In this empowering and transformative video seminar, recorded during our most recent retreat, The Basis of White Magic, you will learn about the Buddha's secret journey and the seven obstacles to practicing White Magic!
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Gautama Buddha’s Secret Journey & The 7 Obstacles to Becoming a Magus
Let’s talk about the Buddha.
The Buddha is a very interesting figure in history, and the information about the Buddha that has come to the awareness of archeologists and students of ancient history has changed our picture of the Buddha. And it’s not the picture we get from Buddhism—not Theravada nor Mahayana—both of which began long after the Buddha’s life and death. In the same sense that Christianity developed in its current forms long after the death of the person who is remembered as Jesus—and only recently did we find and unearth copies of some of the Gnostic Gospels at Nag Hammadi. But even those were not the original teachings, which were orally transmitted, and the original Christian Mystery School and it’s practices are lost to history or censored from history.
But let’s talk first about the Buddha in the sense that most people think of him. And his title is usually rendered as “The Awakened One.”
What did the Buddha awaken from? And what did he awaken into? Who has some ideas about that? What did Buddha awaken from?
(Comments from group)
Shunyamurti: Illusion? What illusion?
Student: The illusion of a world.
Student: The illusion of suffering.
Student: The cycle of samsara.
Student: That he was a person.
Shunyamurti: That’s true.
Student: Similar to that: a separate self.
OK, we’ll start with those. We have a good assortment of insights, I think all of them are accurate. And so, what did he awaken into, if he’s not a person in a world and not caught in the cycle of time and death and rebirth and not caught in suffering, then what is he when he awakens? What remains?
Consciousness? What is meant by consciousness when you use that word? What do you actually mean? Because we think we are conscious now, right? We think we are awakened into consciousness, but clearly, we’re still unconscious, unless you are all Buddhas.
Student: I’m not really answering your question, but that’s why I’m intrigued by your question. Because I feel he awakened into being the Buddha, but I’m not sure, that’s enigmatic, what that means, it’s…
Student: I didn’t get your question. He awakened to the fact that he’s the Buddha, but I can’t put into words what that means.
OK, I think it would be good to get a concept for that.
Student: In the context of what you taught last night, what was useful was going from being identified as being a body, to still being an identity. But it’s much bigger than a body… the entirety of reality, could be the galaxy, could be everyone simultaneously…
But isn’t it beyond even that? If there’s no world, no cosmos, what is it beyond that?
Nothing? But could it be nothing, because there was someone who awakened, who taught, right? Was he awakened from that idea that there was someone that awakened? Perhaps not a someone, but not perhaps a nothing, perhaps a no-thing, I’ll agree with that.
But what is Emptiness?
Not identifying with something or someone.
Do you know the state of emptiness?
Student: I am Emptiness.
You are emptiness, and you’ve realized that? You are the Buddha?
Student: Not all the time.
Let’s trade seats, come on! OK, that’s interesting. Why not all the time? Since time itself is an illusion, what would draw the Emptiness into a false “somethingness”? Since it’s suffering to come into somethingness, right?
Student: The draw of remembering again.
Ah, OK. Seems like a bit of a sadomasochistic attitude, but all right.
Student: It sure is!
Satya, you had something?
Student: Supreme intelligence
I think that’s an excellent addition. Intelligence. Intelligence itself is not a thing, but it’s also not nothing. If it’s empty, it’s empty of ego, and it’s empty of what we could say is “actuality”. But it’s filled with potentiality. Right?
So, that is, in a way, why Buddha is worshipped by so many, and why people want the Buddha Nature. It’s because of how full it is with the potency of the infinite creative intelligence of that power that can create the maya of an illusion of a world, that un-awakened beings fall into and enjoy so much that they’ll come back from the Emptiness in it to suffer more, because they enjoy their suffering. But it is intelligence that cannot be called either a thing or a no-thing, so I agree with you.
Student: Isn’t the essence of his thing suffering, to be free from suffering? So regardless of what you want to call it—Emptiness—it’s that you’re not suffering, suffering is coming to an end.
