A falling drop.

"... one must accept the thoughts that go within oneself of their own accord as part of one's reality." (1)

 

There was a time when there was no time
To experience it you must loose your identity
And having lost your identity no one is left to describe it.

When your identity returns
There you are not anymore;
That time comes back to time
Existence defeats description.

The experience of it
That is our lot.
And that comes at the end
Of our allotted time.

As for those who get a glimpse of it,
That is a glimpse of a timeless time
And no one was there to witness it.

These may seem
Just reveries of the mind,
But how does the mind get to it
If it is not there?

There was a time when there was no time ....
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‘Me’ was never born, while ‘I’ is a different story, a natural planetary happenstance close to eighty years old; I cannot recall how it happened nor have I have ever fallen in the hands of a depth psychologist to find out, somewhat like a guinea pig in a deep hypnotic trance, to learn the truth. I presume that my link with the safe and warm uterine world was severed, I was extracted, slapped on wet and tender butts and surely I did make a hell of it and my prenatal ‘me’ went into oblivion while ‘I’, willy nilly, had to get a start; it does not really needs hypnotic regression to find out how it happened. Time went by before I was told, and had to accept, that I was born but that is not unusual, you too might have been told a similar story and had to accept it but the similarity may, for environmental and familiar events, end here. Like every son/daughter with reasonably good parents, I was not considered completely normal and that is fine, normality pertains to robots and not to human beings; abnormal robots are somehow recycled while abnormal humans are not easily disposed off and, in most cases, more tenderly cared of. My great luck, even if I lived within a Catholic Christian community, is that, even if I never understood to what extent my parents were religious, they were not in the least bigots although all those nonsensical Christian sacraments demanded by tradition and the social milieu were my lot. Useless to say, this saved me a lot of brainwashing and nonsense (2) and, to my parents, I have but to be deeply grateful for this. My first great Christian experience was in a Catholic kinder garden where an old nun, possibly somewhat 'Alzheimer-ed', used to repeat incessantly "time goes by and death approaches" and did not brainwash those little souls in her care with the Ten Commandments. But thus she pushed me in a more rational view of life than towards monasticism ... should I not, now beyond average age-span when the angel of death is just beyond the corner, thank her? Time went by ... in my school, that was Asmara’s Comboni College, there were Catholic and Coptic Christians, Moslems, Hindus, Jews, Protestants and more and surely that contributed to an open mind, freed from racial and religious prejudices. A rare blessing the contact with indigenous Eritrean students in this pot that contained Indians, Arabs, Italians, Greeks, Armenians and more; there were not whites, blacks of yellows among us. A garden with no stinging plants! The teachers were Christian Missionaries of the order of Daniele Comboni (3) but, due to the ethnic diversity and related religious background of the students, religious teaching was not compulsory and this, as well, avoided noxious widespread brainwashing.
As luck would have it and with a rebellious temperament during adolescence I realized that not a few veils were obscuring my mind’s sight so that I started, in one way or another, to try rid myself of this darkness and never did I desert this task which, day by day brought into my life many books and more bits of knowledge, not less so a deeper obscurity into which a mysterious, very hard to catch, small ray of light shone on the difficult path of infinity. There, in the nowhere, my ‘me’ had patiently been waiting to be discovered and what did I find? That, that ‘me’ is an insubstantial non-entity which does not, in the least, carry the label ‘private property’ since ‘me’ it is a universal pillar sustaining each ‘I’ anywhere in the universe wherever a sentient being is capable of attaching an ego to himself. And, as such, it cannot but be unborn and is not contained within the fringes of time and space, less so in a multitude of erect-walking bags of flesh and bones, although it takes pleasure to hide himself in the nowhere as soon as we fall in the somewhere.
 
