The Preferred Rebellion

In these times of rippling uncertainty, when all seems to be afloat in the great sea of the unknown, I have for you the only ground of surety there ever was: This expanding moment, and the energy inside it.

A moment is all you have at any given point in your experience. It is where you always actually are, no matter where the mind maybe. When entirely in sync with that energy, it is where you feel so deeply alive so as to need nothing further. No assurance, no ambition, no security. I see it. And I have been seeing it for some years now, and so have you, but we let the knowing slip because we have been taught otherwise. (Teaching is the biggest, most fragile responsibility, I realise.)

Wooden Voices (Desh Deepak, 1980)

And that ‘otherwise’ is the dictum to keep your eyes on the future, not in the present. And, thus, to make an extraordinary and unnatural effort to ‘exist’, but not here, not now… It always felt like a double bind. Like adding legs to a snake (which already has a different way of moving!). Like turning around to catch your shadow. Like tying your bootlaces together so as to be steady.

For how does one ‘work at it; and not ‘be’ it? Existing, I mean.

On day one of your semi-maturity, you were let into the serious secret that life is a struggle. Not only were you expected to accept it, but to go on wisely without ‘wasting time’ to amass skills in order to amass wealth to, ultimately, at the end of your creative years, find a shred of happiness. Perhaps in the form of a sailboat or a fancy house, or a cottage in the hills… And when you realised that you have been cheated out of your bliss, because there was really no need to go at it in such a roundabout manner, you were told that you cannot have it all.

Thus, we plan and prepare, wait and anticipate, build and climb our mountains, or else retrospect, regret and repair, so that everything we do is designed to push away the living moment. Waves of bliss rise and crash against the rocks of our folly. And the opening available in the moment continues to sink below the shores of consciousness.

And how did our civilization get here, I ask for the umpteenth time, befuddled. And why? It seems that the obsession with the future is just fear in operation: Fear of death and for survival, both of the ego and of its carrier, this physical being. All the preparation, and the expectation that always rises entwined with it like a serpent, is nothing but a grand miscalculation made in the interest of mere continuance. And that is how we were wasted, not time, as we learned to be at war with our own natural presence.

Do you see that the fight now is against our own DNA still carrying and processing the wrong information? And now, when the accumulated fear has come to pass, we-the-half-living, the schizophrenoids, need to turn to methods, to meditation, to self-help literature, to psychiatry, to ayahuasca, to yoga and tantra, to what have you, so as to help the conscious and subconscious make peace with each other?! I turn around to look for someone to yell at. Someone whom I can give an earful. But there is either nobody, or this whole.

So then, am I despairing? I am. I am despairing and angry, for look what our structures of conditioning have brought us to. And yet…when things gets so bad they create conditions for a breakthrough. For, look, we now have the right key. We are being reoriented, correctly at long last.

And it is not as if we did not have the right directions before. But so often were the visionaries and poets and artists badgered. So often the Sufis and mystics and prophets and alchemists pushed to the fringe. So often the natives everywhere were rubbished and removed. So that even though they went pointing to the moon, our monolithic, self-obsessed and self-propagating rational fear built a wall around it. A scientific wall. A reasoned wall. A political wall. A cultural wall. A method wall. A money wall. Another and yet another…and with such lightening speed we built (for the speediest thing is the mind) that we hurtled further and further away from the door in the moment. It is as if we boarded a train that would never stop going away. If it did, it would explode in our heads.

The Answer (Rakhi Varma)

But now, we have been made to stop. And how. And I celebrate it. The walls around the moon are crumbling. And I feel tremors of life in my heart. Reason has cracks in it and compassion glimmers on blades of grass all over the Earth. And now I am born. There is huge hum of returning to natural farming, of sustainable living, of restoring ancient wisdom, of reining in not just our use of plastic, but blind desire itself. Finally, there is real work to do. Birds and animals, forests and rivers and mountains are walking into the center of our days and hours. And I begin to find love flowing through my veins hitherto dulled by homogenization. The values ascribed to ‘the market’ are up in the air and we are thinking of gift and gratitude once again. There are crashing sounds in the newspaper everyday. And the gap, the limbo has brought us rest. All the lives that we collectively lost have turned into messages of another way of being.

If we do it right this time, for there were opportunities many other times in history, we can begin to live a full and natural existence. We wanted this experience, isn’t that why we are here? And even if we cannot stop thinking, we can at least think right. If we are still confused and angry, we can also be inspired. This chaotic energy is good at last. This is the preferred rebellion, as opposed to the ordered one against our very own presence. So, I am clamoring and raising an energetic din wherever I am to drown out the voice of conditioning, whether inside me, or outside. And I ask you to join in.

As news flashes across changing screens and evening prayers sound out in temples, churches and mosques, the quiet sky reflects shifting patterns of light in a moment. A koel continues to sing deeply into the darkening evening. What prayer is that? The last bright orange of the sky is soon going to be no more. An eagle enters it in this split between being it and wanting it, and soars… And, here, I stand at the same window, which only yesterday looked out into the future. I am here in this moment now, full of rejoicing. And you are invited. Will you come? For once, let us do this together. We must walk back into the present and kiss the ground…and make home here. Not in fear. Not in the future. Not in conditioned happiness. But right here, in the watershed this moment is.

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