Saturday, August 6, 2011

Reinventing the Wheel

The old adage about not reinventing the wheel is useful in most of life's endevours. In spirituality however, it may not always fit. The spiritual texts, books and literature are filled with "sage " advice and sound descriptions of the journeys of "others ". The making these things "real " for us requires our "own " experiential contact, not simply listening to other's words.

Any "advice " given to us or made by us must live in experience, all the while realizing that "experience " itself becomes a story, after the fact. I can only "engage " this moment. If I try to avoid "reinventing the wheel " in spirituality, I find myself accepting "other's " concepts, even repeating their words. The truly scary thing is that we all sit on the perch, beg for crackers and parrot the words from time to time, and we don't even realize it!

It is very easy, over time, to fill the mind with so many non-dual concepts and words that you don't even realize it's happening. There have been so many studies of the "wheel " from before Shankara to ongoing Facebook Notes, including this one! I quote him or her, you quote me or someone else. We paraphrase, we "clarify ", we may even argue, but we are just a breeze against the cheek. To quoteBob Dylan: "You know that something's happening, but you don't know what it is. Do you? Mr. Jones".

Unlike Mr. Jones, we do know what it is, we just can't squeeze it into the limited world of words. I guess, not unlike the clown, we can silently point to the big smile, even in the face and awful reality of pain, and mime a follow me gesture. But I can't think that you will perform my pratfalls, accept my pies in the face, or be asked to squeeze into tiny cars designed for me. No, your embarrassments, show stoppers and vehicles are waiting in today's script. You will find them as you go. No rehearsals here. Everything is "live ".

There is no "wheel " until "you " rediscover it, and it makes you it's own. Once rediscovered, this pearl of great price is understood to have been there all along. Yes, I remember, it's all one. Nothing was ever lost, it just "looked " that way. So I run out and say, "Look, nothing was ever lost!, stop seeking, identification as the "seeker" will just keep you bound.", as if I expect you will understand my words. Here, you must reinvent the wheel. You will only understand that there is no "seeker" when he vanishes before your very eyes.

As I have said, as we repeat the biblical or traditional verses, or memorize ancient texts, they become "part " of us. Some of us, like myself, scatter biblical references around like salt and pepper. I, for one, have to say that I try not to. I try to describe my experiences in my own way, but we live in a world of words and memory, and it all becomes a muddy stream a piece down the line!

Your rediscovery will not be like Ramana Maharshi's. Nor will it be like mine. The "wheel " exists. It does not need so much "reinvention " as rediscovery. "Your " rediscovery. Maybe not so much about death experiences or clouds at all, but "your " rediscovery. It may come from the appearance of a "person", guru, lover, or the sudden overwhelming feelings over finding a dead butterfly in the gutter. It may come from finding the Love in a child's eyes, or seeing for the first time the wickedness in your own.

Yes, dare to "reinvent the wheel ". Look for your own "experience ". Not an "experience " that will live in memory or anticipation, but this experience; this life!



  1. Thank you for crossing my Path and sharing your Wisdom which is such a wonderful Agreement to the Wisdom I have gained in this "School" we call life. I am here for a reason. Maybe just to read your description of non-duality - Reality. Maybe for reasons yet to unfold. My cup is always empty and will no doubt leave here with fresh fullness. In response to this post, I want to share with you the wise words of The Buddha:

    Kalama Sutta

    The people of Kalama asked the Buddha who to believe out of all the ascetics, sages, venerables, and holy ones who, like himself, passed through their town. They complained that they were confused by the many contradictions they discovered in what they heard. The Kalama Sutta is the Buddha's reply.

    – "Do not believe anything on mere hearsay.
    – Do not believe in traditions merely because they are old and have been handed down for many generations and in many places.
    – Do not believe anything on account of rumors or because people talk a a great deal about it.
    – Do not believe anything because you are shown the written testimony of some ancient sage.
    – Do not believe in what you have fancied, thinking that, because it is extraordinary, it must have been inspired by a god or other wonderful being.
    – Do not believe anything merely because presumption is in its favor, or because the custom of many years inclines you to take it as true.
    – Do not believe anything merely on the authority of your teachers and priests.
    – But, whatever, after thorough investigation and reflection, you find to agree with reason and experience, as conducive to the good and benefit of one and all and of the world at large, accept only that as true, and shape your life in accordance with it.
    The same text, said the Buddha, must be applied to his own teachings.
    – Do not accept any doctrine from reverence, but first try it as gold is tried by fire."


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