365 days later

It was a year ago that I had that “glimpse” that I posted about as “the suck.” I remember it as one of the most significant spiritual experiences of my life—up there with my “born again” experience in my youth, and a powerful experience of Christ that I had six-and-a-half years ago.

Unlike those, this glimpse was largely just that… I glimpsed the Void, almost like I was alone on an empty holodeck as in Star Trek: The Next Generation. Yet I only felt it for a few seconds… It was as if I had “bounced” out of it almost immediately. Nevertheless, it was enough to leave me a bit shaken for several days afterwards.

What stayed after that? What changed in me? Why do I consider it that important, when my experience of the world is practically the same as before the experience?

For one thing, it seems to have cured me of my pursuit of enlightenment through study. Since then, it’s as if I know exactly what ideas, beliefs, and so forth really are… nothing but arrangements of thoughts. And I know that thoughts are nothing… just little bubbles in consciousness. Some thoughts seem attracted to some people more than others, but you can’t make yourself have a thought. (Kind of puts “intellectual property” in a whole different light, eh?)

Wanting to “figure out” the Universe is probably a stage that most intellectual mystics have to go through, but if it is, it’s certainly one they also have to give up. Thoughts are not reality.

Also, because I don’t “believe” in beliefs anymore, I think I’ve grown more tolerant of others. I still have a problem with “kind intolerance”—anger at those who don’t seem “kind enough” or “nice enough”… but it’s less now. It has to be, since I know that everyone, definitely including myself, has a head full of junk made out of nothing describing a world that isn’t there. It makes fighting over “who’s right” pretty silly, huh?

That’s the most of it. Yeah, the Void was scary for a second. Now, I’d like to fall into it.

No one is better than me!

OK, this is a thought that’s been with me recently, and boy, I guess I need to explain!

The mere fact that that statement sounds arrogant shows that we really have problems with the things we claim to believe, from Christianity (we’re all the same before God) to democracy: (we all have the same rights). Most of us, I think, will fall onto one side or the other of the statement “there is no one better than me.”

Perhaps most of us, whether we want to admit it or not, (and a few weeks ago, I would’ve denied it), simply don’t believe it. there’s a core belief that others (maybe most others: are better than me. Although we have all the ego defenses to cover it up, there’s the fear of not-okness in the root of our “self.” From womb to tomb, others tell us what to do, what’s cool, what’s hot, what’s good, what’s not. Others have more, make more, do more, (or have more and do less—even more enviable). The ego’s quick gloating when it sees someone it feels superior to, comes from a motive that is impossible to hide.

There are those, however, for who the statement above is not sufficient. No one is better than me means I am better than most others. Their awareness of power and freedom to act in this world is enjoyed, without a thought for those affected by their actions, unless the thought is “sucks to be you” or a less bald paraphrase of the same.

I wonder how many people simply feel confident in being in their skin, day in and day out, not feeling superior or inferior to any other? I can’t say I feel it, but it’s like I’m starting to see it;

No one is better than me.
Some are more talented or capable in different ways, but none are better.
Just as every blade of grass is rooted in the same ground
and draws its life from it,
Every person is a walking windsock filled and given shape
by the same Life that blows everywhere and fills everything.
No one is better than me. And none less.
I am free. Why do I make so many concessions during a single day–tasks, assignments, social convention, law? Because the benefits of doing so outweigh the consequences of not doing so. Or because it suits me. Or because of love.

But nothing defines me or limits me, save the skin I wear, and that is most definitely temporary.

How will I live today? I don’t know. How will I live tomorrow? Who cares? No one is better than me. There is no power but that which flows to all things and all persons.

Are you even here? Am I?

Yes or no doesn’t change the fact: no one is better than you. Enjoy it.

I resolve…

Not to assume I know who I am.

Yes, there’s other things, too, relating to exercise, meditation, etc. All the usual stuff. And, I made the “guilt resolutions” very, very light… There’s a reasonable chance I can keep them.

But I realized that I want to go a bit deeper than that this year. If the reason we make resolutions is to change ourselves, maybe the fault lies not in needing to change this “person” we’ve come to think we are, but in assuming we’re that person in the first place.

Yeah, I’ll take a silly Internet personality quiz in a heartbeat… but I really want to see what happens if I scratch off some of my major assumptions about Jon. For instance:

I’m an introvert.
Am I this year? How will I know?
I don’t go out much.
That was true… what’s true now?
I start lots of things that I don’t finish.
Really? Who says?
I live more in my head than my heart or my body.
Interesting. We’ll see.

In other news:
I’m getting ready to restart the WisdomReading group as a separate blog. If you’re interested in reading The Gospel of Thomas, The Dhammapada, The Tao Te Ching, or The Upanishads, drop me a line, and I’ll email you the URL and other details when it’s ready. If you participated in the WisdomReading group last year, the format will be different. There will be posts once a week for each of those Scriptures, so if you don’t like the Upanishads, for example, but can’t get enough of Thomas, no problem. just read the weekly Thomas post and comment on it.

My language study is coming along quite well. I started studying Spanish in October, and I guess I’m at an intermediate level now. I grew up on the Mexican border, but had a strange resistance to learning Spanish… really, I could say “please,” “thank you,” “Where’s the bathroom,” and little else. Now I’ve got a better-than-beginner vocabulary, pretty good knowledge of the simple tenses (except the damn subjunctive), and I can read fairly decently, such as El Pais and Yahoo! Spain. Now, I’m working on more complex grammar issues, listening, and speaking.

I plan to continue working hard on Spanish for the next two months, and to start studying Catalan in March. I’ve been brushing up on Esperanto along the way. I wonder if I could really be quadrilingual by the end of the year? By then, I’d like to be able to translate the “Spirituality” pages of my site into Spanish, Catalan, and Esperanto, and to be able to correspond in those languages.

I’ll soon be doing a series of posts on love.

Everyone, Happy New Year! Bonan Novjaron! Feliz año nuevo! Bon any nou!