Life is our greatest teacher. Nothing else comes close. A parent is bound by the attachment to the role of parent and the unyielding physical love for their child. A romantic partner is bound by their attachment to their relationship construct, and the sexual expression of that love. A mentor is bound by their attachment to the role of mentor and limited by the purview of one single lifetime of knowledge and experience. Life or the Universe (or God if your vocabulary permits the use of the G-word) is bound by none of this. There is no fear in God. There is no selfish desire or attachment. And most importantly there is a perspective that understands that suffering is often the only way to learn.
It is not the role of the parent, the lover, or the mentor to push anyone into suffering. With our limited purview, this is often misguided and will foster resentment. But fortunately for all of us, Life will play that role for us. We suffer so that we learn to get sick of suffering. That is a lesson that only Life can teach.
So what is Life teaching me now? Life is teaching me that all desires of the ego have short life spans. Like a lightning bug, the desires may light up for just a moment, but soon enough they return to their pedestrian insect form. And because of how the mind works, once you have seen enough lightning bugs, they lose their novelty and no longer carry the same thrill.
Life has granted me all that I have wished for. I have been able to seize the greatest thrills, and achieve all of the ego’s juvenile fantasies. What a blessing this has been, and I wish everyone can experience their own achievement of all of these desires. Because first of all, it is fun. But more importantly, it is only after achieving them that you can learn their true phantasmic nature. They do not last.
So what next? What does the Olympian do after they have achieved their gold medal? What does the quarterback do after they have won the Super Bowl? Well, they can try to win another one. But eventually, they must retire from the field of play. What next? Well, they can set a new goal. They can build a business or a media empire. But what happens after they achieve that? Do we just keep setting new, loftier goals? We can. And it may work. We can always be chasing something if we set the bar high enough and change the game-board. Or we can find ways to distract ourselves with ameliorants. Those are both ways to solve for the relentless existential torment that comes with a lack of purpose.
But what happens when chasing thrills or getting high doesn’t really translate to feeling any better about yourself anymore? What happens when the thrills lose their thrill? Well, one solution is to transcend the gamification of life, and find presence. Awareness. Consciousness. A state of being that isn’t dependent upon external factors. This genuinely solves for existential torment--Gratitude for every single breath, whether that is on the upswing or down-swing in polarity.
But purpose then? What of purpose? The monk on the mountain-top may be content to stay on the mountain top. But there is another symbol: That of the Bodhisattva. One who could remain in dispassionate enlightenment, but because of deep compassion for the suffering of those around her, descends from the mountain and enters the fray once again. The Bodhisattva dances in the sticky world of desires and attachments, so they can teach, so they can serve.
I don’t want to be a monk. I can no longer serve the ego as my master. So the Bodhisattva is the only out on the board. And while I have been aware of this concept for many years now, I have a long way to go! I am desperately still trying to find ways to prop up the ego, but I am failing. So at least I have clarity. I have some chance of harnessixng my ego to the goal of service, but either way, ultimately to succeed, I need to learn to love all of humankind as I love myself. Ah, another problem! I don’t always Love myself. So I have to cultivate genuine love and forgiveness for myself, so I can have Love and forgiveness for everyone in the world.
I also have ‘special’ people. These ‘special’ people are a hack that allows us to access the altruistic state. It’s what a parent feels for their child, it’s what Braveheart felt for Murron. But serving ‘special’ people only isn’t the Bodhisattva way. You are still bound by your attachment to these people. And the minute they do something to become ‘not special’ you are left holding a Costco sized bag of disappointment or ‘betrayal’, and find yourself without purpose once again. Unless you learn to love them beyond their specialness--To leave them without expectation, to see them clearly, and to not ask for their forgiveness because you hold no record of their wrong. That’s Loving in the way the Universe Loves us. In doing so, you move from the specific love of the ‘special’ to the universal love of the all. But to see all people the same as our sons, daughters, lovers, brothers, sisters. Whew! That’s gonna take some work. I’ll keep trying though…because the great teacher, Life, has left me no suitable alternatives. Thank you, Life. Thank you, thank you.
This week’s podcast is with the indomitable beast of Love and consciousness Kyle Kingsbury. Fresh off an Ayahuasca journey at Soltara, we dive into his latest downloads and share some of our recent pearls of wisdom.
On the subject of Ayahuasca, I want to encourage anyone who has a significant calling to the medicine to check out the legacy of what Don Howard built at Spiritquest Sanctuary. The Ayahuasquero maestro Don Rober, and maestra Dona Eliana are still serving at the sanctuary, under the tenancy of Parker Sherry, Don Howard’s chosen torchbearer. Remember, ayahuasca is not for everyone, and I have no financial affiliation to the Sanctuary or anywhere else, so I’m not recommending for you specifically to go anywhere. That’s your choice alone. And if you feel called to help with Don Howard’s challenging medical condition, you can donate here. He is one of my great teachers and I’ll love him for the remainder of my life and far beyond.
So much love everyone. Para El Bien De Todos,