You moved through years of fitful delusion, believing each day that you were changing the world. You trod in the abyss of a certainty that not one person will miss you when you die. You reviewed your notes from each era, and snorted in disgust at how naive and melodramatic you were. You desperately want to believe that something you toss out into the world will impact someone, somewhere, someday for the better, but you are too timid to fully accept such responsibility. You need a tool to gauge your impact, to report back the ripples your words and deeds have formed, and let you know if you sent more repeating ripples of good or evil out into the universe. You suspect that you are almost close to zero, having carefully worked to undo all the evil you did when you believed that all of life is play.
You are lost in it now, the milieu of this world, hopelessly ensconced in growing your beautiful shell. The shell is not the proverbial one of the shy youth, but the shell of all men and women who survive past childhood. It is the shell that is shockingly absent from the aged who are resigned to the fact they are more of the the next world than this one. You hate the weight of the shell, and wasted ten years trying to avoid growing one on your back, but you grew one anyway. Now, you spend most days trying to catch up with the other snails, plodding the course ahead of you.
Some days though, like this one, are for smashing a hole through the walls of the shell so your slug self can peak out into the slimy ether that is eternal Mind. You must be careful to only peak while sliding through a day like this one, for nothing is quite as shameful and brutal as to be caught Monday morning with pieces of your slime oozing from your shell.
You stopped the flow of blood with a vicious tourniquet that cut off the circulation, restricting oxygen and vital nutrients from coming forth. You tried to bring yourself back to life by slicing open a new vein. It was no artery, though, and you weakly bled a few bland drops. You wanted to give the people what they demanded: a never-ceasing fire hose heart that blasted them with love and never alternated to cycle in the bad blood. But every attempt to make that gusher flow found you screaming in dull, self-righteous anger at a world that wouldn’t become what you expected it to.
You hid your light under a bushel, and wasted your Father’s gifts until you woke up among the swine.
You surrounded yourself in mirrors, and screamed at the mirrors when they got smashed to reveal a reality distant from the one you’d crafted so well.
But, the vision couldn’t match the hunger.
The hunger alone was a wasteland of suburban strip mall restaurants, an endless string of meaningless romances with mediocre chain restaurant food. The vision alone was the peak of a crystal mountain on a distant sphere. Some place between the two lay the heart, left deflated and untouched by the insistence of a dying youth that the universe feed his every need.
You wake up at thirty-five knowing that your words are all you really ever had. Your words led you astray, to be for sure, taking you down to the miserable depths of human depravity, and making you spend currency of the soul that wasn’t yours.
Words still have a power to them. They can kill a career or relationship in an instant. They can change the course of history in a way no video, math, drugs or bombs ever could. But they can also pile up into a mountain of books that the local public library doesn’t need or want.
Your words for so long were little arrows shot from a bleating, pathetic soul; and were meant to transform you into a wealthy, famous individual.
The words that popped from your fingertips across the digital pieces of paper were words disconnected from your heart. They were anemic blood, thin attempts to match the rich, burgundy blood of heartier men who led richer lives.
Your words became like bullets, with straw men and giants as their targets. Somehow, you got it in your head that you could take the open place between your heart and the Void and spill forth something toxic enough to attract the attention of those who were truly great.
Maybe you were right to think of words as weapons, maybe you were right to think of words as wounds. But, you were completely crazy to think that you could craft the perfect composition to cut through the piles of words already being erased by the winds of imperfect memory.
You were wrong to think that your words alone could change you, shape you, transform you, grow you into someone great. That you could lock yourself inside your room for days at a time with nothing more than words, and come out into the world of commerce and real blood, to be greeted as a perfect being, worthy of the endless respect of others.
The books on your shelves alone could occupy all of your free time for most of the rest of your life, but you keep buying more books, and checking more out from the library.
The bones in your body no longer do what you tell them to when you spring forth from another winter’s sloth.
The words that young people use can crawl to your tongue and touch your lips, but you grow silent, considering how crazy and out of touch you’d sound were you to use those words yourself.
The clothes you will pick out from department stores until you die will never be in fashion or out of fashion–just bland menswear made for bland men to unassumingly get through another year at the office without getting fired.
The total money you will make for the rest of your life–all probabilities of lotteries and other quick fortunes factored in–will not be enough money to pay for all the places you once dreamed of traveling.
For you, a few good things are possible–and the opportunity remains to do them exceptionally well. Can you afford not to begin accomplishing them?
