You find out who your real friends are when, for example, you fly to a place partly in anticipation of catching up with them, and all most can manage when you reach out, is to Facebook message back once, then make no effort to meet. They fail in the basic empathy or good-spiritedness to realize you may well not be otherwise connected there, therefore don’t include you in any way in what is going on, leaving you alone to start all over. On the surface though, they are just too caught up in their already overstuffed lives, their faithless bids for survival and ‘success’, to include you, or even spend a second imagining what that is like for you.
Sure, it’s OK – I’m a big boy , I’ll live – but still, it’s a sign o’ the times. Incredibly, these days this goes for everyone from short acquaintances to long term ex-partners, even family. So WTF?
The kind of gentle souls I grew up with would jump at the chance to say, ‘Maybe just none of ’em like ya, ya dickhead!’ But no, pretty sure it’s not because I’m a bad friend or that distasteful. Unconventional and selective perhaps, living much of my time in solitude rather than distraction or ingratiation, a tad intimidating perhaps but – I confidently assert from what Shantideva called Dharmic self-confidence, as against self-importance – I hope clearly well-intentioned, generous with myself, and real – for what that is worth. To me at least, everything.
People rarely seem any more to recognize or therefore even care that they are part of the pressure that makes people end up having no choice but to agree to lives as dull and repetitive as their own. Sometimes I’d go so far as to say it comforts them to know that others share the misery. So they have no idea how to take proper responsibility, and give up on the idea that anyone even knows. Friendship then equals whoever gives them most advantage, or happens to be in their face all the time. OK they are with liking the posters you anonymously pass on on Facebook, but couldn’t give a shit for your own real thoughts or feelings if they are anything other than stock-standard, unless maybe you sell it to them in some fucking pre-validated package. Maybe they are just so averse to the new barrage of everyone and their dog’s damn opinion that they can only want tea-box ‘positivity’ or else the sadness might just come in all at once and wash away the house of cards. We don’t even want to come close to facing what to do with the reality that this is where all such houses end up, like the dream 21st century coastal mansion’s showdown with rising sea levels.
And still, all this is considered absolutely, unavoidably normal – ‘human nature’, you often hear.
You might-maybe forgive it in a big city where they all have kids, mortgages and boring jobs, which they have bought as facing up to ‘reality’, and it takes at least 30 minutes driving to get anywhere – as I did in Sydney when I finally gave up on so many people who failed to notice that barely any had welcomed me home after 20 years away. I used to reach out to them when I popped home for a visit, but fuck it, I’m just a curiosity now at best. A 40-something divorcee travelling the world living on the grace of Life, who it’s unclear if he’s is a total failure or living the dream. Either way, a threat to shaky investments.
But in an easygoing place like Bali where you can get just anywhere in 10 minutes, and you would be the one willing to do the travelling anyway…..? Thankfully I come to Bali because at least the locals are one of the few living cultures remaining where the time and smiles for strangers are still genuine. The difference between them and the western tourists who come to blow their cash, tighten their glutes parading for Mr Right, or stuff their faces, only opening if at all to pose on cheap beer, is fascinatingly striking. But these places are disappearing fast as our Western disease takes hold, and in our supremely upside-down way turn away anything & everything, like the true spiritual core of the religions, that was given us to treat it.
Damn near everyone seems to be unconsciously complicit in this Matrix that really serves no-one below its shiny surface – ultimately not even the oppressors themselves, who sorry to say even the nice Tibetans say more strenuously still than the Catholics, are buying themselves a one-way ticket to self-created Hell. But science can’t prove that, so we let Occam’s razor do its meat-headed job, such that we’ve actually fallen so far that most of us openly aspire to the very same corrupting wealth… being the only tangible meaning to life in the new rational enlightened modernity where, if we can’t see it with our gross senses, it couldn’t possibly exist!
So then these now cyber-friends become just ‘people you used to know’, and little do they care, you have to start all over again in a world where the strangers are even way more disconnected again. And the older you get the less appealing that gets, and the ‘culture’ presumes, you get. They live there, it’s easy! Still, even my most open-hearted friends have seem surprised at my capacity to make friends of total strangers in cities where people make their raison d’etre to never look anyone in the eye or give them the illegitimate satisfaction of affirming their existence. Though as the rewards become rarer, I find myself bothering less and less as the opportunity-cost ratio just slides downhill. To me this is the No.1 marker of cultural decline, like watching the last of a beautiful endangered species slink off and die in the corner while people throw their food in the bin.
It seems most all ‘welcoming with open arms’ these days happens with mere acquaintances who motivate by functioning as networking or lifestyle accessories. All just different shades of ‘Me’. Notice how often the only people who are friendly either want something or are being paid to be so? Or at events you have to pay to attend?
Money then, directly or indirectly, has become almost the only reason, as well as the fake entry-ticket, for relating. Who cares about those whose karma it is not to have it? They, like Jesus, like Buddha, must be lazy losers! We’ve been dragged so low as to define ourselves by the bankrupt right-wing neo-conservative ‘philosophy’, which retains in practice not a shred of any purity it once may have had, that individual striving can be supported to create unlimited abundance for all. Instead, it has become a coercion on all to the dead circus of narrow material productivity and fictionally endless growth of wealth & greed, So, regardless of our myriad natural inclinations, it has compulsorily made life for all about nothing but shallow, egoic self-aggrandizement, when in fact it’s not even that but a tool of enslavement for the ‘1%’ oppressors. In this nightmare, we have matchsticks in our eyes, forced to stare in the mirror and see Idiocracy’s Donald Trump, our Zeitgeist Frankenstein.
