In times of universal deceit, telling
the truth is a revolutionary act.
         - George Orwell

Napoleon once observed that "history" is a set of lies agreed upon. In an era of ubiquitous fake news and information warfare, this has never been more true. The very concept of objective truth in history is fading out of our world. Pure propaganda and outright lies are passing into our history textbooks as unquestioned truth, condemning future generations to false views about historical reality. But the task of sifting through the lies and propaganda is overwhelming, limited by the ambition and time constraints of most observors. Only those who have dedicated their lives to sorting reality from falsehood are qualified to rewrite "consensus" history as a duty to humanity. The contributors to this site endeavor to do just that.

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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Trip of a Lifetime: Rules in the Game of Enlightenment (Part III)

       One of the most difficult things for those seeking enlightenment to accept is that the process and discipline is tantamount to a training program to become Nobody Special.  It goes against everything we've been taught through life:  that the only way to 'achieve' anything is to become a Somebody.  Even though we come to a recognition that all our fatigue, anxiety, fear, and neuroses come from our attempts to become a Somebody, we refuse to believe that it is in embracing nobody-specialness that we can become anybody.  For it is in accepting our smallness, our ant-like status in the universe, that we can begin to experience the kind of unbridled awareness that indeed we ARE God, and hence infinite.

But you have to start somewhere.  The way the rules of the game have been passed down from generation to generation, it does seem you have to start by becoming a Somebody before you can become a nobody.  There's no one or no thing to blame here; this is merely the result of our survival mechanisms and the dynamics of living in groups. Egos are engrained in us from childhood for a very good reason: without them one becomes the object of bullying. As we become adults, however, and (hopefully) the bullying has subsided, we can begin to appreciate the peace that comes from the simplicity of no-mind, of just emptiness, of not having to be somebody all the time.  You might even undertake the hard work of moving from a Somebody to a nobody on a more full-time basis, out of the realization that that is where Enlightenment lies.

For when you become a nobody there is no tension, no pretense, no trying to be anyone or anything, and the natural state of mind shines through unobstructed.  This natural state of mind is pure love, pure awareness.  Once you've cleared away all the mind traps, you can begin to move into the experience of the exquisiteness of loving everyone, of feeling true compassion for your fellow creature.  Had you sufficient discipline, you could pursue the steepest of paths to get rid of all the ways you cling to models of yourself.  You could begin to slow things down and gain such an awareness of the fleeting nature of your own thoughts and self-models that you can just sit back and watch the inner show without clinging to any of it.  When the intensity of your concentration allows you to see the space between your thoughts, you get glimpses of eternity.

There is no thought there.  Against this backdrop of emptiness, of nothing, we exist. And there you are at the edge of perceiving who you are.  Then you will face one of the greatest fears you will ever confront:  the fear of your own extinction.  It is the fear of ceasing to exist not just as a body, but even as a soul. This is the ultimate mystic doorway through which few enter.  Only when you let go of this final fear, that of non-existence, can you become pure awareness, and there is no more "you" being aware.  In this pure awareness you have become a nobody.

Then and only then will you be able to sit in silence, not in expectation but in fulfillment.  The intellect will still be available, but at rest, and the heart will be filled with what has traditionally called in the West "the love of Christ" - that flowing, conscious, unconditional love.  You will move beyond "phony holy", or that insidious but subtle self-righteousness that often accompanies those who have tasted, but not come to rest in, enlightenment.  It is those molds or models of yourself and of reality that you keep clinging to which keep you from becoming your real Self.  Only by letting go completely are you free to play with God for the rest of your life.

