Truthfulness, satya, is the second of the yamas, social precepts, set out by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras. These moral and ethical principles are meant to be practiced in thought and word, as well as deed.
Coming directly after non-violence, ahimsa, it is important to realise that if there is any violence within our practice of truthfulness then it is invalidated. All the yamas and niyamas defer to non-violence. So, if our friend picked the wrong dress to wear, and looks appalling, and we tell her, knowing it will offend her, we broke the precept of non-violence with violent truthfulness, even though what we said was true. When we accidentally offend someone, this is clearly a mistake, but perhaps we will hopefully notice our mistake and try to avoid it in the future.
However, let's take note; if there is a dark area in our hearts which is seeking to attack those around us, then we need to become aware of it. Such dark motivations do not disappear by insisting they’re not there. Here, the precepts of both non-violence and truthfulness are broken, because we have not been truthful, to ourselves even, about our personal motivations. And how often do we do that?!
Outwardly, truthfulness seems to be pretty clear. Inwardly, we are in a mess about what is true and what is false. There is so much personal work to be done on this. A lifetime and more's undoing of dishonest thinking about the nature of ourselves and our fellows cannot be remedied overnight. The first step, however, is to accept that there is a very big mess inside. This is the honest first step, accepting the problem.
As S N Goenka quite rightly points out, “The problem of suffering is universal to mankind”. And just because we might have a good job, a secure home, a sexy partner, and great kids does not mean that inwardly there isn’t war and tension, things amiss. The modern world is a great soporific. We are so comfortable on our fat arses, watching and bemoaning the evening news whilst filling our faces with poisonous, addictive, and bewitching substances that we have forgotten, most of us, what we might really be instead.
But if we’re truly honest with ourselves, we know this picture just ain’t right at all. Right?!
There is a universal human tendency to have violent thoughts about others, perhaps for some every day of the life for the whole day. Perhaps for others not so much, but it is there. Can you admit that you have that tendency?
I invite you to satya.
I know I sure felt like that before, day after day. I was pathologically unhappy. But the view I presented to the outside world, at least the view I thought I was presenting to the outside world, was something quite different to the thoughts I was having about the outside world; the unseen thoughts coming from my private hell. I’m aware that no-one is any different to me. I’m not so special. Life experiences cause us to suffer. The degree of intensity of experience makes no difference, we suffer. Suffering is universal.
No, we are all the same. I see that now. So anything I say here I expect to you to resonate with. And if it doesn’t, then perhaps you have not sat quietly and listened to your thoughts, and noticed them. Instead, you are still driven by your thoughts, a slave of your thoughts. I’m not sure if you have broken truthfulness in this case, but the minute you do see what’s going on inside, even for a tiny split second, and afterwards continue with the charade of good character, you’re out.
I most certainly have not yet given up lying to myself completely. I have shed a lot of my personal delusions, but some remain. I’m aware there is still a lot of work to do; particularly in the area of people-pleasing, which we will talk about in a bit. But let’s, for a moment, go deeper.
On first glance it's easy, you tell the truth, simple. However, when do we really ever tell the truth? Do any of us have even an inkling of what the truth is? We talk about being true to ourselves, having our own truths. But how many truths does that mean that there is? How can there be more than one truth? Truth isn’t plural. Truth is truth. It must be common to all. What is this truth that none of us agree on?
There are certainly common agreements in the world, but we can see that these agreements shift and change over time and are not shared by everyone at the same time. For example, what we believed some time ago about x-rays being a wonder of medicine is quite different now we know that being subjected to them can be a cancer trigger.
Then there’s the obvious one about the world being flat until it was proven round; or our planet being the centre of the universe, until it was proven to be travelling around the sun. There is a belief in the pursuit of “profit” over all other considerations which runs our world but is obviously inherently insane.
Anything we hold to be “true” is open to question. Anything. Most of what we believe is just consensus; the things we agree to because we were told it was so, or noticed it was so and never had the notion to question it. Even scientific experiment can only confirm probability rather than demonstrating any concrete truth. Science itself confirms that last sentence. And whatever dress our friend was wearing that we found ugly and unattractive will be haute couture in 2012.
