The Stillness Before Time - Michael Holshouser

The Stillness Before Time
Reflections from a Fellow Sojourner

There is really only one Way.

It is without division or boundary.
It is without name or theology.
Awareness is its scripture,
Here now its venue,
You its witness,
Your life the journey.

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Main Blogs

The Stillness Before Time


The Unfolding Next Round (Current year unpublished elsewhere)

Of the Human Journey

Of the Human Journey 

Mortal existence is not easy. It never has been, and never will be for any creature sown of this garden world. What follows are thoughts about the human journey, the fare existence offers, and the choices each must resolve alone in the sojourn through the veiled maze of space-time, of consciousness with all its dualistic notions. It is a journey of ecstasy and agony, courage and fear, love and hate. It is the mystery born of the passionate mind, and the flowing array of perceptions every human being faces in the movement through birth, sickness, injury, aging, dying and death.

These reflections are written to help promote a larger vision of where we as a species are heading; one that attempts to look beyond humanity’s many seemingly unreconcilable divisions, one that values insight and wisdom, one that elevates rather than detracts, one that seeks to foster a sense of guardianship, rather than destruction and manipulation, of our little dust ball and the many life forms it has spawned.

We live in a time period similar, yet increasingly unique among the many cycles come and gone before. Excessive population, coupled with unprecedented, unrestrained technologies, are driving our petri dish experiment of free will toward a rather bleak outcome. All the insanities we have so carelessly, foolishly, needlessly wreaked upon the earth’s magnificent diversity, are huge rebounding tsunamis awaiting our arrival in time. The rules of the manifest game are simple and uncompromising, and those who bend and break them must eventually pay the price that Mother Nature is only too willing to exact.

As long as we human beings battle over pride-filled differences, we inevitably embrace a fate of our own synergistic, instinctual, self-absorbed design. The monopolistic win-lose divisiveness wrought since history’s invention, since our egocentric, competitive, voluntary secession from the garden, spirals us down a path of annihilation. What we have done in all our arrogance has created a time already nightmarish for many, and will only exponentially accelerate for those to whom we are now ancestors. And we are nowhere close to discerning a common vision, a truly cooperative paradigm that might sidestep it.

We leave it to future generations to create solutions to problems we have all aided in forging. We vainly hope that political, economic and religious leaders will shepherd us to salvation, but they cannot because the collective vision is too full of limitation and division. Despite all our canny attributes, we as a species have not yet fully fathomed our interconnectedness, our inherent kinship to the totality. We have not grasped that time does not exist as any more than a play of consciousness, a collusion of imagination. Nowness is the only ephemeral, eternal reality, and the decisions each of us make in this moment-to-moment flowing create the dreamtime future.

So many of the leaders we have chosen to follow with all their insecure, parasitic ambitions for power, glory and wealth only wax the slide with empty promises and compromising, shortsighted decisions. Though many are highly intelligent in many clever ways, too few have the wisdom and integrity to truly serve those they pretend to lead. There is no political or economic solution to the human dilemma now unfolding. Our dysfunctional paradigm has placed us in a spiritual crisis well beyond all the vain pretensions so many call religion.

No one will ever see the world exactly the same as anyone else. We are like snowflakes and fingerprints, patterns woven of a mystery to which all creation is witness in one form or another. Time and space are magical illusions, and each and every one of us is an equal participant in a vast theater of consciousness spontaneously playing itself out in seemingly every possible way. All our knowledge, all our histories, all our schools of thought, the countless frames of reference we imagine individually and collectively, dreamily overlap and merge like ripples crisscrossing to and fro upon the same sea of relativity.

Words, whatever the language, are conceptual icebergs each and every one of us envision differently. Thoughts of god, love, morality, money, tradition, politics, ad infinitum, inspire a myriad of responses, often conflicting because of rigid, dogmatic attachments to time. Yet, at the origin of all consciousness, that field from which this grand three-dimensional mirage has come to pass, is very much the same oneness, the same universal, timeless, eternal truth, despite our sophomoric arguments over the endless permutations of knowledge we ourselves have contrived.

