Spiritual adept or life-long failure, saint or sinner, accomplished practitioner or bumbling fool – no life is what it seems, and yet all lives are of equal value, a value beyond measure. There are no better or worse lives, higher or lower, more or less advanced spiritually. It’s not that everything has to be brought to a state of perfection at some triumphal point in the far distant future, but rather that it always already is. Every life, just as it is, is already perfect. As is said: “This is Perfect. That is Perfect. From the Perfect springs the Perfect. Take the Perfect from the Perfect and only the Perfect remains.”
There is just this all-pervading equal-ness. However, that is not what most of us have been taught, and so we might ponder how that can be – such equality. Perhaps a metaphor here can clarify. When the actors remove their theatrical masks, when the persona skins are shed, what’s revealed is the same God who has been playing all the roles, living all these apparently individual and separate lives. Call it God, Big Mind, Supreme Source, Shiva, the Ground of Being, the Self, the Absolute, the Basis, the Sub-stratum, the Heart, Dharmakaya, Primordial Potentiality, Shunyatā, Clear Light, Universal Intelligence, or don’t even bother with a label. Say it is the Un-sayable, the Un-nameable. There is only That. All are the manifold expressions of that One.
It is the same One who is living us now, the One without a second. Yes, we are being lived. There is no independent autonomy, despite appearances to the contrary. All appearances are the creative display of that One. That One is the doer, we are the vehicles, the dreamy creations that populate the Sky of Mind. Moreover, there is not now, nor has there ever been, any distance between ourselves and the Divine, so any talk of a path is moot. Where would that One go to get to Itself?
Believing or not believing makes no difference. Is purple more spiritual than yellow? In fact, adding “spiritual” as a qualifier to life is just superimposing an artificial appendage, like painting legs on a snake. If someone wants to adopt a Sanskrit name and do a lot of esoteric practices, believing they are on some progressive path to enlightenment, fine. If another wants to spend their life trout fishing in mountain streams, without the slightest concern for acquiring some strategic means to become what they already are, equally fine too. It doesn’t really matter, except in our provisional interpretations on perception, which are themselves constantly being modified by all sorts of factors, most of which lie beyond our limited human comprehension.
Fundamentally, all lives are equally precious and valuable, however they might seem to work out or fail to work out. Each one is its own perfect expression of Spirit, which cannot become more spiritual, regardless of the verbal trappings by which we might limit it in our confused efforts to establish some artificial hierarchy of being.
The point is, it is all experience, and that is why we are here, to partake in and appreciate the experience of being human, in whatever form that might take. These various lives that ensue from the prime impulse to experience Itself are among the infinite ways the Divine enjoys Itself, in the same way we might enjoy a movie in which we so identify with the main character that we momentarily forget we are the audience. In that sense, we are all the stories God tells Itself, and no story is better or worse than the next, neither higher nor lower, neither more or less profound or worthwhile.
When the wise say, “Just be”, that’s it — just be whatever we are. How hard is that? The innocent simplicity of our appearance here is actually an amazing and unfathomable mystery, the fact that there is beingness at all in the midst of vast emptiness. The embodied human intellect can’t really account for a tiniest fraction of it, and yet we act as if we are qualified to judge the worth of any particular life, usually based on borrowed opinions. That is an astounding bit of presumption, isn’t it — to suppose that we have some special knowledge of what any of this is all about!
Nevertheless, we humans continue to spend a lot of time and attention judging and categorizing each other, separating each other into denominations, clans, tribes, contrasting social groups, while assigning hierarchical values to each based on our conditional interpretations and biases. However, if we really understood the mechanics of that conceptual activity, we would also understand why this realm is so often characterized as a war planet, on both the individual as well as the macro level, and also why it need not be that way.
Perhaps if we would pause for a moment in the midst of timeless infinity and honestly self-reflect, we might realize just how preposterous our charades of knowing actually are, along with all the judgements we make regarding the ways of others that might diverge from our conditioned fantasy of what is “right”. Almost all of us indulge in opinionated speculation about what other people should be doing with their lives, even though we ourselves are often more like sleepwalkers stumbling through our own. Indeed, how many of us, while embodied in human form, have the capacity to access Universal Knowledge and see the bigger picture, in terms of any soul’s evolutionary journey?
However humbling it may be to recognize our fundamental ignorance, to that degree we just might move closer to the heart of the great matter – appreciation and sincere gratitude for this incomparable gift of conscious sentience, of living, feeling, moving, seeing, speaking, hearing, smelling, touching, thinking, imagining. Of loving and being loved. Of being born and dying, even though, as shards of Source Energy, we are forever, and utterly beyond both birth and death.
When we are able to recognize how our judgments tend to distract us from paying attention to our own process in life and relations, we can release them and thus reduce the burdensome complication they impose on the simple matter of ordinary life – life which is actually not so ordinary at all, but a rare and magical mystery tour beyond description that even the angels might envy!
“Every time you stand in a grassy field playing catch with your dog, a hundred thousand souls gather to watch in envy from above. For they not only wish to smell the sweet smell of the flowers and the wind that carries the scent of soil and grass, but they wish to experience that wind on their face. They wish to experience the trickle of rain on their heads, and feel the warmth of the sun upon their skin. They wish to be the family pet that digs its paws into the dirt as it loses itself in that playful moment, free from concern, sorrow or regret. They wish to be the ball that flies through the air and summons the dog to race and jump. They wish to be the butterfly that lands on your shoulder and captivates your attention for a fleeting moment by its elegant beauty and intimate physical interaction.
They envy you for you have not only witnessed, but you have experienced all of these things simultaneously, intimately and interactively. The flowers. The grass. The wind. The soil. The rain. The sun. The dog. The ball. The butterfly – are all perspectives, are all values, and are all relationships you have experienced intimately in that transitory moment. Just as you have influenced the ball that flew through the air, and the dog that ran to chase it, all these intricacies influence one another to similar effect. Try to perceive the value inherent within each, by placing yourself as each of such things, that you may better understand yourself and your own value outside of who, what, and where you are presently.”
~Sparrow, from The Value of Physical Embodiment
“The land of natural perfection
is free of buddhas and sentient beings;
the ground of natural perfection
is free of good and bad;
the path of natural perfection
has no length;
the fruition of natural perfection
can neither be avoided nor attained;
the body of natural perfection
is neither existent nor nonexistent;
the speech of natural perfection
is neither sacred nor profane;
and the mind of natural perfection
has no substance nor attribute.
The space of natural perfection
cannot be consumed nor voided;
the status of natural perfection
is neither high nor low;
the praxis of natural perfection
is neither developed nor neglected;
the potency of natural perfection
is neither fulfilled nor frustrated;
the display of natural perfection
is neither manifest nor latent;
the actuality of natural perfection
is neither cultivated nor ignored;
and the gnosis of natural perfection
is neither visible nor invisible.
The hidden awareness of natural perfection
its parameters beyond indication,
its actuality incommunicable;
the sovereign view of natural perfection
is the here-and-now, naturally present
without speech or books, irrespective
of conceptual clarity or dullness,
but as spontaneous joyful creativity
its reality is nothing at all.”