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Published: February 19, An anthology of articles and short plays from Wisefool Press. Words: 41, Published: September 23, Words: 40, Published: September 18, Words: 58, Published: July 22, If life is but a dream, to what do we awake? The central premise of Dreamstate: A Conspiracy Theory, is the admittedly ridiculous but incontrovertibly true assertion that the universe does not exist. Words: 29, Published: March 9, Words: 38, Published: March 29, Those who want straight answers to life's biggest questions will welcome a theory of everything that makes sense, doesn't rely on religious or scientific chicanery, and can be directly understood.
Spiritual Enlightenment: The Damnedest Thing
The young girl before me nods, understanding the words at whatever level she is able. She knows that the words are spoken by Krishna and that he is speaking to Arjuna, the mighty warrior who has thrown down his arms rather than signal the beginning of a war that will surely scorch the earth and his own family to ash. I doubt she identifies herself with Arjuna, paralyzed by confusion at the start of the Gita. I doubt she equates enlightenment with the direct experience of reality in its infinite form. I doubt she knows that in her own life war is coming and that she is a breath away from giving the signal that will spark the conflagration that will incinerate her world.
I look at this young girl and I know she has no idea where this road really leads. Unity consciousness is great, I say, and she looks relieved. Mystical union, being at one with the universe, the direct experience of the infinite. Bliss, ecstasy; a taste of heaven. Beyond time, beyond space, beyond the ability of any words to describe.
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The peace that surpasseth all understanding. Wow, she says, aptly. Her name is Sarah. If I were a guru, that would be my full time job. I shudder at the thought. For instance, I myself am enlightened, right here, right now. I am free of delusion and unbound by ego, and although I have had the great fortune of experiencing mystical union on several occasions, I am not presently in that state and I have no plans to return to it.
What you have to do now is figure out what you really want. Do you want to dedicate your life to the pursuit of the experience of mystical consciousness? Or do you want to wake up to the truth of your being? First things first, right?
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Wow, I laugh appreciatively, good answer. Good answers aside, Sarah has not really made the decision she thinks she has. If anything, one is more likely to be the victim of it, like getting hit by a bus. You want to develop spiritually, or grow closer to God, or go to heaven, or become enlightened, something along those general lines? Moving toward something, away from something else? Hey, I reassure her, no worries, mon. Just file your flight plan in the most economical terms. There is no finish line, no winners or losers.
Give that some thought, too. It all ties in together. Come see me in the next few days and let me know what you come up with. Sarah labors under the same misconception everyone does. She believes, in the broadest sense, that something is wrong and that she can make it right.
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Nothing is ever wrong and nothing can be wrong. Wrong is simply not possible. As Alexander Pope wrote, One truth is clear, whatever is, is right. Wrongness is in the eye of the beholder and nowhere else. The perception of wrongness, however, is absolutely critical to the perpetuation of the human drama, right up there with the illusion of separateness and the certainty of free will.
Drama requires conflict; no conflict, no drama. Heights need not be scaled nor depths plumbed. Wealth and power need not be acquired. Future generations need not be spawned.
Art need not be created, nor skyscrapers erected. Wars need not be fought. Religions and philosophies need not be devised. Teeth need not be flossed. The belief that something is wrong is the fire under the ass of humanity, is how I explain it to Sarah. A certain amount of rightness and wrongness is hardwired into the human machine. Hunger is wrong, eating is right; celibacy is wrong, seed-sowing is right; pain is wrong, pleasure is right, and so on.
But those are all biological directives, enforceable only within the context of the physical organism, violations resulting in progressively worsening discomfort and possibly death. Where, then, does wrongness reside outside of our physical organism? And the obvious answer is; nowhere. But if this whole existence thing is to have any dramatic element to keep it interesting, it needs conflict, and so an artificial wrongness must be inserted into the mix: Fear.
The fear of no-self is the mother of all fears, the one upon which all others are based.
All fear is ultimately fear of no-self. Fear, regardless of what face it wears, is the engine that drives humans as individuals and humanity as a species. Simply put, humans are fear-based creatures. We are primarily emotional and our ruling emotion is fear. I really just want them to review their present heading, because if fate or providence has put them in front of me to hear the things I say, then a sharp course change is likely imminent, and that begins with a calling out of the present heading.
Sarah gets the lite version of this fear and wrongness monologue, partly for her benefit, partly for my own. For my part, this is how I figure stuff out; by expressing it. Should I keep meditating? Oh, yeah, absolutely, I say, and she seems relieved to hear it.
I know, though, that she has already been destabilized enough for one conversation. It used to be my house, anyway. Sarah is not especially unique in terms of the type of people who find their way here. In short, her ego structure, her false self.
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Nobody shows up on our doorstop like an empty cup just waiting to be filled with knowledge, and since the knowledge that gets dished out around here is almost certain to be in sharp conflict with the knowledge they arrived with, job one is always prepping them for a major rewrite. At any given time there seem to be fifteen or twenty students living in the house.
They stay here for awhile, they talk with me, they take care of things. They come.
They go. They may come and go without my even knowing they were here. They show up, tend the gardens for a few hours, rewire the basement, prepare meals, build additions, gab with each other, paint things, drop off a gift, eat, whatever. It all just flows and everyone seems pretty comfortable with it. The sun is dropping and the heat of the day has softened. A gentle breeze caresses the grass in waves.
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Eventually, time swallows the moment and I observe its passing with gratitude. I can smell it. The vegetarians have been at it again. Someone brings me a tray with a bowl of rice and dahl and some garam masala and a set of chopsticks. As soon as the odor meets me I know that Sonaya has done the cooking and I am eager for the food. I eat and watch as the sunset displays more shades of pink than anyone could have suspected.
Gradually the pinks become reds and golds and the clouds pick up every nuance and light up the sky in a resplendence that promises heaven. But then I remember—. This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?