Friday, August 05, 2005

Like it or Not; we are All One.

Yes it is true. It’s true in physics and it is true in other legitimate sciences when empirical reasoning is applied to a true and comprehensive result; even if those findings must be analyzed with instruments that are not generally available; even if the physical end of ones research points into a yawning unknown, the evidence to that point, still indicates unity. At the same time, you can convince yourself of anything if that is your intention. Those who believe the world revolves around them are not entirely wrong.

Many of us work to set ourselves apart from our fellows. Some of us are set apart by our nature and our acts. Those whose uncommon goal is the heart of the whole matter are automatically set apart, regardless of their protective coloration or the lack of any.

In 1836 Ramakrishna was born in India and through the next 50 years of his life he taught that all religions were one and that you must make the pursuit of God the centerpiece of your life. This is a very simplistic rendering of the life of one of the greatest teachers of humanity. Ramakrishna was God incarnate. Those who had the good fortune to be around him were able to observe this. Reading the delightful stories of ‘M’ who was Ramakrishna’s disciple and biographer provides many an evidence of Ramakrishna’s singular life.

I bring him up because of a particular feature of his work. Ramakrishna, upon finding God, engaged in the study of every major religion and many spiritual disciplines, experienced enlightenment in each of them and pronounced them to be the same; in other words, they were all true expressions of the one. They were all another path up the same mountain. Find the one that works for you and give it everything you have; “half measures avail nothing.”

Some of us are experiencing real distress making it through the day to day of this modern world. It is a sad and empty affair here. If we are looking for satisfaction in the attractions of the day we are going to be disappointed. If we are looking for meaning we are going to be disappointed. If we are looking for fulfillment we aren’t going to find it. The problem is that ‘the world’ has become so pervasive that it is hard to find a quiet corner. I have no doubt that there are people working on designing holographic banner ads that they can project into the far corners of nature, just in case you show up there.

For many, the world has never been better. Today you can get Bacon-flavored ice cream. You can be whipped bloody by a huge tormenter in an authentic dungeon. You can wipe away your pain and your cares with a number of cutting edge chemicals; at least for a time. You can enjoy power and riches and pleasures the like of which we have never seen. Many people who see themselves as poor, live better than the kings of old. -But some of us...

...some of us are unhappy with this. It may be that we think there is something wrong with us. It may be that we do not understand why the more we see the less we want. We may suffer all manner of ills by contact with the material side of life. There is a certain ennui, a Weltschmertz that pervades our thoughts. We feel very much alone. Friends, though sympathetic are often of little help. Professionals in the area of modern therapeutic systems are often not only incompetent but antagonistic to the real solution. Religious leaders are often limited in understanding and laboring under the weight of dogma. Dogma is food without seasoning and often without nutritional virtue.

It is not unusual for some of us to sink into a deep despair; to contemplate ending our lives or to go on living in mute desperation and indefinable yearning for whatever has gone missing. Often, even when we find the right track, we lack persistence and optimism. Without optimism and the faith that accompanies it we are not going to get anywhere.

Unfortunately, in this contemporary world, our sense of community is often hard to locate. Some of us have a hard time with groups and organizations that seem to be less about their stated aims and more about control of the agenda and control of the meaning of the message. If you are looking for the truth is can be a hard stretch of highway.

Once I lived in the town of Woodstock, NY. In those days there were some pretty remarkable people in residence; perhaps there still are, though I am sure they are much harder to find. At the time I lived in a small community of kindred spirits and we collectively owned a macrobiotic restaurant. I also owned a spiritual/occult bookstore a short distance away. We lived in rooms built into the restaurant or in teepees on a large piece of forest outside of town. It was one of the most remarkable periods in my life. I would have to say that it gave real meaning to my life. As with all experiments in living, it came to an end. Many of the participants went on to the next evolution. Others scattered to the winds and I do not know what became of them.

I fell into a rock and roll cauldron and cooked for some years. I lost my way. I never stopped looking though and I found my way again. It has never again been what it was then though. For some of us such a community is imperative. I would say that the majority of people require community. Most people also want to do whatever they want to do and still have that community. Many communities enforce a moral code upon their members; we all need a moral code, but there are so many of them and they are not all moral or sane. Some people never take the training wheels off of their bicycles; always need to use lined paper and live in fear of what lies hidden beneath.

I don’t write for The Rotary or The Chamber of Commerce. I doubt I will ever appear in Reader’s Digest or Redbook. Newsweek isn’t going to find what I do interesting, neither will The New York Times, not unless I steal a whole lot of money or create a sex-cult that worships Bubastis or Set. I understand what it can be like to be alone. I prefer it myself. Not everyone does.

Sometimes when things aren’t going well you might need to find a community. This can lead to disappointment too. It did for me on occasion. But there are some genuine spiritual communities out there. There are some people and some groups that genuinely care about your welfare and your progress. You can find a real dynamic in such places. Things like Sufi-dancing, macrobiotics and meditation can take on a whole new appearance and degree of effectiveness in a group. There are other worlds within this one. If this wider world disappoints you that is a good thing; it should disappoint you. It is a shameful affair. It diminishes your humanity and puts you on a treadmill to nowhere.

Think about what interests you and then look in those areas. Even if you find later that it may not have been your real interest, your real interest can be revealed in the process. Don’t stop looking; just be aware that you may not find what you are looking for in the land of cellphones and night clubs.

It is no real loss to sell everything you have and then to go live in a community where you can learn how to use some new tools. You can always get your stuff back. Don’t worry about stuff; stuff is inevitable. It is pointless to go on living a life that means nothing to you. What do you lose if you give it up? Meanwhile new worlds will open if you have the courage to look. Many communities will have no trouble absorbing you and giving you something to do that pays your way. Isn’t it enough to live and to eat, to have a place to sleep and to engage in a remarkable experiment at the same time? Don’t you have even enough faith to take the chance?

Then again, you can work your whole life at a job you hate, to make enough money to spend your declining years paying out every cent you acquired to care for the health you ruined on your way. Don’t be a fool. There are already more than enough people doing that for you.

I realize this is probably one of my less interesting and exciting pieces but it feels like it needs to be said. Even when we are alone we are not alone and we can be much less alone if we make the effort.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good advice. I know people who should have done that.

Anonymous said...

Way to go Les.

CC

Anonymous said...

Reading this made me think how hard it can be for people to change their lives. It also made me think that their reasons are overstated.

Bradley

Anonymous said...

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

Les,

Thank you for good advice. I could not understand the previous message.

Love,
Celeste

Les Visible said...

Well, that makes two of us (grin) because I don't understand this one. What message? Well, if it's cleared up then it doesn't matter. Be well.

Visible