All differences are fabrications, delusions, fantasy, make-believe. All polarizations, whether cultural, racial, sexual, geographic, economic, political, religious, mythological, and on and on, are illusive deceptions born of the play of light and shadow, and the musing it weaves. Each of us imagines a personal universe in which we travel very much alone, despite all the sensory evidence to the contrary. Until one can see past the attachments to an individual life, the many differences seem real, but, ultimately, they are not, never have been, and never will be.

We are passing through a holographic swirl of time in which the seemingly countless dramas of human existence are available for all to explore. What evolved of geographical isolation is now available for any to witness in whatever fashion predisposition allows. There is a tendency, due to the aberration of pride and the quest for false glory, to argue one mythology’s supremacy over another, yet is any collusion more than a conceptual adaptation to time and circumstance? Is any one version, any one play of consciousness, in reality, ultimately superior to any other?

No one gets out of this manifest existence alive, and every human being ever born comes to grips with that truth in whatever way capacity and limitation allow. Some create hells for themselves, while others discern within a quality, a harmony that has been given countless names across the world. Most of us, of course, wander the purgatory between. In the journey of life, each of us swims the ebb and flow in which the individual mind plays out incalculable variations of passion born of desire and fear.

The life any of us creates, with all its perceptions and interpretations, is a blend of voluntary and involuntary choosing. Traditions are creations every cultural grouping, every societal mindset fabricates in order to maintain continuity in those the genetic lottery casts into its geographic realm. No one is bound to continue believing anything but through free will. Those who discern their own law see this manifest play far differently than those who, for whatever reason, cannot see past their attachments to the narrow propagandas of history, whatever the scale.

The gist of these reflections is to encourage those who see their immeasurable nature to become that to which they aspire; intuitively, spontaneously free to meet the moment as it unfolds, whether or not it fits the vision of any other individual or group. In the statistical bell curve of any rise and fall, of any creation and destruction, there are always the initiators, and those who tag along well after. Those who entertain the greatest vision are already among the many who do not. Whether the reader sees it as a fact or not, we are all that which is the same mystery of oneness. Eternity is very much present within every part and particle, every quantum of the drama to which all are witness. It is a vision so infinite as to include each and every one of us, along with all the other myriad life forms across the planet, as its source.

Is the human species, with all its competitive predispositions, capable of comprehending and responding to a larger vision of itself? With all that is facing us, do we have the luxury of time? Probably not. Though the transformation of consciousness is an instantaneous matter, we are caught in the juggernauting wave of collective delusional ignorance and countless attachments to choices made in times long before ours. We may agree the problems ahead are nearly insurmountable, but the paradigm shift into a cooperative, balanced, holistic, intuitive, realistic mindset is too much of a change for most to even begin to fathom, much less enact, at this point in time.

Despite the countless lessons offered by history, we are too attached to building mountains of false gold, practicing divisive religion, maintaining rigid traditions, following false leaders, promoting the idolatry of personality, supporting destructive institutions, fabricating egocentric class structures, producing adverse technologies, consuming insatiably in every way imaginable, destroying unreplaceable diversity, and killing one another because our ancestors could not get along any better that we, for all the same myopic, greedy, time-bound, evolutionary reasons.

Recognize it or not, the human species is fast-approaching a tailspin of its own design. It is inevitable that this garden planet, and all life that dwells on it, will someday return to its origin. That is the nature of the vast changing, the creation-destruction of each passing moment in which we all choicelessly, spontaneously participate; the indivisible, impersonal totality few truly discern.

The question is, will we go out with nobility, humility, integrity and discipline as true human beings, harmoniously realigned with the source of our origin, guardians of the garden that birthed us all? Or will we exit like fruit flies churning busily for the last bit of honey in the bell jar; like rats vying savagely for the last crumbs at the bottom of the cage?

Each of us makes that decision in every step, in every breath, in every deed, word and thought. We individually create our own unique version of the universe, and how we work it out together in the theater of consciousness, only time will tell. The ultimate reality is not about contrived differences. It is not about futile, conceited pursuits, meaningless paths to glory. Life is an opportunity to discern within a vision of an integrated relationship with that which is infinitely greater than its many parts.

It is the true discernment that each and every one of us, including every angel and every demon, including all creatures great and small, including every infinitesimal, absolute speck of dust swirling within, to the furthest indivisible reaches of the unknown, is equally That I Am to which mystics across the world throughout time point. There is no other.

