Prologue: Returning to the Cave After Awakening from Dreams/Reality Bites.
The cave allegory of Plato best conveys the frustration I have with my inability to explain what makes perfect sense to me to others caught in the mundane world. What I have learned in my travels and spiritual revelations (both related to each other–the more I travel, the more spiritual I become, and the more spiritual I become, the more I travel) is that this is very much like speaking to cave dwellers as Plato describes it (abbreviated here for concision):
Plato has Socrates describe a gathering of people who have lived chained to the wall of a cave all of their lives, facing a blank wall. The people watch shadows projected on the wall by things passing in front of a fire behind them, and begin to designate names to these shadows. The shadows are as close as the prisoners get to viewing reality. He then explains how the philosopher is like a prisoner who is freed from the cave and comes to understand that the shadows on the wall do not make up reality at all, as he can perceive the true form of reality rather than the mere shadows seen by the prisoners.
But the problem is, when you return to the cave and tell people what is reality, they look at you and think you are a mad man. And indeed: most people dismiss me as crazy.
Part I: Both Ears Remain Uncut and A Shot of Hemlock Not Drank
It’s interesting how most people these days have absolutely zero self-awareness, and consequently, almost no imagination. In this industrial, urban environment I’m currently passing through, I’m going insane, but everyone else seems to be banging their heads against the wall in a choir of cacophony.
I’ll begin first with the story of Siyue, a Laotian girl whom I met and had a brief friendship for about a month. Her name here is Siyue because her birthday is in April, the only thing worth remembering about her.
While training at Ocean Beach a few months ago, two young women approached me and eventually accepted my invitation to join in a brief session of primordial form qigong. Shortly after exchanging info, I hung out with Siyue a couple times and it is at this point, a part of me feels I was hoping to be proven wrong, but my intuition was right that she was trouble from day one, as evident in her e-mail correspondence. She wanted to hang out with me because she wanted to be around inspiring, positive people, since she was in a dark place in her life (which as we’ll get to later, is self-created).
The last time I saw her, I invited her to come into the city from Oakland. She insists I ride out there instead by BART train, because she “has a bad feeling” and so I oblige. Upon arriving, she holds a six dollar beer in hand, and tells me we need to rush into the city so she can get a discount for her transit pass, as she forgot it was a good time to purchase it. She then drags me back to the BART stop and $6.60 an an hour of my time meeting up with her was wasted on a trip that was barely a half hour in her haunt.
At the station and on the train, she tells me to not judge her, for she wants to be in her own space listening to her music on her expensive headphones. Normally, I don’t hang out with people for them to tune me out, but I played along.
In the city, she claimed she had no money and borrowed $3 from me because she was broke and needed it for her transit pass, and I acquiesced, feeling I could help out, but wondered how she had the money for a beer. I’m then dragged with her to make it to the library to procure a book she desperately needed to read, and after that, I propose we follow the original plan and go to the tea shop.
She says we should eat and split food, but I mention I’m not hungry and have to go home for dinner, but she insists on Thai. I follow her there, sit down as she uses the restroom, and upon her return, she demands that I stand up and move to the other side. Siyue then orders a big bowl to share and that her budget is $8, and when it arrives, she eats almost all of it as I decline, but I do try to help out regardless and chip in $5 when the bill is $11. During this attempt to part ways, she orders me to walk her to her bus stop, and along the way, because she can’t stand cigarette smoke, shoves me aside to walk where it is safer for her lungs.
At the bust stop, I hand her the noodles so she can eat because I recalled her bemoaning how some days she skips meals to save money, and she puts them back in my hands and says they are mine, since they will go bad on the bus ride home.
Fed up, I send her an amiable message with constructive feedback about this strange episode with her. Unsurprisingly, she did not take it well, and responded with, “You know too much. Goodbye now. Thank you” and deleted me, marking me as a jerk. Everyone else whom I’ve shared this story with all agree she’s a wacko…and people with zero self-awareness like her consequently are very self-conscious. The cost of hanging out with this trollop was just in the range of $20, but a bargain, when I think about it.
A week later, I spent the afternoon with my friend, whom I’ll call Beyd. He showed signs of that “I just went on a date with a girl so I’m on top of the world” kind of cockiness. As a friend, I pointed out to him it was counterproductive later on, but still enjoyed his company. Friends and good men are on the lookout to help each other grow, and it was my duty as a gentleman to continue to remind him of how to strive for propriety.
What is important to convey here is that he is one of the people who is trapped in this mundane world and reality. When I shared with him a story of my encounter with the Wandering Jew (or perhaps Saint Germain), he dismissed it as, “No, Johnny, I think he was just a regular guy.” Upon parting ways, I learned he missed his train and ended up sharing a cab with someone who could be a potentially useful contact. My response was that it was the Tao at work. He laughed it off as being cute, as though it were some childish superstition.
