The proper and natural position of the shaman/bodhisattva/mystic is standing with one foot in eternity and the other in the temporal clusterfuck of Samsara/Babylon/so-called “reality”, shifting from one to the other as needed or wonted, always seeking to best serve the poor, deluded suckers who believe whole-heartedly in the illusion of duality, taking refuge from the fray in the Absolute Peace of Transcendence. It ain’t as easy as it sounds. The Infinite Bliss of Unity with the Divine is a pretty sweet tranquility – leaving that to re-engage in the swirling shitshow of man-made madness is shocking, to say the least, and becomes ever more so as the ignorant and selfish degenerates who rule this land of lies gain greater power over the brief lives of the pitiful souls who make up the biggest mass of humanity, those sad sacks suffering senselessly, beaten and driven to consume and fight over scraps, always chasing rainbows, utterly unaware that they hold the Universe in their hands, if only they would know it. How stupid are their squabbles; how petty their quest for the gimcracks and gew-gaws of material gain. How ugly their achievements; how banal their attempts to find community. One can only shake one’s head and sigh and continue on, offering answers which will be ignored or misunderstood, holding out the Perfect Truth of God/Brahman/Wakan Tanka, knowing it will be rejected in favor of some glittery garbage or the brief numbness provided by intoxication. Easy to understand why so many have just thrown up their hands and quit, retired to the wilderness to meditate on the Golden Lotus Feet of Vishnu or shut themselves up in monasteries to wade in the Blood of the Lamb until He returns. So, too, will I do, some happy day, but not this day. Soon, my work will all be done – but it ain’t done yet.
All around us, we see people in conflict, fighting over ideas, each struggling to impose their own fantasies on the others, to grab for themselves all the crumbs that have fallen from the table of the robber barons, wretched human wreckage bonding over skin-deep coincidences and breaking the bodies of any who dare to have another trait. Every day, the headlines tell versions of an incident I witnessed when I was drunk and deluded, waiting in line for a free church-basement meal, surrounded by the addicted and addled refuse of the city.
One down-and-outer, with a half-cigarette dangling from his lips, a fag-end picked up off the sidewalk, asked another “You got any matches?” and the latter responded by pulling a book of matches out of his pocket, holding them up and saying “Yeah, I got matches. See ‘em? Here they are.” And he walked away, glorying in his possession of something that someone else didn’t have.
That struck me. That hit some inner part of me. For a moment, I saw through the veil of Maia, I realized how insipid were the categories that people create to separate themselves from each other, how insignificant the egotistical and heart-breaking struggle for personal glory and material gain. We were, all of us there, the impoverished and filthy dregs of society, the bottom-feeders in an artificial system where dogs eat dogs unaware that they are gods. We each had Heaven over head and we wandered with our eyes down looking for butts with a bit of tobacco above the filter, desperate for the next fix, another bottle of beer, whatever would dull our senses for even a moment. Then the doors opened and I went in to get a plate of beans and rice or whatever they were serving that day.
That’s the human condition – ragged bums picking their wine-sores and gloating over matches.
(Interruption. I went for a piss and another cuppa joe, passing a radio which told me that some other people have a lot to worry about today, by executive action of the Grand Wizard. First, they came for the Dreamers and I did not speak up because I was not a Dreamer – oh wait, yes I am.)
How nice it would be to drift away into the woods, shed the costume of engagement in the horrors of history and rest in the Eternal Sunshine of the No-Mind. The gentle babbling of some mountain spring would tickle my ears as dragonflies flitting changed colors in the dappled light, now navy blue, now emerald green, and breezes whispered the leaves, as I reclined on a mossy rock which settled into place while Adam was cutting his teeth. I could disintegrate there – I know the exact spot – becoming one with the Earth, smaller symbol for me of the One which is behind Her.
But that’s only a brief interlude. I have sworn to foreswear Nibbana until I can take with me all suffering souls and that means I must return to the litter-strewn streets of Babylon, where him what has the gold makes the rules, where the strong trample the weak, where Mammon is Lord Supreme and the quality of mercy is strained to breaking. And I have a feeling there will be protests this weekend, again, and fighting in the streets. Participating in the sorrows of life means choosing a side to be on and I have enlisted as a medic, the better to administer to the wounded in the next battle. I’ll be somewhere with my boots on, bandages for the baton blows and L.A.W. (liquid antacid and water, 50/50 mix) to wash away the tears. Maybe I’ll be battered or jailed or maybe not, but the fight is good and in any case, this body was made to be broken.
I am doing what I will – though it saddens me sometimes. I am enjoying a hiatus from music-mocking to act in another way. Riffs are coalescing in my ether and will surely be recorded – possibly to join the mass of materiel that currently collects dust on the shelves of various micro-labels that are gonna release those sides pretty soon, as soon as we can get around to it. There will be more entheogen juice dropped into the stream of consciousness by this BDSR, God willing and the creek don’t rise.
May it be so.
Brown Hat the Espresso Shaman
The pun is always intended.