Let’s get enlightened!
Let’s take it seriously. Cross your legs, pinch your fingers together, it helps. With enough effort, you too can attain nirvana, loss of all suffering, total peace. You might need to squeeze your eyes shut. Everything about this is Very Important and it is Very Important that you try very, very hard.
This is wonderful! Feel how expertly you are shaping reality by trying very, very hard. Feel the desire pounding through your crossed legs, seeping into your pinched fingers, the desire of doing this better, of helping you get there. Become an energy field of desire. Shake with desire. Squeeze your eyes shut with desire. This is how to take this seriously; feel gravely every pain you wish to escape from, the True Weight of Suffering, which is absolutely real and inside you, behind you, like a beast or shadow, linked inextricably around your being.
If only you orient yourself to the desire elegantly enough, you know it should disintegrate like sand – you’re just not sure exactly how to orient yet. But you’ll get there, if you keep putting in the effort. In this you are a master artist; the archetypical character of running from the darkness, towards the light. How fantastically you yearn! Feel the vast network of conceptual construction that allows you to even hold the idea that there’s an answer; feel how constantly you are actively giving rise to your desire, your story, your character. You are the one pursuing enlightenment, and you are the one failing to achieve it.
This is beautiful. In your attempt to orient, you are a beast. In your failure, you are god.
So, since we are taking this Very Seriously, if you are God in your failure, then the answer is obviously to fail as much as possible! Therefore, you will never reach enlightenment. You will suffer for an eternity. You are small, a creature, a little infant. You are stupid, you are horrible, you are evil. No one will ever love you.
Are you god yet? Did embracing that make you god? Are you exploding with the divine? No? Hm.
Okay – you are fantastic, you are all powerful. Everything you do is perfection. You are radiating love and wisdom and eternal beauty. You are a beacon of hope and awe.
God yet? Maybe. Maybe we’re not taking this Seriously Enough.
“Wait,” you say. “Are you trying to make fun of Serious Effort? Are you one of those people who thinks you just need to sit back and open your third eye and realize you were enlightened the whole time? Because there’s obviously something out there that I don’t quite understand and definitely don’t have, and just sitting back and hanging out, waiting for my third eye to open or whatever, has not helped me at all. All I’ve got left is to take a serious shot at this, so that’s what I’m doing.“
I approve of serious shots! Go find a guru, one of those mystics that insists you need to meditate for a minimum of 10 years before you can even begin to get enlightened. Go do yoga in a hot room, do a vision quest, do psychedelics. Hell, become a Catholic if you’re kinky.
Because the truth is in the doing, not in the knowing. Your pursuit of truth is art. Your years of sweating in a tense meditative posture in a dark room is art. Your celibacy and your whoredom is art. You can do no wrong. You can also do no right – your striving is beyond that. Striving is the entire damn point, and you of all people are getting the point excellently.
“All right, I’m striving, am I enlightened? Because I don’t feel like it, really. I’ve had some weird experiences but none of this… eternal peace or whatever. If this is what you mean by enlightenment then everybody is enlightened and it’s not really that great or meaningful.”
No, you’re not enlightened. Striving will get you nowhere. You should strive, but it will get you nowhere. A man is least attractive to a woman when he’s trying the hardest to woo her, so you’ve really just got to chill out and let the enlightenment sidle up to you after you’ve started focusing on stuff like getting ripped and playing the guitar really well.
But I contradict myself! Does striving get you nowhere, or is it enlightenment and art? Do you want an answer? Are you bothered by the inconsistency? Wonderful – let’s get hot and bothered. Getting hot and bothered is the point too!
Because the trap is in thinking you know what’s going on. As reality comes to you, you box it neatly with labels so that you can handle it, process it. You are a wonderfully executed labyrinth of conceptual construction. Even here, you search for understanding – if only something will click, then you’ll get to put it in the magic box with the magic label. You handle your own mind with gigantic, strong fingers that grasp like a vice everything that moves. Even here, with these words, you grasp desperately when reading them, and I grasp when writing them. You are in a toy box being very distressed about creative use of the toys.
You are an idiot; you are a genius. You are the epitome of evil, you are the paragon of virtue. You are enlightened, and you are not. Let yourself stretch across all states; let yourself die to the single character you are. Sensemaking is something you do to keep your ego alive.
Are you curious? Does curiosity feel good? Turn inwards with that feel-good pleasure of search. Annihilate yourself. Let nothing escape that crushing spotlight. Let it feel good. Let pain feel good; realize you’ve been trying to make it feel bad. Feel yourself. FEEL YOURSELF. Feel yourself here, inside these words. Information does not exist on the page, or in the reader, but rather in the union of the two; the meaning you’re experiencing does not lie in these words. The meaning you’re experiencing does not come from the world around you.
ARE YOU SCREAMING WITH DELIGHT YET?
No you’re not, you utter jackass. You complete, total fool. Start crying. You haven’t cried enough. Did you think this wasn’t going to hurt? Did you think there was bliss on the other side? What the fuck did you think ‘dissolution of suffering’ meant – that you wouldn’t want anymore? Do you want to stop wanting? No – and this is the noblest truth – you don’t want to stop wanting. It’s obvious, because right now you’re taking things Very Seriously, and it’s beautiful. So here you are, with the raw razorblade of desire tearing you apart as you sit in half lotus position, and you are in utter agony. This is wonderful! Feel how expertly you are shaping reality. Feel how alive you are in every tear. Feel how your desire is universal; the desire of every conscious being screaming in pain across all of existence. This is holy.
Be holy! Be a shitstain, but also be holy! Unless you really want to be holy, then knock it off, and then just be a shitstain. One of those will be easier for you.
Do you understand? Are you taking notes? Are all these Important Facts sliding neatly into your knowledge? Excellent. You’re doing so good at being a person!
And if you don’t understand and are frustrated, then you should go study very hard for ten years, and maybe something will happen that will make you feel very proud and like you’ve earned it and like your reality is different now. I officially grant you my condoning. After you’ve gone and gotten educated, please come back and teach me something, because some days I am an idiot baby.
I hope you have learned much from this Very Important Instruction Manual On Enlightenment.