LIFE AS IF WE WEREN’T EVEN HERE
Stone: Blue Sapphire
The Mantra: Maamritaat (Life renewing nectar)
The very thought, the anguishing feeling that we aren’t yet really present
to ourselves in our life is most HORRIFYING
If you don’t find it so, look deeper at it.
a) The issue is introduced by noting that
most people live as if they would never die
and die as they had never lived.
Because their “life”, made up of their beliefs and resulting behavior only adds up to the conditionings they have absorbed from others and from their whole culture:
in order to gain a “good” living
they forget to live.
Isn’t this INSANE?
Can you imagine a more pitiful condition?
Do you sometimes forget to live as well?
Gurdjeff speaks with his usual sharp directness:
A considerable percentage of the people we meet on the street
are empty inside and actually already dead.
If we knew what a number of people are actually dead and how many of these dead people govern our lives we would go mad with horror.
To which extent can you see this?
How does it make you feel?
Vijay saw this already when he was four or five years old.
How could you help to bring them back to life?
Thích Nhat Hạnh agrees with Gurdjeff:
Some people live as though they are already dead.
There are people moving around us who are consumed by their past, terrified of their future, and stuck in their anger and jealousy.
They are not alive; they are just
And so does al-Ghazzali:
How many people are there that, although they move around
are more dead than alive!
b) Yes, some might argue that the condition of the starving destitutes
in Uganda or the lepers of Calcutta is worse, but Vijay has been amongst the latter, amongst destitutes in various parts of the world, and found that :
those full of alienation and absence from themselves,
in western countries the vast majority,
are much more to be pitied.
They are all like a mansion whose owner isn’t there so each servant – their ego, personality and self-image
instead of doing their allotted duties behave
as if they were the Master.
As Eckhart Tolle noted,
Most people treat the present moment as if it were an obstacle that
they need to overcome. Since the present moment
is life itself, it is an insane way to live.
According to Herman Hesse,
There is no reality except the one contained within us.
That is why so many people live such an unreal life. They take
the images outside them for reality and never allow
the world within them to assert itself.
Animerock half joking explains why
God creates us from nothing. Many never went on
from that nothing.
“Never” is a bit of an exaggeration.
But yes, most never went very far from that nothing.
But with the present acceleration after 2012
now will begin to go forward faster.
c) The term alienation, popular in the sixties, has gone out of fashion
but is still relevant because almost all are slaves to both their culture’s conditionings and their personal ones, therefore
they lose contact with their deeper self and fritter away their whole lives
in the inane, just as if they weren’t even there
in any real sense.
Why do most people fritter their lives into the inane?
Don’t you find it STRANGE, to say the least?
What we are today originates from our thoughts of yesterday,
and our present thoughts build our tomorrow:
our life is the creation of our mind.
The Buddha put it thus:
This life of separateness may be compared to a dream,
a phantasm, a bubble, a shadow, a drop of dew,
a flash of lightning.
It thus also how you see it?
Indeed every day lived without enthusiasm,
without a sense of wonder at the mystery of all things, without striving to discover who we are and the secret meaning of our lives,
every day lovelessly lived is deadly, and too many such days
are ultimately fatal.
Annemarie Shimmel explains how this came to pass:
Certain small animals that live underground have no eyes or ears, for they do not need them.
Likewise, God leaves certain people without the inner senses with which to reach Him, for He knows that
they are much happier in the darkness of this world and would only
be embarrassed if they could see
what lies beyond it.
What lies beyond it?
d) In such a shallow and empty “life”
most people not only have a false rapport with others but above all
have a false one with themselves as well.
They drown in a flood of constant vain concerns about such things as whether a soccer or baseball team wins a game or not, regrets about past events, superficial chatter, etc.
The problem is that they are never quite themselves: their thoughts are not their own, their lives are a sham and their passions a parody:
they are like a vacuum in which thoughts, impulses, actions
occur without any real awareness on their part,
like puppets pulled by invisible wires.
Do you find this more pathetic or horrifying?
The way that Saigyo put it is:
Our condition is like an unmoored boat in the midst
of winds blowing wildly.
What do the winds blowing wildly represent?
Is YOUR own boat firmly moored?
If not, why not?
Don’t you care where your boat will go?
Hey, there is white water breaking on huge rocks just round the corner!
You have only ONE boat in this life!
The I Ching hexagram PI, the Standstill or Stagnation really speaks of the Veil in those who resist the necessary changes and hold to the status quo, and are therefore blocked, their way hampered by obstacles and no real communication with others, or almost, and especially none with themselves.
According to this hexagram:
the way out (of the Veil) is through a devotion which
brings about self-confidence.
