enlightenment

Satya Yuga, The Golden Age

 

It would be easy for there to be Utopia on Earth. So easy, in fact, that it must already have happened at one time in our history; maybe more than once.
 
What is Utopia? It's not a single state of affairs, or a single arrangement. It's not a perfect city or perfect set of laws. It is a mindset based on a realization.
 
The realization is that the awareness behind our eyes and behind our minds is not a different awareness for each of us; there are not seven billion awarenesses; there is One. And nothing is impossible for that One.
 
In this mindset, everyone on Earth would be working towards the benefit of everyone else on Earth. Everyone would be helping everyone else to be happy.
 
In such a mindset, such a collective state of being, what would not be possible for humans, and all life on Earth?
 
With co-operation, global planning, mutual help and above all collective happiness, we would mine the planetary bodies, populate the stars, and there would be no boundaries for us anywhere.
 
The basis of our current progress is competition, and it has brought us a long way, but it has reached its limits. Competition requires voluntary fragmentation; we divide ourselves into many parts and peoples in order to strive against each other and use that stress, that competition for resources and happiness, to achieve. We define resources as limited, and compete to acquire more and do better things with them.
 
In a closed system such as the Earth, this strategy eventually fails, and a collapse of population must occur as the ecosystem loses its coherence and competition in the global organism ceases to achieve progress; rather, like cancer, it attacks its own components and begins to destroy itself until a new equilibrium can be reached.
 
An analysis of this problem leads inevitably to two conclusions. 
 
First, it is a profound mistake to treat Earth as a closed system. It has never been a closed system. Charged particles from the sun pour constantly into our atmosphere. Sunlight feeds life on Earth and drives our weather. Meteorite bombardment and supernovae gave us our minerals and our water. Now that we have achieved spaceflight, the system is even more open - we can transact voluntarily with the surrounding solar environment. We can mine asteroids, colonize other planetoids, and send long-term expeditions out of the solar system to seek other stars. A man-made object, the Voyager 1 probe, has almost left the solar system, 18 billion miles away. It's still sending back data. Earth is not a closed system. We are ready to seed the galaxy with whatever we choose to become.
 
Second, now that we have expanded to fill all of the inhabitable areas of the Earth, the competition model is no longer appropriate; the imaginary components into which we have divided ourselves should be dissolved and a collective identity established that allows collective action. Saying "we have to work together" does not go far enough. The truth is, we have to be one. Not together; single. One.
 
A unified collective exploring an open system would lead to a burst of progress comparable to the explosion that saw the first humans emerge from tribal wandering in Africa to populate the entire globe. Who knows what happened at that point in history? There was no history, no writing, because it hadn't been invented yet. Cities were built and then drowned in the deluge at the end of the last Ice Age, their ruins now sunken off the coasts of Japan, Pakistan, and other areas where even to this day the native people retain memories in the form of stories of the sea rising up to swallow them. We had ships and temples, laws and songs, and all those things had to be invented, created and collaborated on by human beings in a vast, effectively open world. Was there Utopia then? All it would have been is a mindset. A people, apparently alone in a vastness, their brains humming with ideas and plans, slowly structuring a wilderness, slowly forming an identity. The People. Almost every tribe in the world, before they encountered others, called themselves some version of The People. As it was once, so it could be again. The People and the Open Sky.
 
It would be easy. A change of mindset, the ghostliest and least substantial thing in the world, an idea. A simple idea, that we are The People and our world is both here and Out There, that our domain is infinite space and our plans do not have to be constrained. A simple idea, that all of us want to be happy and all of us would enjoy working together in happiness to achieve something that life must achieve; explosion into the stars.
 
Would it be easy, really? As anyone who has tried it knows, the hardest thing to change, insubstantial as it may be, is a mindset. The hardest, and yet the easiest, because although a man or woman might struggle for decades to be happy, to love others, and to change destructive habits, when the change comes it can be over in an instant. A new light in the eyes, the mind empties, and something clicks, and although the person is atom for atom the same being that was standing in that space only a moment before, everything is different. A new universe of possibility has been created by the change of a mindset; like the passing of a ghost.
 
As it is for one person, it could be for The People. An idea that blows through billions of minds like a breeze; that we are One.
 
That the awareness behind our eyes and behind our minds is not a different awareness for each of us; there are not seven billion awarenesses; there is One. And nothing is impossible for that One.
 
It could happen so easily. It could happen tomorrow.

If that wave comes

when we saw the tidal wave coming we realized why the sky had gone dark and the buttercups had stopped glowing in the grass and I knew what the sick feeling all day in my stomach had been, and even though running was never going to do any good we ran anyway, up the steep side of the hill to get to higher ground, and for some reason we were all laughing, as if we realized that no death could bring us to harm in this version of a life

then the wave broke over us and everything speeded up, and there were sharks and trees and rocks and people all rolling and tumbling in that heavy grey jelly that pushed us up over the crest of the hill and left us stranded there, alive and cold, looking down at the crushed cities of the coast and wondering what happens next. then I did something none of us had expected, I woke up and my arms were over my head and my wife was breathing slowly beside me and the morning light was shouting through the curtains.

something about deep sea fish that had me fascinated. the photophores blinking through the black, the huge toothed mouths and slack bodies, the total silence and the crushing weight of miles of water, the moon-glow of shoals of lanternfish rising to the surface to feed at night. I wondered how it would feel to live at the bottom of the ocean, on the surface of another planet, in the screaming cold of the Marianas trench. as a child I always imagined them dropping a mountain into the Pacific trenches and watching it be swallowed up, spirals and waves on the bright surface and coral islands following it down to death.

