“There is a way of stepping back from life,” he said and looked at me.
“How so ?”
“I pretend that I am not part of thelife I know, that I’m far far away, watching
things from a great distance.
I pretend to myself that I’m on ‘the other side’, I have no
body, I have I am free, pure spirit.
I look at the colour, the physicality of this world. The
‘realness’ of the stones,”
He hit the stone wall beside him with his palm, “I see the
water, the food and I feel a desire to be
part of it all. To be part of that world again.
It’s a deep longing, to dive in again, to go through with the
adventure of a physical life and body.
Does that make sense ?”
I just nodded.
How could I tell him?
Better to be quiet.
“...and the adventure calls and calls.... I think about
it.... I imagine being there... I play with different places, different
times,... and then one day it just feels ‘right’. I know it’s time and I jump
in... J ”
“Jump where ?”
“Here, this physical world, the hard ground, the water, the
air, that sense of final realness, and yet it isn’t really final – or rather it
is, and it isn’t. Both at the same time. “
I smiled at him.
“Come on, doesn’t the world feel like it’s hiding a
tremendous, terrible secret ?”
I wanted him to go on talking, so I just shrugged.
“It’s a secret of terrible beauty, the things we see in this
world are just the surface, it’s pretending to be one thing, waiting for you to
find the key, the way in. The physical world wants you to find it.It’s really simple, but you have to find it
yourself. If someone tells you, you don’t get the benefit, you will just have
to do it all again from the beginning.”
“Hmm.... I think I understand,” I told him, glad to be able
to confirm his hunch.
I wasn’t allowed to say anything else. If I told him any
more, it would only make things more difficult.
So I played the part he needed me to be:“I don’t get it. Why
do we come here then ? You say it’s an urge, a desire. But when we are here, we
don’t remember and we all just want to go ‘home’ leave behind this world of
limitations. We dream of ‘escaping the cycle of death and rebirth, or to put it
more bluntly, we just dream of leaving this ‘shithole of imperfection’ for the pure
realm of spirit. Almost all religions treat the physical world as lower class,
and something to get away from, because it’s impure, imperfect and all that
kind of thing.”
“Yes they do.
But what if it’s actually not like that ?
What if the point is to see the true perfection in the here
and now physical world ?”
I shook my head. It was kind of fun playing the part.
He went on: “Wait, just play with this idea: What if the
whole point is to get beyond the idea of physical life as ‘imperfect’ and
somehow lesser ?
I’m not saying this is THE TRUTH I want you to believe, I’m
saying, play pretend. Pretend for the next five minutes that there is a way of
being in harmony with this imperfect shithole of a world. There is a way of
seeing it as perfectly imperfect.
Just take what everyone says and turn it around by 180
I looked at the waterfall. Water birds stood on the lotus
leaves and stared into the water.
Then I looked at him again, his expectant face, watching
“I get it,” I said quietly.
He had no idea just how close he was.
“It’s funny isn’t it ? We come here because we want that
focus, to drill down into the thing we want to learn, and then, when we’re
here, we spend all our time trying to escape again and go back to where we came
He looked at me, as if reading a secret message on my face.
"Are we just scared ?
When I was 18 years old, I had this idea of going on a great
I left school, left home and hopped on a plane and flew to
We landed and I looked out of the window of the plane,
soldiers with guns patrolled the runway.
It smelled weird.
I didn't understand the language.
What the hell had I got myself into ?
I felt scared.
For the next few months I just kept really quiet and
followed the other tourists.
Back home, it all seemed like a great idea.
Leave everything, get out, and go on a great adventure.
Once I got there, the reality was a totally different thing.
Took me six months to relax and start to enjoy things.
Is it what what's it's like when we come here into this
physical life ?"