Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Now Where Did I Put That 'get out of jail free' Card?

One of the problems that people have with the concept of God arises from misunderstanding the purpose of existence and the location of our greatest hope. People look at the circumstances of life and say that there cannot be a God who permits what we see happening. Right off the bat it is clear that the people saying this have some idea of who and what God is supposed to be. They must if they have such ideas about what God should be and how God should act. They get a lot of these ideas from religion and they also get them from an instinctive sense of what should be fair in a fair world.

Somehow people have gotten the idea that Heaven is supposed to exist on Earth. Though I am sure that there are people who do live in Heaven while on Earth they are not the same place; Heaven, Hell, Earth, Detroit, Hong Kong, the ocean, the sky- these are different places and different things happen in them. You can also say that birds are fish that swim in the sky and that fish are birds that fly through the ocean.

It is easy for me to explain just about anything in terms of what I understand about how the universe works. It is not easy to make it understood. It is easy to say that God is Love and that Love is Unity but it is not easy to give others a visceral sense of that; of how that applies in real time, in real lives and what it means as a cosmic truth applied to a personal being. Many people have an intellectual understanding of things which are of no real value.

When people who imagine themselves to be intelligent scoff at the faith that inspires some to believe in a loving and merciful God it makes perfect sense to them that the God the God described cannot exist because the physical evidence from their observations tells them this is often a cruel and bloody world. Either they are correct or their idea of what God is and what God does is flawed. God is creator, preserver and destroyer. Though there are people who have extended the life of their body far beyond that of ordinary people, the physical body is still a temporary dwelling because the physical world is a temporary place. Being a temporary place things come and go all the time. We object to the going and object to the means of the going as well. And since we do not, most of us, know what lies beyond there is much confusion and fear attendant.

The mind can dwell on many things. The separated mind sees things in terms of itself. It does not know what it is itself because such a meaning cannot be revealed to a mind divided against the unity of the one mind. Only the one mind can know what is in actuality and if one is existing in this mind then their individuality as they presently understand it is lost. This is the one thing that the individual mind cannot bear. The primary concern of the individual mind is its own survival. Even though it cannot and does not survive it does not believe that this is so. It believes it will go on forever and all of its efforts and arguments with itself are directed to this end. The individual mind is therefore the father of lies. It is a lie to begin with so its offspring, its thoughts, are lies as well.

This world that we are observing and moving through on a conveyor belt of time is the product of the collected individual minds in a grandly orchestrated hallucination. The individual mind is essentially a selfish mind. Even all of its occasional high and noble thoughts are selfish. There is a shift that takes place in this individual mind when it passes through puberty and for the rest of its life all of its actions and values are based on some individual understandings concerning the dual nature of the universe. The real object of life is regenerated innocence; becoming as a child. The great obstacle to this is the immediate idea that one is placed in constant danger by giving over their rational defense mechanisms to something that they don’t understand; no matter how they might believe in its essential goodness because one of the jobs of the divine is to test the faith of the soul in surrender.

It is difficult to be specific in this regard. Whenever one attempts to talk about these kinds of things they are inevitably led to parables and metaphors and examples from the sensory realm used to create an idea about something that lies beyond the senses.

It might be good to say that life as we see it before us is all about experience and adventure and discovery. It is about learning and sorting and accepting and rejecting. The pain experienced by the person deceived by the desires of the individual mind is meant to be instructive. You are actually here to discover that there is nothing here that you want. There is nothing external to you that is of any value other than relative value and that value is changing all the time. Good and evil are mere constructs that apply in one situation and do not apply in another.

Let us imagine that we are in prison. There is a Stockholm Syndrome that takes place here. Many do not see their jailors as prison wardens at all. Many do not recognize the prison although they do know they are confined- they just do not know by what or how. In prison the inmates often get institutionalized. They can no longer function in the outside world and quickly commit another crime so they may be returned to the safety of their familiar prison surroundings. Of course, prison is not safe at all. I have been in real prisons and I can attest to this. Well, the world is not safe either. You have to pay attention. It is not safe for your body, your mind or your heart. With the passage of time the inmates will often not realize or forget that they are in prison and fail to identify the guards and the walls and other phenomena as being what they actually are. You might even say that the physical body is a prison and that there are guards and walls in the mind as well. So the world is a prison composed of many smaller prisons and your mind and your heart are both prisons often enough.