Each and every one of us is the same eternal clayness, the same sovereign immeasurable oneness playing out the relativity of dreamtime. We are all connected, no matter the exterior, no matter the capacity or frame of reference. No stairways to heaven, no religious middlemen are necessary. It is free to all discerning enough to see that truth is the momentary, intangible, undeniable birthright within. This intuitive vision of the clarity beyond form, and the exploration of right living it brings about, is the only true revolution.

This mystery we call life is an opportunity to witness the vast unfathomable diversity of this manifest theater, this grand play of creation and destruction, of known and unknown in whatever way each imagines. It is the potential to see that every form born of space-time is merely one of an infinite array of masks veiling the same maker; nothing more, nothing less.

Godness is beyond the scope of the rational mind, beyond the concoctions of superstition or the measurements of science. It is beyond the wordplay of any belief system, beyond the egocentric weavings of individual persona and the countless delusions spawned of ignorance. We are all alone, together, and how we as a species finally choose to dance the dance, sing the song, walk the walk, and talk the talk, is ultimately, in this mind’s eye, the true legacy of the human journey.

Best wishes.

Got God?

Got God? 

("Got God?" was a response to a seven-question survey of Chico News & Review readers published in April 1996)

Do you believe in God? If so, describe what you mean by that? 

Godness is the “I am That I Am” within each of us. It is the nothing and the everything. It is the smallest particle to the greatest whole. It is the isness, the nowness, the awareness, the timeless indivisible, unborn, undying source of this infinite, unknowable mystery. It is the creation, preservation and destruction of every part and particle playing out the grand theater, the eternal kaleidoscoping holograph of space-time. That spark of divinity, of the Self within all selves, is the witness acting out every drama imaginable.

Each and every life form is the immortal totality splintered into mortal fare. The source of life, of creation, is more than any measurement can ever explain or define. All attempts to grasp it, all the traditions, symbols, rituals and concepts, all the speculations ever devised in this garden world, or any other, are equally limited as anything but intuitive reflections. They are all merely a means to an end, not an end in themselves.

Time is a fabrication of consciousness. It is the virtual reality of the mind, the cotton candy of imagination. The ephemeral, momentary nowness is the only reality. Every life form, no matter who, what, where, when, why or how, is very much of the same evolving creation, the same source, the same light, the same dreamer, the same witness, the same amness, the same uniqueness, the same absolute oneness. No matter how you slice and label it, we are all holographs of the same essence.

If you were raised in a religious environment, has that had a positive or negative impact on your life? 

Organized religions across the world clutch vainly to beliefs founded upon geographic assumptions whose foundations have all become brittle and stale in this shrinking world. Groups throughout time have again and again claimed to be the standard-bearers of truth, but have all too often created far more conflict than community in their egocentricity. The net result is that the many propaganda of history are weighing us down with clashing notions. Notions that no longer hold water when examined closely.

The fact is that we are all the Way, the Truth and the Life, and those blind to this most simple, obvious understanding, those attached to literal translations and dogmatic collusions, cannot help but perpetuate unnecessary confusion and disintegration.

Religious traditions, with all their customs, folklore, symbols, rituals and concepts are products of time and its inevitable limitations. Their value is that they remind us of our relationship with the mystery of our existence. But to vainly cling to any as more than temporal tools, to battle over them in any way, to use them as anything but maps home, presents a narrow vision of the eternal quest. The word is only sound, and no sound can more than echo though the expanses of eternity.

Organizing the spiritual quest tends to box godness into a concept. And in the journey beyond concepts, into that which is immeasurable, there are no boundaries, no assumptions that withstand that which creates, preserves and destroys all illusions. The maker of time is bound to no form, and inevitably harvests all.
Do you believe in heaven, hell and judgment day?

Heaven and hell are states of mind, plays of consciousness, that only seem real where the now of time meets the road. Heaven is a sense of intuitive unity, an understanding, a clear harmony, a serene contentment. Hell is its divisive counterpart filled with unending prejudice, complexity and contention. It is the passionate mind playing out the dualistic weavings of desire and fear, and the suffering they endlessly bring to fruition. Every day is judgment day for those confined by the illusory, dualistic play of the senses. In separation we are demons, in unity we are angels. Who has not tasted every potential to some degree?

Can prayer heal the sick? 

