Tuesday, April 05, 2005

The Master Game and The Company Store.

In the dance of life; the game of life, we deal with two things; essence and product. The one is single, profound and unchanging. The other is legion and constantly in change. One effects change and the others are changed. At this time, perhaps at all times, there is always the hope and often the reliance upon the latter to provide the former. Essence proceeds only from itself. It does not proceed from any product. This is where idolatry comes from and all the practices and principles that are also that but which masquerade behind many presumed faces of the divine.

We, the bedraggled refugees from parts unknown; we are ever hopeful that some new product; some new theme, some less taxing process or some Transformer toy will finally do for us what we have long sought to do for us; that which only ‘essence’ can provide.

Maybe you’ve been looking; many people are. Maybe you’ve been looking in traditional ways, occult or shamanistic paths, new age alternatives or what have you; and believe me… we have. We have every dimension of possibility; old and new, ‘new and improved’, better than new, cheaper than stolen, frightfully expensive- so as to guarantee exclusivity, inscrutably arcane and ‘simple with easy to assemble instructions’.

The very complexity of choices is as mind numbing as the contents of many. Of course it’s essence alone that you want. You couldn’t be satisfied with anything but essence because nothing else works in the long run. There are many short-term palliatives that provide an initial sense of relief or accomplishment. A lot of things feel good for awhile because they change where you were enough to give an illusion of improvement.

If you start looking on the internet you begin to find hundreds of oracles with an indication of an essence connection. There’s the preliminary rap, the promise of deepening levels of understanding and there is always the link to The Company Store. At the company store you get: videos and inspirational music CD’s, books and t-shirts and flash cards and talismans and… well, it’s quite a list. The idea is that the products are going to lead to the essence. That’s not going to happen. At the same time, everything in your life is designed to lead you to essence; whether it is serendipitous encounter or an opportune disappointment. Essence is leading you to itself, even when it is leading you through an enormous mall or a sexual amusement park. Every single event in your life, no matter how seemingly insignificant or irrelevant is a definite interaction between you and God.

So, though the company store will never provide you with essence, the passage through it has some relationship to your recapturing of essence.

It is an always insoluble mystery; or a difficult hurdle, or a recurrent deception, or; let me count the ways… It’s a wonder how, though essence is housed within us and gives us life; (we would, in fact, have no life without it.) it’s a real puzzle how we are constantly led back to the search external as if somehow essence will materialize out of something appearing before us when essence can only appear inside us. What to do?

How bad do you want it? Essence is going to blow the cover on every dark corner of your concealed parts. Maybe it isn’t essence you want. Maybe it is the appearance of essence that you want. Hardly anyone wants reality. What they want is the ‘perception’ of reality. Proceed directly to the company store. You have to remember that the personality has its needs. It’s most important need is survival. If you threaten its survival it is going to act to protect itself. This can come in many forms. It usually leads to some sort of compromise and then back to the company store.

All the time while you are looking, here there and everywhere; all the time while you are browsing the company store, essence is watching you, measuring you, tapping you on the shoulder, nudging you and leading you- relative to your level of sincerity and passion- to essence- short route or roundabout. It’s comical and it often hurts as well.

What I know is that I do not know. I will never know; but there’s more to it than that. Knowing that I do not know, I know that no one else does either. So whatever I hear from anyone, my thought is, “Well, that’s their version.” I look at their version and I contemplate its indications and applications. Essence usually will give me a perspective as well. Just as essence resides within us, so does everything else. We are a universe in miniature. If it’s out there, it’s in here. We have every one of us, the capacity to do anything we have ever heard of. We are capable of great surprises. We are capable of injuries and heroics that would come as a great surprise. We don’t know who we are.

It’s acceptable to not know who we are. It is less acceptable when we do not know who we are and embark upon a career of telling people who they are while opening a company store.

Does that mean we should all shut up? Does it mean no one has the right to say anything? However any of that might be true it has no meaning because it’s not going to happen. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. We learn by doing. We learn from our mistakes; sometimes that just makes us cleverer.

Some of us are artists and that is our product. As long as we are clear that we are artists and not representatives of essence with a company store, there’s no harm there. One thing many teachers do not understand is that they are certain to wind up at the place they are leading others to; that’s the lesson attendant. You can take the words of a former envelope of essence and you can repeat them as your own. You can reshape them with a personal touch. But unless you possess the essence that spoke them in the first place you do not possess the power of the essence they declare. You can present essence as product. You can let essence present you as product. It’s a very complicated subject in one position and too simple to explain in another.

In any case, I think you know what I mean. There’s a basic honesty within that comprehends what’s what, even when our mind and our personalities are telling us something else. The hardest thing there is to it is having the unshakeable resolve to always defer to essence over appearance. It is very hard to shut yourself down when you don’t know and don’t know what you are talking about; to be able to say “I don’t know.” when the potential and motive to talk your way around and out of it exists; barring that you can always fall back on the faraway look of wisdom in your eye and point to the company store.

There are real teachers about. Essence calls to essence. I encountered a teacher not long ago who said almost those exact words when discussing human romantic relationships; he was putting forth the idea of commitment and fidelity at the time. Today he’s got at least two girlfriends and his wife is gone. I’m not knocking him. I just want you to know how difficult the game can be.

It’s possible that essence considers you a fit vehicle for some effort on its part. But essence isn’t going to protect your personality from the lessons needed for its evolution in terms of transforming its behavior and character flaws. It really is a good idea to keep your head down when engaged in this manner. It’s a good idea to be real direct about, “I don’t know.” It’s important to never forget how very small and unimportant we are in a certain sense; to run from praise and personal responsibility for what may well be the temporary appearance of the grace of essence in the manifest realm. Fortune very often comes in on the arm of one and goes out on the arm of another.

Even though I am far from complete and fully realized, I can’t help wanting to help. It affects me that people suffer, even if I understand the purpose of it. Decreasing human suffering seems to me to be one of the most noble of human avocations. However, as the disclaimer states, “first do no harm.” Essence is free and as a result finds it very hard to breathe and move in the company store.

Next up; some simple techniques.


Anonymous said...

You know, this makes me think of Ramana Maharishi who - at a very very young age, if I remember correctly - attained illumination by simply meditating intensely on the question "What am I?". No books, no teachers or schools, just a simple (but not so simple)question.

A few years back I had decided to lay down all books and teachings and just be my own guide, keeping it simple. Of course, I'm back to the books and teachings, partly because they are better entertainment than my other options and partly because I now believe it can only be helpful to learn from those who have gone before. But I do sincerely believe one could get there by simply coming back daily to the question, "What am I?" That really is the only question that needs answering (in my opinion).

Thanks for this Les.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Subtle, very.


Anonymous said...

This is superior writing. As good as you are you continue to get better and I continue to be further impressed.

By the way, you've had over a hundred visits to your site since this morning when I first came by. That's been steadily rising too.

z a

Anonymous said...

More and more it's about hearing the cash registers ring. Working undercover for the good of everyone does not confer high visibility or a soft lifestyle. You do good though and like you said the other day, somebody is always watching.


Anonymous said...

Excellent always. I'm looking forward to tomorrow. I already know it's going to be a winner.


Anonymous said...

"sixteen tons and what do ya get?"



Visit the recommended reading page for many more.


'I Need More Light' from the Les Visible Album
God in Country

Visit the Blog Music Page
to stream all of Visible's music for free
(purchase is always appreciated but entirely optional)


A classic Visible post:

With gratitude to Patrick Willis.

Click here to watch and comment on Vimeo and here to read the original text.

Visit the Blog Videos Page for many more.