There is no fixed truth in this world.
So what is truth? And where is it?
Now, hardly anyone is going to be aware of this unless they are on some sort of spiritual path and even then it's really difficult to see fully because the illusion of the world is so solid, so apparently real. But the fact that you made it to this part of my ramblings means you have had an idea there is something not quite right with how we think.
“You're here because you know something. What you know you can't explain, but you feel it. You've felt it your entire life, that there's something wrong with the world. You don't know what it is, but it's there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad. It is this feeling that has brought you to me. Do you know what I'm talking about?”(1)
It’s unlikely that any of us here have yet fully witnessed the Truth, but we have certainly had momentary views of it and some of us feel that we know that it is there. I can’t tell you what it is; nobody can tell you what it is. If they say they can, they're lying! We have to find out for ourselves. That is one of Truth’s laws; it can never be a second-hand experience and it must be experienced to be known. Very scientific, I might say. So, assuming we are on a spiritual path of some sort, and assuming we’re committed to our path and have accepted our current situation, we do our best to be as truthful with what we've got right now, what we’re working with, where we’re at; whilst noticing the false beliefs we discard as we go along the way. It’s so nice to see them go.
Lucky enough to have an inkling, how do we respond (not react) to the deeply held illusory beliefs of the overwhelming majority? The answer to that is compassion. Remember when you thought you were the centre of the universe too? Remember those terrible times when you thought everyone was against you somehow? That you were unlucky? Remember? Remember how much you used to suffer at the slightest word of perceived derision? Or how you felt when you compared yourself with others and found yourself severely wanting? These are just a few of those beliefs that the majority contend with 24 hours a day, yes even in sleep, especially when dreaming. OK, so now for us, it’s a little less than 24 hours a day because we’ve tasted freedom, yet we are constantly slipping back. Even so, we are clear what it is exactly that we are liberating ourselves from. And we wouldn’t wish it on anyone. Compassion is the only valid response to the world and the only response that will maintain peace inside.
Let’s talk a little about people pleasing now.
The most obvious way that I am dishonest with myself and others that I am aware of right now is people-pleasing. People-pleasing is indulging the perceived other. I was always an outrageous flirt, with anyone and everyone, not just in romantic situations. This behaviour pattern or reaction would just kick in, unconsciously, in interaction with other human beings. I am very good at it too. I have an unusual level of empathy with other people which makes me an unusually successful flirt. Responses are tailored to the person and the judgment I made as to what will please them and get them to respond as I wish them to. It is a subtle and intuitive understanding of how to manipulate the energies between people. It is potentially a great gift for good, but used for personal gain, which is what flirting really is, it is utterly dishonest.
People-pleasing is required less within very close and intimate relationships, as here the ego is free to offend. With the people we think we love or are close to, we easily choose to be offensive. I used to notice this within my own family and thought that it was common to us only. The huge efforts we made not to offend an unknown person beside the even bigger efforts we made to offend each other were starkly apparent. At some point I started to notice it going on outside my immediate family and then decided it must be common to the culture. After finding some silence within, and confirmed by my study of A Course In Miracles, I began to see that this insanity is endemic to humans believing a separated state; humans operating through the veil of the ego. It is part of the universal suffering.
I’m so happy to have seen the pathology in action and choose to not offend those I really love and furthermore discard the belief in having to “act” a particular way in certain situations. I’m so happy to see that taking the positive or the negative view in any situation is an entirely arbitrary matter and so, seeing as I’m still here, I’ll take the positive view thank you. Neither view is necessarily true, after all.
The foundation of people-pleasing is to cushion and protect the other person's ego. Whatever we think the other person wants to hear, we say. But how in the world could we know what the other person is thinking? We think we know but actually what we are doing is projecting our own thoughts onto the other person. Thus, in judging the other person’s motivations, we are judging ourselves by our own petty standards, and lying in order to maintain them. We are keeping up appearances, with ourselves.
