Released on August 4, 2019, the purpose of this Reflection is to pump you up! You are awesome, just the way you are!
One of the things I like to discuss is the idea that there is no ‘one way.’ The gurus who will tell you that they have ‘the way’ are a dime a dozen, and they will say stuff like, ‘there’s levels, man,’ or that no one is as enlightened as the person from whom they received spiritual instruction. There are many riffs on this idea, not the least of which is the Christian Church’s insistence that the only way to God is through Jesus Christ.
I think it would be equally remiss to state that for some people, the way of the guru is indeed the way. Some people find their way up the mountain with the help of a person who has achieved some level of spiritual satisfaction. Imperturbable and always smiling, these are ‘masters’ who at least seem to have figured out how to excise misery from their lives.
I mean, really, that is what it’s about. Getting OK with shit. Anyone who tells you anything otherwise might have a different explanation, but I am unable to see it. If you can relax into your identity, which is the world itself, not your name or your bank account, then you don’t need to worry about anything. You are simply here for a laugh.
Why, oh why, would we be here if we didn’t want to be? If we wanted to become ‘God’ again, as many mystics would have it, why even do this whole dance? Why does there have to be a quest or an end point? Was there ever a time when we weren’t who we are? Will there be one when we are gone?
I am not saying that I do not believe in divine realization. I experienced it myself. But I also have experienced that what most gurus tell us – some riff on inadequacy or impurity – to not be the case. There is absolutely no qualitative difference between Jesus and Hitler. The idea that there is fuels the notion of separation that we are trying to get away from.
I mean, really, if we are all one, how can anyone be an ascended Master and someone else be an attached creature completely ignorant of their spiritual nature? That is judgment dressed up in its Sunday best. And judgment is just as improper when we use it to venerate people as divine avatars as it is when we use it to look down upon people.
Look, I am not denigrating any of it. How could I? If you see the world as one big perfectly operating machine, then there is nothing wrong with any of it. Jesus himself, the paragon of enlightenment held up by the church as the model for all people, warned against judgment. But it wasn’t because judgment would cause us misery – it is because it keeps us in the dark.
The ‘truth,’ as I have seen it, is far simpler than much of the dogma that has been extolled by the various religions throughout the ages. Just relax. Enjoy it. It’s just a ride, to quote the late, great Bill Hicks. The problem comes when spiritual people imbibe their own product, or get high on their own supply.
To quote Joseph Campbell, life has no meaning. We bring meaning to our lives. We are the ones who decide what is real, and what is real is proved by experience. It is our own experience that is the final arbiter, not what anyone else tells us is real or the case, unless that resonates with us as true. For me, there is more of life in the story of Peter Pan than there is in a treatise on the different stages of enlightenment as laid down by this or that Buddhist or Catholic saint.
If the world is indeed all One, then there is nothing to get bent out of shape about. There is no ignorance or clarity, there is nothing to fret or worry over, just plenty of time to spend with people that we love, doing the things that we love, and wondering all the while at the great mystery of it all. Or not. And as far as I have seen, the mystery is intentional. By intentional, I mean two things: it features both intent on the one hand, and the not knowing as being on purpose in the other, if that translates. Life is intentionally opaque. We can either find that stifling or liberating, get bent out of shape and landlocked in dread or soar blissfully on the winds of mystery.
That all said, my advice, if I may offer some: beware the person who will tell you how it is, including me. Spend time with people who offer their ideas freely. That is what I am trying to do here. If I cannot truly say, ‘take it or leave it,’ then I think that I need to reassess what I am doing. I mean, my job is only to write and make it available to the world. Whatever effect that has on the place, if any, is none of my business. I know what effect it has on my world – I love it while I’m doing it and my life is better as a result. The yoga of writing is the most effective one in my existence. Creating art allows me to integrate my spirit. Sure, I might be writing about spirituality and knights and wizards, but that doesn’t mean that that is who I am.
Who I am is who you are. Another human being living their life. None better than another, none more enlightened, none more capable of enjoying the ride. We are all perfection – anyone who tells you differently… well, perhaps just look at it as a test of character. And your character is unassailable.
I can feel that in my bones.