I wouldn’t say that’s “his” thing. What you’re talking about now are called the “Four Aryan Truths”, and they were really an answer to a question, because the first people who came to him were suffering, and so he acted as their doctor and said, “Well the diagnosis is this: you’re suffering because of craving, and we eliminate craving by being in nirvana (the state of total non-suffering bliss), and then you’re free. And how do you do that, well here’s an eight-fold recipe/prescription, take these eight tablets every day, and you’ll be completely free of suffering.”
But that was the first teaching, but then there were many more that had to do with other levels of consciousness beyond suffering.
Student: Sat Chit Ananda
Sat Chit Ananda, indeed, I would say is a conceptual representation of the state that he was in.
So, to sum up, the difference between a Buddha and a sentient being (as they are usually called), is the different concepts of entity versus fantasy. Those who have not awakened to their Buddhahood yet are in a state in which they believe they are an entity. You’re a someone; you’re a something—in a world full of things, full of entities—and what Buddha discovered is: “That’s a fantasy!” There are no things, there are no people. There is a fantasy of things and people, and all other kinds of objects that one can imagine, but all of it is a fantasy.
And what the Buddha discovered, and what Ramana Maharshi discovered, and every sage who has achieved that same state of liberation has discovered, is that once you have eliminated all fantasies in your mind—I put that in plural because you have more than one fantasy—this is the whole problem of the ego-consciousness: it’s not unified, it’s not like, “Oh, I’ll just let go of this fantasy, and then I’m free”. What you find out as you enter the path is that you have dissociated fragments, or nodes, of consciousness, each with their own fantasy. And those fantasies are in conflict, which often leads to a paralysis of will: “Do I want this, or do I want that?”
And so, the process of purification, sadhana, the spiritual development, is to eliminate all the fantasies. And when there are no fantasies left, what is realized is that there is no world, and there is no duality because duality itself is a fantasy. Fantasies are structured as dualities, and they are structured as a hero on a quest. All fantasies have, in some sense, that kind of a structure—someone.
Now, the hero can also be an antihero. There are fantasies in which one is serving the dark lord, or an accomplice of the dark forces, and should suffer or deserves to be in a hell realm, and in fact the fantasy of that hell realm is acted out. And there are other fantasies of angelic kinds of attainments, or the fantasy of being on the search for the “pearl of great price”, or the fantasy to get rid of something that is causing your suffering, which is what the quest in The Lord of the Rings is about—it’s an anti-quest. They are not looking for something—they are trying to get rid of this ring. Who will take it? Gandalf won’t take it. The elven queen won’t take it. Nobody’s going to take it. You’ve got to throw it into this fire in Mordor or you can’t get rid of it.
So, there’s always a thing that you are looking for that will either give you power, or take away a kind of power that you realize will only bring harm and suffering. And so these quests—which can be in degraded form and turn into simply an object of desire who will be one’s shining knight, one’s prince who will kiss the sleeping maiden, or the quest for the dragon who is protecting the pile of gold and one will be rich, or it’s to have the seventy-seven virgins in heaven if you die on a jihad for Allah. But there’s always a reward for the attainment of something, or the sacrifice of something. And so, if we analyze our dreams and our fantasies that we become aware of, and even the kinds of movies that we like to watch, we will discover that those same fantasies that Hollywood is clued into and makes billions of dollars off of, are simply imaginary representations of fantasies within our own subconscious levels of mind. So, Buddha got rid of all the fantasies.
Now, the reason why most people don’t become Buddhas—they like their fantasies. That’s why some will come back—even from Emptiness—to try another fantasy—put one more DVD into the machine and see how it plays. But until you are tired of all your fantasies, and you recognize that the result of all these fantasies does not lead to any improvement in your quality of life, and, in fact, you are wasting your time—these fantasies are blocks to the development of your intelligence and the development of your capacity for transcendence; they are imaginary representations of the very transcendence that they prevent. And this is why it is useful to understand.