Look, there ain’t nobody that’s going to make it happen but you. You can continue to pretend that you are on the right track, or that you’re somehow not too far off the beaten path, but we all know that this is not true. In fact, you are so far from being anyone or anything that matters in this world, that it’s truly a pathology the way you pretend in your fantasies that tomorrow will be the big day that you are discovered and made king by the makers of kings.
Maybe you were born an indigo child, maybe you weren’t. Back in your day, parents and teachers just labeled students “gifted.” But, once a kid failed to show any promise of being special at any one thing, she was shifted over into the mainstream class with the kids that eat paste.
Now, every kid thinks he’s a special soul, some kind of sacred cow that the Great Light from above and beyond will kiss and weave with golden threads. They’re all out there right now, hustling to make a name for themselves–and the technology enables the perpetuation of the illusion so easily now. You don’t wake up from this kind of thinking until you are thirtysomething, and have been in the gutter a few times.
But, what then, of you?
Are you going to bow your head and quietly submit to a life of schlepping away at the office, year by year, with nothing to show for it all in the end but maybe a couple of ungrateful indigo kids that go off to Brooklyn or LA to make baskets and take pictures of themselves being dirty animals?
What a legacy indeed.
You know you want to leave more than that, you want to write an epic tome that spans thousands, if not millions of pages and compels the occasional library patron to pull it down just by virtue of its hefty presence alone.
Write an epic tome, then!
What spirit should you call upon to guide you in this quest? You might choose Walt Whitman, whose great consciousness tried to span the entire American continent, and span generations into the future. The vast land of industry and sturdy young men may be gone now, and all that’s left is a wasteland of suburban flabby houses and faces, but the spirit could live on in your epic tome.
For years, you dreamed of breaking away from all that had become your life, and joining a faithful sidekick (or being a faithful sidekick, if necessary), to do as Jack Kerouac had done fifty years before. Of course, you knew that any such journey would be nothing more than a sad little cliche, or a study in irony, or just another boring road trip.
But the spirit was there, in every bottle you threw back that drove you deeper into debt! The spirit of jazz, and woodsmen reading Proust, and women in dresses who cared not one whit for what their contemporaries, liberal or conservative, believed. There was a land swarming with hearty individuals who scoffed at television and placid dreams.
As you worked to pull yourself out of debt, and save for that coming day, you scoured the internet for proof of such characters. All you could find were aimless, spoiled wrecks–the products of failed helicopter parenting–absurdly full of insistence that their opinions actually mattered to somebody. Slouchy, vacant-eyed zombies, rendered soulless husks by their ever-persistent will to be the most authentic, the coolest, the least affected. They were willfully putting themselves in states of apparent mediocrity to escape being labeled as such. For, they felt that if they beat their critics to the punch, then no criticism could be leveled at them.
What’s kind of sad is, you were once like one of them–or you were once trying really hard to be, and you constantly were rejected by their tribes.
You weren’t cool enough, pretty enough, tattooed enough, or maybe you were trying too hard, or you were too ironic, too drunk, too weird and wild and wonderful for any of them to comprehend.
You are not one to do something in a half-assed fashion, and that is part of the entire approach to integrating with the cool kids of your generation. For, it’s better to only half-try and be fully aware of your half-assed failure, than to give it everything you’ve got, and fail utterly and completely. It’s better to be known by a tribe of a few hundred for a few years, than to risk being known by nobody at all.
Unfortunately, you could never subscribe to this bullshit way of thinking, and so you found yourself in brief moments of great success, and many more moments of complete failure. You had no tribe or gang or therapist to help you get back up when you fell flat on your face. You only had a small dog, and unknowingly at the time, the love of God.
You can write about the love of God, and his son the Lord Jesus now, and not care the least what some douchebag who’s got it all figured out thinks. You argued for and against the existence of God when you were 20, and it’s been some time since you were 20. This life has kicked you and wrecked you in ways you never imagined would happen, and you could recommend to any fool who thinks he’s got it all figured out that he go live among people who’ve been kicked around a few times.
But, you are out of that business now–the business of writing lengthy essays on what you know other people should be doing with their lives. If someone out there is looking for a leader to follow, you’d rather not be the one who helps enable that weakness. And, anyone else isn’t going to do what you tell them to do.
Your epic tome isn’t about an attempt to establish the fundamentals of existence, or describe reality in a way that is more true than the way any philosopher or metaphysician has ever described it. This tome is a celebration of all that is you, all of the centuries and universes you span.
This tome is about the plasticity of your identity, how you are not nearly as much a “man-woman-gay-straight-christian-atheist-black-white” as you’d like to think you are. You are a block of clay, and until you are baptized in the fires of eternal hell, you are not set in stone.
