The trajectory of my once-spiritual life has been heading away from other worldliness for quite a few years now. If there's one thing I've come to know about religiosity, it's that there's almost certainly nothing to know.
I don't believe in a Cosmic Jokester.
But I'm a lot more inclined to worship this non-existent being than an imaginary God. After all, think how much power the Cosmic Jokester has (assuming she exists, which she almost certainly doesn't).
This prankster is able to make billions of people believe there is more to life than what is apparent here and now on Earth. She entices them to anticipate the joys of an afterlife, thereby preventing these faithful from heartily enjoying a presentlife.
The joke, of course, doesn't have an obvious punchline -- since nobody is going to know that there's no life after death when they're dead and not alive.
But right now we can smile at the absurdity of ignoring the reality of what is immediately in front of us by always looking around the corner for something different.
I'm reading a book by Rodney Smith called "Stepping Out of Self-Deception." In his introduction, he talks about going to an Indian sage, Nisargadatta, during Smith's days as a Buddhist monk.
Nisargadatta tells him:
"You are like a man holding a flashlight, trying to run beyond its beam. The view you are holding within the methods you are using is undermining your intent."
We already know. We really do. We just do a really good job of hiding reality from ourselves. Mostly by putting ourselves at the center of the cosmos -- another way the Cosmic Trickster fools us.
I should be content
to look at a mountain
for what it is
and not as a comment on my life.
Mountains don't give a shit about us. They just are what they are. So are we. We're stupider than mountains, though, because we think we're supposed to be different from what we are.
Saved. Enlightened. Spiritually blissed out. Satori'ized. Self-realized. Godly.
Whatever piece of nonsensical religious, spiritual, or mystical crap we've swallowed in the hopes that our ever-so-human lives will somehow morph into a divine state of ... something or other.
When my wife and I visited Banff (Canada), we saw a bunch of beautiful mountains. They didn't speak to me, thankfully. Meaning, I didn't get any grand insights about the meaning of life from them.
I simply went Wow.
What else is there to do at each and every moment which, when it passes, will never come again?
Ditto with a neighboring mountain whose name I don't know. Sure, I could have gotten all philosophical about reality being reflected in the mirror of a still mind, blah, blah, blah. But being there, camera in hand, was plenty enough for me.
When we went to Lake Louise, Laurel had the bright idea of renting a canoe for half an hour. Time well spent. Looking at the craggy, glacier-filled slopes at the end of the lake did stimulate some thoughts in me.
(Hey, Ignatow only said that he should be able to look at a mountain for what it is, and not a comment on his life; so I'm assuming lakes are OK as commenters.)
Every moment we're paddling somewhere or other, even if we're standing still. Time always is doing its own paddling for us. The older we get, we more we may feel life's moments narrowing down to an eventual stop at the cliff face of death.
So long as we're aware of floating on the water of life, we are. And when we aren't, we won't be. Again, pretty damn simple.
Be aware. Be aware. Be aware.
Of whatever is. Of whatever is. Of whatever is.
Repeat as long as possible. There's nothing else to do.