One thing people discover pretty quickly when embarking on the spiritual path is the incongruity between truth and the illusions we agree upon in society. If you woke up in the monkey cage at the zoo tomorrow morning, would you think something amiss? I hope so. If you woke up on a spinning ball of space dust where beings eat and exploit each other in a sea of infinite blackness, would you likewise feel something off? I hope so. Yes, outgrowing the idea of man and the vexations which create this reality involves strength, independent thinking and the ability to call bullshit when someone tells you black is white and up is down. It is not your imagination.
An intimate understanding of reality can only come about through the authority of experience – that is, it must be experiential rather than some conjured, intellectually plausible cosmological ‘explanation’ of how ‘things came to be.’ This is because all things have not yet come to be and all things will certainly not come to be within the narrow band of human perception. Reality can not be explained. The further you look down the rabbit hole the more your realize that it is likely that things come to be at all only through our perception of them. Moreover, the not knowing of Zen is the only truth – seeing that all of our knowledge is ignorance.
What we ‘know’ is what puts us back to sleep. The false knower, which is constantly dreaming and projecting self, can be known and negated, transcended, altogether. Teachers who smile and say everything is perfect are of no help to you. Look around and within you. Everything is definitely not perfect and it is definitely not going to be ok. There are no answers, no hope, no security, no transcendence and scarcely even sanity for one who holds tight to the root of self cherishing. A true teacher shows you how to be alone, how to be truly alone in the midst of a world gone mad, and to find out for yourself what love really means to you beyond words. A true teacher points to the source of madness within you that you may see how it operates and come to relinquish it.
A Bodhisattva may be one born into the monkey cage again and again by choice, bound by their inherited vibrational body, mind and field, trapped by every fiber of their being available to their feeble perception, yet undeterred in their transformation of mud into lotus. We look for answers, for truth, for light but there is none to satisfy us save that which is ever beyond the margin. Yet the very spark of intuition which has ignited our quest stands in our center as a flame which we ceaselessly fan into a torch to guide our way.
When the hordes of Mara or mankind’s inherited archetypal demons speak through any of us, when our own inherited ignorance tells us that the unreal is real, that we know what we do not know or don’t know what we know, our strength is not to listen. When the fearful tell us to fear and where fear tells us not to look, our strength is to see. True love is not easy, it is not free and rather than being everywhere and in everything it is the most scarce and rare jewel, achieved through the most bloody and hopeless battle. It is through the same battle that we achieve strength that we achieve love, and in the same measure.