Letting it go is the same as deciding to just relax for the rest of your life. That can’t be bad can it?!
So, I began to remain silent instead of flirt, react, or offend and now, for me, whenever I lie, behave dishonestly, flirt, offend or people-please, it's like hearing clanging cathedral bells right beside the eardrums. I can't help but be aware of my error. It's so obvious to me, I must be obvious to everyone else too. And when I spend time with someone who is deeply delusional and try to communicate honestly with them, it feels like the consciousness, my awareness, gets foggy, closes off, narrows; and I understand that anything approaching real communication will be tricky but that I must do my best to maintain satya.
Indulging a very confused person can only cause trouble. However, let’s not beat ourselves up too much. What on earth could we have done while we had no idea of what we really are? And even though we know we are not what we thought we were, we oftentimes slip back into believing ourselves to be unworthy, or better than the rest. How on earth could it be any different? Let’s not give ourselves such a hard time on these errors. We were doing, and can only continue to do, the best we can, given what we know, in any situation.
Another thing rife in this mistaken world we live in is people arbitrarily choosing a dishonest approach before even considering the alternative. It's like a nervous twitch, or the accepted norm. It’s especially noticeable in business. What is that all about? It seems that choosing the dishonest way first, or creating a dishonest way if there isn’t one to choose, must be due to believing it will remedy an inherent lack. It will perhaps make us feel one-up on whoever we are lying to. But the ego in its ways is so complex, convoluted and chaotic, I can’t be analysing the whys and wherefores of dishonesty, just to say it is there, unexamined, and it does not help us move forward in life.
So what of asana? How are we observing truthfulness in our asana class? Here we see the insanity of the ego very clearly again; flinging our awareness around with its opposing beliefs that we adhere to without question, only to be flung instantaneously to the other pole to adhere so diligently yet again. In class I might feel myself better than the rest (not true) yet minutes later I might feel myself worse than the rest (also not true) and I may swing from one idea to the other whilst thinking about a million other things and then I might momentarily experience a stillness within, a satya, and just notice the things as they are and not as I want or don’t want them to be. Experiencing that nano-second is the goal.
1. FILM: The Matrix, 1999, (Morpheus to Neo)
Written October 2011
Saturday, 28 March 2015
Saturday, 4 October 2014
I wrote the first edition of this book in a flurry of wild zeal. This zeal arose from my certainty that the Holy Spirit had instructed me to write the book, and extended into a belief that every word I wrote would, therefore, be perfect.
Since then, I have started to write fiction. Divinely ordained or not, I realised I had no idea how to write fiction. Non-fiction – I had assumed – was something I already understood, having written a PhD thesis at one time, cum laude. However, fiction remained mysterious and perplexing. I realised I needed some professional advice.
I took some free online courses and read some well-known books on the subject. As I read and learned, I realised, with horror, what a blustering egomaniac I had been during the writing of the first edition, never mind the fiction I was drafting at the time. Each writer’s failing point the professionals laid out made me wince and cringe. I knew I would have to edit The Liar again, and extensively.
My sincerest apologies go out to the few who bought the first edition, more apologies if they actually read it. I hope this new edition will eliminate the confused sentences, the weasel words, the guff, and the blarney. I hope, too, that something clear and readable will have taken their place.
Niramisa, October 2014
THE LIAR, Second Edition, is now available on Amazon and all major online retailers.
Saturday, 7 June 2014
Finding Raj was far easier than finding Marilyn. All over the collective perception, inside the physical, mental, subtle and formless realms, there were helpful signs to his whereabouts because common knowledge about him was no different to what he believed about himself. This was unlike Marilyn, whose real state of mind, and thus true being and character, remained hidden. All the signposts pointing to Marilyn led to nothing, and we should take note that there were millions more signposts for her than for Raj. In contrast, all the signposts pointing to Raj led to familiar illusions of his life in which he continued to play his role to the best of his ability, insisting he was joyful, fulfilled and enlightened, bigger than God.
