Years ago, I noticed a very strange and ugly aspect of human psychology when I talked to people, especially the Americans.
They are inundated by constant ads attacking them from all sides; everybody seems to want something from them. Everybody who sells anything seems to want their money. Political parties vie for their vote. Religions are competing for their souls. It’s as if there’s a cosmic battle where angels and demons, and in fact God and Satan fight for them as a prize.
As a result, they seem to find themselves in a position similar to that of a teenage girl, who all of the sudden realises she’s the centre of male attention, and it seems that every man in the world wants her. On one side, it’s extremely intoxicating, and one can develop quite an ego, but the smarter ones among them realise that it’s not about them at all, that men would just want to use them for sex and abandon them, and so they develop a defence mechanism against all that predatory attention, and they also develop cynicism and bitterness about the whole thing. The not-so-smart are in more of a pickle, because it’s a dangerous combination to have someone without any particular qualities believe they are ultimately desirable and a centre of everybody’s attention. The very smart ones very quickly understand that they are in fact the ones with a problem, because the apparent abundance of choice only masks the fact that their choices are all bad, and they are in a position where they are dying of thirst, and everybody is offering them a drink, but none of it is water. Those very smart ones are commendable in exact proportion in which the stupid ones are contemptible.
What people don’t seem to understand is that all those who vie for their attention are the analogue of a lion, a hyena and a vulture, arguing over who is going to kill and eat them first, and in what order. It reminds me of a joke about a young mosquito’s first night out in the world; in the morning, her mom asked her how it was, and the daughter replied that it was wonderful: “All the people loved me, everywhere I went they clapped their hands in applause.”
The spiritual reality is in fact so unpleasant it is understandable why people would prefer the ego-trip of the cosmic battleground for their souls, that religions so incessantly try to sell. Satan doesn’t care about you even if he owns you; you are merely a means to an end. You know very little or nothing about God, and what little you think you know is wrong. To paraphrase Buddha’s four truths:
1. You are in very deep shit.
2. The more you stir it, the deeper you sink, and it stinks more.
3. It is possible to get out.
4. However, in order to get out, you’ll have to understand that everything you know is likely wrong, that you’ve been doing everything wrong for far longer than you can remember, that you’ll have to let go when you most want to hold on, that you’ll need to release when you most want to lash out, and so on. Since everything you know about the world is wrong, everything you’ve been doing had the result of furthering your predicament, and if you want things to improve, you’ll have to do things differently, and in a very fundamental way. You’re not an important person, picking between Jesus and Buddha and nitpicking between them because you’re so important you can’t rush your choices. No; you’re a drowning person, and having a vast sea around you doesn’t mean you have many options. You are utterly and profoundly fucked, and you need to understand absolutely everything in your life in this context, and you need to reach for and hold on to everything that can improve your position even a little bit; hold on to a piece of wood if there’s nothing better, but exchange it for a raft if it appears, and exchange the raft for a helicopter later on, if the possibility arises.
People argue about the first noble truth, whether it means that suffering exists, or that everything is suffering, or that suffering permeates human condition, but the reality is that they are too stupid to understand the simplicity of it, and it’s in fact the fourth truth that they should be contemplating, the one of counter-intuitive solutions to the problems they don’t even understand they have, and re-shaping their perspective in ways that never even crossed their minds. Your emotions are the energy-whirlpools that perpetually recycle because you re-invest before there could be a chance of release. Your desires are projections of fulfilment into a sphere that is inherently energy-starved and needs you to feed it with your soul, and will promote your desires because that’s how it gets you to give yourself to it as food. You desire, and thus give yourself to the world, by recognizing it as a source of what you want. You are frustrated in your desires, so you strike and lash out, thus giving it more importance and energy. After enough iterations, you forget what is it that you were after in the first place, but you keep struggling against all sorts of things, and striving for all sorts of others, and you think you can’t stop because all of it is so important. It’s not. Also, you are not important, and your survival is not important. Nothing you are doing is important. God is important, but what do you even know about God? Less than nothing, which is to say, no actual knowledge but lots of nonsense, which is why Buddha refused to even talk about God. Talking about God is basically useless if you’re not experiencing God at that moment, and if you are experiencing God at this moment, you will utter words of praise, but they will be a consequence and manifestation of the experience, and they won’t matter. Your thoughts and words are merely a re-hashing of your memories and experience, which means they are useless garbage if you’re not experiencing God, and if you are experiencing God, they are noise that detracts. There’s one thing that could teach people humility in very short order, and that’s to understand how God, saints and angels would perceive them. They would look like clutter, attachments, noise, chaos, weaving of low-order energy in and out of chaotic whirlpools of thought-emotion, illusions of all kinds, ignorance of everything real and important, susceptibility to all kinds of falsehoods and lies, and all of it so far from God, that almost nothing in your entire existence is real and valuable, because God is where everything real and valuable is. You are darkness, ignorance, sin and nonsense dressed up as self-importance and false purpose. To the Gods, you look and feel worse than dog shit looks and feels to you. The best you can hope for is that they will see you and cry tears of compassion for your misery, feeling the pain of your kind of wretched existence, and in seeing their pain you might get some glimpse of its cause and thus have darshan of God. To think that God loves you and fights for your soul is the epitome of conceit and ignorance. No – you would first have to develop a soul by being in God’s presence, because that’s how it’s developed, and it’s developed by surviving the immense blissful joy that is of God, by releasing the non-God from your existence so that only God can be, because nothing else is worth keeping. When you actually develop a soul that way, you will understand how stupid every idea you ever had about reality actually was. No, God is not fighting with the Devil for your soul. You are the one who should be fighting to grasp every tiny aspect of God you can reach, feel and know, and hold on to it as if your survival depends on it, because it does. Without God, you are less than shit, because unlike yourself, shit can actually be useful. It can make roses grow. Being shit would actually be an upgrade for most people, because most of them are like toxic or radioactive waste that creates a zone of death around itself. Spiritual growth is not realizing you’re valuable and everybody wants you, and then giving your super-important soul to God. No, spiritual growth is realizing you’re a barrel of toxic waste on some dump, that needs to be contained in order not to spread death and destruction, and, understanding that, strive to become shit by feeling whatever aspect of love, beauty, purity and knowledge you can touch. When you become shit, strive to be food for the roses, so that there is beauty and purity because of you, and when there is purity and beauty, understand that it is God who is doing his thing, removing the non-God things, and the more you are of God, and less you are non-God, the more you partake in beauty, bliss, knowledge, reality and all other unspeakable forms of magnificence that lie in the direction the lesser beauties and truths point to.
It’s not about you. You don’t matter. God matters.