment, shaped by parental desires, honed by fleeting societal values, and colored by certain genetic traits determined by the fastest of millions of sperm gyrating towards Mum’s ovum of the month. And I ask while throwing studded gauntlet at your feet—is that the real you, is that all you truly be?
“Nay!” you of course shout in disdain at such a silly proposition, so loudly I can hear you across the space-time continuum from whence you now read. And I am comforted, yea verily, thrilled to have you as an understanding ally—albeit a distant one—as my known self implodes into a mere point of perception, shrinking into the pure awareness we knew as babes before our budding self-identity distorted the worldview via its fears, hopes, control, and endless grasping for more. Perhaps that is why that wise Jesus fellow encouraged folks to become again as a little child to enter the kingdom of heaven. Or the reason Buddha suggested a return to oneness, to nirvana, by breaking our attachment to human desire. Just some food for thought as we journey into a jungle of new paradigms and shifting realities…
In peering back through the foliage from my current June 2016 perspective, I spy a twenty-five year circuitous path towards my ‘knowing thyself’ that wound from Himalayan heights to the depths of the psyche, blasting away both at this engineer-lawyer’s comfortable self-identity and my subsequent new-and-improved spiritual image that blossomed in the 1990’s. What ‘self’ remains now is open to question, and I shan’t waste this brief Nyxall Minute we have together to chart my nebulous evolution from ego to consciousness to the All and Nothing or whatever personal remnants might still be typing away at computer keyboard.
You the reader, however, are of more tangible interest to me as being a universe unto thyself—an inner world that may not be fully understood or embraced as yet. Admittedly, to dub you the Universal is rather presumptuous of me since you and your world, of course, are whatever you perceive them to be at any given moment.
So rather than debate your true nature, let us take a step onto more solid, common ground in order to enjoy exploring together the great unknown for a Minute, and consider a concept upon which two logical minds can no doubt agree: The existence of the power of perception. A deer perceives the smell of wolf and runs. A human perceives ripe mango on tree and reaches to taste it. This essential element of our waking state—call it consciousness, awareness, or simply perceiving—is the very touchstone of how we know the world and define our place in it.
In fact, my rationale mind is so fond of this tangible power of perception that I tend to consider it central to one’s existence. This unchanging, lifelong ability to consciously perceive is a far firmer foundation upon which to base my self-identity than the ephemeral personality that arose from the culture in which I happened to be raised—an arbitrary human self-image which changes from year to year, from youth to adult, from mood to mood.
Coming to know myself during the previous decade as the watcher (as consciousness) rather than the watched (the human character that I experience) freed me from limitations of a grasping persona and opened my mind to using this intrinsic power of perception to broaden my known universe and its exciting potentials. Relativity Theory, quantum physics, and the notion of a Unified Energy Field have likewise helped the expansion, demonstrating that we each shape our known world based upon one’s particular frame of reference, way of perceiving energies, and state of mind.
As a result, my new view of reality indicates that there is no single, objective, solid world ‘out there’. Instead, our individual power of perception converts a limitless energy field into a personal, perceived universe of mass, time, and three-dimensional space that takes form within one’s mind. Or better still, in the mind of an Einstein and others who freely use imagination and creative thought, one’s world can expand into multiple dimensions and realities beyond the current norm of human thinking.
But enough of notions that could digress into airy philosophical debate. As recently reminded while watching reruns of the Game of Thrones:
“These are questions for wise men with skinny arms.”
So for those of brawny bicep and rational propensities, I will wane philosophic and wax with pledge to stay on target, at whose bull’s eye lies the power of perception. But where exactly does this bull’s eye reside; where is one’s seat of perception?
Most any American five-year-old would answer, in the brain. Gratefully, however, modern explorers are not limited to childhood logic and its simplistic world view. Many individuals, perhaps yourself included, report having observed their bodies from afar while under the influence of meditation, drugs, or anesthetics; and during other so-called out of body experiences where one’s point of perception is separate from the human vessel. Whole cultures, as well, routinely accept that the mind’s ability to perceive is not limited to the locus of body. Some shamanic traditions actually train the apprentice to consciously shift one’s point of perception to distant locations, into animals, even into other dimensions of reality.
After decades of exploring the cosmic mystery, staying open to possibilities, interacting with psychic friends, and having first-hand experiences of enhanced perception, my scientific mind tends to agree with the conclusion of the gentlemen speaking to Julianne Moore in the movie, Forgotten:
With that admitted limitation, I nonetheless offer a suggestion to those passing through life in mortal form who still associate themselves with the human body: Specifically, consider that your power of perception, your conscious awareness, may persist even after your body dies. And if your mind is prepared for such an event, the shock of looking down at your dead body with confusion and fear can be significantly reduced.