How is your devotion?
What about your self-confidence?
The Dreamgame of life is like a video game: whoever is distracted, not paying enough attention will lose it.
We must realize the danger we are in and do something about it.
This is the very first step.
Patanjeli presents here what happens when this danger is ignored:
They are so sleepy that if you limit yourself to talk they will listen,
but at the same time will not hear anything.
They listen, but do not hear.
Even they listen, they will interpret your words in their own way: the will color them with their own conceptions.
They are so sleepy that must be shaken by real-life situations, only then something can penetrate into their heavy, dull, thick, insensitive and unintelligent heads.
The Devil’s Advocate:
If humans really examined their own lives, I would soon be out of a job! Fortunately so very few ever do, and of those even fewer manage to make any sense out of it!
Perish the thought!
The apparent life as we normally see it is just a thin surface
over our REAL life.
Which is your REAL life?
If you don’t find it, where are you left?
Words of Power:
My life is an immense gift from the Divine,
and I live it to the brim for Him.
How do YOU live it?
“The sum total of our life is a breath spent
in the company of the Beloved.”
From “The Quest”
After I taught Sabine our exercise to acquire the mental silence and she practiced it for a while she told me:
“Vijay, I have just realized something…all my life was a frantic, constant escaping from myself!”
Good on her: so is the life of most, but so few ever realize it.
There was a time when I did more or less the same thing too.
From Vijay’s old journals – the Childhood Memories section.
I have finally understood why I am so different from everyone else; it is like one of the rebus in my father’s Week of Enigmas magazine: at first they seem impossible to solve but then when explained are very obvious: the reason is that
inwardly I am alive, and they are not.
Are there others like me somewhere?
Perhaps they are all hiding in order to survive.
The little girl who sometimes smiled to me in the kindergarten is a bit alive, I think, but I never saw her again; I was told that she left with her parents for another city…but what if what really happened is that they had discovered that she was alive and made her a Walking Dead as well, poor thing?
My father is a little bit alive, not entirely a Walking Dead. When he was young he must have been more alive, and once told me a little about it:
“I wished to become a musician, you know I love music so much, would have liked to climb the tallest mountains in the world and to become a great photographer…
But, you know, we were very poor, grandfather landed in Italy penniless, a pot to piss in he owned not, the only thing he had was his damn gun…so very soon I had to work, couldn’t go to school, couldn’t afford music lessons, never had the proper equipment for mountain climbing nor a very good camera; even if some of my photographs won a few gold medals it did not put bread on the table, so…”
Then he complained with some bitterness:
“At the last amateur photographers exhibition my photographs were the best, but the dumb public voted instead for a very banal one just because it showed a nice sweet little kitten! The idiots voted for the cute little animal, not for the best photo!”
Clearly, at a certain point he had given up.
From Vijay’s old journals: 1956, Turin, Italy
I walk down the familiar streets around our house surrounded by the Walking Dead; their expressions are all masks, their thinking that they are alive is an illusion and a pathetic farce, a pretense, a sham, a parody, a mockery of life,
for inside them there is nothing, nothing at all: they are no more
real than the cartoons in children’s comics,
all like a vacuum in which somehow a few particular cravings, habits, moods, thoughts and attitudes somehow got stuck.
One supports the Toro football team and another the Juventus, and if I ask them why both reply that their team is the best.
One prefers Coca-Cola and another Fanta orange drink: if asked why both reply that it is tastier.
There is none inside them who can know;
they are all so terribly empty.
Fortunately they have no idea what it means to be alive and assume everyone else is like them, so they do not even begin to suspect that I am alive!
When I asked certain questions about the meaning of life to my teachers or neighbors – now I shudder at the risk I unknowingly took! – they just thought that I was “strange”, stupid, half crazy, and never realized at all that my questions betrayed how inwardly alive I am!
By the Walking Dead am I surrounded,
and if they ever they found out alive I am
that they would kill me I fear not
but, much worse, truly horrific
that like them they will make me…
The Way Out:
According to the Buddha it is better to conquer oneself than a thousand time win over a thousand enemies.
How can anyone possibly ever be the master of himself, the most
arduous thing a human being can do on earth before
having first conquered himself?
How can you?
People wonder in front of exquisite works of art, the highest music or poetry, the starry sky on a moonless night and so many other marvels, yet hardly ever even see the infinite wonder of their inner being.
Be always, always fully here, entirely present
in your own life.
Are you entirely present in your own life?
If not, or not often enough, why not?
If not, or not often, what will you DO about it?
Never say: “My life is my family, my work, my pleasures.”
But tell yourself:
My life is being present to myself.