The mind has the different registers: an Imaginary, a Symbolic, and a Real—so that you can put your fantasy of even attaining Buddhahood into an imaginary form, and think you can come to a retreat at an ashram and you'll attain Buddhahood—that would be a very imaginary way of going about it. However, you could also attend that retreat in a symbolic state of consciousness and realize, “Well I'm not gonna get Buddhahood by just being here, and I'm not gonna get Buddhahood by just listening to somebody talking about it, but I might get Buddhahood if I make use that information—symbolically—to deconstruct all my fantasies, and then be free of the illusion that there’s even a world where there is an ashram or any need of it”—because you’re no longer looking for anything—and you’re no longer anyone.
And it doesn’t matter where your body gets parked, but your Being is beyond and inconceivable to those who are still in the search. And this is moving from the Symbolic to the Real. And the Real itself has different layers in which the first real you’ll find—as the result of resolving the conflict between emotion and intelligence—this is the real conflict, because what do the imaginary quests—whether it’s a romantic or sexual or even pornographic kind of a quest, that’s also a quest—or a quest for a lot of money in the capitalist system, or a quest for power, or you become a boxer in your quest just to prove you’re the toughest guy in the world, you know—whatever your quest is, whatever you want to prove, whatever trophy you want to gain, it’s on that imaginary level.
But it provides emotional satisfactions. And that’s why we get addicted to it, because emotions produce chemicals in the body that we like—endorphins and adrenaline, and even DMT in your pineal gland—you can produce all kinds of emotions based on the chemistry of the body. The body is a chemical factory, and it’ll produce according to what your mind is imagining, feeling states that will go with those. That’s why if someone watches an adventure movie with all kinds of special effects, and they identify with the character going through these incredible adventures, they will feel, vicariously, that same feeling—and it’s a high. That’s why people go through it, they get a high. But is it a real high in the sense of getting highly beyond the illusion? No, it’s going into the illusion and taking all of the juice out of it, but the result of it is dukkha: it ultimately produces suffering and disappointment because it was only a fantasy—and because it’s only a fantasy, it’s temporary.
And so, the Buddha taught about impermanence, that everything that’s temporary ends up leaving you high and dry—shipwrecked, lost, and realizing you wasted your life searching for a non-existent Holy Grail. And most religions are simply productions of a similar kind of fantasy. So, I have no interest in religion, or in offering you a religious model of another Holy Grail. OK? So, even becoming the Buddha could be an imaginary Holy Grail, and we don’t want to treat it like that. And to not treat it like that, one has to have a very clear intelligence that is not at all contaminated by emotion.
So, this is the first purification: to be able to see things clearly without sentimentality, and without the coloring that comes from a sense of lack within, that wants to get high off of something, and will deceive itself in order to be able to produce a temporary good feeling, right? This is what falling in love is often about—a projection of a fantasy—but that cannot last, and then, usually, its negative/opposite fantasy takes its place, and one has to go through that kind of agony.
And so, any kind of a fantasy will also produce its binary opposite: the lord of light will soon show itself as the dark lord and vice versa. So, we have to recognize that, so long as there is a someone in a world, there is duality in which the impermanence of every situation will lead to a failure of the achievement of the intention that one had begun with. And a loss.
And I think the greatest issue is this; in the becoming actualized, you lose your potentiality—you lose your potency. To fall from Buddhahood means you leave the infinite for the finite. And as soon as you become a person in the world, you are used goods; you are merchandise that will have been defiled. And most people start out life already feeling defiled in childhood and tainted and unwantable—as an object of someone else’s quest, or as someone who deserves to complete a quest and gain some “pearl of great price” or some other attainment—or someone who must live in such a psychopathic kind of mind state that one is willing to live for enjoyment without a frame of reference of good or evil, moral or immoral—which leads to other kinds of problems. If you’re in duality, you better have a dharma, because without that, there is chaos. Only the dharma will enable the drama of life to come to a denouement, which means the elimination of the knots, the karma. And instead of a tragedy, one can end up with a comedy in which one is able to enjoy life to the full and not be trapped in a hell realm created by the karmic backlash of one’s irresponsible ways of treating reality.