Or so profess generations of wise Tibetan lamas who have made a science out of studying and preparing the mind for the moment of bodily death. Their Tibetan Book of the Dead is actually read aloud in the room where the deceased lies in order to give the lingering mind comfort and direction as it confronts its bodiless state. The lama-predicted death journey is not quite so simple as being sucked into a tunnel of white light as your life flashes by, then greeted by your savior-of-choice with a hug. But it is similar, in ways, to this Western cliché of the death experience.
The Tibetan version involves less of a tunnel and more a gauntlet that the mind runs, lined with a lifetime of your memories, hopes, fears, and whatnot appearing as various images and symbols. The key to success, the lamas say, is to stay calm amidst the angels and demons, the beauty and beasts, the seductions and repulsions that flash by—and to remember that none of them are real, but simply manifestations of your perceiving mind as it processes its post-death transition.
Where does the disembodied mind go from there? Pick an answer, any answer, any religion. Honestly, I don’t think such a question remains relevant to the journey once we shuck our limited human thinking and self-image. Kind of reminds me of my all-time favorite cinema dialogue, from the 2002 movie, Solaris:
Clooney: “Am I alive or dead?”
McElhone: “We don’t have to think like that anymore.”
So with this rejuvenating insight now in Mind, you need not worry about reincarnating as a toad at the moment of death when peering with confusion and horror at your lifeless body. Instead, as a well-prepared multidimensional traveler, your observing consciousness may hover calmly above your carcass and mindfully watch as the mystery unfolds.
Or better yet, why not embrace your freedom of consciousness while still dancing in this living, breathing vessel of earthly experience? If interested, one quick step could be to join in next week’s Nyxall Minute where we will consider the premise of Photo-Quote #2: The worldly illusion and its confining falsehoods take form when one misidentifies the waking state as the touchstone of reality.
Also, if you would enjoy a dance of self-realization tripping merrily through the sacred and absurd, try freely downloading and perusing the The Nyxall Chronicles, whose formal introduction is made at Minute’s end. Whatever the case, here’s wishing you well on the journey as your universe expands ever-further into the great unknown.
India, a universe unto itself and a great teacher for this recovering-nice-boy who needed to get shaken into my shadowy underworld to face the whole Truth required by a man of spirit. Not always a pleasant sight, either in my personal psyche or the India landscape abounding with the hopes and history of a billion-plus hungry folks. But it was a rich, photogenic country in which to stay for ten years, on and off, to explore the inner mystery and be exposed to the extremes of Earth’s dual nature.
I snapped the Nyxall Minute #1 photo a few years back in India’s Himalayan foothills near McLeodganj, home of thousands of Tibetans in exile, including His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. The photographed smiling, local woman is preparing for her wedding by getting the appropriate henna patterns dyed onto a bride’s hands. Or so I believe. Without speaking Hindi, it was difficult for me to know for sure the significance of the swirls and symbols being applied to her palms.
What is clear, however, is the irony of using this pre-wedding photo as a template for touting our true self as the Universal, as the eyes and ears giving form to a limitless creation—since marriage for an Indian bride is notoriously known for marking the end of her freedom while oft narrowing her life to a role of servitude within the groom’s family.
But paradox and irony are all blessed parts of the mind game in this earthly training ground, at least as viewed from my vantage point of consciousness. Both beauty and beast, prisons and escapes, bring us back to remembrance of our heavenly heritage of spirit during one’s difficult tenure on Earth.
Nevertheless, I do hope the bride’s human face is still smiling beneath festive shawl while navigating holy matrimony through Himalayan heights. And my thanks to her for allowing this looming foreigner to photograph her special moment.
Welcome to The Nyxall Chronicles, a journey of spirit, of imagination, of freedom. The path is lined with humor and intrigue to guide one’s Consciousness—your innate power of perception—to reclaim its rightful place as creator of your known universe. Retaking this throne means, of course, supplanting its former master, the measly human ego that has kept your spirit enslaved to its endless desires and false conditioning for a lifetime. No doubt, this grasping persona will kick up some dust along the path and scream in protest at being usurped. But as freedom rings and spirit soars into the infinite, one’s limited self-image and narrow world that supports it inexorably melt back into the nothingness from whence they arose.
