March 1, 2009
We on the Internet share in common reading and writing and most spiritual teachers would frown on anyone thinking they can get enlightened this way. So why even discuss it? We will tire ourselves out.
That’s why I recommend the notion of “emergence.” We can emerge, stand forth, stand in our truth, even in writing and for that matter in reading as well.
Enlightenment itself is direct experience, unmediated by the written word. It has no “via.”
“Emergence” is breaking through the barriers to direct experience, barriers like fear and guilt and shame.
What we are seeing around us today are people who’ve been quiet for years saying “I will not be quiet any longer.” It doesn’t matter what the trigger is. If you say it about one topic, you’ll have created a new pathway and will be as able to say to the New World Order in the next breath, “George Bush is a mass murderer and high traitor.” Or to a corrupt local politician. Or to someone selling you snake oil.
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I emerged last week, several times, and I noticed some things about it, which I jotted down on handy pieces of paper.
One thing I noticed was that emergence was like the snap of a finger. If I snap my finger, there is no sound, no sound, then sound, and then again no sound, no sound.
Emergence is like that. There is no emergence, no emergence, and then emergence, and then no emergence again, etc.
Emergence happens in a moment of “now” and then it is over. We are left in the afterglow, but no longer in the state of emergence. Our energies are liberated and we feel elated.
We feel released from a limiting experience. If our emergence came from telling a suppressed truth, then the truth has, for the moment, set us free from barriers.
I also noticed that emergence happens because we value a moment of “now” more than we value a moment of subjugation to our conditioned thoughts from the past. For example: I will say the unmentionable. Nut nobody wants to talk about it. Why are we not all talking about this subject? There is a hippopotamus sitting on the breakfast table and none of us is acknowledging it. We are all pretending it isn’t there.
Hey, people. 9/11 was an inside job. Why won’t you discuss it?
There is no war on terror, save the war we created ourselves. Why won’t you listen?
For heaven’s sakes, spaceships are all over the place. Why won’t you consider them?
Emergence happens when we don’t let our conditioning hold us back. And it happens in a moment of now, and now, and now.
I also noticed that yesterday’s emergence won’t get you anything today. Emergence has no shelf life, no “best before” date. It exists now and it’s gone. Better emerge again because you can’t save it in the bank and you can’t buy a thing with yesterday’s emergence.
At the same time, it gets easier and easier to emerge. Once the pattern of resistance, the tension in the muscles of the body, has been broken once, it is easier to break again.
I also noticed that emergence implies that I value this moment of “now” over all other past moments. So if you came to me and said, “Yesterday you argued X and today you’re arguing Y,” I would have to reply that I am unwilling to be bound by my own words from yesterday.
Yesterday I was where I was and today I am where I am. Emergence will not allow me to cling to any moment of the past or it flies out the door.
Emergence means that I value the truth over all barriers to it. It means I will speak the truth no matter the cost. It allows no hiding.
However, humans being what they are, until we are ascended and therefore harmless, emergence requires that we value harmlessness before truth, else humans will rip each other’s faces off and say it was all in the name of telling the truth.
Therefore, until ascension, harmlessness is said (by Gandhi) to come before truth. It is the only exception that I am aware of. Thus Jains wear masks so that they don’t even cause harm to insects. They place harmlessness at the head of their virtues.
* * * *
The chief barrier to telling the truth, as far as I know, is our fear of having our existence extinguished. That usually means a fear of death, but it can ripple down into a fear of losing our job, a fear of starving or going homeless.
Whatever we conceive of as being essential to our survival, or the survival of anything we identify as being important to ourselves, that we’ll protect and not put at risk when it is necessary to tell the truth.
I will not tell the truth if I risk being kicked off the Immigration and Refugee Board and losing my status and what was for me a huge salary.
I will not risk telling the truth if it will get my wife mad at me.
The number of attachments that we sacrifice the truth to is endless and hence we not only don’t emerge; we submerge ourselves in half-truths and lies, posturing and gesturing. We live behind a mask and don’t emerge from it. We become Noh actors in a high-stylized drama.
* * * *
I saw last week as well that emergence involves a willingness to put myself in the gap of unknowing and act from there.
I can know and know and know, but emergence involves a willingness to not know and act from that place.
If I do not tell the truth, I condemn myself to living behind a persona, behind excuses. It is just a short hop to acting out a story about myself, spewing forth rehearsed lines, and parading around with no clothes on, asking to be admired.
Emergence will not stand for that. Submergence will.
I saw as well another way of putting the whole thing and here a number of people may hear me rephrasing Buddha.
The Buddha said that the problems that kept us from knowing our true nature were ignorance, craving and aversion.
In fact, craving and aversion keep us in ignorance.
More modern terms might be that strongly wanting and not wanting keep us from knowing ourselves.
I have not reached the level of subtlety yet where I am looking at wanting and not wanting. I have not gotten past the fear of not getting what I want or the fear of getting what I don’t want.
To rephrase that, I remain submerged, repressed, held back, because I fear I won’t get what I want or that I’ll get what I don’t want.
That means that if I want to emerge, I have to be equally open to not getting what I want and getting what I don’t want. I have to let go of my attachments to all preferred outcomes. It has to be OK with me that you say “yes” to me or that you say “no.”
That is the more senior discussion of emergence than simply breaking through my barriers.
* * * *
This whole game, this end-of-the-cycle work we are doing, in the last analysis, is about ascension. It is about emergence.
That having been said, whatever happens here is grist for the mill of emergence.
Emergence is the game we are playing, not being reassured about our future. Our future is assured, but the part that is expected of us is that we do all we can to emerge.
* * * *
Our emergence qualifies us to assist others who will be breaking out of their shells in the years ahead. We are putting in our time at boot camp to be able to assist others through it in the years ahead.
So it really doesn’t matter to me whether predictions pan out or don’t, whether people are happy or sad, whether you agree with me or not. It does matter to me that you emerge.
That’s all I have to say. The impulse that had me by the throat and forced me to write has now left. I have said what I needed to say.
If you’re here, you’re here to emerge. Rip my skin off if you want to, but come out of your own.
Take the mask off. Leave the act behind. Never mind your excuses and your rationalizations and, for heaven’s sake, never mind mine. Stand there in the essential truth, no matter how foolish it looks.
My surmise is that eventually there will no longer be anyone who knows how foolish you look. There will no longer be anyone looking.