instead I'm at the bus stop waiting for the plump little Indian girl, to give her wedding video to her so she can see herself on the most important day of her life – all the things she did, everything anyone said, everything that might have some kind of importance. Photographs, memories, screens and webs of faces and words boiling and spiralling around her little nexus, that day, her face, her voice, her husband's life, bound together by the energy that pushes the leaves out of the buds and the magma out of the soft bag of Earth. Like us on our own wedding day, hugging each other close on a huge soft white bed in the Clarence hotel, fifteen euro for a bottle of water but the television is free and the apples are part of the décor, arranged upside down like buttocks on a silver platter. we were hoping it all meant something, and maybe it did. I watched emperor penguins calling to each other across gale-swept ice fields, swimming frantically from leopard seals hunting along the margin of the glacier, and then I woke her up and we made love until we couldn't see the white of the sheets any more. everything spiralling around a single moment or a single person, an idea, a god, a magnet for the material of that other world.

if the wave comes, I mean if it really comes, the wave of water or fire or ice that brings an end to everything, the wave we're all half expecting anyway, the wave the media screams for during the nuclear standoffs, the wave the astronomers see flying towards us at a thousand kilometres per second out of the Oort cloud, the wave rising out of the island that falls into the sea, the wave of the ice caps bringing the White Earth out of the computer simulations of meteorologists and over the world like a mantle, the wave of the sea rising as Antarctica levitates itself and everyone starts to burn, if that wave comes and the dust is flung upwards and carried by the winds to turn the sun into a yellow smudge in the dark sand of the sky, if it comes to start everything again and turn out the light of thought and memory, if all the screens go dark and all our eyes are closed and all our minds lose their spiralling energy and disintegrate into a mess of neurons and blood, if that wave comes will there be anything left, will there be a consciousness that witnesses, a power that preserves, a script written in the ash and lava to tell the story of even one person, just one person, one little nexus, will there be anything left of everything we tried to do and be, any of the colours and faces and the laughter for no reason, the love that shouldn't exist but does, if that great wave comes and we are just minds frozen in time and bodies buried in each other and none of the science fiction futures come to pass, if we never make it out of these choking cities, if I never see the stars up close, if I never understand the shape of the galaxy and how I can see it at all, if that wave comes to bring me home before I'm ready let me write what I saw, let someone read it, just one person, I just want to show you how it was, how it is, how strange that I'm here to see it

if that wave comes I'll smile. it's like a hundred miles of basalt cliffs looming closer, eating clouds and jetliners as it comes, and the elephants are wandering in herds across the dry plains, telling each other in infrasonic rumbles what's important to tell before the end. the sky is dark and I'm holding her. it doesn't matter now if we die because we did what was important, we found each other. if that wave comes the traffic noises through the open window will fade and the Sunday afternoon light will flicker and die, and as we look at each other suddenly there will be no time and no reality and everything we ever said or will say happens all at once in that moment, and as the wave breaks over us there was no fear and there is no pain, because we're just waking up. and nothing can be forgotten.
 

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.

The mind giving birth to the mind

"I recognize you," she said. His face was the colour of pale wheat. He was hunched over a dark pool, staring at the space between his outstretched hands. deep in that space, a tiny spark. a white snake, a filament, wriggling and glowing. the force of his will heavy in the air, making a sound like the moaning of a high wind in the folds of the damp rock.

she shakes her head. this is not real. she says that she knows him. that they have been in this place together many times before. his eyes lift briefly from his work. the writhing light fades, and his attention returns to the space between his hands. she touches his shoulder and his skin is cold and hot at the same time. he is giving birth to his own mind and she knows that this must not happen.

my friend's eyes are so soft, his pupils dark with drugs, and he feels like everything is underwater. I felt that way once too, and there was no sense to be made of anything. he is sweating, smiling, in his mind he is naked. he leans close to me in the luminous dark and tells me things I already know. we are friends. he is lonely. his work is destroying his heart. in my dreams he is always just like this, like a child with happy, tearful eyes.

he's asleep under an old willow, like a faery imprisoned in a christmas bauble. the willow branches trail in the bright water. he doesn't know about the world any more and his brain is empty, full of sounds and tastes and sights only, and silly dreams of circles. he sleeps and wakes as if there will always be tender arms to hold him. and in my dreams, there always will.
 

Fusion

one day in a blue bedroom
blue flares of bursting light
appeared behind her eyes -
she'd never had it so good

sitting on top of him, crying
wanting to be kissed everywhere
so bad, heartache and skin-hunger
then the novas in her sight, and she was flying

and so was he, voids in his mind
full of baroque music, geometric forms -
outside the bedroom it was a rainstorm
hammering on the window behind

her head, eyes turned up, looking within,
mouth open, "Oh Lord, oh God,"
as her insides poured out
through the pores of her skin

the great symphony, the greatest joke
he laughed aloud at the ridiculous joy,
remembering history classes as a little boy -
Da Vinci’s drawings, the hundred birds that broke

before Bernoulli's aerodynamic science -
before they landed on the moon -
playing golf in the white, dusty lagoons,
waving hello in a frozen silence

that sang louder than hammered bells -
unfathomable, a tiny astronaut
suspended like a Christmas ornament
in a lightless space - and then he fell

into the darkness behind his own eyes,
all of his skin on fire with her
breathless, raging to absorb her,
to inhale her - eyes closed, she flies –

bearing the weight of the moon, and him
over the Earth’s surface. The clouds shimmer,
and she hopes to God that they’ll land together,
his darkness a home for the death-light within her.