Episode 8 summary: We are surrounded by people who have a vision, by spiritual messengers – Visionaries Incognito; we are most effected by indirect influences because changes must be made by ourselves directly. Most of us are too dependent on words, which are either potential bombs or breathtaking miracles. Work with the body can make profound changes in the unconscious and get us in touch with our True Nature; the blueprint of our ancestral lineage cannot be changed, but we can self-educate/re-educate. 4 Visionaries Incognito helped me to activate or reveal my true nature: F.M.Alexander, Moshe Feldenkrais, Krishnamurti and Osho Rajneesh: finding awakeners can lead you to spiritual practices and beyond to your inner jewel, your True Nature.
Many spiritual leaders have elevated to their position because the nature of reality has been revealed to them or they have unearthed it in themselves by coming to know their own True Nature. But most human beings have become trapped in a groove of habits and familiarity – their comfort zone – and the strong light of the sun, the cool luminescence of the Moon and the eternal blue sky are all obscured by grey clouds. These clouds are composed of endless worries, regrets and speculations and they have become obsessed with the idea that humans are of little worth because their delusions grip them firmly by the throat. They cannot know themselves directly because the film loop they have created is set to play endlessly.
Perhaps the most difficult aspect of human life to accept is that we die, we all die. There are no exceptions. We may have advanced technology and great comfort in the way we live but all the money or human power in the world cannot buy an exception to death. So, we live our lives in a luxurious bubble of denial of this most human of all rites of passage. We become increasingly afraid to look back into the shadows to find our demise lurking. Indeed, we become attached at the hip to our bubbles and cannot visualize any other existence for us or our loved ones.
Buddha was born as Prince Siddharta in the wealthy and powerful clan of the Shakyas. He was adored by his family who gave him everything a human being could ever desire. As he became a young man they searched for the most beautiful woman in the kingdom for him to marry. The secluded palace surrounded by beautiful grounds provided a heaven on Earth for this beautiful young man and yet he was disturbed deep in his heart. Beneath each moment of his blissful days, he knew there was something more to life and that he must confront it.
He secretly plotted to leave the Palace to see what life was like outside the high walls and one day, with the help of a trusted servant, he slipped into the streets surrounding the palace. What he saw there in the everyday lives of ‘ordinary’ people shocked him to the core because he had never known it inside the insulation of the palace.
First, he saw a bent old man who struggled to walk, his skin like old leather and his eyes lacking any flicker of life in them. He had never seen anyone so advanced in years because he had been protected from the reality of this by his family. He could not believe the fragility and the suffering that the human body was capable of. He was especially shocked because he was told by the locals that it would happen to him and his loved ones. Imagine the shock he must have felt because of his delusion that all beings lived as he did, forever young in a garden of pleasure.
Then, he saw a sick man who cried out in pain from his bed. He was forced to have his every need taken care of by someone else because he was unable to do anything for himself. Prince Siddharta had never experienced sickness because his health was carefully monitored by the Court physician and all his food was scrupulously prepared and tasted before it entered his mouth. The possibility of sickness was terrifying to him; he was haunted by the agonized cries of this poor man.
Next, he was stunned by the sight of a dead emaciated body, its skin like ash. It was being taken to the cremation field near the river to be burned. He could not understand why this human being could not wake up from a deep sleep but he was told that it would never wake up. Death was a phenomenon he had been totally unaware of until now and it also terrified him. He asked himself what the point of human existence was if this was how it ended.
Finally, after all these shocks, he came upon a monk who was happy and calm. These extreme stages that human beings pass through intrigued him and he vowed from that moment that he must leave his privileged life to discover how to end all this suffering and find a way for all sentient beings to find true and lasting happiness. This departure was to lead to an extended period of austerities, the way to liberation most fashionable in India at that time, during which time he became so thin and sick himself that he almost died. Then, one day he awoke to sit deeply in his world changing meditation under the Bodhi Tree for six days and reality was revealed to him, along with his own True Nature.