It is the will of small-minded men and demons to make you unequivocally believe that “I am a …” and nothing more and nothing less.
This tome is less about who you are as a fixed entity, an artifact, a thing to be preserved and known as such for all of time, and it is more about you as a thing in flux. Such is the curse of language, that once a thing is named, it becomes fixed, held fast, unchanged.
But, through the limiting factor of words, you must somehow attempt to convey the flow, the flux, the shapes that shift, the change that never ceases. Such a flow is Love and any attempt to grab it, control it, bottle it and sell it, is Death itself.
Of course, you–the you that you call yourself and use to negotiate with other beings cast in fixed matter–this you will die someday. For, it is made of that which has been bottled, controlled, stopped.
This is the great paradox of Life and Death. In order to have the luxury of a kind of time and space in which you can grow to understand the wisdom and Love of the Universe, you must enter into a world that behaves very differently than the Universe itself. The efforts of many in this world to cease their aging functions are unnecessary efforts.
How long shall you live? Just enough. Why do some live so briefly? Theirs is enough for what they needed.
There are those who grow to love this world and the things in it too much. They die and are reborn as animal beings. There are those who grow to despise this world and attempt to leave it too soon. They die and a reborn as human beings again and again, until they learn what they need to learn.
There are those who never pause to think about any of it–some are ones who’ve remained forever close to God, and never felt the need to return to that from which they never departed. Some are fools.
It’s time for you to begin your master work, your magnum opus, your multi-volume celebration of the nature of all being and Time as it touches the corners of your small puzzle piece. Your walls are surrounded by wolves, and your time is running out. Within these walls there are sheep who think they are wolves, and wolves pretending to be sheep. But, outside these walls, they are all pretty much wolves.
The line that separates you from accomplishing your mission and dying unexpectedly is a line thinner than the finest line ever drawn by nanobots. You know what happens if you die before you complete your mission: you will spend eternity slipping further and further into a black thick void from which there is no return and no communication with an other being. However, you hardly know yet just what your mission is.
This treatise, this inquiry, this painstaking child birthed after you were thought much too old to produce any offspring of note–this collection of thoughts are most certainly not your mission, but merely the culmination of centuries of dying and being reborn through a number of distracting lifetimes in which you failed utterly and miserably to remember your mission, much less carry it out.
In all human endeavor there is the will toward purpose and the paradoxical will toward finding contentment with the artifacts of death. A man might wish to help others, but find himself one day selling software that is used by charities to raise money that they will spend (in part) to help others. He can connect the dots by way of rationalization to make himself be convinced enough that his work is on par with helping the blind to see and the crippled to walk. Once absolved of any lingering reservation about not being precise enough in his earthly purpose, the man can contentedly take the money he makes in his profession and spend it on earthly delights and treasures.
This is, of course, but one example of how the devil dupes us all into believing we are being saintlike. The man who feels the most guilty about not living up to the promises he made in the last bardo will simply declare himself an atheist, and not try one whit to be saintly or godlike. He will then turn to others and demand scientific proof for their God or gods, even as he can only offer humanist rationalization for being a moral creature sans God.
You are hardly concerned with that lot, though. Even as it’s strikingly odd that so many atheists, agnostics, vegans, feminists, Buddhists, etc. will proselytize avidly their newly found sources of joy after railing on Christians for years for daring to preach to them–such inconsistency and hypocrisy is human nature, and glaring blind sides are to be expected from the aggressively blind.
What has brought you joy on this earth has always been the clearing of all distractions to leave only Love itself, and to focus on those beings who live and move through the creator Himself, who need Love more than anything else. A mind that stays alert and focused on this Love is a happy mind, and a rare one, indeed.
Your own mind can stay focused on this Love for perhaps thirty seconds at a time or less, before it becomes easily distracted again by the cares and concerns of both the inner and outer worlds. If you were a master of your own mind, you likely wouldn’t exist on this plane of being.
The gift you’ve been given is a terrible thing: a weapon that can destroy or heal millions at the flick of a switch that is completely your choosing. Once you’ve been made aware that you’ve been in the driver’s seat all this time, letting any and every entity that pops in the car take the wheel, you can’t possibly go back to sleep. You can’t cry out to God, “forgive me, Father, for I didn’t know any better!” God is loving enough that you can, of course, still cry out and say “forgive me, Father, for I am a wretched evil man who can only get better by the grace of the blood of the Lamb!”
