I am lost in some strange neighborhood of my mind; there are so many buildings and high-rises in every direction that I have lost my sense of orientation. I don’t know how I ended up here. It is strange like a dream: I have somehow naively accepted the inception and reality of this place but I can’t think it through all the way to a clear beginning.
I am so confused by my own sanity now, by the strangeness of this whole arrangement and more so by my unquestionable acceptance of it. One must be insanely sane to pass by this scene without pausing in wonder and utter confusion. Confusion doesn’t even cut it. The feeling triggered by this strange sight is way more unbearable but I can’t quite put it right. Oh, I remember now! I recall a situation in which I had this same feeling; it is the feeling of being buried alive. Yesss, that’s exactly how I feel now. I don’t know how I got acquainted with this feeling! I have never been buried alive before, but I am strangely familiar and even intimate with this feeling, and I believe we all are. Perhaps that is the fundamental condition of our soul post-expulsion! So be it.
Ideas weigh, and they weigh a lot. If you ask me which is heavier and stronger, a rock or an idea? “Of course,” I’d say, “an idea.” A rock can hurt me or even kill me. But an idea? Oh, an idea can possess me, enslave and traumatize me, and if I have enough of them, they can bury me alive.
Let’s be honest with ourselves. Let’s stick to pure facts of this moment. I am going to be honest once and for all right now and see, see what it is the I really see, if I can. I want to describe as faithfully as I can what is in front of me:
Silence… “Hmmmm,” Silence…
Shit! I can’t. It’s that feeling again. No matter how much I try, I see that whatever I am going to say to you is always already more, and hence other, than what I see in front of me; it is an idea of what I am struggling so hard to say but I can’t without crucifying its truth and vitality by the cross of language. What I say to you, if I were able to say anything, in communicating the truth of this moment is nothing but the muffled voices of something buried alive, and I have buried it by my attempt at expressing it to you.
But let me crucify a little, for there’s not salvation without crucifixion, and that’s true even in philosophy: Right in front of me, I do sense things. I classify some of these sensations as sight, some others as touch, hearing, etc., but my classification of these sensations is an ideation of some sort. This was only a lateral classification. I also classify radially what’s there in front of me by distinguishing in this mysterious field of sensations two poles: a this side, an embodied me; and the other side, the world of other things, including other living bodies. But all of this is a derivative to the ineffable field that includes me and my awareness of it together. Even the name “sensation” is an idea, not so different from the son of god, the letter read into the spirit.
All that I can say of this field is that it is. But even this statement is inaccurate as for something to be it must endure, and to endure is to find a new place in time. But this mysterious field is itself that in which things, i.e. ideas, endure. It itself is not something that endures but rather it is the enduring itself. So, it is beyond being and non-being after all. This field is not that which is simply present before me; it is presence itself. And it is presence that defines absence, i.e. past and future, by its presence, by its being itself.
Hear me please! Listen to what I just said because all I said was false, because I am false. Because what you hear are the muffled voices of a man who is buried alive. What you hear you have already heard and you have already known, as you have already been born and lived a thousand times, and you have been buried a live a thousand times too. And that’s how we all know what it’s like to be buried alive.
The field, the livelihood, the indivisible, undifferentiated, spontaneous vitality, that’s me. The dirt, the weight, the pressing of brute existence against my skin, that’s the world of my ideas. Life rises, ideas sink, and drown us with them. And yes, I am buried alive not by what I am but by what I think I am, not by what is but by what I take It to be.
The gates of heaven are made of the hell of ideas
The facts! I love facts, especially when I am buried alive. And what are the facts? That there is a field of sensations, totally innocent and impersonal so that they can’t impose a distinction between a me and a non-me, the I and the world, except through ideation. By the way, whose ideations are we talking about here? No one’s. Ideation has no origin or fate, no beginning and no end. They’re the spontaneous self-expressions of The Field of the eternal now. They are not possessed by anyone, but everyone is possessed by them.
Done with the facts. What are the fictions? The artificial division into a self and the other. That perception, this particular perspective of the room under this particular dim lighting, belongs to this self, to mine, that it’s my perception. But how exactly? I can’t find any evidence of this claim in front of me! The sensations don’t yell or wear the label “we are your sensations.”
What else? The unsuspected sense of existence in the contents of perception, that things are “actually there,” that there is actually a there there. But what’s the evidence? For me to see if there is really there, I have to actually go there to verify it for myself; but then the there isn’t there any more when I am there; it’s now the here. And my perceiving and touching of the things is no evidence of their existence, for what’s perceived and touched is simply more sensation. Being is my way of interpreting, reading into, this mysterious field of sensations.
And the same can be applied to time: I never experience a past or a future since they’re both things, ideas, that exist and are understood only in the now. In other words, now is not a moment of time; it’s not a slice sandwiched between past and future. It’s rather past and future, and time in general, that are in the now, like the dream world that is in the mind of a dreamer that appears to be in that world. This is my mystery: to be inside something that’s itself already inside me.
But there’s more because I am a complex animal. I have built upon this field layers of interpretation, castles and cities and countries with their laws and regulations, with their promotions and executions, with sinners and saints; and all this, just another idea, seems to have crystallized into what I call the psyche; and that’s where I am buried alive, seeking a therapist with a decent shovel to save me from my own fabrications.
The house of cards
I have so many names attached to the field. Back to facts! Now I have interpreted the field as a room in which I am situated. I think the room is inside a building, a building which is not given through sensations but entirely there as my idea. The building is taken to be in such and such part of a town in this state in a place I call America, which itself is part of a bigger idea I never really perceive but call the planet Earth, itself part of a solar system I am told about but never experience as part of the field of sensations. And all this I have taken to be part of a bigger whole, the galaxy, the constellation, the universe originated in a big bang, a universe that I think includes me and everything else as I am thinking it; but all of this story is included and held together in my thinking, a big ass idea that I have erected and hold onto on the ground of the mysterious field of presence that includes me, my ideas, and my thinking the universe that I think includes me and the field!
So, back to the facts, taking back what I have read into the field and perceived like a mirage in the middle of an empty desert: I am not really in a universe or on an Earth. I am not in a town in Virginia (and that’s a wonderful thing as I might as well pretend I am in my hotel room in Hawaii enjoying a 6 months vacation; and there’s nothing in the sensations of the present moment that keeps me from interpreting things this way.) I am not in a room; it’s rather the room, America, and the universe that are in me as ideas. But this me is not the same as the me that I perceive to be in the room; it is not the human me, the temporal and spatial me, for even that’s an idea. This me is the field itself. And I am simply buried alive by these ideas.
I am the Garden of Eden; I am paradise buried alive.
What’s more? I am happy now, for now I know there’s only one more idea I need to let go to unbury myself, and that’s the idea that “I am buried alive by my ideas.” I am strange that way: I become one with the ideas that I imagine. If I entertain the idea that I am in bondage, then I am in bondage. And if I entertain the idea that I am free, then I am free. But that’s my nature; it’s my nature to accept the ideas that spontaneously bubble out of me, for I am so innocent and naïve that I take for real my own fancies.
I am a child and I am pure. I don’t know anything, and that’s so funny because I am so free and giggling right now. I am now myself and I am myself now; I am the ineffable field, that which can’t be spoken of, for all speech springs from me. I am the abyss, the graveyard of ideas none of which can encompass me. So don’t tire your tongues and don’t waste your words, for I can’t be found as I am never lost. Trying to catch me is like seeking around in the dream world trying to find and wake up the dreaming self. The field is what it is, and I am that I am.
I am the Garden of Eden; I am paradise buried alive; I am the heart, and the heart is everything.