Ok, before I dive into this very far, I think a re-cap is in order.
I have been, since I was about 10 years old, asking questions that no religious teacher has wanted to attempt to answer. That’s 34 years.
34 years that I’ve been on – not a journey or a path – but a quest for something.
There have been times when I’ve felt very much like Neo in the movie MATRIX – before he met Trinity. Something bothers me, and I’m seeking an answer that it seems nobody knows. And, I can’t let go of the hunt. It compels, demands, that I continue to look for it. To try to define it. To solve the mystery of all mysteries. In the movie, it all comes together for Neo when Trinity whispers in his ear, “It’s the question that drives us. You know the question, the same as I did.” His reply: “What is the Matrix?”
For 34 years, I’ve been – obsessed isn’t a bad word to put here – with finding this mysterious something.
At this point, I can’t even remember for certain where it was that I first got the inspiration to connect with this, but I have under my right arm at this minute a book that has gone farther to resolve my issues in this area than all other books on the subject I’ve read combined.
The title is “Spiritual Enlightenment: The Damnedest Thing” by Jed McKenna.
My complete and humble apologies to anyone who suggested it, if I forgot it was your idea. However, more to the point – this book is like lightning in a bottle – my personal epiphany!
Here is a fair-use quote from page 45:
It’s amazing how desperately we cling to our beliefs. As history shows, the fastest way to reduce otherwise decent people to a state of savagery is by tampering with their belief system. The word for someone who does so is heretic, and historically the punishments reserved for him are more brutal than for any other class of offender. The point is that by the time people come to me, their beliefs are securely in place. No one approaches me and asks to have their hard-won beliefs demolished. They come to build upon what they already have and to continue along the path they’ve already started down. Demolition, though, is exactly what they need. If, that is, they want to wake up.
But, that’s a very big “if”. How many of them really want what it really is. My opinion is that only a fraction of one percent of seekers of enlightenment are even pointed in the right general direction. I would also say, however, that the percentage is a bit higher if you’re looking at the group that has made it to my house or to this book; to me and this message. At the time of this writing, the message you find in this book and that I share with our guests at the house, enlightenment stripped of its spiritual trappings, is uncommon in the extreme. I say that a higher percentage of people sitting with me or holding this book desire enlightenment for what it really is because we all get what we need when we need it. If the universe has set you in front of me or put this book into your hands, then in all likelihood you are closer than most to honestly confronting the stark reality of your situation. It works both ways: When the teacher appears, the student is ready.
End Fair-Use Quote.
There is no new-age, mystical mumbo-jumbo in this book. It’s written almost like a personal diary of his interactions with people who’ve come to his home to learn how to become enlightened. His reply is simplicity itself – strip away all that is not true, and what is left is enlightened. He calls the process, for lack of a better term, brutal, difficult, demanding, even perilous. Once someone has taken the first step (he capitalizes FS) – he says the rest of the path is nearly automatic and has never taken anyone more than 2 years to complete.
I’ve wasted 32 years! No, not really. Sometimes if feels like it, but that is part of the illusion (pride) that would keep me from finishing the journey. All that has gone before has led to now. Now is the beginning of the journey.
He likens being on the other side looking back at the rest of us to being the person watching a soap opera. Every character in the soap opera believes that he’s real, that what’s happening to him is real and important, while he’s sitting in his easy chair telling everyone that if they would only wake up, the soap opera wouldn’t matter anymore.
Is that why I’ve so conveniently arranged my life that I have very few attachments? The number of close friends – really good ones – that I can talk to who would know how to call me is so small I can count them on one hand with digits left over. (Please don’t think I’m diss’in’ my internet friends – you’re all great but most of you I’m still getting to know.) Over 80% of my family doesn’t know how to reach me directly. Even my high school class secretary can only reach me by email, or through my dad. I’m not working, so I have plenty of “free time” to spend on my quest.
If some major catastrophe were to happen tomorrow, the only thing here in Smallville that I would absolutely feel I had to take with me would be my wife. Sure, I’d like to take the Mustang, and my computer & DVD collection, but they are replaceable, if they are even really necessary.
So, that’s what has been going on with me the last couple of days. I’ve been mercifully attacked by the witty insights of Jed McKenna.