in post

The base layer

When we strip away memories, dreams, fantasies, plans for the future, and stop defining ourselves by our values, our opinions and beliefs, and all the rest, do we confront our humanity or an empty shell, because actually those are the qualities that make us human - just as if you go on peeling the onion, eventually there's nothing left?

When I sit down to "meditate" or when other people are trying to focus on their breathing or a mantra or a special quality, I just sit and don't attempt to do anything in particular. Usually after a while the mind grows quiet - at least as quiet as when I was trying to achieve something. I don't usually go to that place that someone calls "la-la-land" - "a pleasant place in which you can spend years", as a friend describes it.

Probably the first persons who learned meditation were hunters. They had to keep their body still, remain as vigilant and ready for action as a cat that is ready to pounce. But a better analogy for meditation in the animal who has to remain attentive to danger, rather than the one who is focused on the prey. You can startle a cat while she is in the act of concentrating on her prey, but it is hard to startle a fly on the wall. He has multiple eyes and lives in a time dimension that is faster than ours.

When I read books about spirituality I find it more satisfying to go to the sufis, the bhaktas, the devotees, even though I share nothing with their practice. I can no longer read Krishnamurti for example, even if my experience is in closer accord with his, and nothing from Buddhism. I think it is because the divinity of the devotee gets closer to raw existence than any simple and straight description of raw existence could actually be.

But in my own writing I don't want to prettify reality with fine metaphors, hawk illusions, or anything else. I'm only trying to come to terms with my experience. Sometimes I write instead in my notebook. It doesn't really matter. In any case, once you begin to touch on the important things, there is nothing really personal. It isn't about "my" experience, because I'm trying to strip away the person - the persona. The word we use to describe ourselves actually comes from the word that the Greeks used to describe the masks that covered the actors in their plays. The characters were identified with the masks. We are all playing our character very well. Below the mask there are other things lurking - secret desires, things we don't want to talk about, hidden hurts, and all that. But this is not what I mean. These are just another mask for a reality that is also deeper than these. That's the interesting place.

So I ask again what's there, beneath the dreams, plans, fantasies, ideas about what we are? Anything or nothing at all? A kernel? A kernel of the kernel, as Ibn Arabi called it? A something that can only be described in negative terms? Most people don't want to go there. Even if everything else in our lives depends on it. Just as, as someone has said, we go through life averting our eyes from the sun, though its energy is the source of all life in our world.

These are just thoughts. It doesn't matter who reads them or if nobody reads them, or if they are erased tomorrow. They are as trivial as everything else that's written here and tomorrow I will have forgotten that I expressed them, or repeat some variation of them, forgetting that I've already broached these subjects previously.