Question/ko’han 1 to 3:
To which extent are you fully there, really present in your life?
If not so much, why not?
How does it make you feel?
There is nothing more important apart from the Great wakening, to which it is the very basis.
Question/ko’han 4 to 6:
Have you clearly examined what prevents you from living a joyful, fulfilling life?
What are you going to do about it?
Saraha said that
The fool, of the gem’s true nature ignorant,
green glass emerald calls.
Have you mistaken any green glass for emeralds lately?
Abu-Said Abil-Kheir has the last word:
One moment You are all I know, Beloved,
the next I just eat, drink, be merry!
Another time all beasts to shame I put:
Beloved, how will this dispersion that I am
ever find its way to You?
Do you ever feel likewise?
What will you DO about it?
1) Consider that if you had been born in a different country,
culture, family, religion, had a different type of education, etc clearly you would be now a very different person, but some individual traits from your past lives would still remain.
– Imagine various different types of person that you could have been.
– Ask yourself this Question:
What does this tells me about myself?
2) Consider also this example:
Sometimes while driving or walking somewhere and thinking about something or other we suddenly find that we have arrived.
In this case is it only too obvious that we have been driving or walking on automatic.
But it is almost always like that anyway.
Fully REALIZING this, not just understanding mentally that it is indeed so
ought to bring about a firm, almost desperate NEED
to become free of all automatisms.
3) Meditate on what Thea Euryphaessa said here:
No-one came here to live an ordinary life. Despite what
our somnambulistic, myth-less society tells us –
a place stuffed to the gilders with unawake, unthinking folk ruled by should’s, oughts and have-to’s; people who have no understanding of themselves; individuals afraid to acknowledge, let alone live their dreams
you came here to weave your unique essence and vision
into the world, thus rendering it magnificent,
both for yourself and others.
1) This passage from “The City and the Oasis”:
Alas, the sight most terrible, the nightmarish vision
of countless people with their shallow minds and senses
in video trances rapt,
in implacably fixed modes of belief and behavior
until not even their feelings are any longer their own;
like machines turning round and round, forever trapped
in the inexorable spirals of their unexamined lives!
So many fragmented, random impulsions and moods,
directionless thoughts and petrified dreams,
the crushing inner gravity of familiar gestures all void
inanely repeated day after day, night after unending night
until they become your whole life, they become YOU!
Your whole being you give to an Absence from yourself,
ONLY THERE IS NOTHING, THERE IS NONE THERE
TO RECEIVE YOUR GIFT!
What could ever be there to receive your gift?
2) This horrific description of ordinary life of Richard Bach:
Here’s how the people live here, in big house-shaped boxes to keep off ‘rain’ and ‘snow,’ holes cut in the sides so they can see out. They move around in smaller boxes, painted different colors, with wheels on the corners.
They need this box-culture because each person thinks of herself and himself as locked in a box called a ‘body,’ arms and legs, fingers to move pencils and tools,
and languages because they’ve forgotten how to communicate,
eyes because they’ve forgotten how to see.
To which extent have you forgotten to communicate?
To which extent have you forgotten how to see?
If to a substantial extent, why?
3) This passage of Mere:
I contemplate the earth and its creatures, this mass of substance put into forms perpetually destroyed and renewed, this swarming mass of aggregates which are dissolved as soon as constituted, of beings
who imagine that they are conscient and permanent individualities
and who are as ephemeral as a breath, always alike
or almost the same, in their diversity,
repeating indefinitely the same desires, the same
tendencies, the same appetites,
the same ignorant errors.
But how much greater a splendor than all that have gone before, how marvelous a glory and light would be needed to draw these beings out of the horrible aberration in which they are plunged by the life of cities and so-called civilizations!
What a formidable and, at the same time, divinely sweet puissance would be
needed to turn aside all these wills from the bitter struggle
for their selfish, mean and foolish satisfactions,
to snatch them from this vortex which hides death behind its treacherous glitter, and turn them towards Thy conquering harmony!
O Lord, eternal Master,
enlighten us, guide our steps, show us the way towards the realisation of Thy law, towards the accomplishment of Thy work.
Unchecked wild fires whole universes burn down; in winter
wandering icebergs the mermaids’ tender breasts freeze;
in the dark mind of yet another Hitler new holocausts forms
but Peter and Mary just switch on the TV to the soap opera.
Unaware of whom we really are like ghosts
here and there aimlessly we wander
only confused phantoms encountering
each lost in their own recurring dream.
There was a time when I wasn’t almost there at all,
with a mind by a restless crowd of thoughts haunted
and my body wandering around in so many inanities lost:
impossible it seemed then that I could become myself at last!