The opening phrase of A Course in Miracles states, “Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists. Herein lies the peace of God”
So simple, but yet so difficult to grasp sometimes. What does it mean? For real? What does it mean? What is real and what is unreal and what exists? Do I exist? Do you? Are we separate, but one? And what is reality?

Trying to use words to describe the nature of reality is like trying to explain to a fish what is water. What do you mean by wet? It’s wet and it’s all around me, and I can’t see it, but I can feel the different currents of it? What the heck does that mean? Clearly, you must be insane for as far as I’m concerned there’s nothing there!

But what if I tell you that we can feel it. We can feel the nature of reality and what we are doing with our life experience because we have built-in guidance and we also have the ability to step out of the stream and watch whenever we need to. This is what teachers like Eckart Tolle are teaching with his nature of the eternal now, and it is very valuable teaching to understand the nature of life experience. But, life is an adventure, and we also want to sept into the stream and be in the middle of every juicy experience without getting lost in it. This is when we need to understand our inner guidance so that you can navigate in the stream and have all the joyful experiences of life in the time-space reality at the same time as we know that we are safe in the stream.

We say that growth happens outside the comfort zone. Imagine your self the fish in the stream, born into an environment with a natural current that would take you where you were supposed to go. But as soon as you were born the fish that had come before you told you to turn upstream. “We don’t swim with the current in our family. Everyone who has ever become something in our world has fought their whole life against the current, they didn’t get far upstream, but they did get big muscles and stiff bodies and got old much before their time. They were virtuous, that held our way of life together, and they never just let themselves go with the stream. That’s what you should do to, our little one, cos if you don’t you’ll be different, and fish-people don’t like things that are different. Yes, I know it sounds counterproductive and insane, but trust us – it’s not. Nothing good has ever become of the ones that went downstream as far as we’re concerned they all lived miserable lives.”

So you, the little one, that felt so eager to go downstream. You listen with your little fish ears and look with your little fish eyes and even thou it seems like great fun going downstream you love your fish mama and fish papa so much that you follow them upstream and do as your told! After all, they are bigger than you and therefore should know more. And, in the beginning, it is fun too. You just enjoy hanging around with the other fish children, and you enjoy learning and playing, but as you grow, it becomes more and more obvious to you that nothing fun is upstream! You stretch your self to reach one goal after another and as your body grows, you become stronger and you reach further upstream, but at the same time, the downstream pull becomes stronger. You allow your self to go sometimes; this is what you call a party or a holiday – just to relax for a little bit. But, God knows not too long. What would the other fish in the stream think of you if you went on a permanent holiday?? And where would you end up if you allowed your self to go with the stream? It may be far, far away from here in a strange land with strange fish. Somewhere in the middle of the ocean with all it’s uncertainty and danger..

When you listen to teachers like Echart Tolle, you can feel their wast spaciousness. You can feel that there is something holding your back and you feel like you are looking out through the eyes of the body, but what you are looking at is not real. It’s like a movie upon a screen, and experiences are just appearing and subsiding as you go along. You understand that you are the consciousness watching and that you have a choice whether to engage and interact or let the current experience pas without taking any action. You are an aware spectator, and it can be a very interesting space to be in. In fact, I recommend staying in this state most of the time or at least keep the awareness of it with you at all times.

But ever so often something will come along that engages you, like your children. You don’t want to be a spectator of your children growing up; you want to be right in the middle of that with all of their playfulness, happiness, tears, and snotty hugs. You don’t want to miss out on the juice; you want to give your self to it. Or when you fall in love, you want to feel your lover. You want to feel it when someone kisses you with all that passion and makes love to you; you don’t want to be the observer of that! You want to be smack in the middle of the mess! Skinned knees, broken hearts, and everything, because however much it hurts it reminds you that you are alive!

When we listen to spiritual teachings that teach us that life is just a serious of events that occur one after another and that there is not really any meaning to them other than the meaning we give them, something in us resonate in the rightness of that. We know that it’s true at one level and that we have the choice of engaging or detaching. We can detach in love or in fear, but we can also engage with love or fear – the outcome of which we choose will be very different and our guiding system tells us clearly what is the most intelligent form of engagement is. Every time we choose love over fear we engage in reality because the only thing that is certain is that love is the one real thing. That which is all around us, like water to the fish in the stream.  Just there; for all of us to experience when we stop fighting in it.

So, We can engage with the knowing of who we are and throw ourselves into the middle of the stream with the knowing that everything is going to be all right. We are not going to drown because the part of us that is eternal can’t drown. Eternal life is given in our core beingness and can’t ever be questioned: “Nothing real can be threatened.”

So, if you knew (and you do) that you are eternal and that nothing real can be threatened and even if your body dies you are not going to die. What would you do? Would you sit on the shore and meditate? Would you swim upstream with the rest of the fish? Or would you follow your natural instinct and go with the flow? Would you let go of your effort and let the stream have its way with you? Think about it; the choice is yours. It’s called free will and it will never be taken away from you. The beauty is that we have the possibility to change our minds in every moment, and unless we hold onto it our past does not mean a thing. It can disappear like water in the stream.

Personally, I find my self choosing differently in different parts of my life. On the highest level of my thinking, I know that going with the flow is what I’m meant to do as long as I can hold onto the knowing I have gained by sitting in meditation and watching the stream. But even so, I’m not able to do so because there are still traces of my upstream conditioning holding me to what I learned by listening to society and my parents. However; When I feel the strain of my effort I’m reminded to let go and go downstream, but often this does not come until I’m exhausted of trying to get my mark on the chart and I have to let go. When I let go I feel the sweet relief and life starts to flow again.
Sometimes the stream gets too wild and I lose the connection to my beingness and to what is real. You could say that I can’t see the drops for all the water in the stream and it beats me up and leave me stranded where I find the only thing I can do is to retreat to meditation and find my bearings on the banks of the river before I throw myself whole-heartedly into the stream again. And, even if the stream is not real as it is thought in the teachings of Echart Tolle and others it, for sure is the most interesting thing going on here. If you could go to the movies and interact in what is happening on the screen, would you not do so? I mean, come’ an experiencing vs. spectating, the choice is yours.

– Ingunn Tennbakk

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