Healing Raj was another story though, and would be far more difficult than healing Marilyn. As our work progressed, we saw that those with thinking weighted down with ‘worse than’ self-concepts were quicker to accept a new, loving story to live by, and so heal their lives. In many respects, the only way was up for those suffering severe inferiority complexes, and so whenever we arrived to help them understand what had happened in their most recent life as well as assist in unravelling the knots of lies that had caused them so much pain, they were more than happy to go along with us. They had nothing to lose.
In contrast, those with thinking weighted down with ‘better than’ self-concepts, like Raj, had to be first persuaded that there was something very wrong with their most recent life, because they refused to see it. This preliminary step of facing up to the obvious suffering they had endured and caused over a lifetime – that which we were able to skip with Marilyn and those like her – usually took some time.
We found him in the middle of an enormous orange marquee, sitting cross-legged on a raised dais surrounded by a throng of beautiful, young, blond girls who were tending to his every need. One was caressing his long, black, wavy hair. Another was giving his left foot a deep and sensuous massage. Others were throwing handfuls of rose petals over him, smiling to themselves, eyes closed. To the side, a band played frenetic dance music to which many thousands of devotees, all young, blond and dressed in orange robes, whirled about, their eyes popping out of their heads, their mouths twisting into grotesque grinning.
We approached, skirting around the imaginary dancers and stepping through the illusory mini-harem, to sit down in front of him, the scene continuing around us. Noah began.
“You know you are dead Raj? This life is over and has been for some time.”
The music stopped. The dancers swirled their last, fading into a grey mist. The beautiful young girls disintegrated back into the pure mind-space canvas, the marquee disappeared, and Raj shed the strong, vital, thirty-year-old body, replacing it with the grey, balding, and emaciated sixty-year-old body he had been wearing when he left his last unhealthy, drug-addicted, megalomaniac’s life. The three of us sat cross-legged, facing each other in the pure silence of unhooked mind space. Raj looked irritated.
“But this is Samadhi. You people know nothing! Foolish faithless! You have no idea who you are talking to, do you?” He started to draw up from deep inside his lungs the mucus that had been gathering there before turning his head and hawking it into the mind space emptiness.
“And, whatever you think, I’m having fun. Why should it be over? You people are so serious.”
“But Raj, are you really having so much fun? You have been here for centuries now. What are you doing exactly? Are you fulfilling your tasks?”
“But I am loved. They love me. Even now, downstairs, they love me.”
“Well, Raj. Does anyone even remember you downstairs anymore? It was such a long time ago and there were too many repeat performances. We started to learn from our mistakes, and the examples you provided for our learning were stark. It was so tiresome; vicious defence reactions at every attempt to solve severe and undeniable problems, and the continuous sexual abuse got beyond a joke. Your image downstairs was a lie anyway. You know that. That is why you refuse to move on. You are scared Raj. You are scared that you will have to accept many difficult things about yourself and that we will tear down your marvellous, bigger-than-god image.”
“Liars!” He stood up and stomped away. We would have to leave him be. That would be enough for now. He would sulk for a while, and get high. Communication would be impossible until he had processed our meeting. Maybe this time he would change his mind a little.
The next time the Boss put the Raj healing into our in-tray we found him in one of his fleet of golden Rolls Royce’s.
“Raj, hi,” we said, sliding down from above to sit either side of him.
“You two again,” he sighed.
It was my turn to address him. “Yes. Hey, Raj, you know that these cars are a joke downstairs. If you drove any of the hundred that you bought with your devotees’ money they would laugh at you, ridicule you and throw you into prison for a few months.”
“Why should I care? Look!” He pointed through the open window at a crowd of dirty-blond, white-skinned, sleek and suntanned youngsters who had lined up along the road, and were bowing and cheering as he inched by waving.
“They love me, see. See!?”
“Raj, it is an illusion. This is your mind’s projection. Why do you waste so much time on this?”
