"Randy Warner is taking the night off to meditate upon "HOPE", to approach, grok and deconstruct to see what abides beyond."For those of you that did not already know, that's my real name, no big secret really. Never really tried to hide it or my connection between the real me and this blog. It's web address is posted on my facebook info page as being my website. Yet some people are still surprised to make the connection. Anyhow with that aside the question remains, "what abides beyond?"
Naturally I'll make a quick, cultural and perhaps hackneyed quip, "the dude abides" and move along, but actually that's not far off the mark. What I see as abiding is this: another breath, another moment, life itself and the notion of living it fully as being the answer to the much larger and perhaps the now more cliched question "What is the meaning of life, the universe and everything?" With all apologies to the Cohen Brothers and Douglas Adams, I will say it again: life itself. It is the thrill of the fight, the moment to moment struggle, the appreciation and even acceptance of suffering along the way -- all of it, collectively and perhaps even individually that drives all of humanity forward. It is the buggy whip driving the vehicle.
People that truly know me also know that because of my ideas I don't necessarily see things as individually distinct. All is dependent upon all, all interrelated, all so tightly bound together in the dance of life that it is difficult to see the "trees" within the "forest", and that precisely is where discrimination waltzes in for some dancers. When we use discursive and discriminating thought rather than the more flexible and fluid discernment, we force unnatural divisions upon the collective whole of "the all". We separate "the all" into divisions within our own minds, erecting artificial barriers. As some friends know I am fond of saying, "there are 6.5 billion people on this planet and that means 6.5 billion different perspectives of reality". At the same moment it is possible for me to say they are not necessarily separate nor even that different because ultimately they are all human perspectives.
I am also known for frequently expressing the idea "There is only one race on this planet and that is the HUMAN race...". But people, let me tell you this -- from the perspectives of humanity as a whole, there's no other game in town. We're stuck for better or worse and at least for the moment, being entirely and utterly human. It is neither blessing nor curse. It just IS. To filter it further down is to succumb to the baser notion of divisions and discrimination.
The fluidity of discernment allows realization that filtering it upwards is only a tool to deconstruct discursive and discriminating thoughts, revealing to us that all the subsets one can ever possibly imagine are still part of the greater whole, "the all". In Buddhism there is the classic question of "what is it that is NOT Buddha (nature)?"... I usually drop the nature part not out of discrimination but rather discernment. The discernment that perhaps it would help non-Buddhist thinkers to better understand the nature of "reality" and how closely dependent life itself is to the very existence of any said "reality". I do not speak as though Buddha is a god or a superior being to be worshiped, Buddhism is not "wired" in a way that requires belief in such a being. Buddhism is a marketplace of ideas rather than rigid beliefs. Though if your western trained mind were to insert "God" or "Jesus" in place of "Buddha" perhaps that would allow you a closer approach to understanding the idea of discerning the possible nature of reality and our place in it as human beings. "What is it that is not God?" -- if you can point to something, you are merely distracting your attention away from the only possible conclusion. A realization of the interdependence of the all, right down to the quantum and molecular level on a universal scale. Or if you prefer, as I do, the perhaps slightly more cryptic shorthand of "Life itself".
I have an idea that reality as we know it is nothing less than a shared delusion. "Reality" is a an unspoken social contract that we share with every other rational human on the planet. We all agree to certain conditions about reality. Grand ideas like the one wherein gravity keeps us firmly rooted to this planet without flying off or the idea of manifest and experiential realities like the sun always rising in the east and setting in the west. But gravity, planet, sun, east, west -- all of them, each and every one are human concepts, human words. We agree on many things as humans because it is what we mutually experience, what we see, what we live. We give them names and words so that we can conveniently communicate with each other as social animals and members of the same race, the human one.
"But what if I were to drop a bowling ball on your foot?", you may say, would I then admit that gravity isn't just a concept? Maybe. But remember that reality has many perspectives even while all remain ultimately human from our perspective as humans. For some the bowling ball may do nothing, harmlessly rolling away, for others it would cause severe pain and physical distress. Another example: fakirs in India who are able to pierce their own flesh with needles yet display neither pain nor blood. For most of us pain and blood would be the outcome, for others able to transcend that reality -- not so much. Thus the fluidity of our discernment concerning reality allows the idea that any anticipated outcome as flexible, not writ upon stone.
Venturing outside of humanity, were such a thing possible, the meaning of the words behind human concepts melt away to the point of meaninglessness. How would you communicate a human concept or explain a human created word to say someone from Alpha Centauri? Good luck with that. We may share some sort of commonality with your average Alpha Centaurian, but their perspective and their way of ideating and communicating would most assuredly be different from that of humanity as a whole. Yes, they may or may not have something that resembles what we as humans accept as the demonstrable reality of "gravity" but the way to communicate the concept would certainly be different from ours. Thus the idea that what we share as humans is a collective and agreed upon form of mass delusion for the sake of convenient conversation and mutual understanding. We are the center of our own universe unless or until proven otherwise.
Which in turn brings me arcing back around to the Neoism part -- my assigned task of "grokking" that which comes after "Hope". It is not hopelessness. That arrives BEFORE hope and hope itself can be said to be the natural outcome of hopelessness. So is all this just circular logic? Maybe so, maybe not. But it does allow me to drop, drop, drop all concepts and all words, deconstructing to the point where no concepts or words can safely abide. Once all has been said and all has been thought, nothing remains other than what should be readily apparent, a state of absolute quiescence. A calm and still mind like a cold, dark pool of water, free of the ripples caused by an externally blown wind. The internal voice of discrimination shut off by the true flexibility of discernment. It is no great insight nor no dishonesty to again repeat what has already been said -- what remains and abides is yet another breath, yet another moment -- life itself. With all that entails because frankly, as human beings or as Buddhists are fond of saying "as humans, being", we're soaking in it. Revel in another breath, another moment and in life itself by being fully engaged, fully awake and strive to keep our human tendency to amplify the suffering and the stress to a minimum by means of quiet meditation. Meanwhile, please do enjoy your stay upon this fair planet.