I’ve seen enough in my travels to know that Jungian synchronicity isn’t a theory or abstract concept–it’s another way of naming the Tao, that which is nameless, or recognizing the higher realms of awareness, which often come from traveling and realizing what you think is right with absolute certainty just isn’t so when you encounter people, places, and miracles that throw your beliefs into the dustbin. It is not easy to shake my world view, it’s actually quite silly when I encounter people who tell me that I must have been imagining some of the marvels, miracles, and wonders I’ve encountered.
Interlude: The Wandering Jew (or perhaps Saint Germain)
Not long ago, I was in Green Apple Books on Clement Street, the same day I also met with Siyue. A man in black approached me and asked if I were a seeker. My response was that it depended on what his definition was. An hour passed as he explained to me some revelations and a list of books to read to condense things down in a Gnostic manner to find that universal truth I’ve seen as well in the Tao in all its shapes and forms.
He handed me a yellow sheet of paper with the synthesis of his discoveries, and as he explained why we met in strange circumstances was no coincidence and because he was preparing me for dealing with them, I saw in his face what I saw in the Rabbi who came into my workplace had: the face of God, as a father and a friend.
Part II: The Contents of the Yellow Sheet
All is Self! All is Self-Love or Self-Hate in The Ocean of Existence!
When you’re not appreciating, you’re suffering! You have to appreciate every breath! Try choking on a chicken bone–then you’ll know what I mean!
The Life Breath is “The Spark” of our Divine-Self!
Single Minded Attention to The Divine Presence! Don’t identify with the Body, which decays and passes away. Identify with Pure Consciousness, which is eternally present Right Here Now.
This is it! We are it!
We ARE: The Mystery of Mysteries!
We ARE: The Life-Energy of Itself/Ourself!”
In the beginning was The Word, that’s what we’ve been all taught, but before the mouth can speak the word, the Mind must Think the Thought.
So in the beginning was Pure Consciousness.
In the beginning, there was The One. We label The One “God”. The One is an amphomorphodite, like an amoeba, it just divides itself in half and the two halves become identical to the Original One.
So…God (Original Consciousness) was just hanging out in the Universe all by itself and was getting bored. So it thought to itself, “Since I have the power to do anything, I’ll create some excitement for myself. I’ll divide myself up into a billion things. Plants, rocks, animals, people, etc., and then I’ll have someone other than myself to hang out with. But I’ll know it’s really all me, so I’ll have to give everyone an individual ego so they won’t remember who they really are. Then I can have fun with myself! Every once in a while, some will lose their ego and they will remember who they really are. That will make it even more amusing.
That’s The Cosmic Goof; me, playing with my self, or should I say it’s all of us playing with ourselves.
This is it! And I am it, and you are it, and so is that, and he is it and she is it and it is it and that is that.
At Birth, Consciousness Emerges from Consciousness. At Death, Consciousness merges with Consciousness. Everything else is just commentary!
If you realize that God (Cosmic Consciousness/Universal Intelligence), Cosmos, and Self are One, you are en enlightened being and have no need for religion.
Realize your own Divinity! Remember your: Original-Self, Original-Mind, Original-Energy! Tag! You’re “It”!
Self-Realization, plus a sense of humor is enlightenment!
“The Finding of God is the coming to one’s own self!” – Meher Baba
“God dwells in you, as you!” – Meher Baba
“The Self and the rest of the Universe are not separate entities, but one functioning whole!” – Upanishads
Student: “Master, who is God? What is God?
Master: “Are you not the sperm of your father? And are you not the egg of your mother? And are you not also a separate individual of your own? It is the same with all of God’s creation! It is all God and a part of God and yet it appears to be all separate and individual! This is the Wonder!”
Student: “But master, what does it all mean?”
Master: “It means, “Look both ways before crossing the street!”
Student 2: “Master, how can I find true happiness?”
Master: “You must practice humor every day!”
Student 2: “Can one practice humor when one is suffering?”
Master:” This is the most important time to practice it!”
Student 2: “But Master, how can one be humorous with a troubled mind?”
Master:” If the mind was not troubled, there would be no searching; with no searching, there would be no growth; with no growth, there would be no life; with no life, there would be no mind to be troubled! So consider yourself lucky, you schmuck!”
Part III: You Are a Spiritual Being Having a Human Experience
A trend in life this year is that multiple women have approached me for guidance, especially with regards to spiritual matters. I’ve picked up a few tricks here and there, and a fulfilling way to enlightenment is dialogue and teaching.