In that timeline, humanity is lost. And we wonder why depression and terrorism are rife! Most extraordinarily, they still manage to get half the populations on average to willfully vote their worst puppets in! And so, if we could live for real on all levels, in between meditations we would be in the streets protesting the theft of other people’s wealth rather than selfishly voting from our own hip pockets. We would see that right or left wing is not just a choice, it’s an evolutionary direction.
This sad but hopefully illuminating observation could also have begun, ‘You know it’s the end-times when….’ But why would I say that if endings cannot also be beginnings? Just pointing fingers for the sake of it is no better.
I know to many, my forcefulness I will just sound supremely arrogant, angrily judgmental & presumptuous. How dare I? How stupid to reveal my inner eccentricities to risk even what few real friendships I have. It’s so hard to tell the difference between what is real and is not, so typically whatever is foreign or extreme is first to go. But these are exceptional times, and fuck it, this is me saying my thing. And love and hate like all seeming opposites have a subtle interplay in their process of evolution.
The truth is I remain here – empty, open, true as I can be. Strange as it may sound in this clinical brushed aluminium day and age, but a living sacrifice, as we all in actuality are, to endure this actually bizarre, distorted realm where not a single thing is known for sure, and so little substantially reflects the Source. Knowing something like the essence of what the sages knew, not because I’m anything special, but because the truth itself is real and I am just sane enough to keep looking for it for real. Not sure if that sounds like a Trump-boast, but it’s just what’s happened after decades on the job. What they were saying is that we were supposed to do the same, and that is all I have done. We are all the Son of Man, and we all live on the Cross-burden of a separated, doomed, elusively insubstantial ‘individuality’. It’s just normal, real normal, it seems to me, to be into all that, even if strangely to me, few share my passion. Constantly I am doing all the shades and flavors of the sublime practices I know, paying proper respect to the best of my forbears, returning to tune right in and drop myself and whatever bullshit gets stuck on me. Paying the price to stay free. I even offer it, albeit in a very low-key way so far, but where are all the takers? Like Mooji said once – ‘I expected them to be beating down the doors’, but they didn’t for ages till the hype grew.
Exposed I am, as we all are, to a cold & unnatural world – struggling sometimes to keep a multi-layered deep awareness alive for the sake of the All, filtering all the growing pressure. Eating up all the darkness I can from the underbelly where only hard core spiritual crazy’s credit that it counts the most, while everyone else thinks they’ve smoked too many mung beans. Living so against the grain of modern culture, the way it seems barely anyone has the courage to anymore. Reluctant to join the salesmen, only moving as & for true unmediated recognition – in a world of billions, so available yet so under-utilized. Anonymous & pristine, under the divine pressure of being a loser. Unsold and unbought, largely because I know in the end I am talking to my own greater Self at the deepest level, where even all this revolting callousness, causing immense & probably unnecessary ongoing suffering and fucked-upness, has to be, and actually is, OK.
Some of my lovers have known me, while my family doesn’t seem to have even taken a stab at knowing me, at least on my terms! The peasants and yogis in India know me, and the dogs know me. But like Ron Burgundy’s ‘little furry Buddha’ Baxter, they know everyone because they know themselves. We can destroy ourselves and most of the world’s species for good measure, but to take them down as well? Now that would be a crime.
My beloved but misguided humans, however, are collectively asleep even as they tumble round the wheel and off the cliff of Samsara. By the fundamental law of attention, we are turning into the machines we use. Like moths to the flame of fascination. Even most of the spiritual teachers aren’t much more than parrots & sell-outs. To my eye at least, wait 30 years to teach and the results may be more real. Even the enlightened Buddha didn’t want to teach at first because he saw people couldn’t understand, till the God’s convince him to give his best shot out of compassion, because there could be no better attempt.
And so I say the following with all the tough but forgiving love that is the real source of the kind of direct truthfulness most knee-jerk recoil from – even though anyone who has read this far may actually be one of the real ones. Whatever the cause, I forgive because I know the plethora of forces stacked against us, and I understand it’s often not at all easy. As the Tibetans say – metaphorically or otherwise, it still ennobles – across all our lives, our truest relationship is having all been each other’s ‘mothers’, so we are all so much more than we are manifesting as now. At this level, even the biggest, blindest assholes really are all objects of compassion. Growing in that kind of paradigm is the simple secret that Jesus held, the same that makes us boggle at the idea of the Dalai Lama being able to forgive and love the Chinese in their ignorant brutality. It’s not superhuman, we just fail to do what it takes to emulate, and instead look to our own clearly debased culture for a failed sense of meaning and belonging.
But first it’s all about Faith, not necessarily in anything or anyone symbolic, though that is actually extremely powerful, not ignorant as the modern science paradigm pushes so aggressively to tell us. But in exactly what appears, how things turn out – and also paradoxically in our capacity to truly direct them without demand towards their potentially complete perfection via the law of cause and effect.
It’s common sense that you have to be awake to stand up! So now I say with my marshmallow sledgehammer of love, in & to & from Consciousness at least, for all who have lost their ears to hear in these difficult times – ‘We are missing the Point’. Good people, I say as your friend, even if you have forgotten that – ‘Grow a pair, you’re going to die anyway, so wake the fuck up! Do you know what is worth living for? And can you then actually live for it, even if you get less than nothing tangible for it, and/or no-one sees or gives a shit?
That would be real honesty and integrity, and in my experience Life asks for nothing less to get a Pass grade, and will wait patiently for a thousand lives, forever if necessary, unconcerned with our grief and confusion. Not as cruel as it sometimes seems, just by Natural Law an eye of a needle, absolutely exacting.
If you won’t do it, who will?’ Sorry, Bernie rocks, but he ain’t the One. This is Your dream – You are the One.