Lightmind Extract 050
Broken Yogi 8.12.07
“Within the prison of your world appears a man who tells you that the world of painful contradictions, which you have created, is neither continuous nor permanent and is based on a misapprehension. He pleads with you to get out of it, by the same way by which you got into it. You got into it by forgetting what you are and you will get out of it by knowing yourself as you are.”
I agree with you that love and compassion – the mothering, nurturing instinct – is primordial and liberating. However, I think the deeper truth of this archetype is of a force which reveals, rather than merely heals, the sufferings of this world. On my meditation altar I have a photograph of Ramana smiling his beneficent smile, and on either side stand two statues of Kali, the Divine Mother, with a necklace of skulls around her neck, standing on a dead body, wielding swords and knives. The two are not contradictory, or in opposition to one another. The Divine Mother is not someone who makes the world all cozy and warm, the Divine Mother is the one who reveals that death surrounds us, that this world does not fulfill us, that it cannot be made into a Utopia, that it must bed cut through with the sword of discrimination and seen as it is, not romantically, but as a butcher shop. Her compassion compels her to show us this, in order to liberate us from it, rather than to just pretend it will all be better someday if we are more loving to one another. What is necessary is a complete rejection of the false, and an embrace of the true. That is what a good mother teaches, not embracing the false in the hope of making it true thereby.
So the Divine Mother archetype is quite different from the conventional mothering archetype. I know many mothers, I’m married to one, and they are all wonderful and dying. Every one of them dies, and so do all their children. They also word their kids up, every one of them, by getting them to believe that they are the body-mind and have to fulfill some kind of bodily destiny. That is mother-guilt in a nutshell. If they really, really loved their kids, they’d set them free, rather than bind them to themselves. I remember near the end of her life, Papaji’s mother came to him asking for liberation. She was herself a rather famous spiritual teacher, the sister of Ram Tirtha, a famed bhakti and kirtan singer, who for most of her life had eschewed her son’s teachings in favor of a more “motherly” approach. Papaji informed her that it simply wasn’t possible, she was too attached to her children, even to Papaji himself, and that after spending a lifetime cultivating such attachments, she could not be liberated even with a simple change of heart.
“Enlightenment — as knowing that we do not and cannot die — is real enough. But how does it logically follow that a world in which there is a food chain needs to be abandoned or rejected? I think rather you have to take the world as it is and see if your enlightenment can function here is a helpful or socially transformative way.”
The words “abandoned and rejected” have to be understood in a spiritual, archetypal sense, not in a literal sense. It merely means that our attention must be turned from objects and the illusion of objective existence to the Self, to the primordial Awareness that we actually are. We lose our heart in the world, over and over again, and have to reclaim it first. This necessitates a spiritual act of rejecting and abandoning “the world”, which does not mean some kind of literal disassociation, but a change in the direction of the mind and attention. Rather than being fixated on the world and its objects, it means letting them be as they are, and noticing instead the luminous Self-Awareness in which they arise, which is our very nature. In Enlightenment this luminous Self-Awareness is found to be everything and the only thing. No world is found to have ever arisen. What we, in our unenlightenment, see as a world, and as a problem to be solved, in enlightenment is not found at all. Instead, an unspeakable reality is found, everywhere and as oneself. If others do not see it, it is because no others exist, not because this reality is ephemeral.
“Even better, I think you have to investigate whether certain perverse forms of the feeding principle can be controlled, modified, or transformed. (Those damn mothers again, always meddling with the Shadow instead of “accepting without complaint”.)
Yes, of course perversions of the feeding principle can be modified to some degree. What has to be understood, however, is that the whole world, “mothering” included, is a perversion of a Divine Principle. We take it for granted that death is a natural process, because we have assumed it to be so. But death has nothing to do with the Divine Process. What is true and real and Divine never dies. It cannot die. In God, transformation does not involve death. What is death to us, does not occur in God. It only occurs in the mind-made world. The apparent limitations of this illusory world have no real existence.
“Ask yourself how Ramana dealt with survival.”
Ramana didn’t have to worry about survival because he had already died. His enlightenment experience was of death itself, and he penetrated the illusion of death in it. You could say that death itself died in him that day. He never worried about his survival because he knew he could not die, and that he wasn’t the body, and that his body would be cared for by the Grace of God – acting through all kinds of forces in the world, including many people – until it was no longer needed. As for manipulating things subtly to ensure his survival, he certainly said that wasn’t the case, but who knows, maybe he was hiding some grand plan of world conquest also.
As for getting inside his head and heart, you can do that by getting inside your own head and heart much better. At heart, we are the same Self. So if we want to “get inside” Ramana, we can just abandon our own minds, and enter the heart. Then we will see whether manipulation of the world is necessary for survival.
