Friday, August 24, 2007

Off-White Burgundy, Sharkskin Pyjamas

I went to see an old friend last week, it has been close on to twenty years since I saw him last. Like me, he’d been through a mix-master of changes, traveling the globe, living with Papaji in India and setting out on his work which he’s now been at in excess of fifteen years.

There are some things that define us more than others; our unique inclinations, how we react to the circumstances of life and the people who love and appreciate us as well as the people who do not. You can tell a lot about someone by the kinds of praise and criticism they garner and the people from which it arises. You can tell very little about those who garner neither. One hopes to arrive there but it is a rare thing, within the boundaries of the game. Perhaps I should have said that one can tell a great deal about someone by how they handle criticism and praise, gain and loss.

There were a number of people at the house when I arrived; the sort of people you hope you will meet in your day to day- bright, articulate, intelligent and most importantly, welcoming. Then, after about an hour they faded off to their various industries and Zac and I had some hours.

Well, I’m not going to talk about Zac, that’s his job. I want to talk about what people do with their lives and how they feel about it. Zac mentioned stress and how life and circumstance infallibly create it for you if you allow it to. It’s human nature to ‘tense up’.

Life is basically simple; what I mean is- succeeding or failing at life is predicated on a simple relationship between yourself and your surroundings. No matter how complex ‘we’ make it, it really comes down to a few things; are you paying attention or not, are you tensing or releasing, are you aware that there is only one mind or do you think you have your own, do you think you know or do you know that you do not know, do you want things or do you want awareness?

If you’re not paying attention, if you are tensing- stressing, if you think you have a separate mind, if you think you know and you’d like to have a lot of things then you are in the game and also, as the Brits say, “on the game”. Defining ‘the game’ to people involved in the game usually means that you are going to run into people who think listening is waiting for their turn to talk. They’re not bad people, they’re just in the game and as a result they cannot help gaming you after they have gamed themselves.

What do you value? That’s what it comes down to. What do you hold dear? What do you aspire to? What compels you more than anything else? That’s what you are. You’ve heard the phrase, “As a man thinketh in his heart so is he.” What’s that mean? What the ‘I’ thinks is based on what it believes itself to be. You are what you think you are. Change that and presto you are someone else. But that’s still a game. It might be a better and more enjoyable game but it’s still a game.

There’s something behind the ‘I’ that thinks “I”. The one who thinks ‘I’ is a projection of the thing behind it which uses it to experience life. It’s the spirit in search of experience. God, the thing behind the thinking ‘I’ is dreaming and that dream is your life. Of course, you don’t have to call it God. You don’t have to build a religion around it. It’s going to be there no matter what you call it and regardless of whether you put fruits and flowers on a rock or offer up any living thing as a burning sacrifice. It’s going to be there despite the Pope’s swishing through the cathedrals of the world, despite Buddhists with cellphones and no matter what happens in the world. It’s going to be there. It was all that was there before there was anything else and it will remain when all is gone. It’s the only thing that is real to begin with; just as when a movie ends the white screen remains.

It’s just behind the ‘I’ thinking. It’s just behind the gamer in the body suit. Nearly everybody is a gamer in a bodysuit and nobody knows anything except the people who know they don’t know- and that can deepen and deepen. So... everything anyone tells you is their version of how the game works. Everything everyone is doing is a definition of what they want from the game and it’s all based on what they find valuable.

If everything you see around you is perishable then it has only relative value. Merv Griffin isn’t rich anymore. Soon George H. Bush won’t be powerful. And everyone won’t remain pretty though some may become beautiful. You will lose everything you worked for and everything you possess except for the experience of the life in which these things came and went as did you. But you’ll be back.

You will be back and placed into the hands of those you encountered previously under similar circumstances with the roles reversed. The reason things are the way they are today is because of the way they were before. That’s the point of the “last farthing”.