So, in the ancient world all of this was well known, and the people who completed their psychospiritual development and left emotion behind for pure intelligence—and left the entity illusion and the fantasy illusion, the recognition that the world is fantasy—and were able to create a culture, an Aryan culture. The word “Aryan” means that—it means the fulfillment of the maturity of the psychospiritual potentiality of consciousness, which later became translated as being “noble”. Because nobility, in the sense of virtue, is part of it.
Why is one virtuous? For the simple reason that one is no longer interested in attaining objects, so there is no more greed—there’s no more attachment—there’s no more lust—there’s no more arrogance of the ego. All of that has been left behind. And so, the character becomes noble. But one isn’t doing it in order to say, “Oh look how noble my character is” because that would be an ignoble attitude, because it would be, again, egoic. But those who have gone beyond that then are capable of being leaders, are capable of guiding the world.
And this is where Plato got his idea of the philosopher king, and this was the actual organizing principle behind the Order of the Magi, who were the priesthood of the Aryans at a very early period. And, you know, the Aryans included not only those of Iran (“Iran” means “Aryan”; it’s the same word) but of India, and even all the way to China, and the Greeks, and the ancient Egyptians—all of those peoples were Aryans. The Turks—the Turks of course were not living in Turkey in those days, they were actually in Mongolia and China (what it is today) and they migrated. But these were different tribes of Aryans, they later separated into tribes, they were originally a unified culture. And they attempted to create a world in which, by having transcended the illusions, one could produce, consciously, a paradise. Because you were using your creative imagination to produce the illusion of a world in which everyone is happy, and in which the ecology of the world itself would not require predators and prey, and would not require that duality.
And so, this was part of the intention, but it would have to begin with the human consciousness becoming non-predatory, non-carnivorous. That’s why all of these ancient peoples were vegetarian—you can’t have a carnivore at the top of the food chain and then think that you will have peace on earth. You have to have a being who is harmless so that all the other beings will feel safe. And so, it was this that was the impetus for creating cultural forms, forms of social organization, that would attempt to actualize this, but, of course, in the attempt to actualize it, the potentiality was lost. And because it was in a time in which the vibrational frequency of the world as it was—was in the grip of the ego-consciousness—these ideas became degraded and defiled and turned into their opposites. And so, they failed as an effort to bring about a Sat Yuga. And it’s important for us to learn from that failure if we want to succeed in accomplishing that.
But, in order to even be in the league in which one could contemplate, seriously, such a matter, one has to have eliminated one’s own egoic tendencies. The tendency to fall into maya, under maya, rather than being a master of maya, which is being the magician or the magus.
What’s interesting in terms of recent—this is a diversion, but I’ll tell you because I found it interesting—that the Buddha, who is remembered as “Gotam/Gotama”, that his original name was Gomata. And he was a member of the Order of the Magi, and he was invited to a particular area of the Aryan race, that would now be called Persia, or even Babylon in those days, and he was invited to be its philosopher king.
But his approach to kingship was too idealistic, it was too non-violent. And political enemies ended up overthrowing him. And the man who took over was known as “Darius the Great”—according to himself he was “The Great”—which shows you exactly the difference between a Buddha and a sentient being. But Darius was someone who actually valued philosophy, so he didn’t kill Gomat; he sent him away secretly. And Gomat changed his name to Gotam.
Now, what does Gotam mean? The “go” means bright light and the “tam” means darkness (tamasic comes from that, right). So, here is the unification of the light and the dark. He is expressing that this is who he is, is that coincidentia oppositorum. And his name—now Gotam—he goes eastward to the farthest reaches of Aryan communities in China, and he begins teaching there. And his name gets mispronounced from Gautam to “Laotan” and he is remembered as Laotan, who we now remember as Lao-Tzu. “Tzu” is simply a title for sage. But the Buddha was actually Lao-Tzu. And there is a lot of evidence now about this, I’m not making this up, you know. Others might be, but I’m not, and it’s documented pretty well.
