I’m still a rock star…sorry, I couldn’t help but think of one of my favorite songs by Pink but, back to the matter at hand. In this chapter, we get down in the nitty-gritty of being a fully integrated universal being. We can only understand what that means through realizing that the separate ego is truly not capable of pleasure and contentment since a society who has convinced him into believing he is separate, can never believe that he belongs.
Alan Watts states, “For if you know what you want, and will be content with it, you can be trusted. But if you do not know, your desires are limitless and no one can tell how to deal with you. Nothing satisfies an individual incapable of enjoyment.”
Later in the chapter, he claims that the separate person is without content, in both senses of the word. There is no content to someone who is sitting in a vacuum, it takes context for one to have any sort of meaning and yet one cannot be content when he is separate from that which he desires for his life.
“Peace can be made only by those who are peaceful, and love can be shown only by those who love. No work of love will flourish out of guilt, fear, or hollowness of heart, just as no valid plans for the future can be made by those who have no capacity for living now.”
The goal of knowing that the “ego-trick” of separateness is to live in the present and realize that we need that which we deem enemies, we need the down to understand the up, the cowardly to understand the valiant.
So how do we “get rid of” the feeling of separateness? That, unfortunately, is the kicker, we can’t and anyone that says they can are just playing a game of spiritual one-upmanship. But, I can define myself in terms of you thus as the Hassidic rabbi put it, “If I am I because you are you and if you are you because I am I, then I am not I, and you are not you. Instead, we are both something in common between the poles.”
It is also true of our enemies. The more you work with this concept, the more you realize that you need your enemies to define you and the larger the society, the larger the enemy has to be. Voltaire should have said that if the Devil did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him.
This can be paralyzing at first. You try to do good and someone will question your motives, you say forget about it all, and someone wonders why you don’t care yet, when you know for sure that your separate ego is a fiction you start to experience yourself as the whole process, the air that is going into your lungs and the lungs that are filling with it.
This feeling cannot be forced. It has to be experienced through the peeling of the inner onion but when it is feeling of separateness is approached as another sensation, it evaporates away. Watts writes, ” There is a feeling of the ground holding you up, and of hills lifting you when you climb them. Air breathes itself in and out of your lungs, and instead, of looking and listening, light and sound come to you on their own. Eyes see and ears hear as wind blows and water flows. All space becomes your mind. Time carries you along like a river, but never flows out of the present: the more it goes, the more it stays, and you no longer have to fight or kill it.”
In the end, it is all about knowing and being rather than seeking and becoming.
The Beetles were on the right track…
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