Reality: It’s all in your head.
It would be nice if you could just reformat your internal hard drive and rewrite your operating system with a single click, but due to the sticky emotional component it doesn’t work that way. You have to go through your entire drive and delete everything in a very systematic and specific way. Happily, you don’t have to understand how to do this any more than you have to understand how to heal a broken arm. Your job is just to allow the process to unfold and not prolong the pain by resisting or trying to egoically interfere with the overlighting intelligence that’s running the show.
The obvious fact is that if you did not write your own programming, if you did not self-code, if you are not the author of you, if you are not both begetter and begotten, then you are not your own person; just another shuffling beast in an endless herd. I know that you don’t think of yourself that way, but you’re here and not in some satsang shaktipat circle-jerk because you can face uncomfortable facts, or so I assume. If you are not the product of you, who are you? A bird’s nest of haphazardly accumulated detritus and debris; a tumblin’ tumbleweed, a dustbunny trapped in a shadowy netherworld, a mudpie slammed together by unseen hands, the product of elements unrelated to you. You feel like you, you identify with you, you are emotionally attached to you, but you are, in reality, no more related to you than you are to anyone else.
This is where asking yourself Who am I? comes in real handy. It’s not how you find out who you are but who you’re not. In the end, of course, you’re no one and nothing’s gonna change that, but getting there is half the fun. No-self is true self, so sustained self-inquiry can at least get you through the unbecoming part of the becoming process. That’s the death out of first-stage birth that must precede second-stage birth into your full and rightful human self; the transition from otherborn to selfborn, from segregated to integrated, from caterpillar to butterfly, from juvenile to adult. There’s nothing spiritual about the process, which might be why all spiritual paths are such laughable failures. In an adult society, you would have made the transition to adulthood at around the age of sexual maturity, but no such society exists and none ever will. A society of human children serves the purposes of the dramatic dreamstate, but you’re probably here because it doesn’t serve yours.
So, who did write your programming? Who is the author of you? Anyone and everyone, everything little thing that happened in and around you, to you and by you — it doesn’t really matter. Go sit in talk therapy for a few decades if you want to wallow in your own emotional excrement instead of flushing it out and moving on. It only matters that the author of you isn’t you, and even to the degree that it is, you who? Your only chance to emerge in this life is to erase your data, delete your operating system, reformat your drive and start from scratch, or as close to scratch as you can get. The challenge remains the same; who is the old you who begets the new? Alas, we can only do what we can do.
I’ve been through the process I’m advocating and I feel like a genuinely reborn and selfborn human adult, like my life is my own and I am no longer the mass-produced, cookie-cutter halfwit I once was. I’m probably still bullshitting myself to some unknown and unknowable degree. I’m still a male American living on this planet in this same timeframe, I’m still an English speaker and thinker, with whatever pros and cons that might entail. I’m still in this environment, and however far I might have gotten away from the things of man, I’m still attracted to the world like some people are attracted to rubbernecking while passing a bloody car wreck, but I’m not Jeremiah Johnson and wouldn’t want to be further out than I am.
I, like Brahman, have a semi-pathetic need to be entertained, amused, engaged; anything but bored. I don’t have to wade into the fray; screens allow me to be a remote viewing techno-voyeur. I don’t have to infiltrate Seahaven to enjoy The Truman Show. I would be seriously disenchanted if deprived of my screens and access. Happily, I have a pretty good-sized digital media library to fall back on should my viewing privileges be somehow revoked, so I can still ward off dreaded boredom, but I’m eager that that shouldn’t happen because I enjoy watching events as they unfold on the world stage, as well as an embarrassing number of cute puppy videos. I sincerely believe that financial markets and wars and politics and all the tawdry little gossipy crap and death and mayhem and the occasional bright spot all exist for my personal amusement. The world is meant to amuse, so let it amuse.
What I see when I look at humans in any field of endeavor, spiritual or otherwise, is that they are often baffled by their situation despite having all the information they need to understand it. This applies at every level, even where you’d think it least possible. They have all the pieces, they just refuse to put them together, or can’t or don’t wanna or are spookily disinclined or whatever. This is not an intelligence thing, it’s an eyes-closed thing. These are generally quite simple matters to see and comprehend, not like a 5,000-piece jigsaw puzzle of blue sky with no box for reference, but more like a 50-piece picture of the alphabet with the image on the box. And it’s not just John Q. Public but the pundits and pros who are so satisfied with a wrong picture that they never seek the right one. How can sincere, able-minded people fail to see the obvious even when their nose is being rubbed in it? They’re not stupid or not trying, they’re just somehow sentenced to not see when shown. You and I aren’t mega-geniuses for understanding nonduality; everyone who doesn’t understand it, even when it’s spelled out for them, have succumbed to some dark Mayan magic that renders them unable to simply open their eyes and look, consigning them instead to an imagined fantasy world that bears a striking lack of resemblance to reality.
Right now, you’re somewhere in the process of opening your own eyes and figuring out who and what and where you really are. In order to see for yourself, to achieve lucidity, a massive amount of emotional obstruction must first be cleared. That’s what the real process of awakening looks like; more like shoveling shit than angelic ascension or a heaven-sent epiphany, but when you’re done shoveling, you can finally begin living.