Apologies for the lag time in writings. Inevitably the act of living life starts to take away from talking about it. In a good way thankfully, and it’s confirmation that the process proceeds more or less as intended.
Which brings us around to our next topic. Namely, levels of intent. While those of us playing at this little game are engaged in more or less the same process of refining and manifesting intent, not all of us are engaging in it for the same reasons. And I’m not talking about having personally specific content. I’m talking a broad stroke sweeping difference in the quality of intent.
Now that all sounds rather vague and nebulous I know, but bear with me. I’ll be making three gross divisions here.
The first level of intent has to do with what can be thought of as therapy, ie; resolving and repairing incidences of dysfunction of whatever type. If you’re engaged in the alchemical process as a means of ‘fixing’ a ‘problem’ of some sort then that’s therapy. Poor self esteem, control issues, poverty of sensation, fear and insecurity. Whatever. The therapeutic level is primarily concerned with addressing perceived deficits in self or others.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, mind you, but that mindset tends to be self perpetuating. You’ll always be able to find a ‘problem’ if you look for one. You’ll always be able to find some way in which you are not functioning well with your surroundings. I wouldn’t recommend spending your whole life on it though.
The historical buddha gotama dealt with this in his life and teaching. His first students on becoming enlightened were hard core ascetics. Meditation masters who lived in the woods and were peers of gotama at that time. They grasped his message almost instantly.
But as time went on and he shared his ideas with others, more and more he found that he was being approached by people who wanted to be ‘fixed’ or who had massive personal problems that prevented them from walking the path as the buddha laid it out. Much of what we know today as buddhism is what gotama created to help these dysfunctional laypeople who weren’t sufficiently together to reach any higher.
What he stressed however is that, like I said, you can’t fix everything. Nor should you. Simply get your shit together to the point where your life is not a train wreck and move onto higher realms of experience and intent.
Which brings us to our next level which we may think of as the yogic level, or the artistic plane. Here you’re extending your existing capabilities. Learning to tap into higher and wider perceptions, more potent sources of energy, more profound and lasting sensations and experiences. It’s about developing skills and strength of mind. If you’re broken and dysfunctional you can’t really do any of this. If you try, your quest for expression will be turned into a flashing neon sign for your personal issues. This level shows up in all the spiritual or esoteric paths, but not always as an end in itself. Often it is a precursor, a way of preparing the mind for the leap into the next level.
That level, our final one, is transcendent or nondual. At a certain point your focus shifts to a kind of ultimate realization or release from boundaries, definitions, conceptual structures or imprinted limitations. Whereas the the artistic level is concerned with extending your reach in the conditioned realm, the transcendent impulse is to rise up and out of that whole context and assume a consciousness that pervades and includes all that exists.
A typical metaphor is to regard the universe as a projection or hologram of some sort. The transcendent attitude is to shift from regarding oneself as being a pattern created by light, to being the light itself. Or to move away from whishy washy phraseology, you shift from regarding yourself as being a phenomena, to regarding yourself as being the source or substance of that phenomena itself. If one identifies oneself as being of the same nature as infinite light, or an endless transparent awareness, is anything that arises or passes away in that light or awareness necessarily going to have any bearing on you at all? Probably not.
So you can no doubt see how a person mired in episodes of therapeutic drama is not going to get this. What is interesting though, is that transcend people quite often spend most of their time dealing with people who need therapy. People whose lives are hellish. The ‘wretched of the earth’ as it were. Probably because they know full well that unless these people unfuck themselves, they aren’t going to be good artists, let alone achieving transcendence.
Now, obviously, these are not all or nothing delineations. History is filled with ‘transcendent’ characters with all kinds of seemingly dysfunctional personality quirks, just as it is with artistic or yogicly accomplished types who exhibit the occasional burst of transcendant insight. And it hardly needs to be mentioned how the creative genius flirts with madness and incapacity as often as not.
The point worth making is, where is your emphasis? Where is your intent directed? Fixing shit that doesn’t work, creative expression, or departing from the scripted reality tunnel altogether?
Appearances can be deceiving mind you. Not that it’s especially helpful or profitable trying to go around pigeonholing other people. It’s primarily meant for oneself. But, for example it’s easy to mistake the altruist who finds the touch of god in helping others, and figure this person must be one of these suffering martyrs who bleeds for every blade of grass that goes under a lawnmower, and can’t establish any healthy boundaries on what can be done to help others at the expense of oneself. The difference is intent.
Conversely, the indian countryside is dotted with ‘saints’ who are so blissed out by their yogic mastery of certain states that they seemingly must have transcended the mundane plane. They neither move, speak nor eat. They need devotees to spoonfeed them. So are they supremely enlightened, or is it that they’re so dysfunctional that they’ve retreated into the false liberation of pushing your own bliss button until you don’t even register the outside world anymore? Is this really any different than a heroin addict who spends 17 hours a day on the nod staring at the tip of his shoe, and the rest trying to score? Probably only in the skill and efficacy this person has used to service his pathology.
So you can begin to see the tangled relationship these levels have. You might develop skills to address your therapy, transcendent insights to fuel your artistic expression, or mine your personal issues for material to work into your art.
For example, my recurring thing, and I’m quite sure that most other people have this from time to time, is that I want to get something ‘out of the way’ before I can fully explore my creative expressions. I need a better job, I need less stress, more time. Blah blah. But in truth, focusing on all this ‘problem’ stuff is just prolonging the situation. The mind is by far more complex and sophisticated than you give it credit for. If you decide where you want your conscious focus to be, then your subconscious will put everything else in the appropriate place relative to that. Things that need to be handled will be handled, and the rest will slip into insignificance.
So the ground zero question is simply this; where is it at for you? Not what you think you have to do. You don’t have to do anything. What do you WANT? Quit twisting yourself into knots to fullfill whatever you think needs to be done before you can feel good about yourself, get your groove on, or cash out of the game altogether. Just do it.
Our homework is, accordingly, fairly simple: Sort your list into three categories. The goals which service your personal problems, the goals which express your creative vision, and the goals which move you towards transcendant freedom.
Once you’ve done that, Reasses their order of importance based on what they do for you IN AND OF THEMSELVES. Do not put them in the order you think they need to be be in. Put in them in the order in which their importance warrants. If you want your problems to be of paramount significance, then great, do that. If you’d rather deepen your skill sets then do that. If you want the answer to the universal question, then obviously you better get on that shit, dawg. The bills will get paid, one way or another.