What if someone comes to liberate you from your prisons? What if someone crashes the walls and bends the bars and scatters the jailors? What would you think? Would you think that you were being liberated or would it make you want to hide under your bunk? Would it make you grab the bars of your prison and resist this liberation? Would you not join with the guards to fight off this frightening appearance? What happens if the one who comes to liberate you informs you that everything you believe is a lie? What if the presence of this liberator makes everything you see and value and desire irrelevant? What if the presence of this liberator causes every cherished illusion to die?

What happens if your liberator tells you that everything you think and feel are the bars and walls of your prison? What if you literally have to die in order to be free? What if everything you hold dear must die? But it does anyway, doesn’t it? Everything goes. Everything. You and everything you know goes anyway. Yet the individual mind holds out the unfailing hope that this is not the case and that somehow your destiny will be unique. The funny thing is that this is altogether possible but it is not possible in the way that the individual minds conceive and/or wish it to be.

Only one thing is important and that is self-realization. Comprehending who and what you are is the only important effort for your attention. This is not to say that we do not have a duty to life and those we encounter. But like everything else, the truth is different that what we have been told. The reason we have not found our ‘get out of jail free’ card is because we are looking in the wrong pockets. It is not in the pockets where you keep the keys to everything else. But it is there. Sometimes you can find it on your own. Sometimes it can seem as if you did and sometimes someone can show you where it is. A good start is to ask yourself over and over again, “Now where did I put that?”

5 comments:

Les Visible said...

Hi Ben!

Thank you my friend for your kind gift. I did not notice it for awhile. Hopefully this indicates a trend inclining to a greater pervasiveness of the whole. I resisted this for a long time but then was encouraged to make the effort. It sometimes seems strange to me how the process 'has been' working.

I hope to hear about your meeting with Roy when you get the chance.

Fond Regards.

Anonymous said...

Your very welcome Les and thank you for your continued gifts.

As for the location of the "get out of jail free card"... No matter how much I read or how much I learn or experience, I'm always brought back to one thing: Presence. That is, being fully present...complete, unadulterated, intense attention on the present moment. It's in that place that all thought forms fall away and we catch a glimpse of what we actually are. It's not a forced state but (I think) our natural state. This Presence is instinctive to young children. The smallest, most ordinary things can captivate them. They look at the world with a sense of wonder, not burdened by years of conditioning, not caught in the habitual, compulsive mental act of reducing everything down to mere labels, words, and mental concepts. It's like when the Buddha held up the flower. One monk "got it". He understood because he didn't 'try' to understand; he just experienced and instinctively smiled (and Zen was born).

It's from that place that we wake up in the middle of this dream; that's the get out of jail free card. We're free when we experience the world (and our 'selves') apart from our mistaken sense of self that is derived from our identification with our thoughts, emotions, and external things (the sum of which makes up the ego). All of those things are forms and we (the Self) are the space in which all forms exist, the space that makes it possible for forms to exist. Thoughts, emotions, desires, sense percpetions, the mental constructs of past and future, material things, etc. are simply the content of the foreground and we are the background, pure consciousness (the I AM). I always come back to that. Even the word "enlightenment" is just another idea (another form) and whatever that concept is supposed to mean is just a process of disidentification. Simple as that (ha!)

Okay dude, I'm done rambling... Your piece is another work of art Les. The least I can do is toss some change into the collection plate.

ben

ps i'll email a little later today about Roy.

Anonymous said...

I was feeling down today and this is just what I needed. It is always a real pleasure to stop in here.

Bradley

vyoma said...

my dad is always arguing with me - even when i keep saying religion and irreligion are both facets of the same thing. while one is favored and the other is unfavored, a person is punished for thinking himself as the doer in any case - whether he performs religion or irreligion.

the result of pious activities is a long life. do you really want a long life? most people think thats good. nice, wow - he did something so pious that he's going to be in this jail for another decade!!!

karma is a no-win situation. whether good or bad karma, its all bad. its never ever good. you just "feel" better about it. in the end its all suffering.

goodness helps to get to a certain stage. but the final stage is to get rid of attachment for goodness as well.

Anonymous said...

I haven't been around lately, out traveling. Reading this in Myanmar, just the ticket.

Hope you're well.

z