In reality we are all creators and creatures of each other,
causing and bearing each other’s burden.
~ Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
In the so-called “alternative” media, we are often warned not to “sell our soul” to “The Powers That Be” — a hidden, powerful cartel of the international elite believed to be controlling world events behind the scenes for nefarious purposes. However, a human being cannot “sell its soul” any more than a character/avatar in a video game can sell its human player. Nevertheless, all of the character’s virtual experiences will go into the player’s file, as recorded data, and that file will consequently help to determine the player’s next adventure in gaming.
This apparent “world” is, in reality, a subjective psycho-physical realm, and more like an interactively staged theatrical production with all sorts of custom-tailored props, than an actual concrete place. In a virtual reality game, where is a “place”, or when? The very concept of time that most take for granted as an objective characteristic of the human experience is itself a conditioned belief we are tricked into by the mirage of the 3-D game. This belief in turn yields a consensus perception of past, present, and future – and likewise the memory associations and anticipatory projections that seem to confirm the reality of a separate and continuously enduring person (“me”).
Indeed, the grand charade of creation itself, a multidimensional hologram complete with all the seemingly endless dramatic struggles and frequency fluctuations to which we grant an unquestioned reality, is first and foremost a temporary fabrication — a provisional modification of consciousness — with all the substantiality of a fleeting dream.
Haplessly, we keep falling for it all, as if for the first time, and so we remain confused in our amnesia, professing various beliefs one day, contradicting them the next, and rarely if ever noticing the cognitive dissonance inherent in the attitudes and self-images du jour we assume to be our own.
One thing that we can observe is, the more invested we get in that seductive spider’s web woven from strands of the world’s propaganda, our own wry sense of self-importance, and uninspected, fixed beliefs, the more seriously we tends to take ourselves, and in turn the more annoyed we will become at whatever is perceived (correctly or incorrectly) to challenge our staked-out positions.
The first casualty of that entrenched attitude, alas, is the sense of humor. Gradually, a contentious line is drawn between “us” and “them” – those creations of our own minds arbitrarily designated as “perpetrators”. In doing so, of course, one necessarily assumes the complementary role of “victim” in the circular game of blame.
The final step is typically war. In terms of gaming in virtual reality scenarios, Earth could be designated as a war planet. It’s been that way for all of recorded history, and there are abundant indications that it will remain so for some time to come. As a realm of conflict (both internal and external), the players are tested to see how they will react in fairly primitive developmental scenarios related to choices of love or fear, violence or peace, selfishness or selflessness. Those that find this game unacceptable would do well to inspect and address the nature of the attitudes and fixed beliefs that brought them here. When they can take responsibility in a mature fashion for their own reactivity, they will be ready and able to “clean up their acts” and move on to higher levels of adaptation.
This stage is designed the way it is for a very specific purpose, and although the props will vary depending on the current crop of actors, it serves most of us as a classroom for our soul evolution. As long as we choose violence, for example, we will likely continue to be drawn back to the denser realms of conflict until we finally are able to recognize the futility of that game strategy. Just as in a movie with which we might be fully identified, the characters’ deaths may seem very real, but nobody actually dies. Nevertheless, we walk away affected by the drama we participated in, even though it was in reality just a play of light on a screen.
Upon thorough investigation, what’s clear is that it is never life’s situations that make us happy or sad, it is always the attitude we assume in the midst of arising conditions. To fully take advantage of this rare opportunity — this gift of life — attitude is key. Some people take longer than others to change their attitude. We only see one infinitesimal dot, or pixel, of the greater picture. In other words, we basically see nothing at all as long as we are identified (fused) with the fictional character we take ourselves to be in the game.
Arriving at any kind of judgment with such extremely limited data can give us an attitude of righteousness that bears little if any resemblance to the actual reality of the matter, but we must nevertheless make choices. That is our function here. The game must go on, at least until we see through it and wake up to our true nature and condition — transparent awake awareness prior to and simultaneously beyond any human notions of fate, free will, judgment, or any kind of conditional mental fabrication.
Given that, it seems that we are not so much here to change this game, as we are to be changed by our experience of it. How? For starters, we can learn how to behave and live a kind, thoughtful, and loving life of impeccable integrity, renouncing greed, envy, hatred, ignorance, and pride. We can lend a hand whenever the opportunity presents itself to help our fellow being, both human and non-human. We can inspect ourselves to the point of awakening to some crucial insight about what we are really made of — our true nature. And yes, we can make it fun, just as children do, enjoying the play of physical embodiment with a sense of humble gratitude for the very appearance of anything at all. Indeed, one of the biggest lessons we can learn during our time here is that gratitude is a powerful antidote to the emotional contraction at the heart which so many of us carry around inside us.
