Living on faith

It’s never clear to me whether enlightenment ‘ends’ in self-satisfied awareness, or if its practitioners are actors in some larger creative event. This is important: did Moses come down the hill with a new set of laws which transformed his people – or was he just the guy smart enough to see the rules rewritten by the desert, and announce them as a revelation?

Lots of people say lots of interesting things about ‘engines of history.’ Most of the time it seems we don’t do much changing at all. That is, most of us don’t. Presumably, there are always periphery people who can step in and lead when the earth dramatically shifts under foot. Or maybe not.

The Mayans are now famous for suddenly disappearing after burning down their forests. Must I believe the average Mayan, well before doomsday, awoke every morning to survey smoke plumes in all directions and announce to himself, ‘Ah, another fine day!’?

More likely, he put his faith in his king and his priest (who controlled his bank account) and just worried like hell. As the sky grew greyer, he knew full well (as do you and I), that Toto wasn’t in Kansas any more. Alas, only the wise can save us!

About the ‘wise.’ It turns out our relative state of consciousness is a simple function of our material excess. Famously understood, even the guru in his cave would be nothing more than a grunting, angry peasant without his daily bowl of rice. But unlike his hosts of western admirers, he arrived where he is needing no more than that daily bowl to keep him there. Today’s wise require legacies running to the billions, just to elevate them into that heady space where wisdom might be found.

No doubt they believe they’ve attained it.


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