lördag, oktober 11, 2008

Self Inquiry and Megalomania

Meditations and Affirmations for No One
I don't like them - but No One does

1. Self Inquiry and Megalomania

A wave on the ocean thinks it's separate, but it's not, it's the ocean. Will such a statement help me find my true nature? Hell no! Such clichés has led me straight into a maze of lies. The Question – who am I – is a dangerous question. If you have tried one or more of the many paths to spiritual enlightenment related to Zen, Advaita or any other mystical tradition, you have either ended up enlightened or like me, confused and frustrated. If you have become enlightened you might as well have become severely deluded. This is not a place and time to criticize other seekers but it's an attempt to say something about what is true by getting rid of some lies. There is not much to say about the truth but there are a lot to say about lies. The truth is not to be found in any mass of words but any mass of word will effectively hide the truth. Will we find the truth if we shut up and become still? That's what's commonly believed by people who practice meditation. But is it really that simple?

I know it's silly to compare our human brains with computers but what if such a comparison could give us a hint about what meditation is. Let's say that our brains are loaded with hundreds of programs with some similarity to computer software. One program for each activity or combination of activities. The programs are continually developed in order to meet new demands. In some individuals this development are very effective and in others it's not so effective and therefore forces these individuals to hide from new demands and possibilities. Let us now suppose that there is a program for an activity called meditation. This program says that if you sit in a certain posture and do nothing except bringing your attention back to the breath when it wanders off, you will get ... what? Improved sex life?

There are of course many answers to the question why we meditate, but the answer I am concerned with here is – Enlightenment. That was the carrot dangling in front of my eyes when I meditated. Of course I noticed some mental and physical benefits on the way but to be honest, I would not have endured so many hours of total boredom if Enlightenment had not been waiting for me somewhere in the future. So what is enlightenment? I hate that question. And I hate all the answers that have been given to me because they have fooled me to believe that I can do a trick that No One can do. The words – No One – are very important here and during the whole text.

One of the answers to the question – what is enlightenment? – is that - I am nothing and therefore everything. I think that answer can be chosen as a representative for all the other answers you might come across – answers like – you are the infinite consciousness where all phenomena appear, play and dissolve again, you are the source of all creation and likewise the summit and goal of all development, you are the Alpha and Omega, the I Am, The groundless ground and bla bla bla ....

What is so interesting here is that none of the programs that run in our brains will ever get the “I am nothing-part” but will immediately go for the “everything-part”. The connection between nothing and everything is something that will make any program crash. This is fixed by putting the label “paradox” on top of the whole thing. This word “paradox” will then function as a protecting shell around the real meaning of the answer. As a result the mind will ignore the nothing part which makes no sense and come to the conclusion that “I am everything”. At least that is what happened to me. I would have been very happy with this “I am everything-consciousness” if I could have managed to ignore a thought that always lurked somewhere in my brain. This little thought was pure doubt and it said – Björn, this is megalomania. I used to laugh at that thought and explain to myself that it might look like megalomania from the perspective of fear. I went on by telling myself that also this fear was a part of everything, something to accept and love and include. Jesus, I was so full of shit back then...

Other people might meditate to get the health benefits but I meditated to get enlightened. I didn't know, and still don't know, what enlightenment was except that it must be something great. So I read book after book about enlightenment to find out. I watched video clips by enlightened teachers, listened to sound clips, attended workshops, Satsangs, retreats etc. Short periods of euphoria, days, weeks, months, were followed by a feeling that something was missing. The more I learned the more confused I got. There seemed to be certain common elements though. Words like surrender, death and rebirth, transcending the ego, seeing through the illusion of separation came back all the time. But I can see now how they all fitted perfectly in the pattern of this on sentence – I am nothing and therefore everything.

Take the concept of surrender – we are told that we must surrender beliefs, opinions, attachments to people, things etc. in order to become “No One”. But the No One-part is not the end of the story. The everything-part is always waiting around the corner. Ok, I can surrender everything because I know that I will get it all back. I never thought that way consciously but I see know that that was the underlying pattern of the whole surrendering-business.

The same pattern applied to the death and rebirth thing. The death part was never a real death for me, just a little trick I did in order to get to the rebirth. The rebirth of something higher, worthier. The rebirth as “everything”. Pure fucking megalomania. What does it mean to transcend the ego? Does it really mean that the ego will die? No, most teachers are wise enough to admit that we need our egos if we want to go on living outside psychiatric institutions. Transcending the ego then means that you let your ego expand to include more and more. That is also the idea behind seeing through the idea of separation. Expansion of ego. Megalomania. What's wrong with megalomania? To find out you can look at all the corrupt Gurus out there in spirituality.

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