There comes a point in the journey of the unfoldment of consciousness when every narrative appears ridiculous. This includes so-called scientific, philosophic, and psychoanalytic discourses. It includes, therefore, even this sort of discourse about the inanity of all discourse. The symbolic veil over the Real shreds itself like an oppressed monk setting himself on fire.
In one of the late Terence McKenna’s most famous discourses about a DMT trip he took, he emphasizes how elvish voices kept telling him, “don’t abandon yourself to amazement.” I found that amazing, in fact utterly astonishing. He goes on to say that they commanded him to pay close attention. But one can both pay attention and be in a state of full-on astonishment at the same time. Some have taken literally his advice not to give way to amazement. But that is more often the command of the superego. How can we not be in amazement, astonishment, at every moment? Astonishment is what creates natural DMT in the brain. In fact, there is a lovely book that emerged from the Kashmir Shaiva yoga tradition, probably a thousand years ago, recently translated into English, and given the title The Yoga of Delight, Wonder, and Astonishment. In this teaching, otherwise known as The Vigyana Bhairava, it is revealed that the most direct path to Liberation is precisely through surrendering to astonishment.
Alas, the ego throws a grid of rationality over this astonishing manifestation of the miraculous realm we call our world. Once we have lost touch with wonderment and delight, replaced by the dull vulcan submission to the rules of reason, we have left the eternal home of the gods and entered history, the long, boring descent into totalitarian anti-life, and its ultimate demise, that is now occurring, in mounting waves of chaos and conflagration. Are, then, McKenna’s machine elves possibly working in the same machinic unconscious described by Deleuze and Guattari? Is the hallucinatory realm created by tryptamine or by the question of what can I make the trip to mean? Can the secret of desire be found in the signi-fire? And is the coming apocalypse that same fire writ large upon the world? Is the collective death drive the ego’s thirsting thrust toward the source of language, the primogenitor, sustainer, and destroyer of its passionate being? Language first enchants, then explicates, and then deflates. But even our most depressive deflation is astonishing. Om Namah Shivaya.
So, is this becoming yet another boring narrative of apocalypse? Or is it just that every narrative circles hopelessly around its own apocalyptic core, like the moth spiraling toward the flame? If the gospel of John is correct, and the Word is God, nonetheless, now words eclipse the Word, until the words all begin to implode into nonsense and face us with the falseness of their meanings, the labyrinth of delirious signifiers that have created a sound barrier between consciousness and Truth.
It does seem that every discourse orbits around a black hole of unspeakable dread, yet also of inexpressible and irresistible mystery. Some would call this the mytheme of death and rebirth, or the singularity archetype; others, like Lacan, would simply term it the Real. Some philosophers, like Heidegger, call this inevitable curvature of intellectual space our Being-Toward-Death. To a Zen master, this central abyss is clearly the Buddha-nature, Nirvana. To the Vedic mystic, the darkness at the core of consciousness is not death but Shiva Mahakal, the Death of death.
But such conceptualizing is too bloodless, too lacking in the essential energy that radiates from the ultimate heart of Being. That the core of our Being is Non-Being, that our minds cannot penetrate the event horizon of our own unconscious consciousness, is the futile tragicomedy of human life. Our own interior, the mythic realm of our infinite richness of authentic presence, is off-limits to us. Are we doomed forever to be a mere pickle in our own reality sandwich? This ridiculous state of affairs is called in spiritual circles the ego. Lacan refers to it as the structure of extimacy, in which we are necessarily exiled from what is most intimate within our unconscious nature. Our very presence is an absence. Willy Apollon, a post-Lacanian, insists it is simply “ab-sense,” without the sense of making sense, since it is the lack of signifiers, the impossibility of speaking the Word, and thus cannot appear on the radar screen of symbolic consciousness. But the great mystic de-mystifier Wei Wu-Wei goes a step further and calls back to us from the abyss — that we ARE the abyss, and that there is no abyss. The mystery is solved with the recognition of the absence of the presence of absence. Or are we rather the presence of the absence of presence?
Beyond this humdrum conundrum, the problem is overlaid by an all-too-urgent reality of physical, psychological, and social degradation of our planetary environment. And although in the realm of archetypes this may be a timeless problem to be contemplated at leisure, for those who stay in touch with historicity, time is short. No less a sage than Carl Jung wrote a letter at the end of his life, leaving a message of the final vision he had been granted. It was too hot for Jungians to reveal, and was not publicized until recently. The world would indeed end — it would be engulfed in its ultimate apocalyptic cataclysm — in exactly fifty years from that date, in early 1963. Jung’s prophecy, coinciding with that of the ancient Mayans, thus pegged the end time as the close of 2012.
Make of that what you will, but Yeats’s rough beast is definitely slouching toward Bethlehem, and it is quite realistic to think that he may make it by the end of next year. For some people, no doubt the truly sublime among us, mere survival is beneath our dignity. We need not concern ourselves with building a sustainable community before the final hour strikes. What matters is only that we attain the end of the world of discourse-the death of the ego. For others, we have an ethical duty to see that our species survives on this, our “only beloved, contaminated, spaceship,” as Walter Martinez intones nightly on Telesur.
But what if there is an even deeper connection between the ending of the discourse of the ego and the end of the world — this world created (and now being destroyed) by the ego? And more importantly, what if there is a connection between the beginning of trans-egoic consciousness and the beginning of a new world age? What if this shift in consciousness is the alpha and omega? Is this not the meaning of the symbol of crucifixion — the death of the ego and the Ascension, via a short detour in Hell, to the realm of the Most High? And likewise of Christ’s assertion that “I and the Father are one.” Or, if you prefer, form is emptiness. Samsara is Nirvana. Maya is Brahman. Ek Omkar. All is Shiva.