Having come to such recognition, we may choose to leave this harsh realm behind and never look back, or we may even choose to return and help others navigate through the dust and fog. After all, unconditional love will sacrifice itself for the elevation of others, even if it means putting itself in less than agreeable circumstances. In Buddhism, that is called the path of the Bodhisattva — the one who hears the cries of the world and remains here to serve the awakening of all sentient beings.
Nevertheless, it is easy to be lured into a romantic idealism in regard to “saving the world” and mistakenly assume that we are at a level of spiritual maturity which in actuality might not be true of us. Remember who rules this realm. It is usually easier for us to get pulled down by “their mind” then for us to pull it up into the light. The “Matrix” energy of that mind feeds on our resistance. That’s the conundrum — as soon as we engage, it scores, because we are granting it reality, confirming its existence, and empowering it in that very way. Fortunately, there is another option — go beyond. However, that requires us to have at least recognized the utter futility of all the other gaming options.
Each of us has different stuff to get right, usually very personal stuff which has little to do with “saving Mother Earth” or any such idealistic slogans commonly propounded by the alternative media. First, we need to inspect our real motives and from there begin to clean up our own act. As it so happens, that is plenty of homework for any of us touring this earthly life. In doing so, we must be honest about the one who is appearing in our own mirror, the one who might imagine themselves as a noble crusader charging the windmills which we have projected from our own inner contraction.
Again, Nisargadatta nails it when he says: “Your interest in others is egoistic, self-concerned, self-oriented. You are not interested in others as persons, but only as far as they enrich, or ennoble your own image of yourself. And the ultimate in selfishness is to care only for the protection, preservation and multiplication of one’s own body. By body I mean all that is related to your name and shape — your family, tribe, country, race, etc. To be attached to one’s name and shape is selfishness. A man who knows that he is neither body nor mind cannot be selfish, for he has nothing to be selfish for. Or, you may say, he is equally ‘selfish’ on behalf of everybody he meets; everybody’s welfare is his own. The feeling ‘I am the world, the world is myself’ becomes quite natural; once it is established, there is just no way of being selfish.”
Once we have recognized that to some extent – that we are not the body/mind, nor the tribe that we fantasized about saving — our view on the whole matter of “fighting the evil elite”, for example, will change considerably, just as our life view and goals change considerably from childhood to adulthood. At a certain point of maturation in our view, we may come to realize that we are not here to “fix samsara”. That cannot be done, any more than one can fix last night’s dream. In fact, a few levels up in awareness, and we may come to recognize that the ones we were struggling against were none other than ourselves. We’ve been throwing stones at a mirror, pulling our own hair out, pinching our own flesh, without realizing that we ourselves are the Source of this and every world.
As we explore even deeper into the matter, we might even realize that there has never been an “other” — that there is only One, of which we all are unique expressions, and to which we all return when the game of manifestation has been played out. As the great Persian poet Hafiz once wrote: “I have come into this world to see this: the sword drop from men’s hands even at the height of their arc of rage because we have finally realized there is just one flesh we can wound.”
Eventually, we may come to recognize that even this “One” is a conceptual designation, empty of any inherent self-nature. Such a realization is not a matter of intellectual attainment or mere verbal conviction, but rather requires a direct insight into a vast Mystery beyond human comprehension. Moreover, the purpose for the majority in coming here is clearly not about scaling such spiritual heights, but more a matter of simply enjoying the unique experience of being human, with all the vivid thrills and spills, all the joys and sorrows, all the complications and “Aha moments” which that adventure might entail. However, as long as we are determined to grant reality to the fantasy of defeating the powers of this childhood realm in some kind of heroic battle, then we will persist in being a convenient part of their game, a game in which they hold all the virtual marbles.
Does this mean that we are powerless to affect any positive change? Not at all. There is plenty we can do, especially if we begin by discarding all reliance on fixed identities and limiting conditioning programs. Let go of all beliefs and second-hand knowledge until we come at last to the essence of mind itself. Understand that whatever appears is a projection of mind. From there, we can consciously tune our intent towards genuine loving kindness. We can awaken and recognize all of the areas in our life that manifest as less than love, and so heal them with love without condition. Our brightening light will then heal the collective consciousness. That is the only way it will heal — if we each become what we came here to be, that luminous expression of divinity.