 
Hence, it all it makes a hide-and-seek game which creates not a few problems to anyone who feels a sense of it. This is natural and normal, so much so as it is normal in this hectic timeframe in which we live, for most humans, not to care about the ‘me’ while, on the other hand, nothing is more important than the ‘I’ for them who struggle for survival; so much so for those vampires who feed on them in this strange technological era. Yet history is replete of abnormal beings that threw, or strenuously tried to throw, the ‘I’ behind their shoulders in order to quest after that strange non-entity which, unrecognized is part and parcel of our being without belonging to any of those beings that to him belong even if it is not empowered to have any belonging. All the same, I feel that it is erroneous to say that we are 'those beings that to him belong.' It does not matter if it is intangible and nowhere because perceptibly we are, hence, am I not me? Who, in relation to the physical plane, can prove the contrary? Not only ‘me’ does not claim any possession but I am informed that I, just like anyone else, am it so long as I am. It is a simple matter of awareness, still this awareness is hardly spontaneous, the key which opens the door to its perception is hidden in the deep subconscious; finding the key does not really solve the problem since, once found, we are not wont to handle it in the darkness of our being and the lighted lamp is beyond the threshold. And this brings about the other face of the coin: what about when I am not anymore? Well, not being anymore cannot happen but for this un-comprehensible bag of flesh and bones which carries an ‘I’ in search of a ‘me’. The satisfaction of the most normal animal instinct brought about myriads of ‘I’ strolling in sorrow or in joy in every corner of this gorgeous planet, their existence is more or less certain and certified but, except as a bag of flesh and bones, none of them was ever born and perhaps these bags of flesh and bones populate the planet, strive and toil, only within an illusory shadow brought about by those clouds of ignorance which can be pierced but by that minority that becomes aware of the fact that beyond the clouds the sun shines; but each and everyone of us is given a chance and clues as to how pierce and sail beyond these clouds without recourse to NASA’s technology, the means to achieve this are within our mental structure. A mental structure? What is it made of and built upon? Mystery upon mystery! We dissect brains, stain their cells to explore their structure, plant electrodes inside them, turn them around into magnetic apparatus which show their metabolism, record encephalic waves and all this tells us that brains are brains and minds are minds, that brains belong to individuals while minds belong, or rather, are a common substratum which speaks the language it learned from ‘me’ and which is translated and read from ‘I’ by that delicate mass of convoluted soft tissue encased within its bony shrine above our necks. And this is the tower of Babel, the translations may be similar but never identical, the books’ context may be similar but each reader’s ‘I’ has developed in a different context hence differences arise. Unsolicited brainwashing is the first thing which is acted upon us and retains a strong grip; its effects on a young, receptive and plastic brain leaves a deep track along which he has to trod his more or less precarious way.
'Me’ is the essence of ‘I’; it develops, grows and matures feeding of the subjective experience of ‘I’. It is the psyche’s play field and as well, it receives feedback from the psyche.
Everyone has his own belief, his own interpretation and his own say, to what extent am I off track? That is a difficult question, perhaps for all of us since the mind is a stormy wave never at rest.
I do not believe in pure coincidence, there is an exact, even if often hidden or inexplicable meaning-connection in whatever seems coincidental or pure chance; (4) to me not a rare happenstance. In a moment of relaxation from this insane "I-me" I went to some old magazines bound together and opening at random through its pages, the following passage, which I interpolate in this writing, showed up begging to be reproduced in between these lines before I resume digging into ‘my’ mind:

Can the Obvious be seen?.
The notion of a conceptual ‘ego’ confuses the issue. The word ‘ego’ means ‘I’-and no such thing (object) could possibly be conceived, for ‘an I’ is merely a contradiction-in-terms.
What is conceptual is the notion represented by the pronoun ‘me’.
As ‘I’ I am forever inconceivable: as ‘me’ I am a conceptual image extended in space-time, manipulated psychically, and assuming an illusory autonomy.
My space-time ‘life’ as ‘me’ consists of a series of spatial and temporal incidents experienced by an objectivised ‘entity’ whose sole virtuality is that it is I.
As such I cannot experience at all- since only what is objective can suffer experience (which is any sensation whatever).
In preaching the abolition of ‘suffering’ the Buddha sought to make this evident. We are still trying to do this. Could it be too obvious to be seen?

