What does it mean to grow rich? Is it to have red-blooded adventures and to make a fortune…? Or is it, rather, to have a good family life and to be imbued with a far-reaching and intimate knowledge of one’s homeland…? Is it to retain a capacity for awe and astonishment in our lives, to continue to hunger after what is genuine and worthy? Is it to live at moral peace with the universe?
– Barry Lopez, Arctic Dreams
Like every great religion, we seek to find the divinity within and to express this revelation in a life of glorification and the worship of God. These ancient goals we define in the metaphor of the present—turn on, tune in, drop out.
– Timothy Leary
We are all born into a Rube Goldberg device of staggering, infinite complexity, utterly
blind to our incarceration; caught between birth and death, we are warm-blooded clutches.
Plato devised a story of soulmates. He had Zeus cut proto-humans in half, each half forever casting about for his or her lost other half, only resting when they are united.
There is another theory that consciousness is not a discrete property – it does not have a simple on/ off switch – that the line is blurrier and infinite.
Perhaps humans simply represent a condensation of consciousness packed densely enough to miss itself. Perhaps our biggest illusion, our ego, is the source of our greatest pain and longing.
It is that which fools us into believing that we are separate from the universe, that the stars we see really are impossibly far away, that we are alone, from each other, from the infinite galaxies we can barely begin to count, from god.
Everything is connected. As we search for a connection to the infinite, we are the infinite searching. We are the walls of our own prison of misunderstanding. The bars are built into us, a survival mechanism, as are the ideas of windows, of looking out into the wide expanse of an infinitude which begins at the surface of our skin, at the diaphanous meniscus of our corneas.
This is what the ancients meant when they said the answers cannot be found without, and they cannot be found within.
The distinction, the duality itself is meaningless. Out of the many, one; out of the one, many.
If you see the Buddha, you must kill the Buddha. We are a moebius, we and the stars, we and the Buddha. It is not, then, the Buddha we are killing, but our sense of separation, our inherent, built-in duality which we are murdering.
The way is within us, it is not a path that one can find amidst the high peaks of the east, or the west. There are signposts and ragged diaries from those who have travelled the same path before, but the directions always fall apart when you take them from one dimension to another.
We, each of us, all of us, are the machine, and we are the oil between the gears, chewed up and destroyed, we are the buyers and the sellers of our own production line of consciousness, one big Penrose staircase of self-replicating seekers.
We carry within us every lock ever devised, and every key. We are the wardens of our enemies and the inmates of our own paradigms.
There is a way out, though, a way through the bull’s horns. But we must venture into the desert, into ourselves, where it is quiet enough to hear the susurrations of truth that linger there, that have always lingered there, between a whisper and silence, between us and the machine.
– Carlisle Rogers