As before, the crowds disappeared into thin air, the antiquated vehicle dispersed into nothingness, Raj’s appearance changed for the worse, and we were sitting, the three of us, cross-legged facing each other, still and quiet in the untouched mind space once again. Noah spoke.
“Why are you blind to the trickery of the mind, you who were supposed to understand it so well? Why are you blind to the liar that controls the thinking of mind-space leaders like yourself with the fiercest grip of all? The liar in the mind goes into overdrive in anyone claiming to replace God, especially those with the power to make loving changes in our sick world. That is why gurus suffer spectacular failures. Can we show you a few things?”
Raj sighed. He was approaching the sulk that he had used to avoid anything important in the past, but it had yet to overwhelm him. We may have a good opportunity. I went on.
“There is nothing unique about you Raj. You are the same as everyone else, everyone great and everyone common. You are the same as Noah and I. However, you believe you are a god, alone and special, to be worshipped like a deity. You believe this because the liar in your mind tells you it is so; but it is an illusion. How could it be true Raj, it is against your own teachings?” His eyes widened as I spoke.
“And your devotees, they believed the same falsehood. When the liar persuades us that specialness is real – that there is someone better than or worse than us – we may spend our entire lives inside its maximum security wing. This basic lie, taking unlimited forms in our thinking, influenced everyone, but the error had minimal effect in the world until large groups of people believed a particular form it took. Why do you think it all became so troublesome?”
“They loved me, they still love me,” he peeped in his high-pitched whine, inspecting his sandals at the same time. Noah, rising, motioned at him to stand up.
“How about we take a little tour of suffering gurus Raj? A small sample of people who have felt, like you, powerful and yet vulnerable at the same time. Human beings – like us all – who failed to recognise the fear arising from this ambivalence, and failed to find the perceptual tools required to undo it, and so instead threw this fear onto others in an attempt to escape it. This is your story too.”
“I have no idea what you are talking about. You obviously lack the mental capacity to understand the divine.”
Noah and I flanked Raj, each taking an arm. In an instant, we were flying through the pure mind space. We swooped up, climbing, and then turned and dipped, gliding forward, certain of our direction and our next stop. We came in low, hovering over the first scene.
A large crowd of people had gathered in an open-air structure. The expectant morning air was warm and sticky. Children were running around chattering and playing while a group of serious-looking men were walking around and among the people, stopping at each one to do something. As we looked closer, we saw that they were adding droplets of liquid from small glass bottles into the openings of soft drink cans that all the adults were holding in their hands. Each person took a swig from the can, while parents gave their children a few sips before taking some themselves. The men dropped the liquid straight into the mouths of babies with the help of their parents.
In seconds, people were falling to the ground, dead. The older children fell where they were standing, having taken the drink from their parents. Babies stopped breathing in the arms of their mothers. Children still alive started to scream and cry as dead bodies crashed to the floor in their hundreds. A handful of people ran away when they saw what was happening and came to their senses. The rest, around one thousand people, were dead in minutes.
“This is the power you had Raj. This! This is what the love of a guru may justify.”
“I am nothing like that crazy American,” he was shrieking.
“It was close though Raj. You were lucky no-one died. And there were the suicides.”
“You two make it up as you go along,” he said, flicking his hair with a sharp movement of his head.
We flew up again, taking his arms and standing in close to him. He could storm off again at any moment. We came down from the mind space into a small city apartment where a large, moustachioed, turbaned, dark-skinned man, naked apart from a pair of miniscule, red underpants, was sitting cross-legged on a clean and neatly made king-size bed. He was talking to three white-skinned, dirty-blond, suntanned young men who were sitting on chairs placed around the bed.
“We need new girls for the parties anyway. Lila was all used up already, no?” the guru giggled. “Are the two sisters who have been visiting ready for me yet?”
“Soon guruji. The older one knows that sleeping with you will help her karma. She is ready. The younger one, well, she’s young guruji, fourteen.”