Wei Wu Wei (
5)

Back, to my possibly insane cerebration, I turn now to another subject concerning my apparent subjectivity. The question 'what am I?' has never insistently intrigued me, so much so also the 'who am I?' although it might have received more personal attention; “All that we are is the result of what we have thought: it is founded on our thoughts”. (6) That which really intrigues me is the 'why am I?' Surely, I did not gain existence on this beautiful planet just to feed the so many cats who filled my life to the brim. Then, on the assumption that there is purpose in the universe, 'why?'
Why am I writing these lines, why are you reading them, why are we, unknown to each other and separated by a given period of time and an indefinite distance involved in this intellectual task? This can easily be surmised: that we may understand and be reciprocally discursive, even in disagreement, points to a mysteriously shared substratum, an intangible wide-expanse intellectual chessboard where our lives are played otherwise this could not happen, everyone would be a lonely stranger helplessly stranded on the planet. The conundrum is 'why are we?'
I am an heretic, an iconoclast: no religion, godless, no divine or other celestial guides. Nor are dogs, hirudineans and rotters allowed in my compounds; this does not mean that I despise or hate the aforementioned, the words despise and hate do not belong to my dictionary; I simply try to avoid foolishness and ignorance: mine are enough and far from being overcome, if ever. My teachers in life have been mostly printed pages from remarkable individuals, most of them belonging to the planet’s eastern hemisphere; a long time have I spent fishing out the best fishes from the rivers of their thoughts and, not less so, from the ocean of the world’s religions; "... whoever does not want to die of thirst among men must learn to drink from all cups." (7) All the same the 'why am I?' baffles me while ‘me’ won’t disclose this paramount secret and here I am out of a limb!

Perhaps ... since a plausible idea wriggles the shrunk convolutions inside the bony shrine above my neck, it has been there for quite a long time and still begs for a resolute answer to the 'why am I?' and I am forced to travel in a circle. But…

I was a thread of mist,
That from the immensity of the ocean
Rose high up in the atmosphere
And joined a cloud.
Therewith I became a drop,
But a bright sun above dethawed the cloud
And back into the ocean the drop fell.
There it dissolved,
And became the ocean.

This is what I mean when I say that life is not 'my' experience, but that I am an experience of 'Life'. I cannot find a better answer to the 'why' but while the above metaphor seems reasonable, again, I travel in a circle since the ocean is a source of life but what is this inexplicable ocean, 'Life'? I am lost, 'me' is struck dumb. The human intellect, brainwashed into traditional beliefs and more often than not confined among walls of senseless dogmas runs in circles. Smashing these walls is a great evolutionary gift. But crossing the boundary is also a perilous adventure since the traveler can be ensnared in the fields of insanity or, otherwise, in the cage of mysticism; in the last case he will return speechless, a typical madman that only a few can comprehend.

"Before enlightenment you chop wood and carry water …
After enlightenment you chop wood and carry water …"

Apparently nothing happens except that, freed from the cage, consciousness thrives on a different mental level where it can use the power added to it either in a positive or a negative way, or plunge itself, as well, in the field of insanity.

"There are things in the psyche which we do not produce, but which produce themselves and have their own life." (8)

The drop which dissolves in the wide expanse of the ocean can restitute an inadequate, indeed poor, idea of what 'Life' builds upon and how it enriches its own experience on this speck of cosmic dust which is our planet; we cannot span the cosmic infinity where 'Life' thrives. What is sure is that the drop cannot return as the very same drop, it has dissolved in the ocean; still, perhaps some of its atoms and molecules may appear in other drops within other clouds with, encoded within, the experience gained within a former cloud. This discounts the theory of reincarnation. Yet some lingering memories may reach other drops which will attach themselves to some receptive psyche, memories which a receptive psyche will attach to a "my" past life. Might it not be that some of these dispersed atoms and molecules carry with themselves or, rather, are the seeds of an evolutionary process since nothing whatsoever gets lost in the cosmic experience? This is a crude, indeed poor, explanation of what my intellect can grasp up to this point; there is another wall to smash: what is the purpose of life? 'Me' is once more struck dumb nor will it ever smash this other wall; speculation and wild theories abound, none of them reasonable; we are looking at the problem from an infinitesimal "inside" constricted within the illusion of space and time. 'Life' itself may not be aware of its purpose, it may be just a great cosmic machine yet, behind this there ought to be something inconceivable, an intelligence with those two qualities which are most manifest in planetary life: purpose and will. That is why 'me' was never born and 'I' am pounding my computer's keyboard. We have something in common with that mysterious beyond, purpose and will. "There is no such thing as chance, and what we regard as blind circumstance actually stems from the deepest source of all." (9).

