The Source Prior To All Perception

by Michael J. Holshouser

The Source Prior to All PerceptionEVERYTHING THAT APPEARS REAL,

Everything that you have been told,

Everything that you have come to believe,

Is all the fabrication of your mind.


There is no path.

There is no dogma.

There is only the absolute,

And a universe of appearances

Disguising the way home.


There has ever been now,

Will ever be now,

Is ever now.

Never has there been any time

Other than now.


When you are satiated of identity,

Weary of meaningless experiences,

When you would even die to be free,

You will do whatever needs to be done

To spin no more on the web of suffering.


Love can only be total, unconditional.

Other uses of the word are of self-absorption,

Incomplete, limited, conditional, manipulative, painful.


Give it what proper name you will:

God, Allah, Brahman, Tao, Buddha, Krishna,

Christ, Great Spirit, Way, Absolute, Supreme, Totality,

Or any of the many other labels it is given throughout the world,

It is ever oneness cloaked by the same diverse mystery.


It is natural to want to know who you are,

But the thoughts of self, the attachment to persona,

The encasements of identity: labels, definitions, conclusions,

Are not the vehicles that will truly get you home.

All concoctions, all speculations of mind,

Are only obstacles to the journey.

— Verse II


Thought is a reflection of an illusory past

And the projector of imagined futures.

Awareness is the tentative, ungraspable now.

It is boundless, eternal, neither identity nor persona.

It is the mysterious origin, the vapor of insight and intuition.

From its unknowable nature thought springs into being,

But without it, none of this would ever have been.

It is the parent of manifest consciousness,

The source prior to all perception.


Fear of time yet to come,

Of the unknown yet to manifest,

Overwhelms those who have not realized

That it is their own imagination that cripples them.


The meek will inherit the earth

Because it requires great courage

To discern and surrender to heaven.


The sovereign witness you truly are

Is neither the body nor the mind.

It is untouched by action or result.

It is unburdened by pain or pleasure.

It is unconcerned with right and wrong.

No matter the circumstances in which it abides,

It timelessly remains undefined, unfettered, unattached.


The sciences have in every manner

Scrutinized the unitary movement of this illusion.

They have stretched the conceptual mind in innumerable ways,

Yet none will ever succeed in determining its origin.

All they can ever do is dance with Maya

On the floor of manifestation.


At some point, books and their many concepts must be set aside.

Scholars journey the dead-end path of dualistic intellect.

Reclaiming your birthright is direct perception,

Not the cataloging of manuscripts.

The truth you seek will not be found in them.


The divisive world we have created

Is an outcome of separation from the whole.

Dualistic solutions to all this ignorance and confusion

Pose upon the same conflict-ridden paradigm, and resolve nothing.


A gourmet craves taste, a musician sound,

A perfumer scent, a masseuse touch,

A painter color, a scholar thought.

How enticing the play of senses and mind,

That to become a connoisseur of one or more,

So many dedicate their existence to endless pursuit.


Virtual reality is not just a computer fantasy.

The senses have created the universe with such precision

That you have yet to truly fathom

That none of it is real.

It is software born of divine programming.


All paths to glory find the same grave.


Science dissects and names with great finesse,

But of what use is a universe torn to pieces?


All life in the unfolding present

Has survived since the immaculate genesis.

The unyielding capacity for domination of this manifest realm

Will be humankind’s inevitable unraveling

If it does not instead collectively

Attain a unified sense of guardianship.


We are all spontaneously making up the rules as we go.

Playing so everyone wins is not a game easily learned.


Right living is not a statement of morality.

It is a moment-to-moment feeling of intuitive rightness.

It is playing out this illusive dreamy theater as effortlessly as possible

— Verse XII


To know you are one with oneness

Seems so simple, so freeing, so real,

Yet so many cling to this belief or that,

As if their clutching complexity and strife

Is so much more important than simply being.


To own your birthright, you become less and less

Entwined in the confusing narrowness of self-absorption.

You naturally discern expansiveness in every moment possible.

It is the end of paradigms emerging from any mythos.

It is the ever-unfolding realization of unity.


There is nothing to become, nothing to prove.

There is no description accurate enough

To describe what you really are.


The colluding mythos of humanity

Conditions each of us to pretend something

No other manifest life form would require of its kind.

It is very arduous to be free of all claims.


Essential nature is not divisible.

There is only totality, oneness, isness.

Nothing greater, nothing lesser, nothing but.

We are all simply that which is dancing

In every way, every form imaginable.


All the laws and theories of the sciences

Explore, measure and explain only illusion.

The ultimate teaching offered by the rational mind

Is insight into the limits of dualistic sensory perception.