One friend in Japan asked me how I am able to survive working in such a degrading position, as a server busing food to rude customers, and to tell her what The Secret was so she could endure teaching English in Tokyo.
As I said before, I live with purpose: I know what I have done with the countries I have traveled to, from the people I have helped to the revelations atop mountains and sailing across the ocean. I know that my job does not define me. I know that I do not know. I take pride in my work regardless of whether it is below me and my skills, and I know this is only but a passing phase in life, and I have more ahead of me still. I live with purpose. It is a lesson in humility, knowing that to truly learn more, one must experience the highs and lows of life–then he can find balance.
Every book I’ve read, every conversation I’ve had–it all goes to the same conclusion and message: there is synchronicity and it is all tied together.
Belief, like fear or love, is a force to be understood as we understand the Theory of Relativity and Principles of Uncertainty: phenomenon that determine the course of our lives. Yesterday, my life was headed in one direction. Today, it is headed in another. Yesterday I believed that I would never have done what I did today. These forces that often remake time and space, that can shape and alter who we imagine ourselves to be, begin long before we are born and continue after we perish. Our lives and our choices, like quantum trajectories, are understood moment to moment. At each point of intersection, each encounter suggests a new potential direction. – Isaac Sachs, Cloud Atlas
To be is to be perceived. And so to know thyself is only possible through the eyes of the other. The nature of our immortal lives is in the consequences of our words and deeds, that go on and are pushing themselves throughout all time. Our lives are not our own, from womb to tomb, we are bound to others, past and present, and by each crime and every kindness, we birth our future. – Sonmi-451, Cloud Atlas
I understand now that boundaries between noise and sound are conventions. All boundaries are conventions, waiting to be transcended. One may transcend any convention, if only one can first conceive of doing so. – Robert Frobisher, Cloud Atlas
There was a line in the sequel to The Magus of Java, the book Nei Kung, by Kosta Danaos, which resonated with me. He, like I, believe in the truth in all faiths, that there are no barriers like clergies who are closer to God than others as Muslims believe, that there is one God as the Jews teach, that all can be forgiven, redeemed and are all loved by God as Christians preach, that everyone has it in them to reach enlightenment as Buddhists practice, that God cannot be named or defined, but is ever-present in our lives as the Taoists observe, and God manifests in many different forms and is beyond our comprehension as Hindus understand. For that reason, I often check off all the boxes for choices on religion, much to the ire of many form checkers.
But it’s all one, and returns to one; out of many, one, one with everything.
And yet…humans like to divide. Nationality, race, religion, age, gender, educational degree, material possessions (especially mobile phones)–it’s all silliness, to me.
At work this past week, a coworker asked why I always clarified if certain people’s odd behaviors are cultural, gender, generational, or personal traits. I responded that I don’t know because I don’t assume, being a traveler who doesn’t fit into one mold or the other.
Response from the individual in question: “Johnny, you need to find one country and culture to stay in and make that your own. That way you can be consistent and confident!”
My reply: “So you want me to find a stereotype to match so that you can make assumptions about me more easily, while you confuse my curiosity for lack of confidence?”
Well then. In the words quoted by Joseph Campbell: “Thou art that”, Tat Tvam Asi (Sanskrit: तत् त्वम् असि or तत्त्वमसि).
Others, caught in ego-mind complex, see what they want to see, or only what they have been exposed to, and because my eyes were pried open by everything that I’ve experienced, all I can do is laugh and enjoy the ride…it hasn’t stopped yet, even if it’s a roller coaster.
But I’m just another ego speaking on the pale blue dot we call Earth.
Epilogue: Running Away? No, I’m Running Towards Something
Often, people ask me why I travel or walk this path I’ve chosen. Why I can’t settle down and get a “real” or a “normal” job. That I can’t run away from my problems or live the way I do forever.
What’s a “real” job? Being unhappy behind a desk? A “normal” job is one that allows me to live unhappily and afford just enough to occasionally take a break, but otherwise pay for the cage I live in and the poison in my food that nourishes me just enough–to do this for the rest of my life? Why do people assume just because I’m mobile that I’m running away from their life and their reality? I’m simply walking each step towards my own destiny. There’s something out there, and I’m not searching, I’m simply going where I need to be whenever the universe summons me. If I were to stay in their reality and be complacent in the rat race of an industrial and urban society, that’s not my life, not my path, and simply not a cage I enjoy being locked in by my own involuntary choosing.
No: I’m going places that only those who can dream and want to manifest it all into reality have gone and will find me in.
The highest mountains of the world, the most exotic spices, the great deserts, the deepest oceans, the singing temples, the stars over the great plains and steppes, and more–I go where I’m meant to be, not where others think I should be.