And so, we have this being who creates a number of religious movements along the way. They are actually political intentions. And Lao-Tzu’s ideas are, of course, transformed by Confucius into a much more social order, of the use of the Tao (“Tao” and “dharma” are the same word). But it’s that understanding that, if you’re in the Emptiness at the very center, then the political realm will revolve around you—if you don’t do anything, if you’re in that state of perfect stillness and peace, then there will be order in the periphery. And all of the radii that come from the center of the circle will be able to express that same wisdom and adapt it into the political and social and economic realms of society so that you can create a hypersphere which is controlled at the center by an egoless intelligence. So, this is the basic idea of the social form, and this is what Taoism has been attempting to express, although it went through the same loss of, well, a loss of Taoist sages who could turn it into a reality.
And so, the reason that none of this could be made into a reality on the phenomenal plane is that, once some falls into egoic consciousness, they lose all of that potentiality and all of the silence and the unchanging stillness, and the imperturbable serenity and the wisdom that is required to lead. And they fall into the illusion that they are “Darius the Great” or “Cyrus the Great” or “Alexander the Great”. Why, they’re all great, how did that happen? And what did they do with the greatness? They started wars and killed a lot of people. So, this is not the way to grow a kingdom of heaven.
But this was, at least, the attempt of those who were at that level of consciousness to attempt to “help the world”, which was not helpable at that point. Now, we are in a very different situation, because everybody—you don’t need to be a Buddha to see that the world is coming to an end. Not only is the environment exhausted, but the human intelligence is exhausted. The creativity is exhausted. There is no more potency left; it’s all been used up. The whole world is suffering from impotence of every sort. And in the desperation of trying to prove they have some power left, they will use the only things they have, which are very gross and military and destructive. And so, there is an urgency of a different kind of a situation that is being faced now, that I would say only Buddhahood—but Buddhahood not of only one Buddha teaching, but of a massive number of Buddhas who arise, who can change the entire fantasy that we think is reality (if we are not in a Buddha state of consciousness). Because only that level of consciousness that knows that this is a fantasy—it’s not a reality—has the power to change it in a way that can produce an entirely different trajectory of history.
But that level of consciousness, to be Real, requires the complete fulfillment of the development of our consciousness from the illusion into the Real. And so, that is, I would say, the ultimate need of the hour. If anyone wants to help the world, the world which is your fantasy, the only way to do that is to help yourself out of that world and into the Real. So, that, to me, is the real teaching of the Buddha.
By the way, one of the names the Buddha, or the nicknames I guess, is “Tathagata”. And it’s an interesting word. You have “Tat”, you know, from Om Tat Sat, Tat—“That” (the word “That” is simply a translation of “Tat”). But what is “That”? “That” refers to ultimate reality that can’t be described in any other word. It’s the inconceivable. It’s the ultimate Real. So, Tathagata can either mean Tath-agata or Tata-gata. You can cut the word at either point. If you cut it one way, it means “That has come”. And in the other, it means “That has gone”. Or you could say, “he has gone into That, and now he is That—watch out!” Or, “That is coming.” And it’s like “the Nothing” that is coming at the end of that movie, what was it? The Neverending Story, right. Well, the Nothing does end the story, but it also creates the potentiality for a new story. And that story was always already written, right? He discovers—the character going through it discovers—that he was already there. He is simply repeating himself. He’s simply “doing” now, in what he thinks is reality, what his fantasy has already laid out and made, teleologically, his future. But it was already there from the past because both the past and the future are contained, always, in the fantasy that’s never-ending and never-beginning. But you can come out of the fantasy and awaken and create a new one.
So, the first question that everyone has to answer is this: “Are you an entity?” Or, is the belief in entity-hood, for you really—really, not just theoretically—is it recognized as a fantasy? If you’re an entity, what kind of an entity are you? Because today the entity that you’re supposed to be, according to postmodern belief systems, is you’re a machine. That’s what the whole transhumanist thing is. You’re a computer. You’re this incredibly complex machine, and because this machine, being made out of meat, has a shelf-life, we can put you into a machine made out of titanium; we can upload all of your thoughts into a computer, and you can live forever as the repetition of those thoughts. That sounds like a hell realm. Fortunately, your consciousness won’t go into that computer, and it will just, you know, pretend to be a robotic imitation of you. But maybe you are, already, a robotic imitation of you. So, if you’re not a machine, what are you? Are you a ghost? Are you a ghost in a machine? That’s another popular view. Then you are a Cartesian. Or are you that which is inconceivable and cannot be conceptualized?