Scientists must at some point bridge the gap as irrational mystics

If they truly seek to comprehend this manifest theater for what it really is.


Endless debate over which religion or doctrine speaks for god and truth

Is sophomoric and only obscures the possibility of real awakening.

It is the time-bound pastime of priests, scholars and undiscerning followers

Who have little interest in anything but the false security of one collusion or another.

— Verse XIV


The ancients passed on their wisdom

Through parables and analogies.

A neat trick, but one the literal-minded

Have historically taken to one extreme after another.

All the philosophical inventions contrived since the beginning of time

Have never for a moment encapsulated the ultimate nature.


Imagine a nearly imperceptible bubble of foam

Riding the flowing crest of a small wave

On just one of an infinity of shores

Of an ocean beyond measure.

That all but insignificant fragment of illusory reflection

Is analogous to the entire human reverie

Across this spinning orb.


The tenuous belief that science will be the cure-all

For humanity’s plight is self-deception on a grand scale.

Any conceptual tool is only as beneficial as those who wield it.


More than enough, probably far too much,

Has been said of the spiritual quest through the ages.

The delusional, divisive conceit surrounding and permeating it,

The dogmas, temples, money-changers and Pharisees,

Are burdens that each must in time shrug off

To discern and wander freely in Eden.


The irony of spending so much of your life

Trying to solve the questions

Who, what, where, when, why and how,

Is finally realizing they have no answer words can grasp.


No other creature on this planet

Has taken naming to the extreme we have.

They do not separate themselves from their experiencing.

They have never believed themselves or others to be what words imply.

They do not slaughter or maim one another for the myriad reasons we endlessly concoct.

They wait passively, helplessly for us to regain some sanity,

And perhaps one day return to the garden in which they have ever resided.

— Verse XV


Because isness is, you are.

Because you are, isness is.

Without isness, there would be no you.

Without you, there would be no witness to the mystery.


Many would call it sacrilegious

To state, “I am that which is godness.”

But it is far more so to deny it.


Meditation is awareness of the unfolding moment.

It is the dredging of the accumulated silt of identification

That which inhibits the timeless discernment of what you truly are.


Walk a few paces from where you stand.

Look back to where you think you started.

Time and space are the illusion of perception.

You will never wander through that one again.


Who sees the wind tipping the trees in spring?

Hears the busy chatter of squirrels chasing?

Smells the mid-afternoon coffee brewing?

Feels the piercing of the kitten’s playful claws?

Tastes the chilled chocolate melting?

Who has all those memories?

All that knowledge and capability?

All those assorted opinions and values?

Who desires, fears, angers, laughs, suffers?

You do.

You are the power, the light, a drop of all that is and is not.

You are creator, cosmic dancer, eternally, immortally absolute.


You have always been a spiritual being.

There has never been one moment when you were not.

All you need do is discern it, and allow the witness to take wing within.


A drug may help you find it, but cannot keep you there for long.

The challenge is to discern eternity in the everyday mundane.

— Verse XXVIII


Contrast your entire existence with geological time

In which the longest stretch might at best equal

A mere fraction of a moderate layer of sediment.

We are each witness to a fleeting span of manifest time.

The relentless narcissism, fantasies of glory and empire-seeking

Are, from a comprehensive perspective, such trivial, meaningless pursuits.

The arrogant pinnacles humanity fabricates on this garden world

Are barren and desolate when seen for what they are.


Reincarnation is the moment-to-moment fabrication

Of the identity you imagine you are.


You came into this world

With no allegiance to anything.

What happened?


Your life’s destiny is founded

Upon everything you desire right now.

If you would choose to disregard life’s opportunity

To merge into the awareness of the changeless,

What, exactly, is it that you crave so much,

That you would choose vain mortality

Over that which was never born?


A problem many have in considering themselves godness manifest

Is that they believe it should entail having all sorts of innate supernatural powers.

The fact that they see, walk, talk, and create every sort of mischief

Does not register because everyone else can, too.

Well, of course they can.

They are also godness manifest.

It is the concept of god that needs changing.


Look back closely at your life.

See how every moment was necessary

For you to arrive at this apparent point in time,

That it has all been completely, perfectly, effortlessly

Choreographed, costumed and rehearsed for the original run,

An epic, time-bound play produced and directed by you, starring you.

Be on good terms with your spontaneous, manifesting reverie.

Enjoy the myriad players appearing in your production.

All are teachers and students in your eternal journey.

— Verse XXX

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Adapted from The Stillness Before Time: Reflections from a Fellow Sojourner. Copyright © 2001, 2008 by Michael J. Holshouser.