“Bring her anyway. She delights me. My sex will shock her into Samadhi, no?” He laughed, victorious.
In quick response, the Californian hippie-chuckle reverberated around the room. “Yes, guruji. Yes.”
“But make sure we have the correct days for the parties. Ask the women to watch the girls please.” His voice hinted at impatience.
“Pregnancies hurt the image. Have you arranged the surgery for Lila yet?”
The scene disintegrated and we stopped still in the mind space and looked at Raj.
“Maybe that happened,” he whimpered. “Maybe there were some pregnancies that would have caused, some, well, difficulties. A few times, only a few times, but they all loved me, I assure you, they loved me.”
Three pairs of feet lifted a tiny way off the ground, hovered for a second, and then we were off again. This time we orbited the globe until we were over the ocean, close to Australia. Shooting northwards, we swooped down on a small tropical island. We circled a small village close to a beach scattered with tiny huts. At one end of the beach was a larger building. A crowd was heading inside. We followed them in.
The place was packed. The guru was parading up and down a line of devotees. They were new arrivals, fresh in that morning. They were all female, beautiful and in their twenties. The white-skinned, fat, bald, sixty-year-old guru wearing nothing but an orange loincloth examined their faces and bodies, touching, petting and cupping his hand on a breast if he felt inspired to do so.
“This one,” he had chosen. “Drink some more,” he ordered.
All the devotees reached for the whiskey in front of them, gulping it down. Helpers dragged the chosen devotee to her feet. She was quite drunk already. They led her up the stairs and towards the bed that had been set up in the middle of the raised stage where everyone could see it.
“No-one said anything about this. Please, no. I want to go home now,” she whispered to the helper who had her arm. “And I feel sick.” She burped.
“You have no choice,” he whispered. “And you are lucky to have been chosen,” he squeezed her arm hard enough to hurt. “If you decide against it, you will be in danger.”
The inevitable happened but there was nothing interesting in hanging around to watch lower evolutionary beings copulate in the deepest fearfulness; sex with the added epic tale of avenging warrior claiming divine entitlement of a body to justify his better-than-ness. We’d had enough of that when we were lower evolutionary beings ourselves.
Now that we could see the lies in everything, human sexual activity predating the undoing efforts made us wince. It was even more gruesome when the lost humans believed there was something divine about it. Whenever we witnessed the sex confusion generated by the liar in the mind, we were nauseated. Our instructions were clear, never dwell on lies. It was good advice.
We let Raj watch, but we focussed his perception onto the heart of the devotee and the fear and confusion she was feeling, steering his awareness away from the gluttony and glee of the proven powerful guru. He would already be familiar with those feelings, and liable to defend them with bizarre references to the divine; references which only made sense to those desperate to rationalise criminal acts of madness. The scene drifted into grey meaninglessness.
“Well, Raj. Recognise anything there?” I asked.
“So he’s a bit like me.”
“He was a sick man Raj. Many of his devotees committed suicide.” Raj’s face twitched. “It will be a long time before anyone can help him. The delusion he suffers is so strong, he is blind to us, just as you were when you first arrived upstairs. Raj, do you recognise your world in these scenes? These gurus preached the same words of love as you, and they all promised that peace and happiness could be found through sex.”
“Everyone says those things in India. It is no big deal. Stupid Americans with their heads up their asses. It blew their minds. It really did. What was I supposed to do? They were quite mad. How could I stay sane surrounded by those fools?”
We were getting somewhere. There was no movement through space. Instead, the grey surround morphed into images and form once more and we found ourselves sitting around a spacious dinner table in an outdoor restaurant. There were around ten people dining. Raj, Noah and I took spots between the diners. We seemed to be in a tropical zone as it was early evening, but dark already, and humid. Crickets were singing and a tall, thin woman with dirty-blond, unkempt hair was speaking.