From end to end, with labor keen;
And here, poor fool! with all my lore
I stand, no wiser than before.
(10)


There are several ways to become an enlightened being in this wonderful planet, a fully realized homo somewhat sapiens.
One is by the use of a complicated Tibetan mandala of your choice. It is advisable to be shut in a dark and deep cave up in the Himalayas and in a given number of years you will emerge, a Milarepa reborn.
Or you may pin your mind and intellectual faculties to a Hindu yantra, a complicated image of intertwined triangles with a deep symbolic meaning. It is better to lay on a bed of mails in the proximity of the river Ganges; it is not compulsory to paint your body and face with multicolored stripes, nor need you have long hair rolled up on the top of your head. Resist the temptation, unless you are an Indian, to bathe in the Gange's waters, only Indians possess immunity against its horrible pollution. And one day you will be a perfect Jagadguru, a reincarnated Sri Sankaracarya.
Another method is to use your imagination as best it reflects your personal dispositions; a long time ago, since the Himalayas and the Ganges are beyond my reach, I conjured the visualization described below and it seemed efficacious, notwithstanding I am still in a dark cave with no rays of light. Clearly, you may devise your own visualizations as it best suits your disposition, but beware, psychical games may be dangerous. Here it is:
"Imagine that a large sphere is interposed somewhere between the sun and the floor – an eclipse of sphere! And, again in your imagery, you are the shadow cast on the ground, a flat bi-dimensional shadow in Flatland but, as luck would have it, endowed with a sense of sight, and some sort of intellectually active machinery. Hence, you will perceive a dark disk with a dim and fading aloe of light around it somewhere above in the deep blue sky but all that will be perfectly flat simply because, being a shadow, you lack the perception of the third dimension, in your ill-fated case height; and, worst of all, lacking the sense of height that dark disk will be intolerably oppressive. It will be some kind of immaterial but indeed real weight on your shadow-body and no matter how you slide on the floor to evade it, it will follow you everywhere. A perennial daily nightmare with no way out; and there is no way you can comprehend that situation because you do not know what is causing it, you cannot visualize, still less, imagine the bright sun shedding light above the sphere. As it happens, due to some unexplainable portentous event and an extreme effort somehow your shadow leaps on the sphere. There cohering to the sphere, it experiences a strange sensation due to its curvature and the possibility of a different, strange and mysterious world is envisaged, verily a different dimension; hence it slides, not without a supreme effort, upwards; but as it crosses above the sphere’s middle section it is annihilated by the sunlight and no one but an inert sphere, a psyche without a brain, is left to tell the story. You are annihilated! Fused into the sunlight the shadow returns where it belongs to, that domain of eternal light which gave you a tangible, albeit flat ineffable existence." Such a situation is not difficult to imagine; nor does it require a dark cave or a bed of nails, just make yourself comfortable.
When I devised this mental game I did not realize its symbolical importance, only much later it crossed my mind. The shadow is a projection, that is, what I think that I am. The object in the way, hard to reach, is my subconscious. The luminous source above the mysterious object is that which dispels ignorance, a face of reality – not reality in itself; self knowledge, within the limits available in our mental tool box. Our reality is what our sense perceptions posit us. Hence “Be your own guide and your torch.” (The Buddha)
Even so, there is an indeed simpler way which can be summarized in only four words, an extreme shortcut: here forget the grammarian's and the psychologist’s scholarly definitions of ‘I’ and ‘me’. 'I' is your physical person, exactly the reverse of your image as it appears in a well-polished mirror while 'me' is the conceptual reality of that cherished 'I' and then, relaxed and breathing properly, close your eyes and meditate about "the Self beyond myself"; only four words! That is the shortest path to the effulgent insanity of the beyond. “What visage did you possess before your father and mother were born?” (11) Indeed, there are a plethora of methods to switch on your inner light and in this blessed era only a click of the mouse away! That is all it takes to join the beaming army of enlightened beings in this gorgeous, albeit maltreated, world. As for me, a hoary one-eyed troglodyte, without an Internet connection, (12) I still have to totter in my dark psychic cave.
But whether you are in a cave, or lying on your back on rusty nails, or squashed as a shadow on a green prairie or on the hot sands of the Sahara, or playing with your mouse do what most people don't: breathe properly. Inhale slowly filling up from the navel to above the diaphragm, retain as comfortable for a few seconds, exhale slowly and retain for a few seconds. Do not force, nor strain; rather, make a habit of such a practice, it means good health! Proper breathing is related to vitality, you are not inhaling just oxygen but vital energy (prana). Avoid exotic breathing exercises unless properly supervised by a competent adept, noxious results might ensue.