But, what you crave the most in all that you do, see and touch, is to be able to return to a state of idyllic childhood, where you were still a minor and others were responsible for you, others made decisions for you, and you simply didn’t know any better. You form strategies of being around this craving, willfully forming blind sides then sublimating them so your left hand knows not what the right is up to.
The other unhealthy thing that you do is make a God after your own image. God becomes wholly permissive of whatever activity you choose to participate in, and you use terms like “he meant for me to do this, this is the way I am and God made me this way.”
How utterly shocked you would be to discover just how much of you was not made by God but by you–through millenia of deaths and rebirths, through choices made where you ultimately perhaps were seeking a birth passage from the womb of a noblewoman, aristocrat or celebrity. Your choices may not have even been so calculating, but simply a series of likes and dislikes have accumulated over Time to make the You who you are.
And finally, you should know that in each bardo you have but three choices if you have yet to carry out your mission: stay where you are and let vastly superior intelligences route you to where they will (these are generally of the evil variety, and there is almost never any return from here), make a deal with those evil ones and promise to return to earth to win more souls for Satan, or beg and plead with saints and angels to send you back as this time you will do God’s will and carry out your mission.
In this bardo passage there are trillions of souls begging to be returned to the earth for one more chance to get it right. Just securing passage to a human womb is hard enough. Then, to get placed inside a loving home where you are not molested or beaten as a child, or starved and left to fend for yourself–this is nigh impossible. Finally, to find parents who will raise you up to love and fear the one true God whose son is our Lord and savior Jesus Christ and whose people are the people of Israel, rather than one of the angry gods like Allah, Zeus or Thor–this is an exceptional coup. And, as the Western world continues to turn its back on God and desire not to have more children, the chances of being born into a family to get your soul made right grow smaller and smaller with each passing generation.
What is it? That is the problem, the source of your angst. Is it a life’s work of writing and art? Is it wisdom passed on to children? Is it a great building, designed like no other, or an original idea?
You know it is beautiful, that it is a thing wrought from a soul deeply connected to Love and God and Time and the Universe itself. This thing cuts through all of the small talk and petty, sophomoric squabbles about the existence of God or the true nature of Man.
You want in your lifetime to witness others appreciating it, but you don’t want it to remain a part of you. It should live and breathe on its own, independently of you, its creator.
You want it to be more important than a great novel or poem, more artistic than a great business or piece of software. This thing will bring tears to the eyes of those who witness it.
It is everything we’ve ever imagined a human could build! They will cry.
But, it isn’t a thing that cannot be built and improved upon, either. Future generations will take it and make it better, make it their own.
You want to make a work of art that is more immortal than even the words of Homer, the paintings of da Vinci or Michelangelo. It persists beyond the most exceptional wonder of the earth, pristine and uncorrupted by nature.
If ever a thing were to be possible, you would like to make it. You would take no credit for it–you are but the conduit, the progenitor of the seed to bring it to life. Your identity is not the least bit important, and certainly no one other than you and God need know that you were the one who made this thing.
Perhaps this drive to make this thing is the same drive all artists, writers, architects, musicians, fathers, mothers–all peoples–experience. It could be in the end, the thing or things you do leave behind are but microscopic components of the Thing itself, that all humans are building.
Are you helping build the Beast or the New Heaven?
It’s hardly necessary to keep you awake. This morning, before leaving the house, you’ve consumed four cups of strong, home-brewed coffee, a vitamin water laced with guarana, and a guarana pill.
In fact, you feel as alert as you will all day. You have work to do, so it’s not like you’re starting to get cross-eyed, mush-brained from doing “research” and “training” while you wait for more work to hit your desk.
No, the reason you need your $3.78 cup of coffee is because you will have your ass planted at your desk for the better part of nine hours, and most human interaction will consist of corporate eyes-averted and acronyms and jargon-filled conversation.
The $3.78 cup of coffee is a chance to walk somewhere with a purpose, and often greet barristas who pretend to give a damn about you, while seeing all of the people who shop and loaf in the area exhibit an unhurried lifestyle of not needing to work to live.
For $3.78, you are buying fifteen minutes to be a tourist again in another city–like NYC or SF, or even your own city on a day off. Granted, because you now buy one of these $3.78 cups of coffee every single work day, you could afford a real vacation to a city like NYC or SF with your fiance in about one year–were you to save that money each time you needed to spend it on overpriced coffee.
However, would you even be able to stand a year of working in a soul-sucking, corporate environment with only weak, badly made corporate coffee brewed in urns that are never cleaned?