“And the boss of Europe was coming to our little ashram in Denmark and they told all the pretty girls that we had to have sex with him; and maybe we had to have sex with some of his assistants too. The thought of it made me sick, but they told me I was being difficult. They told me I could forget enlightenment if I refused to have sex with the men. I knew that if I refused, the entire ashram would stop talking to me, that they would make my life impossible. I saw it happen to others. So I did it.”
“Wow, that’s horrible Marta,” said the woman beside her.
“Yes, it is. It is one thing I remember right now, but there was much, much more. I managed to escape the ashram about a year later. I was nineteen. I was lucky. I had a friend who let me stay with her for a while. She saved my life, literally. I tried to kill myself three times.”
“O my goodness!”
“Yeh,” she paused. “That was thirty years ago.”
Raj was examining the stubby, bloody, bitten shreds of his fingernails.
“I had an experience at the ashram in India, about ten years ago,” said a middle-aged man sitting opposite. “It was grisly. It really upset me.”
“Well, I wanted help for, you know, emotional, relationship things. Anyway, I signed up for a workshop. It was expensive but one of the cool guys recommended it, you know, all the dudes were doing it. Well. There were around twenty of us. They told us to bring lubrication and condoms. Then the women arrived, but they were young some of them, like children, sixteen and so, maybe younger. The workshop was where we were gonna have sex with these young girls, but uninhibited, you know, we could do what we liked. The instructions were to be daring. They said this is how we would heal our psycho-emotional problems with parents, with authority. It would unblock us.
“Well, I felt sick. I could see the girls were unhappy and wished they were somewhere else. I know the look of a prostitute. I’ve been with enough of them…I’m sorry, it’s true. I knew it was all lies, made up to justify fucking children and paying through the nose for the pleasure. We were somehow going to be closer to divine through acts of paedophilia. They actually believed that crap. It was vile. I left. I left the ashram. I left India soon after. It was sickening. I think the guru had died by then, but all this was going on, maybe even now it is. I heard it was worse when he was alive.”
Raj had shut his eyes and his head drooped.
“We have one more visit to make Raj. Ready?” I asked him. He nodded.
We whooshed up again, swooping, swirling, whizzing high, plunging low, and then we were floating on the ceiling of a swish Manhattan apartment with an incredible view over the city through enormous windows. Two men were sitting on the modern, angular, spotless white sofa. They were both approaching their sixties, with hair the colour of a grey that had probably once been dirty-blond. They were looking at figures on a laptop in front of them on the minimalist glass coffee table.
“You see how rich we are man?” The first man roared with laughter. “We are so incredibly rich dude! Can you imagine if the old fool knew what we were doing? It was so easy to manipulate him those last years when he was bat crazy.”
“Dude, it’s hilarious! What makes me laugh is how they go for this bullshit more now than we ever did when he was around. It’s insane.”
“Totally dude.” The Californian hippie-chuckle made a couple more laps of the chapter before the men and the apartment disintegrated into the mind-space purity from which they had emerged, leaving the witnessing process.
“You played the liar’s game very well Raj. You understood the rules and followed them impeccably. You were so diligent and methodical, that you won the liar’s game. You were a true winner at the liar’s game. And, as it is with all such winners, the moment you won, you lost everything.”
We were sitting cross-legged once again, calm and silent in the colourless, brilliant, pure perceptual space. A large tear rolled down Raj’s cheek and splattered onto his thigh, drawing a dark circle in his orange gown.
“Your young girlfriend, Raj, did you know she was depressed enough to take her own life?”
We left him with his thoughts. We would return when he was ready for his undoing speech.
While Noah and I were in training, the Boss had taught us that when we refuse to acknowledge madness in anyone (whether by insisting madness is evil, a sin, or by insisting it is sanity, reasonable) we refuse to acknowledge the insanity in our own mind at the same time. We saw that humans refused to acknowledge the madness of gurus because we feared the sacrifice of something important, something essential to our happiness. We had confused the most insane behaviour with finding our way back to our Good God, while at each crazy application of our insanity Good God slipped further from reach. However, the liar told us we were doing well, that we had found God, and He was with us, and we believed the liar instead of the obvious facts.