Having a teacher to guide you is essential, but for so many who have embarked on the path their teachers later became their obstacles. Teachers will often state that they are only the instruments for the preparation of the souls of others; they cannot do the work themselves. Fair enough. But teachers often come with their own set of hold-ups.  When favours are asked in return, for example, the teachings become tainted.  Some teachers have a great deal of difficulty remaining grounded, and go off in what appear like channeled rants. Others get hooked on the attention, the devotion of disciples, and lose the one-on-one connection with the divine they once had.  They get hooked not on being, but becoming.  Disciples often find themselves in settings that have no escape clause. Spiritual centres that ignore the basics like supplying food and shelter foment only despair, cynicism, and regret. The spiritual smorgasborg available to consumers in the West can often leave one feeling even more lost than when one started on a spiritual quest.

Don't get lost in your own melodrama, romanticizing your spiritual journey. Don't take yourself too seriously, and concoct a storyline about your life and how you've got it all figured out now. don't fall into the trap of seeing yourself as having passed into some kind of yogi status, that you now qualify as a yogi because of where you're at.  Let go of the storyline of your predicament.  Being "good" won't necessarily bring you to the truth.  Only when you have immersed yourself in the truth, and become truth, will you become righteous by default.  Righteousness comes out of truth, rather than truth coming out of righteousness.

The greatest source of disappointment for most who embark on the quest are the challenges and sufferings along the way.  Somehow we envisioned that the quest involved an escalator to ever higher states of awareness and bliss, only to find that survival in the real world felt more like The Hunger Games.  We don't realize when we start out that the awe-ful, the sufferings, were part of the bargain.  In reality, they are part of the fire of purification.  Only when you are lost in your ego do you damn your suffering.  When you come to identify only with your soul which yearns to be free, you learn to use both your suffering and your pleasure.  You use it all to get to God, to be liberated.  And you begin to notice that your suffering awakens you more than your pleasure.

The universe is made up of experiences that are designed to burn out your reactivity, which is your attachment, your clinging, to storylines, to pain, to pleasure, to fear, to all of it.  As long as there is a place where you are vulnerable, the universe will find a way to confront you with it.  That's the way the Game is designed.  Each of us is living in our own universe, created out of our projected attachments.  When Gandhi was put in jail, he said to the head guard, in total truth, "Thank you". He wasn't putting them on or uplevelling them.  What he was saying was, "There's a teaching here, and I'm getting it. Thank you."

If we push the undesirable stuff about ourselves under a rug, sooner or later it's all going to come up.  That's what people who use psychedelics find out in a big hurry when they experience the so-called "bad trip".  You've got to realize you're in the game for the long haul, and you've only got one incarnation to figure it out.  You've got to clean up your game, and be honest with yourself.

You can surround yourself with a group of like-minded beings all you want - people who think the way you think and make you feel like you're on the right side of history.  But none of the really difficult stuff is allowed to come up; it all gets pushed underground. It's fascinating to talk to people who are on death row - people who know the date of their own death, just days away.  More often then not they have become like monks in their cells, having cut through all the melodramas of lying to themselves and judges and everyone around them.  There's no one left to fool at that point.  You can see the light pouring out of these beings' eyes.

You can go into death with Christ on your lips and truth on your mind, but whatever stuff is covered over by your situational high at the time of dying, as your ego structure starts to lose control, is what will prevent you from merging with God.  The game isn't to get high, it's to get liberated.  You can't hold on to anything.  You gotta stay right here, always in the new existential moment.  Moment to moment it's a new mind.  No personal history.  You just keep giving up your storyline.  Bring your mind to diamond clarity, a state of consciousness in which you will see and know and understand the relationships of all things. Bring your mind to onepointedness, and you will know God.

If you come back into form after having merged with God, you are in the world but not of it.  You play the cosmic sport.  You play the forms though there is no one home - it is just more lila, the dance of God.  For once you get home, you will realize that you have always been God, and that you created your own separateness for the Game.  And then you will know the rules and the game are the same, and you will have merged with the Universe which is the Game Manifest.


[Special thanks and acknowledgements go out to Ram Dass, from whose Grist For the Mill (Unity Press, 1977) provided the source for much of the material paraphrased above.]

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