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1
- C. G. Jung in "Myths, Dreams and Mysteries"-p. 329-Collins, The Fontana Libray-1974.
2 -Have you ever realized why, if you do, you go to church? You where brainwashed into it. Whatever it may be 'god' has nothing to do with it. You are motivated by a mental concept firmly instilled in your mental frame and what do you gain from it? Hard to say but, most obvious, it is evident who gains from it: those leeches and parasites which infest the globe while, on the other hand, they could be much more profitable to society if they were tilling the land instead of preaching nonsense.
3 - They were very strict concerning discipline; a record of our misdeeds was kept and, at the end of the schoolday, those whose name appeared in that book had their due. The punishment was a piece of rubber hose, or a stick, or a kurbash (a long whip, used only by the warden on the most impenitent) unlashed on their buttocks or on the legs; the piece of rubber hose specialization was hands. Regretfully, modern society releases exempla, false hopes and even material gifts to try, hardly successfully, to gain disciplined young rebels. Estimable and dedicated teachers, they were deeply engrossed in their faith and several of this order, just like Daniele Comboni, were killed in Sudan, an Islamic country. This is the other face of that scourge of the world which the Mother Church has been and, behind the curtains, still is. Christianity as a whole, "in the Name of God" may compete with the horrors of the German Dictator and the Mongol Conqueror of the Word. Intellectually, with its anthropomorphic doctrine, its lies and wilful perversion of facts it has stifled the human mind and brought about an incredible mass of blind, lip-service tomfools. The greatest world catastrophe was not the sinking of Atlantis but the raising of St. Paul.
4- So much so I am quite suspicious about chance and random events. I am more prone to think of a law which regulates the physical universe in an inescapable way. The electron which escapes from its orbit, so much so as the spermatozoon that succeeds, among millions, to fecundate an egg, or the leaf which falls there instead of here at such a time rather that at another time: while it all appears to be casual, to wit, singled out by chance the causal agent is always behind the phenomenon albeit by and large we lack means to access the causative agent.
5- From “The Middle Way”, the Journal of the Buddhist Society. Vol. XLVII No. 1 – May 1972.
6- Dhammapada.
7 - Nietzsche in "Thus Spoke Zarathustra".
8- C. G. Jung in "Myths, Dreams and Mysteries"-Collins, The Fontana Libray-1974.
9 - Schiller, 1952.
10 - Goethe's 'Faust'.
11 -Zen quote from "Initiation and Initiates in Tibet"- Alexandra David-Neel - Shambala Publications, Inc. -Berkley-1979.
12 - Too expensive here in Eritrea. Even so, this site is fully public domain and does not have a beggar's ("donate") button.
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