If you really have faith, do you need to pray? Sickness, injury, aging and dying are inevitable in this mortal theater. Oblivion of personal identity is the undeniable fate of all forms. Yet that essence each of us truly is, is immortal, and this very simple realization creates a far different view of life than most seem destined to entertain at any given time. What each of us really is, is far greater than birth and death and the limitations of any manifest theater. And praying to imagination for mortal immortality is rooted deeply in the quicksand of ignorance.

Are your religious/spiritual beliefs separate from your political ones? 

Every action ripples. Every cause creates effect, and every effect becomes cause to the next effect. Those aware of this tend to walk more attentively in their day-to-day actions. Separative choices lead to disintegration; holistic ones to integration. Through interactions with others we show what we value. Are religion and politics separate? All division is the play of the time-bound mind. As long as we as a species value power, fame and fortune more than we value right relationship, as long as we are in the grips of worldly attachment, as long as we worship mammon and idolize form, we journey toward an inevitable, synergistic fate of our own creation. The paradigm from which we spawned is no longer functional, and the bell is daily tolling louder.

Describe a spiritual experience you have had recently. 

Is there any moment that is not spiritual, magical, mysterious? Whether sitting on the porcelain throne, or caught up in an inexplicable vision, every moment’s unfolding is ultimately very much the same. We may or may not be tuned in, we may prefer some moments to others, but in reality the ungraspable is source to all creations of consciousness, wherever or however they unfold. Pay attention to the vastness within, or meander through every sensory, dualistic diversion the world offers, it is all the same ephemeral virtual reality. Life is an opportunity to reflect upon the oneness within and without, and to take it as any more than a three-dimensional, quickly passing mirage misses its greatest potential.

What is the soul? 

What is not the That I Am? What is not the ground of all creation, preservation and destruction? What is not the indivisible, immortal, absolute reality that permeates all seen and unseen? What is not the same divine mystery residing in everything from the smallest particle of an atom to the farthest galaxies of creation? Godness, as seen through consciousness, is as expansive or limited as any given personal vision, yet cannot be confined by any. Ultimately, there is no other. The ocean of godness is all, including the drop of awareness reading this. The proof of it is that no one, no creature ever birthed upon this spinning garden has ever, will ever, or can ever discern more than a reflection of its own face. All forms are splinters of the same witness, the same oneness, the same faceless unknown. All attributes, all measurements are born of the illusion of space-time, and to be bound by any reverie is the delusion of ignorance.

Ten Reflections

Ten Reflections

Become a conscious, sovereign human being, awakened to the intuitive wisdom of Self, witness to the reality and unreality of this eternal mystery of time and space.

Respect this diverse garden world and the inherent rights of all creatures great to small. They are all masks of the same creation. There is no other.

Treat others at least as well as you would prefer they treat you. Do not expect them to return the favor, or to learn from your example. No one will ever be you.

Live and let live; live and let die; grasp and release; give and take; win and lose; forgive and forget; inhale and exhale; fly and land; swim and drift; rise and fall; open and close; lock and unlock; come and go; start and stop; begin and end; flow and resist; tense and relax; and allow; create, preserve, destroy.

Moderation in all things. Gluttony, greed, sloth, envy, wrath, lust, and pride are the roots of limitation, the source of suffering. Take delight in simplicity.

Share what you have to share. But not in such a manner that it is degrading or disempowering to those you serve. Giving to get is not sharing.

Play win-win whenever practical. Unmitigated competition is ultimately a dysfunctional paradigm. Avoid unnecessary conflict. No one really wins a fight. There are plenty of cooperative opportunities for those seeking the inherent ground.

Bring children into this world only if you intend to truly care for them. There are far too many human beings already. Life is arduous enough without a harsh, imbalanced beginning.

Do not put false wealth above real relationship. Learn to listen to the many voices of nature.  Learn to see with its many eyes. Mountains of gold do not compare with a child's joy in a mound of sand, a bird's in the morning sun, or a dolphin's in the passing wave.

Creation, preservation, and destruction are equal partners in this vast kaleidoscoping lightshow, in the infinite aloneness of this dreamtime theater. Deeply understanding this may lessen the suffering of your brief existence. Try not to take it all so seriously that you cannot laugh, at least occasionally, at this temporary identity, this brief ever-changing, three-dimensional illusion to which you are so attached.

