That’s a question I’ve been asking myself this past while.
Let’s get this out there first: I’m not enlightened, and I still feel as separated and adrift as I have done since we were 14, when Padraic and Pearse and I first recognised that we were abandoned in Samsara, with no map, and all our sandwiches eaten.
The non-duality teachers out there speak to us of a liberation they recognised as always already so. And their words fall on my deaf ears. ‘Bully for you’, I think. Which is not to say that I scoff or deny the truth of what they have to say. I know that what they bear witness to is the truth of our existence. But the understanding is intellectual, and doesn’t penetrate to my bones.
So really I am a blind man, and you would do well not to follow me. And this is no false humility, like those spiritual teachers who tantalisingly and sometimes annoyingly deny their awakening with words like ‘There is no one to be awakened’, and all that shite.
It reminds me of an exchange my brother Finn had with a new-comer to his Zen group. Asked a question he answered ‘I don’t know’. Wide eyed, his interlocutor said ‘I see’, as though she had just been made privy to some profound and cryptic Zenism. Spotting her credulity he repeated, ‘No really, I don’t know’. ‘I see’ she offered again. ‘No really, really, I don’t know’ he repeated. But she wasn’t having any of it, and went off satisfied with the depth and breath of his understanding.
So, to repeat, I don’t know anything of any value. I have an ego massive enough to tell you if I did. As for assessing its value, nothing I have learned has diminished or eliminated my inward sense of separation, dislocation and fear. Which for me is the acid test. It ain’t worth a thing if it ain’t got that swing.
Undeterred however, let us sally forth, and see what comes. Maybe the unseen helpers and guardian angels and even God herself (sounds weird using the feminine), may bestow gifts upon us in our brokenness and despair. That we may be what Caroline Myss calls a channel for grace. Which makes your contributions to this of equal importance to mine.