I came across this rather challenging quote:-
“Most New Age philosophies and psychologies do not offer anything that resembles the path to liberation. They offer instead ways to be more comfortable in the dream of ego and teach us how to feel better within the illusion of our lives.
What we need is education in how to pierce that dream.”
– Halfway Up The Mountain: The Error of Premature Claims to Enlightment
– Mariana Caplan
Whilst on retreat in Samye Ling Monastery about ten years ago, we were informed that we should try to be as quiet as we could, when walking past a particular small wooden building.
This was the home of a Monk, who had decided to live in isolation for the rest of his days.
The Brothers of Samye Ling were supporting him with food accommodation and silence, buckets full of silence.
The next year, and the year after that, we were issued with the same warning.
Towards the end of that retreat, we were told that the Brother had “Gone”
When I asked where he’d gone, I was told.. “We don’t really know..he left in the middle of the night with his backpack and walked off over the hills”
The next day they heard that he was in Blackpool, and wouldn’t be coming back!
Can you imagine the assault on the senses!? To spend years in isolation in the Scottish Lowlands, and then yomp to Blackpool!
I imagine “Blackpool” as a concept, represented a way for him to break every vow of ANYTHING he’d ever taken, and be able to do it all in under twenty four hours!
I had this image of him in a saffron robe, with a large glass of Whiskey and a Cigar, sitting in a gaudy strip bar, with a semi-naked lady draped over him, twiddling his prayer beads between her bright red nails! (Probably says more about me than him, that image!)
Does God really want me to live on a mountain-top and withdraw from the world?
Would God rather I spend my time in a Titty-bar. What a conundrum!
I feel that just as we have Day followed by Night, Hot versus Cold, we also have Male and Female.
We are meant to be together.
The reproductive system drives us to couple, the family keeps us together supporting one another.
We don’t mate and split (generally) – we stay and support.
It feels like a mis-understanding to huddle in single-sex groups.
The Mis-understanding comes from the division of God and Man.
The Christian and Islamic faiths have a clear division between Man and God.
He’s “Out there” and when you die, you’ll go to him.
It’s a pretty flat line system, born, die, heaven/hell (depending on how much time you spent in Blackpool.)
Other faiths have a more circular Idea. You get quite a few goes at Life. Eventually, when you have lived your “perfect life,” you might move up a level to be able to chill with God for a while..
As the quote at the top of the story suggests, I also do not agree with the idea that we should abstract ourselves from society.
It all hangs on the definition of God.
If you believe that he’s a father figure who should be served, then it all makes some sort of sense. If you believe as I do, that we are all pure consciousness, then it’s a pointless waste of a life.
“Consciousness” cares not if you live your life on a mountain, or you decide to throw yourself off the mountain. Consciousness experiences consciousness through us.
Space-time is two dimensional, but if we curve space-time, it gives us a three-dimensional representation of this life.
Consciousness is likened to a Mirror, but I feel that in order for Consciousness to experience anything the Mirror needs to curve, and eventually reflect itself. Finally, then two dimensions can seem like the three dimensions we experience in this Game of Life we play.
The Story of God that we have in the Game of Life, is that God does this and that, that God is Powerful, Angry, Kind or Punishing as we allow ourselves to be buffeted through the game.
We never understand that we are god. We rarely, if ever awaken INSIDE the game, let alone step out of the game and see it for what it really is.
A writer I really admire, Jed McKenna says we are all still children, few of us wake up to be Adults.
He see Adults as being awake in The Game, i.e. the understanding that this is a game, and seeing it for the nonsense it really is!
Most of us live our lives, just like the films and soap operas that we love to watch, lurching from disaster to chaos, from the next drug to the next drink, and then finally die having learned nothing.
Some become adults. They are aware that there’s more to life than meets the eye.
It’s few and far between that will escape the game and find a direct experience of Consciousness, and understand their own god-head.
All of which is fine by Consciousness! Nothing matters except the fact that we continue to continue. The Information that we experience, and donate to our ever expanding cloud of information (that is the container for our Universes) expands on, fulfilling Consciousness’ path.
I met a lovely young man, who has decided to give his life to Krishna.
Why not? It’s not important. In the Consciousness expanding game, nothing mattesr, except that we continue to do..
However in the Game itself, it’s sad to see one of the players pull themselves out of the running.
It must seem like a really comforting thing to do.
Being a Young Man these days is a really tricky prospect.
I was discussing Suicide amongst young men with a couple of young guys the other day. The pressure that Social Media and Advertising has put upon their lives is astonishing, no wonder the dis-illusioned are beginning to seek the refuge of self-isolation as a monk (where their hearts will never be hurt again) or the big EXIT door to help stop the pain. In my day a young man turned to alcohol, cigarettes and baseless sex. All of these short-term fixes seem to be going out of fashion now too!
Maybe my lovely acquaintance will spend twenty years asleep, and then wake up one day and back-pack to Blackpool. I can only hope that whilst he’s asleep, he has the most wonderful dreams.
The odd thing about Enlightenment seems to be that you can’t make it happen.
We just have to look at how many enlightened beings there are in our world.
I think that “Silence” will give you a good chance.
I also think that it’s quite easy to “Think you are enlightened” and also to be encouraged to believe it is so, by the “System” you are in, when the truth is that you are just having lovely hallucinations!
It would seem that you are just as likely to discover enlightenment at a bus stop, in Paris, one rainy afternoon as Suzanne Segal did.
A practice, is good to create fertile ground.
But lock yourself away, I think you’ve missed the point.
You have been given the best and most complex game in this Universe, and you then decided to try to play it with your eyes shut, and one hand behind your back!
Wake up NOW!
My young friend told me the story of Krishna, from the Vedas.
It’s a lovely story, and I’ve read it.
I think that it’s just that – a story!
(It’s a little like me saying I found an ancient text, by Geoffrey Chaucer from one thousand years ago, and have decided to start a bawdy religion from it based in Blackpool!)
The stories are only there to teach us ways of being, but not to be the be-all and end-all!
The Upanishads which are also a part of Vedic scriptures state, “You are God!” and don’t you forget it!
Unfortunately, we all need something to hang our hats on.
It seems such a difficult task to realise that we are god, it’s easier to follow somebody else, like the good little sheep we are, there’s always another shepherd round the corner.
That is the essence of life, in a nutshell.
Learn how to do it yourself, don’t follow some other bloke, no matter how good his songs are, no matter what an amazing story he has to tell you, and no matter what colour his robes are.
You are just as likely to discover your Trueself in Blackpool as at the top of Mount Shasta.
Love, love, love, and mountains of Joy to you!
Hao Le! (Chinese for “Everything is Good Already”)