“All Religion, my friend, is simply evolved out of fraud, fear, greed, imagination and poetry.”
-Edgar Allen Poe
We are all destined to wear a mask, we are all Charlatans, in our lives and with ourselves. A path that fundamentally changes us is a path away from our charlatan nature and towards our true nature. It is a narrow, honest and brutal path that takes us through the black hole of the sadness, loneliness, existential fear and emptiness that we spend our lives scrambling to cover up, avoid and deny. The great way looks shabby indeed.
It would appear that mankind’s particular path of metamorphosis involves a conscious decision to surrender the illusion of ego in hopes of finding something greater, no small task. Meanwhile, charlatans shamelessly package and sell the genuine realizations of the few, promising “betterment,” “growth” and the ego’s right to be special and chosen. The things people pretend to believe in order to run from the black hole can get pretty insane. In the long run this hollow spirituality fails on its promises and creates disillusionment, resentment and hopelessness. It is classically Satanic – lies mixed with the truth.
A spiritual path that promises outcomes is always fraudulent. As Krishna says to Arjuna: “You have the right to your actions but never to their fruits. Let not the fruits of action be your motive, nor let yourself be attached to non-action.” Even worse, a spiritual path that promises worldly gain is the most egregious form of ignorant, magical thinking. If we could pray for money, beauty, health and love who would not have them? Don’t buy it, don’t sell it.
There is a rich symphony of reality which one can begin to get acquainted with in silence. The very infrastructure of reality is really no more than vibration. The voices of the charlatans, which occupy us, force us to play their theme, attune to their vibration and recognize their particular aberration. You can call them voices, predispositions, complexes, past lives, karmic tendencies or whatever you like, but they are the very building blocks of both our personality and our vibrational prison. They are as real as, and identical with, our very bodies.
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” – Mathew, 7:13
There are no magic words or books that can pull us through the black hole, only our consent by inner silence and surrender. The black hole has been called ‘transmission’ in many traditions, yet how many have failed to enter? It is the narrow gate. It is a vibration, a mental quality, a mindful presence and a gateway of consciousness which admits no liars. It is unfamiliar, uncomfortable and as hostile to our inner charlatans (for they are legion) as holy water. We spend our lives dancing around the black hole, pretending it’s not there, though in the words of Haruki Murakami, “everyone, deep in their hearts, is waiting for the world to end.” Unfortunately, merely ‘waiting’ may not be enough to win our freedom.