“Secondly, Ramana knows something about how the world operates that you do not know. By that I mean that his realization has penetrated the illusion that this world is in fact ruled by the savage (or retrograde) instincts as you suggest. His wisdom is evolutionary, a step beyond the survival game you describe. And it not only sees that “death is not real” — it sees that ultimately death does not matter, because there are simply not all these separate individuals struggling against each other.”
You are conflating, it seems to me, two different ideas. The first, is the notion that death is not real, and the second is the notion that this world is not ruled by death, which seems to follow from the first. However, the first idea has to be expanded to say “both this world and death are not real”. Clearly, this world is indeed ruled by death. Everything in it dies. Death is unreal not because things in this world don’t die, but because the world itself is unreal. If you dreamed last night that you and everyone you loved died, upon awakening your realize not only that those deaths weren’t real, but that those people in your dreams weren’t real either. Their deaths were unreal because the people were not real to begin with. The real people were not in that dream, they were outside the dream all along, unaffected by the dream. And likewise, everyone we love is not actually in this waking dream, nor are we. So when they appear to die in the dream, it is only a dream of them that dies, not the reality of who they are, or who we are.
It’s also important to remember that Ramana’s own testimony of his own experience was that no world had ever been created. He had not found one, in any case. When he commented on the world, which he was reluctant to do, it was only as a concession to those who did see and experience a world.
“Imagine a “utopia” in which all the people look at each other and see only One Person.”
I think I can intuitively imagine that, but it would not be a Utopia of this world. Why would enlightened beings persist in an illusion? Nor would it be a “place” in any sense we can speak of.
“Don’t you think behaviors would modify in such a place? Do you really think that the machete killings of Darfur could occur in a society of the enlightened?”
I think you are speaking of a conditional world, full of enlightened people? God only knows how they would appear to the unenlightened. The problem with your thesis is that enlightened people just don’t seem to stick around, Boddhisattva theory aside. If they did, the world would be full of them. Instead, we get the “small town hick” problem. In lots of rural small towns, most of the best and brightest kids leave town for the bigger cities where there are greater opportunities, and so what you get are the “leftovers”, the dumber and dumbest of the lot. Well, that seems to be the case with the conditional worlds also. Those who really “get it”, wake up from the dream, and they don’t incarnate here anymore. Which means that the neighborhood goes increasingly downhill. Sure, new people do grow and “get it” over time, but each wave that does so simply vanishes from sight. And yeah, guys like Ramana and Jesus do say “I am with you always”, but honestly, does that really seem to help all that much? Maybe it does, I don’t know. Probably. But what it really helps is motivate people to transcend the illusion of the conditional world. And that may be why they don’t stick around. They don’t want to console people while they are dreaming with the idea of creating an enlightened Utopia here.
“…your view really translates into a kind of despair — a despair of the possibility of numbers of people becoming “awake”, and a despair of the possibility of the evil of mankind being extirpated by a living breathing community that is not a cult of the One, but the One Itself. “
I think you have misunderstood the notion of despair. Despair is one of the primary motivators to awaken. It’s a positive thing, if it moves in that direction. The thing is, when people awaken, they cease to dream, and they cease to take the dream seriously, and they cease to perpetuate the dream. So there’s no need to create a community of enlightened beings here. That’s a Daist fantasy, and we all see how well that turned out. The truly enlightened don’t really give a rat’s ass about creating an enlightened community. Such ideals have no meaning to them. There’s already a community of the enlightened, and we are a part of it. We simply don’t recognize it, because we don’t recognize who we are, and where we are. We think we are here, in this “world” around us. We aren’t, and never have been.
“I don’t share your pessimism. I probably should, considering the terrible crimes that humans inflict on one another. But for some reason despite “the world” I feel a kind of joy underneath, as if something is coming toward us from the future, and it includes the parting of the dark clouds of our self-limiting view of “the world”.”
I feel that joy as well, in spite of the world’s rather sick state. It’s not a joy of this world, however. It transcends the world. It has its roots in our own Awareness. It’s not in the objects of awareness that constitute “the world”. One of the more serious problems with spiritual aspirants is that they tend to grossly underestimate the sufferings of this world. They tend to live in fantasy bubbles about how groovy things are, or will soon be, when everyone gets a little more spiritual. The story of the Buddha’s trip to town is what everyone has to go through in one way or another to get serious about spiritual practice. It doesn’t really take much. You just have to pay attention to what’s actually going on around here. The problem is, people get a little bit of spiritual juice going, feel a little bit of that innate happiness, and suddenly they think everything’s actually just groovy after all, and they forget all about what’s really going on, and what motivated them in the first place. We all tend to go in massive cycles with that, round and round, until the point finally hits home. I am not pessimistic, in the sense that I think this cycle can and indeed will be interrupted, not just for me, but for everyone. But it does mean letting go of our dreams of making the world into an “enlightened community”. We have to recognize that hopeful fantasy as one of the many self-created obstacles to actually waking up.
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