But if you are that which cannot be conceptualized, that means that you cannot know yourself through thought. You certainly can’t know yourself through action. At a very low level of intellectual development, people want to know themselves through sensory development and becoming athletes and dealing with the world at a physical level. If you’re a machine, then that, naturally, is how you would develop your potentialities, physically.
But if you are not the machine, what are you then? Are you a mind? A lot of people will think they’re a mind, and they’ll go to get as many PhDs as they can, and develop their mind to the ability that they can beat anyone in a debate. And, you know, the whole thing is about proving you’re more, you have a higher IQ than anyone else, or you can get more Nobel Prizes, or whatever it is you’re going for.
But are you a mind? Is that really what intelligence is? Because there are a lot of really stupid geniuses, in terms of philosophy. We’ve studied Slavoj Zizek, and you look at him and he’s brilliant, but look at how anxious he is—he’s a wreck. And how high has the development of—I like Slavoj by the way, I don’t say this with any pejorative feeling—I think he’s a lovely soul who is doing his best, but from within that construct that you can only think your way out, therefore the only thing he can think of is communism. You know, this has been the whole problem of the twentieth century. Once you believe the world is made up of machines, then you can only use your reason in a materialist frame of reference. And the highest development of materialism would be dialectical materialism, but that certainly hasn’t worked. If we use the dream of reason to serve that goal, we’re going to end up with more Stalins, but were not going to end up with more Christs or Buddhas.
OK. So, if you’re not a ghost in a machine, what are the other options? Two other popular options are these: one is, you’re a hologram or at least an appearance within a holographic construct. The idea then, though—either it’s that there is some superior race that’s holographically projecting this particular world—but then we’d have to figure out, well, who’s projecting them into being? Because aren’t they also a hologram. And you get the infinite regress problem. So, the only way out of that, would be a self-produced hologram, which is called a dream. And so, if the world is a dream, and you are the dreamer, then your power to change the dream—if you become lucid in the dream, if you become awakened, a Buddha, in the dream, would be the—would offer the prerogative of changing the course of the dream.
But we would also have to say that in consideration of the duality that everyone here has their own consciousness, their own intelligence, that’s not an illusion. Even though it’s “my” dream, but “I” recognize that within my dream there are an infinite number of other dreams that are being played out. Everyone here has their own world. There isn’t just one world. And so, if this dream is going to be changed, it has to have distributed its vibratory resonance in a way that is acceptable to the highest level of coherence of everyone in the dream, so that there would be an agreement—“OK, let’s all dream this…”—right? There can’t be a dictatorship of the Buddha, who determines the dream for all the non-Buddhas. That isn’t going to happen. So, there is a democratic reality to the fact that everyone will be able to determine the nature of the dream to some extent. But the highest level of coherence, because everyone yearns for coherence—even if they are stuck in an emotional kind of blindness, there is an urge to come out of it. Because knowledge is power. Clarity, Truth, Intelligence yields more power than stupidity. And more joy. And more capacity for creative options in changing reality. So, if one can realize that one is the inconceivable dreamer of the dream and not a character or an entity in the dream, and that the dream is a fantasy that’s changeable, one can find the key to white magic.
OK, so I’m going to sum up the obstacles. OK, the seven—naturally there are seven obstacles to the practice of white magic.
The first one is: identifications. There is a tendency in the mind to want to know who you are on the level of having a self-image. And the first self-image, or images, we get are from our parents. And their image of who we are, or what kind of a being we are, whether we are the new messiah or a brat who, “I’m sorry I gave birth to”, or a little of each—those self-images become the original state that the ego uses in order to understand how to relate to others in this world that it thinks it has been born into as a human person.