In this world there are the billions of personalities that think ‘I’. Then there are the archetypes where the thing behind the ‘I’ thinks ‘I’ in a particular way. Usually, whatever person that archetype might have been in former times, has learned to get out of the way. It should be remembered that every master and adept who can ‘horse’ an archetype has a history that contains many secret shames. Occasionally the something previous to the mind that thinks ‘I’ decides to make an appearance. This doesn’t happen often but it does happen. That’s a good time to be in the game if you have gotten tired of playing the game.

The billions of personalities exist in major subdivisions called ‘rays’. These are similar to the rays that you get when white light passes through a prism. You could think of this world as a prism. You could think of the Sun. People on their different rays have a natural attraction and antipathy to those on their rays and other rays. You might ‘think’ about how blue and yellow make green. This whole dichotomy can get very complex. The thing is, you don’t need to understand these things, although some people very much want to. All you have to do is realize that something is behind the ‘I’ that thinks ‘I’ and... melt. Over a long period of time, experience will soften you and the something behind will melt you but... that is a long time.

Becoming as a little child is how you begin to melt immediately. It does make you very vulnerable and your defense mechanism that is a part of the mind that thinks ‘I’ can get very antsy about this. There’s a lot of booga-booga, noises in the night and those predators that eat children. The thing is, the something behind the ‘I’ that thinks ‘I’ is also behind that ‘I’ in the predators and everything else. It’s a matter of trust and a certain kind of trust that only a child can have.

The principal thing to have is an understanding that everything is under control. It doesn’t matter how it looks. Everything is under control. Every time appearances take control, stress appears, so... you have to melt the moment you feel it. After awhile it gets automatic. It doesn’t become automatic in two weeks or over a weekend with some Reiki master. What’s the point of any masterly appearing force outside of you if everything is already under the control of the something behind the ‘you’ thinking ‘I’?

Just about everyone and everything is going to tell you something different because they are all within the game structure. It is an amazing thing to realize that something you can’t see is watching you all the time. You are an extension of it. You came out of it just as you did from your mother’s womb. You can expect the same thing from it that you can from your mother or, you can set out on your own; press forward with stress through every accomplishment you can imagine until you are obliged to give up or... melt right now.

Suffer from the stress of striving until you fade away or cease to suffer by melting away altogether. Be in charge and fail or accept the presence and you are infinite. “I’ is a point of view from a moment that has already passed beyond you; it is the nature of ‘I’ to reside outside the moment for as long as the ‘I’ exists.

Visible sings: Color Ball by Les Visible♫ It's Changing ♫
'It's Changing' is track no. 5 of 12 on Visible's 2007 album 'Color Ball'
Lyrics (pops up)

Color Ball by Les Visible


Anonymous said...

All that exists is. (I am.)
Not 'good', not 'bad' (and certainly not ugly).
We make it so.

Anonymous said...

I started writing my original response to this post and it became way too many words and a post-within-a-post. These essays often prompt me to start writing long winded disssertations. Call it inspiration :) Anyway...I decided to spare everyone and not post it. But I do want to say thanks for this one.


Visible said...

Gee Ben, I like it when you make lengthy comments. This is a two way street you know (grin).

Anyway, keep that in mind cause I'm always hungry for input.

Anonymous said... asked for it...

Original Response:

This post makes me think of some of a little exercise that I have put myself through during times when something went really wrong and I found myself very distraught for some reason. You know the feeling, when you are on fire emotionally and the suffering is intense. You just want to run but there is nowhere to run because you are the thing that you want to run away from. When it gets to this point there is no escape and it feels almost unbearable.

When I have encountered these situations and gone through the kicking and screaming motions to no avail, I usually end up sitting alone in a room staring at a blank wall in total silence. I vow to sit there until it makes some kind of sense to me.

If you do this a few times you notice an interesting sequence of events. At first, the suffering intensifies. You face it head on with no distractions so you experience all of the feelings in a raw, undiluted form. This is actually frightening the first time you do it. It takes some determination to continue sitting there with your pure emotion like that.

It becomes very unpleasant and you want to get up. Then, as you continue to sit there you kind of "get used to" the feeling. You become comfortable with being uncomfortable. This phase usually lasts for awhile. You're still suffering but you're okay with it.

