Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Is it Really All up to Us...? ...down to us?

Are you supposed to work out your own salvation here, “with fear and trembling” as someone once suggested? Are you meant to lift yourself to heaven by your own bootstraps? What I mean is... is it the result of a more intense zeal; a greater determination, a more focused attack or a higher morality on your part that takes you to the gates and beyond? Are “you the man”?

It’s funny how certain things will cause us to think along certain lines. It is also funny how we tend to prove what we are predisposed to. If we think our girlfriend is having an affair all the evidence that comes across our radar seems to prove it. Then there’s that psychic thing. One time I was looking in a coffee can for something and among dozens of slips of paper I found one with a name and a phone number; nothing more than that and the moment I had it in my hand I knew that this fellow was having it on with my girlfriend... and I was right. It was a one off sort of thing and I didn’t care that much any way. There was no earthly reason why I would have gotten such a clear picture in that moment, but I did. This sort of thing happens to me often.

I’ve wondered as much as anyone whether there was anything I could do to expedite my enlightenment, hasten my liberation or bring me into a cosmic balance sooner; if at all. I’ve made strong efforts, the speed of which accounted for the greater pyrotechnics of the fiery wreck that followed. I’ve fasted and I’ve prayed and I’ve meditated and I’ve gone celibate for periods of time. I’ve tried to be good and I’ve looked into whether darkness might not also contain the light. I’ve pushed and I’ve probed and I’ve gotten nowhere and also had beings and outrageous phenomena appear right in front of me. Are outrageous phenomena like inter-dimensional beings and saucer craft of any more value than a Hollywood movie? They come and go and never a forwarding address did I get. The cryptic statement that shook the air, “we are aware of you.” remains as one more Zen Koan that has gone unanswered. I don’t know who my visitors were any more than I know whose voice it is that I hear sometimes; or if it is all the same voice. The advice is good and often the occurrences are timely but... what?

So, everything I have said and wondered over in the last few paragraphs is connected in one way or another to something that happened today; something I noticed. I’ve done this hundreds of times but it’s never occurred to me before. My companion is off in Portugal with her mother and I am looking after ‘her’ dog. I wanted to go to the store today for some vegetables and as I was locking the dog into the downstairs it occurred to me that; not in a million years would that dog be able to let herself out of that apartment; nor would she have a million years but that is beside the point.

There’s no way that dog could ever let itself out of there. It would die. There is only one thing that dog can do and that is to cry out, to make enough noise that someone might hear it and might facilitate its escape; open the door. In that moment it occurred to me that that is the case with us as well. We aren’t going to get anywhere without help. We haven’t the slightest idea of the technique or the way. We don’t know what we are dealing with. We suspect many things but we do not possess the keys or the hands necessary to use them. We can cry out. We can make noise. I feel like I said something like this not that long ago but I can’t remember what it was; maybe this is on my mind at the moment.

Years ago I used to get together with some unique individuals on a mountain top in a place called Riverby near to Woodstock, N.Y. Some of them were alumni of Millbrook at Billy Hitchcock’s estate; former associates of Tim Leary and some of them were cosmic travelers who came and went. All of them had to hike up three miles of timber road to The Stone Circle where we had ‘sessions’. The sessions were based on the Native American peyote ritual but we were taking LSD- strong LSD. Then we would chant Om Amitabha for hours and things would happen as a result of this ‘group consciousness’ that beggar description.

My friends and I were all members of a Macrobiotic collective where we ate and worked and I owned a spiritual bookstore as well. I lived in a teepee as often as not; winter or summer it made no difference. I might walk the ten miles into town on any given day letting every footfall sound out Om Amitabha as I went my way.

A Sufi holy man entered that town and swept all of us off to Philadelphia. He took the spiritual heart out of the town and nothing was ever the same again. I didn’t fit in with all that. I don’t really care for the Muslim religion any more than I do the Christian. They bore me. That’s just the way it is.

Somehow, out of the blue and I can’t remember exactly when and I have no details... somehow I found myself chanting Amitabha chants again. It has continued to intensify to this moment. The reason we chanted Amitabha’s name was, according to Michael Green; “he’s the Buddha of LSD.” Well, actually, he’s the Buddha of Limitless Light but that may be the same thing. I don’t know. All I knew about the Amitabha Buddha at that time and until recently was that he refused enlightenment until every other sentient being had experienced it before him. He bears many similarities to Jesus Christ.

What I have found out in recent time is that he is the Pure Land Buddha. His story is accessible from links at my homepage. Suffice to say though that he created a realm; a world, a heaven where anyone, anyone who called out to him on their deathbed could come in the after life. You needed no special good works. You needed nothing but the faith and the presence of mind to call out. It’s even suggested that some could call out for you; this I don’t know. But the even bigger bonus is that you could choose to reincarnate there over and over without having to be reborn here. You could study the dharma in The Pure Land and eventually attain to enlightenment or Bodhisattva status there. Boy I like the sound of that. As you may know, I don’t much like it here and I really don’t ever want to come back. I realize that I might come back and I probably will come back if I can be of help and cause no harm.

See, the thing is, I’m not strong enough to make it on my own. Maybe some of you are but I am not. My capacity to screw up and to be, at least temporarily deceived it too great. I’m neither a saint nor a Magus. I’m a poet, a mystic and potentially a sage, provided I make it around and out of the many abysses and traps that line the way. I’m that dog in the apartment. I don’t have the skills to get out on my own. Some may do. I do not. Some may have the strength and the conviction to storm the gates of heaven and remain. I did not. I got cast back down. Does the bloom bring itself forth or is it something in the nature of the flower? Why do some bloom so much earlier than others? Why do some not bloom at all?

It is said that The Amitabha was able to engineer all of this as a result of eons of focus upon this very thing. By merit he was able to materialize this world and maintain it for perpetuity. Why did he come back so strongly into my life? It just happened. I think as I have grown more and more capable of letting go, that which I am meant to let go into has become more evident. We all have an archetype that is vibrating away the samskaras that blind us. All of those archetypes are projections of a single unnamable essential thing. So, like I said, maybe you can do it on your own; maybe that is your archetype (grin- irony alert). Mine is to dissolve into something. Mine is to allow the dissolution of the unreal into the real. I’m sure it looks like I’m trying to take the easiest possible way...

...maybe I am. Maybe I need to go with what works. I once heard that those who study Jnana Yoga, or the yoga of distilling knowledge into Wisdom, must- once they have completed it- return and practice Bhakti Yoga, the yoga of devotion; faith, absolute reliance upon the divine. However, those who practice Bhakti Yoga to begin with have all that Jnana and every other yoga contains automatically added in as part of the process. That seems to work for me. When I think back upon my excursions into Ceremonial Magic and Tantra and the planes of excess in the realm of The Dark Splendor I realize, without any confusion, that someone has been looking out for me or I would long ago have been toast.

Maybe impatience is unnecessary. Somehow I seem able to believe that that which forgets nothing would forget me. I seem able to believe that something will be overlooked, that I have to take steps to insure something which I do not even understand the value of. I feel compelled to work toward a future whose value I have no way of measuring. Somewhere between the racket I make doing this and the assistance of the one I cannot see, lies the moment of our meeting come round at last. Not the brief touches and occasional explosions of contact but... the real, lasting deal. Now how am I supposed to pull this off by myself?


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The 3rd Elf