So, the tendency then, to identify with those who are most successful and most popular, will become one’s way of trying to grow out of the original identifications which trapped one into a very small world, a very small frame of reference that was entirely devoted to getting the approval of the parents. But if you need to get the approval of other people in your social group, you’re also going to have a very limited sense of self-identity. Any time you are trying to fit in anywhere, you’re going to be giving up who you are for who you think others want you to be in order to be able to get along. So, this tendency to identify in order to feel like you are accepted and that you are safe in a situation, will alienate you ever further from your true nature.
You can also get the rebellious identifications: “I’m going to be the opposite of those people. I hate their guts, and I’m going to turn into the opposite.” But you’re still going to end up identifying as an opposite and still be stuck in a very limited frame of reference in which you can only do that or think that which fits the self-image. You can’t have a thought beyond that because then you would depersonalize, which is the reason why people are afraid of too much information, and they can crack the identification. And if they don’t know who they are beyond the identification, they can go into a psychotic breakdown. And so, the first thing we have to do is get beyond that tendency to create an artificial, imaginary entity in the mind, that we then try to behave as, to fulfill a role.
So, the second is the tendency toward unconsciousness. One doesn’t want to become too conscious. Because if you become too conscious, first of all, you’ll realize whatever self-image or self-concept you have is not you and you will constantly be out-of-sync with yourself. And you won’t know what you want or who you are. And there will either be a constant attempt to create a new identification, or there will be a sense of being swamped by all of the fantasies that are subconscious and all of the collective projections on you that you won’t be able to be immune from because you’re in a state of lack of a real identity—a real, true understanding of Self.
And so, that leads to the third problem, which is censoring of information that would lead to more consciousness. So, we actually install an agency within the ego that tunes out information that we don’t want to hear. Some of you may be tuning out right now what I’m saying because it’s not something your ego wants to know. How many are doing that? And you see you can’t even know when you’re doing it because then you wouldn’t be able to do it.
So, the ego has to have layers of self-deception in order to get away with not growing and not changing and holding on to certain belief systems and certain other people who give you feedback that gives you an enjoyable self-image. That’s why people love being grandmothers and good uncles and philanthropists and all this kind of thing. “Because I will get a positive gaze”, you see? So, the ego’s need for approval is a life or death matter—it’s not just, “I don’t care if they like me or not.” No, it’s really a serious matter.
And if you fall into a situation where you don’t get that gaze back or the person you depended on for your affirmation or validation dies or changes their attitude, that’s critical. That’s why what sends people into therapy more than anything else, is either the death of a loved one, or a divorce or an empty nest, the child leaving, “the only one who ever loved you unconditionally”—at least you thought that was the case. Gone, and then you find out they hate your guts anyway, and they never write to you even on Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, right?
So, it’s that loss that becomes the tragedies of people’s lives at the ego level. And so, they are trapped and chained to the need for approval. And this is the whole reason for the meat market of love affairs and all that. Because you’ve got to get your fix of getting a good self-image, constantly, because you can’t produce that goodness internally; there are too many other dark fantasies to do that. So, the censor keeps you in a state of not having an adequate amount of information to navigate reality.
And that leads to, what I’m going to call today, “heterostasis”. I sometimes have referred to it as homeostasis, but, actually, Gilles Deleuze—and what we’ve been talking about as the repetition of difference—we need to understand that what the ego does to deceive itself, is to repeat the same patterns as it did before in order to get the same kind of gazes and the same kind of results, but in a slightly different way, so it doesn’t realize it’s just repeating itself. OK. So, it creates subtle and slight differences, but the underlying themes of life keep on repeating. And one ends up falling into a very similar hole all the time, but in, maybe, better neighborhoods, you know? But, always, there will be that same ending of remorse or regret or disappointment or whatever, because it’s impermanent. You’re depending on something that won’t always be there for your stability. So, if you don’t build your life on a rock that is really stable, but on sand that is going to erode, you’re not going to have a very happy future—and you won’t get insurance. So, if you want the real insurance, that only comes from Buddhahood, then you have to build your life of that, which is not so easy to do.