That nothingness is represented by ‘Nyx’ in the series title, the ancient Greek goddess who is the infinite deep, the dark emptiness from where all creation emerges and into which all ultimately dissolves. Zeus himself was said to fear confronting Nyx and vanishing in her embrace. And indeed, those lounging upon lofty peak while vigilantly preserving their self- importance and the material world they created, had best forego the pummeling, cleansing, and laughter at one’s mortal foibles that The Nyxall Chronicles expose.
But if you are ready for truth to set you free from the mess—or at least to provide some entertainment while pondering disposal options—then read on, brave explorer, remembering that another’s words are, at best, guideposts for reclaiming what you already know deep within your fount of quiet wisdom. Or as sagely expressed from ancient Asia: If it can be spoken, it is not the Tao.
While Mrs. Lao Tzu chimed in from the garden, “Right, Mr. Airy-Fairy, and if it can be smelled, take out the garbage already!”
Good advice for all occasions. But in The Nyxall Chronicles, the odorous remnants left by a controlling ego and its ultimate demise are, admittedly, solely those of the author—while the guiding trail of fresh breadcrumbs and sparkling gems which light the way to freedom were dropped by spirit guides, angels, demons, and other messengers of grace that smashed to smithereens this engineer-lawyer’s comfortable reality and sent my world spinning off into two decades of mystery, discovery, and cosmic vertigo.
The seeds of this reality-shift and its convoluting effect on mind and manners are recounted in the initial Chronicle, The Now or Never, written at the turn of the millennium along the sacred river Ganga in northern India. As in each of The Nyxall Chronicles, the story includes a healthy dose of ‘science friction’ wherein an author vigorously rubs together fact and fantasy to generate heated suspense and spiritual Light in order to send one’s limited existence up in smoke. The Chronicles are essentially nonfiction, however, in that they accurately trace the author’s creative imagination, multidimensional compositions, and real-world journeys which collectively led to both a fiery self-implosion into Nothingness and to an uplifting union with All.
That refreshing experience is embodied in Beyond Illusion, the final Chronicle where the scene shifts from Himalayan vistas to Peruvian Andes in year 2015. Getting there was indeed half the fun, as an earlier book, A Mindgame to Remembrance, cavorts between a humorous heaven and India intrigue to rescue Consciousness from terrestrial entanglements; while The ‘I’ of the Storm flings the reading mind into orbit around a precariously wobbling planet to wipe out antiquated views of a three-dimensional world and its transient inhabitants.
These four books of The Nyxall Chronicles, although interrelated, can be read in any sequence since they each contain a unique storyline, message, and resolution. What ultimately emerges in this journey is an intricate dance of Mind, of mystery, of a spirit buffeted and buoyed by the winds of change in a cosmic house of mirrors. All in perfection, all in awareness, all for the enrichment of consciousness.
If you choose to engage in this creative two-step twixt reader and scribe, lead with your inner wisdom, swirl with your imagination, and open sesame to the wonder of an ever-expanding universe—the universe that is you.
Books of The Nyxall Chronicles:
The Now or Never (2001)
A Mindgame to Remembrance (2004)
The ‘I’ of the Storm (2010)
Beyond Illusion (2016)
For free Chronicle downloads, further book information, or to view the author’s bio,
The Nyxall Minutes are a series of provocative essays—at times challenging, at times humorous—designed for those bravely exploring both one’s truth and falseness garnered over a lifetime on this convoluting planet. Themes range from knowing oneself as universal consciousness (rather than as a limited human ego), to the vagaries of love, quantum physics, and ultimately to seeing through life’s transient illusions that veil the eternal perfection abiding in one’s core. Each discourse begins with a stimulating quote overlain on a photo taken by the author during his decades-long spiritual path, primarily in Asia and Peru. The quotes were written during moments of insight along the way, often then incorporated into his series of books, The Nyxall Chronicles, composed from 2000 to 2016. Excerpts from the Chronicles appear frequently in the essays to enhance the discourse and provide direction on where to look for further stimulation and entertainment with the topics at hand. During the summer of 2016 roughly a dozen Nyxall Minutes are planned, weaving a spiritual tapestry to decorate the walls of our confining earthly abode and to uplift one to the freedom beyond. Nyxall Minute #1 addresses the quote: “You are the eyes and ears of creation, a wondrous vessel of perception, within which an entire universe takes form—the universe that is you.” The essay exposes the arbitrary, fleeting nature of the human ego as well as provides ideas for living from consciousness and for dying well.