PDF's of All Writings by Michael Holshouser

The Stillness Before Time (53 pages)

​The Return to Wonder​ (3006 pages)

Breadcrumbs (Compendium) (1898 pages)

Breadcrumbs 2018 (578 pages)

Breadcrumbs 2020 (222 pages)

Conversations (309 pages)

Definitions (104 pages)

Titles, Titles & More Titles (220 pages)

Ditties for the Bluegrass Pyre (15 pages)

Once Upon a Christmas (1 page)

(Please note that all writings are subject to annual updates and editing, so downloading current PDF copies every year or so might be a good idea if you want the most current version.  This applies especially to the Breadcrumbs compendium, which is likely an ongoing work until the last wheezing breath)

Breadcrumbs Blog Posts






Possible Last Words & Epitaphs

The Standard Ripostes

List of Top Books for the Up and Coming

59 Moments to The Way It Is (And Is Not)

The Unfolding Next Round (Current year unpublished elsewhere)

Of the Human Journey

Got God?

Ten Reflections

Standouts from the Return to Wonder Edit


Life Resume

Photo Gallery



Quotes Worth Pondering

Spam Responses (a.k.a. WTF Is This Shit!?)

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Facebook: Michael Holshouser

Facebook: Michael's Little Warehouse of All Things Amusing, Absurd & Profound

Facebook: Le Fichier Circulaire de Michaël

Facebook: Yaj Ekim

Blogger: Michael Holshouser

Twitter: Michael Holshouser!/YajEkim

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Odd and Ends

Final Exit

The Blind Men and the Elephant

The Joyful Curmudgeon

Of A Philosophical Nature

Quotes, Quotes & More Quotes

The Four Agreements

Le Fichier Circulaire de Michaël

50 Rules Kids Won't Learn in School

12 Rules You Can Live By

How to Work in Any Environment

Once Upon a Christmas

Ditties for the Bluegrass Pyre

Election 2016: The Rise (and Fall?) of Donald Trump

Eight Translations of the Ashtavakra Gita

The Heart of Awareness (Byrom)

Ashtavakra Gita (Marshall)

Bitten by the Black Snake (Schoch)

A Duet of One (Balsekar)

Ashtavakra Gita (Richards)

Astavakra Samhita (Wood)

Ashtavakra Gita (Vedic Scriptures)

Ashtavakra Gita (Shastri)

PDF's of Ashtavakra Gita: I Am Shiva 

Ashtavakra Gita: I Am Shiva

I Am Shiva Comparison Chart

PDF's of Eight Translations of the Ashtavakra Gita

The Heart of Awareness (Byrom)

Ashtavakra Gita (Marshall)

Bitten by the Black Snake (Schoch)

Ashtavakra Gita (Richards)

A Duet of One (Balsekar)

Astavakra Samhita (Wood)

Ashtavakra Gita (Shastri)

Ashtavakra Gita (Vedic Scriptures)

Translations of Other Ancient Writings

Ashtavakra Gita: I Am Shiva

Tao Te Ching: Verse One

Tao Te Ching (Marshall)

Bhagavad Gita (Marshall)

Yoga Sutras (Marshall)

Dhammapada (Marshall)

Avadhut Gita (Shastri)

Song of the Avadhut (Abhayananda)

Atma Bodha (Chinmayananda)

The Essence of the Ribhu Gita (Ramamoorthy & Nome)

Yoga Vasishta Sara (Ramasramam)

Crest-Jewel of Discrimination (Madhavananda)

Mandukya Upanishad & Mandukya Karika of Gaudapada (Panoli)

Gaudapada: Advaita Vedanta’s First Philosopher (Jones)

Translations of Ancient Writings by Bart Marshall

Ashtavakra Gita

Tao Te Ching

Bhagavad Gita

Yoga Sutras


Writings by Bart Marshall

Verses Regarding True Nature

One Hundred Two Haiku

* * * * * * * * * *

Of a Philosophical Nature
© Michael J. Holshouser 2008
World Rights Reserved

The Stillness Before Time
Reflections from a Fellow Sojourner (Blog)

© Michael J. Holshouser 2012
© Revised & Expanded 2017
World Rights Reserved