Washed Onto the Shore

I have not posted anything in a long time; today I checked my blog for the first time in weeks and though I still don’t have much to say, I pushed the “write” button to face the blank page of a draft, perhaps the most courageous act I have done in a while.

Prior to this two-year seemingly dry period I was spiritually active, I read a lot and reflected a lot on spiritual matters; and so naturally I had a lot to say and write. For the past two years, however, I was held down by my own humanity, or by that impulse of human constitution which goes against the spiritual impulse to ascend; I moved against my natural instinct to free myself; I became my own shackles.

I descended to the depths, to where no ray of light could reach, to where corruption ruled, to a city in which degeneration was accepted as exciting the norm. I sat so much with the monsters of this underworld that I became one, and I saw that I was one from eternity.

I passed by beautiful mermaids, drank their wine, and laughed out-loud to my heart’s content; little did I know that what I heard as laughter was the cry of the suffocating spirit. I took with me a land creature to live among the fish.

But let what happened in the sea stay in the sea. I forgot my way back to the surface so I was washed onto the shore in an unconscious state and woke up later by the piercing force of sunlight on my skin. “Oh my Sun,” I yelled “had you forsaken me!”

Was my frightening visit to the underworld a dream of a man falling asleep on the beach? Was it a experimental course in human possibilities? Was it a tour and a lesson initiated by the eternal guide, or was a it detour in the Path because there’s roadwork in my life!? I will never know, but I know what I saw:

We do not become sinners and monsters, nor do we become saints and heroes; we are at once all of it. Which of our faces is seen depends on the mirror into which we stare; what we manifest from this infinitely wide range of possibilities depends on the habitat and the company, on people, places, and things to which we cling. I am that majestic brilliance that shines the color of whatever object lies next to it.

Man contains within itself all the possibilities of good and evil. A man or a woman is at once a potential saint and a potential sinner, at once a monster and a hero fighting the monster. The battle is always between the opposing poles of one and the same Person. Life begins with a broken polarity and comes to its conclusion with a return to perfect balance.

This strange creature that I am contains all the opposites within itself waiting to manifest one or the others. I am a man of a thousand faces, and this world is a mirror I face every morning. And every night when I return to the primordial balance of dreamless sleep, all the opposites within me cancel each other out, and hence the world vanishes. Everyday, nonduality breaks into duality, and duality returns into nonduality. This world, a stage for the dance of strife, appears only when Sakina (the Great Peace) shatters.

And this man, this finite vessel of infinity itself, is in its essence the coincidence of all opposites. Rumi, the Persian saint and poet, defines God as the “coincidence of all opposites,” but he also says that man in his deepest essence is identical with with the divine.

What all this teaches me is vigilance, for although I may be divine by nature, still monsters live in me, monsters that can be released, monsters whose sight scare the shit out of me regardless of whether I am dreaming or not.

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The Veiled Revealer

What is that thing through which we see everything? Light.

What is that thing which in principle can never be seen? Light.

What is light? Light is the dark revealer; itself veiled, it unveils everything else.

And the light of this world is only the shadow of that Intelligible Light which shines in your dreamless sleep, the home to which you return every night after a day of surfing on the ocean of life. Though you can never describe the dreamless state you know for a fact that it is a state of your reality. You don’t know what it is but you know that it is. Like dreamless sleep, Truth too is beyond whatness: It is but It is free of being anything in particular.

Whoever claims that there is no consciousness in dreamless sleep is claiming two things that contradict one another: First, by saying so he/she admits that there is such a thing as dreamless state, as opposed to a dreaming or a waking state. But then he denies in it the very existence of a consciousness that must be there in order for him to know about such a dreamless state. Exactly how did you “know” that there isn’t consciousness in that state? You must have been there yourself in one form or another! And if you hadn’t, you wouldn’t even know about it, let alone talk about it.

In dreamless sleep there is certainly no cognition going on but consciousness is there ever present as it is in all other states of consciousness. So this state should be characterized with the absence of cognition rather than the absence of consciousness, the latter leading to contradiction.

If there is no experience in dreamless sleep it is because there is no cognition to be illumined by the ever shining light of consciousness. Cognition is entirely conditioned and determined by the psycho-physical constitution of the individual being while consciousness is universal and transcendent to the plane of nature cognition.

Experience arises when the Intelligible Light, i.e. consciousness, is reflected back to Itself off of a non-consciousness, matter or cognition. In the absence of a non-consciousness, of a duality, there is nothing to reflect the light of consciousness so that no experience arises; however, the light is still there.

Same is true of the light of this world: That the outer space is dark, as opposed to our sky, is because there is no air or matter to reflect the light. In fact, the empty space is filled with visible light. We cannot see it because light, Intelligible or worldly, is the dark revealer: It only manifests the face of the Other and not Its own.

The Center

“It is unmoving, one, and faster than the mind. The senses could not overtake It, since It had run ahead. Remaining stationary, It outruns all other runners. It being there, Matarisva supports all activities.

That moves, That does not move; That is far off, That is very near; That is inside all this, and That is also outside all this.

He is all-pervasive, pure, bodiless, without wound, without sinews, taintless, untouched by sin, omniscient, ruler of mind, transcendent, and self-existent; he has dully allotted the duties to the eternal years.

He who sees all beings in the Self itself, and the Self in all beings, feels no hatred by virtue of that realization.”

Isha Upanishad

The Great Way

“The Great Way is not difficult for those not attached to preferences. If you wish to know the truth, then hold to no opinions for or against anything. To set up what you like against what you dislike is the disease of the mind.

When the fundamental nature of things is not recognized, the mind’s essential peace is disturbed to no avail. The Way is as perfect as the vast space, where nothing is lacking and nothing is in excess.

Indeed, it is due to our grasping and rejecting that we fail to see the true nature of things. Live neither in the entanglements of outer things, nor in ideas or feelings of emptiness. Be serene and at one with things and erroneous views will disappear by themselves.”

Jianzhi Sengcan, from Xinxin Ming

The Face of Truth

“The face of Truth is concealed by a golden vessel. Do thou, O Sun, open it so as to be seen by me who am by nature truthful.

O thou who art the nourisher, the solitary traveler, the controller, the acquirer, the son of Prajapati, do remove thy rays, do gather up thy dazzle. I shall behold by thy grace that form of thine which is most benign. I am that very Person that is yonder in the Sun.”

Isha Upanishad, 15-16