Perhaps the first thing we all have to do if we want to activate or uncover our True Nature is to face the reality of our death. We will die which is perhaps the only truth in the whole universe. But if we can fully accept that we are impermanent like all appearances in the visible world. If we can understand that the materials we are made from will definitively and steadily deteriorate and that eventually our mechanism will stop and we will take our very last breath, then we can step away from the shadows and put aside the pomander of denial. If we can smell the reality of death then we can also smell the fragrance of life.
People in the developed world have created diverse forms of spiritual and psychological training to come to terms with this reality. Death is frightening because it is the unknown and the intellectual mind will do all it can to stay in the zone of what it knows, as mentioned above. The unknown is mostly scary because we cannot see it and the intellectual mind has become a spoiled child always demanding visual proof and continual stimulation.
We cannot see what happens after the demise of our human body with our physical eyes, highly-sophisticated tools designed for looking out into the dream of the world, but if we learn how to open our inner spiritual eyes and connect with the invisible world, we can accept that our human existence is just one small stage in the larger complex process of humanity.
Indigenous tribes in traditional life live in a constant spiritual awareness strongly connected to the natural and invisible world. I witnessed this with my own eyes some years ago when I lived with the remains of a tribe of Australian Pydjinjarra in the South Australian Desert. I was part of a project to help the elderly and mothers with young children to move away from settlements created by white Australians back deep into the desert, into ‘the Lands’ as they call it, back to traditional life. I learned so much from the wise tribal leader or Traditional Landowner, Ninija.
Their attitude to death, beautifully portrayed in the decorated bone coffins above, was perhaps one of the most illuminating and releasing things I learned. These intriguing and beautiful people are actually in love with the glories of death: they long for it from being quite young children. This is possible because they live in full awareness most of the time without the interference of the intellectual mind and synthetic reality. I saw this in action. They do not have thoughts or concepts as we developed people do so they receive life directly. Their life’s mission is not to acquire and achieve but instead to protect and curate the planet and all its species. Their individual spiritual trainings and initiations lie in the specific tasks they are assigned within their totem group. If they are successful they will become great Landowners in the sky.
The Djang is the final and most glorious of all their ceremonies because it is the culmination of their glorious lives. This is the precious moment that the spirit is released from its shell and rises up to go on traveling to the next stage of spiritual evolution. This is accompanied by ritual dancing and feasting, bonfires larded with kangaroo grease and the presence of their Creation Heroes who oversee this significant rite of passage.
In conclusion, if we can realize that humans are a process, no longer animals and not yet gods, then we can live life in a very different way. If we can accept that our life in the world of form is a golden opportunity to elevate spiritually and embody our True Nature, then physical death is not frightening at all. If we can ‘see’ our death as something glorious in terms of love and light, then we can also ‘see’ our life as a glorious event.
Episode 10: This is the final episode in the introduction to my latest book True Nature: our Supreme Inheritance before I start delving into more detail on some of the topics I have touched here. Episode 10 will convince you that you do not have to rush off to shave your head and take vows as a religious of some kind to realize your True Nature. In fact, I am not advocating organized religion as the be all and end all of our spiritual blossoming but I recommend it as a means whereby, as a raft to help you to cross the human ocean of suffering and fear. We can value and enjoy this vessel during the crossing but when we reach the other shore it is important to recognize that we no longer need a raft.
Religions can separate us and generate arrogance and imperialism and they only exist because we have got so far away from our innate True Natures. Remember, in the golden age of humans the gods walked among us and we lived in a sacred relationship with the universe. We had no need of spiritual mediators, gurus or teachers then and if we can wipe away the dust and detritus concealing our own inner diamonds, we can live and die gloriously now and here while making a fantastic contribution to humanity.
I have utilized the wonderful teachings of many of our model spiritual teachers, rubbed shoulders with adepts, Traditional Landowners and shamans, and I am so grateful for the raft they provided for my safe crossing. But now, I sing my own song not that of others. I am no longer a follower but instead standing in the shoes of my True Nature making my contribution before moving on to the next stage. In writing this book, I wish to share my raft with you and sow a seed or two in your ground.
Episode 10 will introduce the Church of Love and its creed. Love is our essence so we must learn to embody it.