Then something neat eventually happens. The suffering gives way to a very deep peace that really doesn't make any sense at all. There's no logic in it. Situation "x" that prompted this whole episode has still occurred and there may still be some ramifications to deal with. But you are now at peace with it internally. It's like a perspective change. Nothing has changed externally but there has been a dramatic change internally.

Continuing to sit, the peace begins to change gradually into something that almost could be described as elation. Mentally and emotionally you are now at the polar opposite of where you were when you first sat down.

This whole process may take many hours depending on the severity of what got you there in the first place.

I mention all of this because I think this is a mini-example of what happens when you become conscious of the "I" behind the "i", or the awareness behind the little self. It's a theme in so many of your essays and it's so true that it often takes suffering to force open our consciousness like this. It instantly changes when you let go. And you usually only let go when you are forced to let go because holding on becomes too painful. This probably happens on a small scale hundreds or thousands of times before it happens one final and permanent time (enlightenment?).

I mention this to bring up a theory of mine. We are all going to suffer. That's a fact of life. But we can see that suffering does have a "purpose" (though I hate to call it that). Suffering has the potential outcome - and eventually perhaps a definite outcome - of waking us up. Just how much suffering it takes for any given individual probably varies greatly. But I'm thinking it will take far less for a person who is willing to face it head on when it comes up.

The initial reaction for any of us is to run, to distract ourselves and attempt to escape the pain (food,alchohol,drugs,television,exercise,workaholism,whatever). This kind of escapism could be called resistance but it also allows the pain to live on inside of us for a greater length of time. Think of a fire that burns itself out very slowly versus a flash-fire that burns itself out in minutes or seconds. Either way a certain amount of something has to burn up. What's left when that happens? Something good.

My point is that I think there is great benefit in sitting with your suffering. Become intimate with it. Observe it. Don't run, just let it run it's course but be there for the whole thing. In a way, it's facing a demon. In my own experience, the more times you do this, the less scary demons become. Life takes on a different tone when you realize that the boogie man is not really under the bed at all.


Anonymous said...

"Defining ‘the game’ to people involved in the game usually means that you are going to run into people who think listening is waiting for their turn to talk."

LOL. So true...

I love this essay. Also brings to mind something that happened a few years back...believe I've already mentioned it somewhere in here...still... Friend of my son's came to visit. She brought a movie that her roommate had rented. She asked if we wanted to watch this film, A Life. I hadn't heard of it. She handed me the CD. I looked at it and started laughing, said we'd already seen it. But, it's called, Alfie. Also mentioned that it was a re-make, and that I'd also seen the original. Still, we all decided to watch it.

Afterwards I was thinking about the theme song, What's it all about Alfie, from the original. Which got me to wondering how great that question is....and how great/clever was her "misreading" of the title.

What's it all about, Alfie? Then I imagined a mischievous guru popping in to visit me, upon reading my thoughts. And saying, The answer's in the question. Me becoming annoyed and impatient...until I got it. The answer WAS/IS in the question. !*!

It's all about A Life. (anagram of Alfie) And it has always and all ways been. And somehow, someway *I* always knew it.

btw Les, Honest, I was listening to every word you wrote. I wasn't (only) just waiting to have my say/turn. Honest. heehee

I is? I do think so. And it's amazing how much truth can come out of mistakes, mis-takes, and "bad" grammar, huh.

Yeah Ben. Don't be shy. Share. Please? ;)

Les, hungry for input? Like the loveable robot Johnny 5 in the film Short Circuit? Or as he calls himself (which I prefer) *Number Johnny 5*. One of his sayings is "need input". Mon amour often calls me Johnny 5. Tis true. Am always hungry for input. Just the way I'm "built", I s'pose.

Take care ever' body :) Right on! Write on!


Visible said...

No... the boogeyman is inside you. (grin)

I'm so glad you posted that and I imagine what you just said here is easily as valuable as anything that I said.

I've had that same experience. There have been times when I was so angry or depressed; perhaps something happened to trigger it and I would go into a room and lay on a bed or sit and just writhe with the intensity of it all; going more and more into the blackness of that part of my unrealized being. It really hurts.