We saw that under the mental dictatorship of the liar, what we thought would bring us happiness did the opposite, without exception. Everyone suffered this delusion, but its effects were starker within the madness of insidious cults. Love remained mysterious in those times. We had it confused with destructive activities. Sex without ethics, power over others, fear, paranoia, financial corruption, criminal activity, murder and suicide was justified, and defended by further violence.
War masked as peace seduced the fearful. They believed that destructive activities ensured the power, specialness, and uniqueness of religions, cults, and gurus. Cult membership made them better than everyone else, and bigger than God Himself. Any threat to a cult’s specialness could justify murder, and the guru was the most special of the special. It was logical, explainable, and utterly insane.
When we realised how the insanity functioned, how the liar in the mind had built a nightmare world and made it appear reasonable and sane, all the horrors had an explanation. Even the madness of devotees murdering their own children had a sad, heavy, explanation. What else could they do when the only thing that gave their lives any meaning was threatened? They must follow their leader in his specialness, and to death.
We saw that all human group mentalities reflected the madness of religious cults at varying levels of intensity. But, as we undid the lies wherever we found them, the unification of human perception revealed itself. Undoing specialness brought equality, connection and love, the things that the liar in the mind feared the most. In the early days of reconnecting, the liar’s loudest cheer was for a representative that, it told us, replaced God, knew everything and could help us. We surrendered everything to this faulty human being, the guru. When the guru idol turned out to be just another despot, and destructive activity became commonplace, we resisted admitting our mistake as we feared we would lose our only hope of freedom.
Noah and I saw that the undoing had taken hold long before anyone had any clear notion about what the undoing was. We saw that the energy of love had taken up residence in our minds long before we formally noticed. Guru madness reflected our first tentative steps towards a peaceful, fair and equal collective perception. Humans took to the arrival of Love with great enthusiasm, and the frenzied escapes from fixed ideas we witnessed in those early years were proof of it. It was the first time we had known real hope for the future; hope based upon something other than the liar’s promises. However, we channelled the energy of change in the wrong direction at first. This had been inevitable.
The Boss summoned us after the witnessing. We made the sign of the cross before Her. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.
“Would you please go to Raj,” she bid. “He needs something more.”
He was waiting.
“But what will happen? I’m scared, it’s true. I was bad to people. I know that. And I am sorry. But if I admit it and ask for forgiveness, what will happen? I will go to hell, no?”
“Raj, dear Raj,” Noah said with a kind laugh. “You have been in hell since the beginning. Nothing you have ever experienced on earth has been anything but.”
“Then, it will be worse, much worse.” We both laughed.
“You have a choice. You can take a continuum of difficult lives so that you may learn what you did to yourself. This may take time, much time, because you could slip back into delusion at any moment. The other option is fast-tracking. This is one or two uncomfortable lives where you get all the lessons you require over a shorter period. The Boss organises the lessons and you have to accept them when they come. There is one other option, but you have yet to qualify for that.”
“Let me think about it.” He walked off. He had created a garden from the mind space canvas where he had been wandering since the witnessing. There were no more sulks, and no more young blonds, or crazy orange-clad devotees, or hippie-chuckles, or rose petals; just a simple garden where he could walk, look at the flowers and think things over.
“A powerful guru that sees nothing of his past lives!” I said.
“You’re right. He has no memory of any of it.”
“And to think, he raised our child and was an excellent father.”
Noah and I looked at each other and began to laugh. The human world was so ridiculous.
“Thing is, he always had that yearning for megalomania,” Noah said. “I guess his wish came true and he forgot everything else.”
Whenever we refuse to accept the obvious, in any situation, our psychosis deepens, our confusion multiplies, and truth and peace remain out of reach. And so it was with Raj. And still he wanders, and thinks, in his delicate garden created from the mind space. He wanders and wonders, should he go for the long series of lives where he may well forget his task, or should he fast-track it and suffer in ways that would supply the understanding that would help him heal.