consciousness

Broken Light of the Dark God

I have to start from where I am and work inwards. noise of voices. lunchtime conversations and value-neutral music. latte machine hisses and shrieking female laughter. smell of coffee and bread and damp fabric, chair-covers soaked in weeks of sweat and milk-steam. pine veneer furniture and polygonal carpet patterns. retro-sepia photographs of forgotten places and times. outside the glass walls, perfectly rectangular blocks of hedges in brushed steel containers. geometrical mazes of steel roofbeams over a shopping mall like an airport terminal. what we call natural light: distant winter sun filtered through dense cloud and reflected off surface of dirty river. streaming thinly through clean glass. colours mute and washed out. we are only passing through this place. on either side of the river, a rage for order: the endless right angles of apartment blocks and offices, girders and concrete shafts and stairwells accreting gradually until we only see the skin of blank windows and sharp-edged balconies. no trees no grass no creatures. out near our horizon, mist-faded and grey, the tops of trees in a coastal park. an island for wild seabirds. a few scattered patches of green. we don't go there often. it's too sad to go there and return here.

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the dark god I saw in Las Vegas is here too. Belial, the demon king of this world. the lustful goat, the judging predator, the merciless accuser. the creator of history. in Las Vegas he danced demented on the spires and spotlights of the hotels and casinos, he sang in the slot machines and bathed in the baking midday sunshine. here he is slothful and depressed but still in power, and growing with every blank grey building and brushed steel windowbox. the god of this world is in love with prisons and repetition. he despises the weakness and stench of organic things and would destroy them at the same time as he slakes his lust upon them. his own lust disgusts him. he is lust and disgust mingled, eternally self-divided and dark unto the death of all beings, himself included. insane, therefore. to be pitied, but not to be saved. a cancer in every heart and every cell. Lord Foul, Beelzebub, Satan. the negative of every photograph of your dear memories, telling you that after all, your life is meaningless. the incarnation of measurement without value. power without wisdom. money separated from products. the final victory of blind chance and entropy against consciousness and life.

The Bucket of the World

It’s not just a clarity of vision or hearing, or any of the senses, even though it can feel like those sense are sharpened because you have more attention for them. It’s not just a clarity of the mind, even though thought can become very easy and obvious, or even stop completely. You could call it a clarity of the heart, because there’s a feeling of emotional harmony, but that’s not all it is. It’s so hard to describe because it doesn’t lend itself to description. It isn’t anything you can locate, and the words available to describe it are loaded with so many other meanings which vary from person to person that it’s impossible to know if anyone else could hear what you say about it and understand. It doesn’t need to be the end-point of any search, because it’s always directly available and totally ordinary.

It doesn’t make you divine or special, because it’s so ordinary that (probably) everyone in the world experiences it most of the time without realizing that it’s anything worth noticing or enjoying.

You can only realize you’re ‘in’ it if you know there’s nothing else to search for.

It’s here. It’s you.

Maybe we only think we’re unhappy because that’s what we’re told. We all perpetuate this strange message of incompleteness to each other when really our deepest secret is that no matter what has ever happened to us, we are happy and at peace, in the most permanent and unreasonable way.

I forget it sometimes. Instead of a bright, spacious clarity, my world narrows to a tight, anxious focus, locked into time and fascination. But even in those moments I know it’s all OK. I know I will die, or that it will all end, or even if it doesn’t, that its ending is inherent in me, in my own consciousness.

This is all crazy, bright, unknowable.

I don’t know what I know. I can’t parcel it and write a book about it because such a thing would be of no use to anyone. It isn’t a thing. It’s nothing. I’ve realized nothing. This is just life, direct reality. I don’t know if I’ve understood anything at all.

We’re looking for something extraordinary, but they can’t last. The only thing that lasts, and the only thing that satisfies us, is the ordinary. You don’t have to make any effort to be ordinary. This world is real, crazy, bright and shining and immediate. Everything is right here, and we have never changed since the moment we were born. There’s nothing left. The bucket of the world has been emptied and all promises and dooms are null and void.