Then it's gone- after hours of this thing. That hasn't happened to me in some time but I remember the episodes very well.

Visible said...

That's just great A.M. this is a pretty cool places sometimes.

Anonymous said...

I'm blonde here Visible.

Anonymous said...

Wow, you keep touching on subjects that are right at the surface of my own life, and the same goes for many of the comments as well. It reinforces my idea that there are many different lines of evolution within a species (both biological and social) moving at different rates, and when we find others at a similar evolutionary moment, we notice their experiences to be parallel to our own since we're learning approximately the same lessons at the same time.

It's good to hear that you haven't had the curled-up-on-the-floor, paralyzed with depression kind of episodes in a long time, as it give me encouragement that I will one day be able to say the same thing. In my own evolution, I'm still a ways behind in this aspect. Each of my own depressive "episodes" gets shorter and they are getting farther apart, but I still find myself on the brink of doing something utterly stupid sometimes in a desperate ploy to make something, anything, "happen."

Rumi's writings have helped me greatly with this, giving me perspective enough to understand that fire cleanses even as it burns, that life is going to hurt a lot no matter what we do, and the only way to meet it is to acknowledge our weakness and dissolve the locks on our hearts with the tears that flow from the pain of that fire.

I've finally gotten the memo that my pain and sufferings are illusions, but I'd add they are very persistent and vividly realistic illusions!

One thing I can't seem to wrap my head around is the reports of anthropologists claiming that there are tribes/groups that existed (I guess in the past tense by now) whose language did not contain the concept of "I" as something separate from the group. They simply had no word that meant the equivalent of "I." This blows my mind.

Maybe our culture just caught the most virulent strain of the "I/me" virus (iVirus, the hottest new thing from Apple!), and that it is a relatively new phenomenon in human culture, which also implies that it is either something imposed on us from without or that we intentionally developed it from within. I also wonder if this is the mysterious thing that sparked the creation of civilization way back in Mesopotamia, and why there have been two distinct human paradigms perpetually in conflict ever since. As humanity continues to vote, it seems that the "I's" have won, for better or worse.

At this point I cannot give up totally the concept of "I" no matter how hard I try, even if I wanted to, although certain molecules historically favored by shamans can accomplish this for brief periods, which can be a terrifying experience to someone not prepared, and pure bliss for someone who is, so long as it eventually ends. Ironically, I see these very same molecules as the probable catalyst for the initial development or discovery (or whatever it was) of "I." Is our real "Third Eye" just our "I?"

So, "Cogito Cogito, ergo sum Cogito, Cogito"

(I think I think, therefore I think I am, I think... and my cut'n'paste Latin may be totally off here).

-The Village Idiot

Visible said...

Okay Michael, given that I don't forget intelligence once I see it and you too (wink,,,nod) Village Idiot. How about this. I'll put a blog up in the next few days and give us all passwords. That means anyone paying any attention here and we will agree to disagree and we will also agree to have caught each other while we thought we were having fun. How's that?

Anonymous said...

Yes. Mumbo jumbo is always mumbo jumbo, too.

Anonymous said...

As our friend His Holiness says, "The answer to your question is within you"

Anonymous said...

This is one of the least spammy blogs in the history of blogging.
What the hell?


Visible said...

I don't even have any ads. I'm assuming a robot did this and can you imagine how many sites it has happened to if it happened to me?

Anonymous said...

That's what's funny...Google actually encourages people to put ads on their blogs. They have the blog interface set up with a specific function to do it for you!

Believe it or not there are actually people who make alot of money just by having ads on their blogs.

I just wonder what they mean by "spam blog". Weird.


Anonymous said...

Spam blog, eh? I find the timing of this rather curious.... coming soon after that comment in smoking mirrors where some loon said they'd be reporting this site as having hate speech or somesuch shite. Hmm...

curioser and curiouser.....

Oh...must be a "coincidence". ;)


Anonymous said...

Les - What's a good email address for you? I think the one I have is old.




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