And this, of course, leads to the greater, more global problem of incoherence: you can’t think clearly. You, literally, lose your ability to think clearly. You don’t have enough information. You censor information that would contradict your preconceptions and belief systems, and you have so much investment in the emotional need for approval, and for the passion of the enactment of some kind of relationality that will give a cheap thrill, that you can’t think coherently about the true nature of the situation that you’re in. And that incoherence then leads to glitches. It leads to not being present. It leads to forgetfulness. It will lead to Alzheimer’s, eventually. It leads to that inability to function that then creates even more problems for one.
And all of this is based on dualistic perception, which is at the root of the whole problem: that you have divided that world into subject and object. And, so long as you do that, you can’t get out of the trap. All of these obstacles, because they are interdependent, they are part of the pratityasamutpada, which is another teaching of Buddha, the “co-dependent arisings”, you will not be able to escape from the continuing of the repetitious cycle in which, no matter what you try to do to ameliorate your situation, you will find yourself still as an entity that is dependent on the other, and that cannot trust or love the other. Or even know the other as they really are because of your own incoherence and tendency to unconsciously project.
And ultimately, all of that is based on the simple principle of reification. “Rei” is a term in Latin—res publica, the “public thing”. It’s a thing. It’s to turn reality into things. To turn yourself into a thing, an entity, again. So, it comes back to that one basic flaw in consciousness. If you can undo that one flaw of reification, you’re free. All the rest of them will dissolve. You don’t have to work your way through all seven. All you have to do is get rid of the tendency to reify. But try it; it’s not so easy. But it can be done. It is literally a paradigm, and once you’ve broken through into a paradigm shift out of reification, into the recognition that whatever you’re seeing as objects are your projections of a fantasy. And your recognition that that fantasy is not good for you and is not reality, and that you have the ability to transcend it—and that’s where the magic is—then you’ll be able to achieve freedom and Buddhahood.
I think I’m out of time and that pretty much wraps up what I wanted to express this morning, but do we have any questions on any of that?
Student: What is a thing?
What is a thing? That’s a very good question. Well, if you want to start etymologically, “thing” is a congealing of a “think”, right? So, it is a thought that gets projected as if it’s an object. But it’s an image. But it’s an image that will take form, literally, in three- or four-dimensional holographic phenomenal plane unreality, as if it’s an object that has independent capacity to resist your desires, right?
And so, we create a world full of resistances. And yet we created it, you see. That’s the self-destructive tendency of the ego. We produce our own hell. And heaven is when we turn the things into thinks again, and then decide, “Well, let me just re-think it, let me turn this water into wine, Jesus did it, hey!” And it can be done, but it can only be done when you’re at that level of consciousness in which there are only the thought waves and there is no tendency of things to be projected by anyone in the space.
This is what quantum physics found out: if we really want to accomplish this, the collective consciousness has to be vibrating at that level where we all know that we’re just thinking this—this is a collective fantasy. Hello!? Why don’t we turn ourselves into avatars, and, you know, make this a beautiful kingdom of heaven, right here, right now? If we were all willing to do that and were willing to affirm that and be at that vibrational resonance, it would happen!
OK, but are we willing to do that? That is the only question that is at the core of the feasibility of a spiritual revolution. But you have to have a group that is coherent enough—and in sufficient resonance without interference patterns—that that freedom from constructs in which the flow of the creative imagination that pours equally through all of us, produces a world that everyone agrees is the most enjoyable possible world. And once there is that agreement on, “What dream do we want to create?”—that’s the reality we will find ourselves in. Try it! That’s what, in a way, is the entire intention of this project that we’re in here. But to get there, we have to get rid of all of these obstacles.
So, I hope everyone is on board because this—I don’t think, not only can happen, but it will happen because it must happen—we must awaken—and we will be awakened whether we want to or not. Because we are fantasies in the mind of the one who is dreaming us and is going to turn us into Buddhas and avatars, and that’s really why everyone was brought here, even against your will, no doubt.