Tuesday, April 22, 2003

Ocean of Fantasy

How to describe the concept of non duality in a world so steeped in physical, temporal, spatial and causal laws? Where matter, time, space and cause-effect based phenomena are considered to be the final impermeable states that human consciousness can evolve up to? Nothing is really real until I can sense it, feel it, project it into past and future, move in, or build an identity from. Unless there is that separation of the me and you, in and out, up and down, black and white, good and evil, there can really be no relationship. How can I have a relationship if all is Me or all is One? That’s probably why the concept of non-duality or Advaita is so hard to grasp in more traditional socio-spiritual cultures. It’s hard to argue with, relate to, connect with, or react to life if there is no OTHER. Why, it’s even hard to love, cherish or rejoice in complete ‘unrelationship’. What could there be to be happy about when all is already Happiness? Already Perfection? Even those then are simply terms; Happiness, Perfection. When all just IS?

It’s a tough one – hard to verbalize, conceptualize or even meditate upon. How would one focus on No Thing? Or Every Thing? Or that which is beyond Thing? Or that which IS? Faith certainly proves effective when there is something concrete to lay it upon – and that is why prophetic and deistic religions are so globally embraced – I gotta lay all my lovin’ on someone or something dammit! Otherwise it never really happened, right? – nobody witnessed it, acknowledged it, accepted it or credited my Karma bank. It’s an ugly realization, that according to Advaita, we all share the same bank so my karma and your karma are pretty much ultimately going to mingle and dissolve into this one massive, all pervading ocean of Absoluteness beyond Karma. That the moment I realize my self there will be no my self to appreciate and celebrate it anymore. That it may just as well have happened to you. And so I don’t want to really experience it – I’d rather read about it as an interesting concept that is ultimately hard to conceptualize and impossible to realize. Like the guy in Waking Life says: Life is just God offering us Eternity and we, upon realizing what that really means, saying “Uhm, Thanks, but not just yet”.

But the coolest thing that we humans do have is Imagination – so what can’t be realized or conceptualized can at least be fantasized.

So, there is this deep blue ocean with gazillions of gallons of water. There is water everywhere – and there is nowhere there is not water. And in this ocean of water are floating millions of bottles of different shapes, colors and sizes and materials. And all these bottles also contain water that was filled in them from the same ocean. The water in each bottle obviously looks blue or green or red or whatever depending on the color of the bottle. So, each bottle assumes that’s what it is – a red water bottle or a green water bottle. Or a plastic bottle or a glass bottle. Or a big neck or a big ass bottle. Or a half full or half empty bottle. And over time, various foreign particles have settled inside the water further shaping its identity. Since each bottle can exist only in the ocean of water, it assumes that everything outside of it is the ocean and everything inside it is It, the bottle. And it sees other bottle in the same way and having similar identities. It builds relationships with the other bottles and with the ocean itself.

These bottles, though, are all bio-degradable and depending on the quality of the material, the part of the ocean that they are floating around in and how well they’ve preserved themselves, will all dissolve at different paces. But dissolve they all will. In fact, the dissolution will be so absolute, that no trace of the body of the bottle or the foreign particles that have settled in its water will remain – and the bottle water will merge back into the ocean water. Some bottle particles will settle into the depths of the ocean while others will flotsam and jetsam their way to various sections of the ocean. They’ll all become One with Everything.

But wait, there’s more! Because of the sheer perversity of its genius mind, the ocean will begin to reconstruct new bottles. Picking up a particle here and a molecule there so that the new bottle will be built from millions of bits from millions of other bottles that never really were bottles but were millions of bits from millions of other bottles that never really were bottles but were millions of bits from millions…