11 Nov The Other Shore
I don't mind dying, I just don't want to be there when it happens. ~ Woody Allen
In truth, most of us are not even “there” during our lives.
We are all born with a spiritual quest within. How we stray from this quest, how we alter the meaning of our life through desire, ambition and pride becomes our ignorance. Most of us navigate this lifetime as though we know what we really don’t know. We accumulate knowledge and philosophies in an attempt to quell our fear and hate, and become rigid in the belief that we can “get through” life by making ourselves and everyone else think we “know what we are doing.”
Most of what we think we know is merely “imagined” or “manufactured” knowledge conjured to create the illusion of protection from harm and security from the inevitable, which is death. Death frightens us because we have no real inclination for how to live. We reduce our lives down to the trivial pursuit of comfort and gratification, arrogantly living as though the spiritual does not pertain to us in any way. We are so obsessed with propping up this illusion that what is truly essential in this lifetime escapes our notice.
In today’s world a “successful” life is defined as a “comfortable” life where we do not have to strain or experience any real difficulty, and everything is handed to us on a silver platter. We want our adventures in life to be like an attraction ride at Disneyland where everything comes out just fine, and then we stand in line for the next ride which we know will also turn out well. We have become so myopic in our endeavor to gratify ourselves through pleasure as comfort that we never risk anything in our lives for the sake of real meaning.
Very few of us are on an authentic journey seeking the “direct experience” of the Authentic. Most live in fear and hate, and have homogenized it to appear as knowledgable, loving and secure. An authentic spiritual journey requires a sense of adventure and the willingness to risk losing the hate and fear we use to “protect ourselves” in order to achieve a greater insight into the Love of our life.
Fear and hate are simply anomalies of the ego to sustain itself. A ’self' needs fear to be a ’self' in order to act independently from Love. ~ Siraj
This following Chinese allegory depicts a monk who was in search of Buddha. The story illustrates what we fear most in our lives and what many of us face in the journey along the path to no-thing! Within the story you will discover what it really means to face and overcome our greatest fear – the fear of non-existence. May this serve you well as you explore the depth of significance it offers.
A monk travelled for years and years, finally arriving in the country where Buddha lived. Just a river had to be crossed and he would be face to face with Buddha. He was ecstatic.
He inquired whether he could get a ferry or a boat to go to the other shore, for the river was very wide. But people on the shore informed him that nobody will be able to take him there because there is a legend that whosoever goes to the other shore never comes back. So nobody would dare take him there…he would have to swim.
Because the river was very wide, the monk was afraid. But finding no other way, the monk began to swim. Just in the middle of the river he saw a corpse floating, coming closer and closer toward him. He became afraid. He wanted to avoid the corpse and he tried in many ways to dodge it, but he could not – the corpse proved very tricky. However he tried, the corpse kept coming closer and closer.
Finding no way to escape from it, curiosity possessed him because the corpse seem to be the corpse of a Buddhist monk: the ochre robe, the clean-shaved head. With a breath of courage, he allowed the corpse to come near…or rather, on the contrary, he began to swim toward the corpse.
He looked at the face and started laughing madly – it was his own corpse! He could not believe his eyes, but it was so. He looked again and again, but it was his own corpse.
He watched as the corpse floated by him and down the river, and he watched his past go with it. All that he had learned, all that he had possessed, all that he had been…the ego, the center of his mind, the self…everything floated away with the corpse. He was totally empty.
Now there was no need to go to the other shore because, once his past had been taken by the river, he himself was Buddha. He started laughing because he had been searching for the Buddha without…when all the while, the Buddha was within.
He came back laughing to the same shore he had left just a few minutes before, but nobody could recognize him. He even told people: “I am the same man!” And they laughed. He was NOT the same man.
He was no longer the same. And that was the reason for the legend that whosoever goes to the other shore does not come back. All had come back were not the same — the old was dead and the absolutely new had come in its place.
The monk had to see that everything he had ever learned during his entire life was the past and of no real consequence to his spiritual progression. Once he could see the delusion of his own fear death…he was free. There was no need to go see the Buddha now! With the past gone, so went his fears – and he himself became a Buddha. The same can be true of us.
The average person allows their entire life to be postured through fear. The human that surrounds their Being trembles under the weight of its own gravity. ~ Siraj
Most of us have very rigid ideas about why things are how they appear to be and what is necessary to sustain a “meaningful” life.
Once we see that our life is transitory, that everything we do in this world is about impermanence, and that clinging to anything only creates ignorance within…we transcend to a place of authentic living. It is our absolute worship of fear that makes our living so miserable. It has been said that we have nothing to fear, but “fear itself.” But to live without fear, without hesitating to jump into the river and face the deepest dread that we are just a mere illusion, deeply threatens the ego. Rarely does anyone move beyond this.
The monk had to face his greatest fear in order to awaken…the fear of his own impermanence. Once he realized that while all things “rise and fall away,” he still remained, he still existed, he still lived – he found his awakening. This is why he was not the same person who had left the shore earlier that day. He was now awake because the fear of his own existence and nonexistence had become clear to him. A new intelligence was born within. This intelligence is spiritual not religious, compassionate not strategic and operates at a level born from a profound SILENCE.
You are that which you seek. ~ Siraj
Within a spiritual practice we work toward overcoming our basic fear of life – the realization of the nonexistence of the “self” we have ironically and erroneously called “me.” When we allow fear to obstruct our search, we complicate matters and create unnecessary difficulty. As a great Master once said: “The path to awakening seems arduous because it must go through us.” We will never perfect the human aspect of ourselves. We must not harm the human through degradation or disdain – it is simply doing what it does and is only a shell through which the Divine can enter and amplify itself. To live without the need to harm ourselves or others is a form of inner grace that sets into motion an intent for the spiritual to blossom and heal us from within.
Through meditation and inner work, we build a bridge between the human and the Divine that liberates the mind to consciousness and allows the human to become the servant to the Divine. Everything is a portal for the Soul to emerge as Love in our life. No matter what we are facing, no matter what we are doing – it is all about the impermanence of life and what is truly important, what is authentically real – that which can be taken with us through death…LOVE.
The bottom line is that we ARE Love and only in silence can we resonate to this.
Be deliberate in your efforts to work upon yourself spiritually
Do not allow the mind to wander into self-righteous justification as a reason to become vindictive or hateful
Practice the art of compassion, forgiveness and mercy with yourself and others
Forgive, forgive and forgive again…
Drop quickly everything that keeps you from Love…and never look back!