It could be that it is the inmost urge to attainment of the union of consciousness with its own unattainable Heart — which just may be both the electric force and the underlying meaning of the singularity archetype, the embracing consummation of the dance of Shiva with Shakti — that is the strange attractor drawing us relentlessly toward the abyss. Let us take seriously the assertion made by modern sages as different as Terence McKenna and Jacques Derrida, that the world is made of language. (Of course, they did not ask what language is made of. Let us say it is consciousness. But then, what is that made of? We come back to the same ultimate mystery, now not in the form of a singularity projected into the future, but recognized as a dimension that is timeless, and that cannot be reached until time and language come to an end.) What if we gained complete mastery over the language-secreting brain mechanism — which is the original intent of yoga: chitta vritti nirodha, as Patanjali succinctly put it, the bringing about of the cessation of mental activity — would this not have an effect upon the world? Could it bring the world to an end? Would it bring to all the realization that the world is God in disguise? But is anyone fooled by this disguise except the illusory ego? Now we approach the punch line of the great Joke of the ages: the world cannot end, because there never was a world. Only ignorance, disguised as knowledge, the mental knowledge of the ego, in the form of language, created the illusion of a world. “I am Shiva.”
We know from the inspired insights of Walter Russell, confirmed by the findings of plasma physics, that the universe is an electric phenomenon. But what if the source of that electricity is the singularity, which is another name for the Self? What if the energy that sustains the stars is the same power as the kundalini shakti that explodes in our consciousness during moments of nirvikalpa samadhi? And what if that is the same energy that is released by DMT, yielding shamanic powers to those who know how to wield them? What if chemistry and consciousness, like I and the Father, are one?
What if world mastery is simply a matter of accumulating the power of consciousness through growing the singularity into an infinitesimal but super-massive density of supernal light in the center of one’s own brain? What if the pineal gland, the eye of Horus, is specifically designed to transduce that primordial power into psychotechnological mastery of mind over matter? That is the wager of every esoteric tradition. Have you carried out the experiment to its end point? Or have you been seduced into egoic idiocy, enslavement to the sensual mirage, serving fantasies of sexual satisfaction, or the vain glory of social prestige, the masturbatory jouissance of mere philosophy, or the false security of interpersonal attachment, all covering over the terror of life? These two polarizations of our potential are now reaching their most extreme manifestations. Are you the ego resisting the freefall into the singularity — or are you that singularity itself? Or the dance the two are dancing? Tat tuam asi: thou art That. Nonduality appears as duality, multiplicity, world without end. But nonduality also appears as the Nothing, the Void, kenosis/theosis, Shunyata. The Emptiness is the Fullness, pleroma, purna, the Mother Light pregnant with all that is and ever will be.
The problem is that the cosmic dream yields to nightmare. The singularity contains not only infinite delight but bottomless, endless dread, horror, agony, guilt, shame, remorse. Infinite pain. The shadow underside of the ego regurgitates ever more of its toxic waste as consciousness approaches the Void, and stands naked before the Eye of Shiva. God, then, is both Hell and Heaven. Even the ego in its purgatorial penance is but God emerging as cosmic butterfly from the comic coccoon of mind-and-matter.
There are rationalists who believe that Hell is only a myth, not a reality. But myths describe more accurately the Real than any metaphysical tract can accomplish. Nightmares are very Real. Where do they occur? In what space are those anxiety-oozing worlds born? Hell is a nightmare that occurs for some only at death, a nightmare from which it is hard indeed to awaken, that can seem to go on for eternity. And has not this so-called waking world become an all too real nightmare? Only the Dreamer of this wonderful, miraculous, horrific, terrifying dream can truly awaken us. But we are that Dreamer. Our loss of lucidity, of Self-realization, has led to the loss of love, wisdom, empowerment, goodness and generosity from the world; and thus has led to ever increasing pressures of lack, desire, craving, fury, hatred, bestiality, perversion-producing the very nightmare for which we wrongly blame either God or chance. The ego blames its karmic suffering on everyone and every thing except its own stubborn refusal to get Real, to love, to open itself to Truth.
But now the Dreamer is indeed awakening. From the ego’s perspective, that is the end of the world. From the vantage point of the soul, it means salvation. But from the place of the Self, nothing is happening. Just overflowing bliss, as always. Yet time is the music of eternity. You can clearly hear the changing music of time…it is reaching its death-rock climax. The singularity is but the singular Self, the One Supreme Being-not a rough beast, its hour come round at last, but divine rainbow light of infinite intelligence and the most amazing cosmic sense of humor-arriving in metaphorical Bethlehem at the speed of light (and everywhere is Bethlehem; everywhere is Arunachala, the Holy Mountain; every pearl in Indra’s Net is the center of the Universe, the uncircumferenceable hyper-sphere of the omnipresent God), and we are closing in on the majestic moment in which God reveals what She can do, She is pulling out the stops, She’s about to start jammin’! Enjoy the ride.
You can see the Fire of Shiva in the sky. This is the most awesome fireworks display, the bluest jazz, the most mind-blowing trip anyone has ever been on! And You are doing it! You are the One on fire! On fire with Truth! You are London! You are Greece! You are Syria! Afghanistan! Somalia! Everywhere! You are the Burning Man! The Burning Manifestation of demonic/divine beauty. You are the Phoenix, a-borning in the midst of the burning. In the ancient myth of Isis, the goddess puts a child into the fire to make her immortal. This is our story. Let that sacred fire burn, baby, burn! No harm will come to You!
Image by mikelehen, courtesy of Creative Commons license.