Friday, 18 December 2009

See You On The Other Side

Got an add on Facebook the other day. The guy put a personal message in with his friend request, and it went something like this..

"Ciaran, you are an asshole. What's happen to your blog? You haven't posted in months. Where's the next update?"



Of course I immediately accepted the request. I like him already.

And he's right, where is the blog? What's the status on the experiment? Why haven't you posted?

Well, here's the deal.

I stopped the experiment because it was obviously not working. It was having an effect, but not the one I was looking for.


I could launch into what that effect is, why is was and what I'm doing now, but that brings me to why I stopped the blog.

There's a lot of people in the world, in this crazy blog-happy planet, who are more than happy to churn out their opinions, thoughts and ideas for the consumption of a hungry netweb.

And if opinion were all there were, I would continue to be happy to join in. But as I peel the layers on this onion we call reality I am increasingly convinced that this is not the case.

Simply put, there's something out there. Something really real, something very strange and potent, a place where all the questions dissolve and the answers are not simply obvious, but have a thundering power that is all their own.

There also seems to be a way for a person to connect with that power in a way which is also very real. Or at least, there's enough evidence, circumstancial and otherwise, to make a serious investigation of this phenomenon worthwhile.

But here's the thing.

It's a bit like heisenburg's uncertainty principle - what you look at, you change. The thing that you examine changes with the act of your examining it.

I thought I could use this blog as a kind of explorer's journal, charting a journey which others might be able to follow, to a place where crazy dreams like saving the world might actually be possible.

But I became aware that the act of writing about these things was interfering with my ability to really come to grips with them. It's hard to explain, but it basically boils down to the fact that writing a blog in which I punch deep into the stuff I'm looking at knocks off my aim.

And there's another reason - I am not enlightened. I've had several experiences which chart up there with any description of satori that I've ever read, but nothing permanent.

I'm still lost, still blinded by the delusion that plagues us all. And the thing is this, boys and girls - if this shit I'm looking for isn't real, this blog is worth nothing. And if it is real, then until I've cracked it, I'm just another douchebag with an opinion.


My wife asked me the other day how I was getting on with all this and I replied by asking her if she'd seen the film Armageddon. Because there's this bit which I kind of remember - where Bruce Willis is sitting on an asteroid that's going to destroy Earth. He has to drill a hole in the asteroid so they can place the bomb in the centre of it, and break it apart before it hits. They have eight hours to drill to 1000 feet.

The captain of the mission turns to him and says "We've been here four hours. How deep have we got?" And Bruce Willis is all evasive, and like "Well, you know, I mean..." And the captain is like "How deep?" And again Willis is evasive, and then the captain shouts at him "HOW DEEP?" And Willis mutters, almost under his breath "80 feet."


The captain looks stunned, then he turns away, determined to detonate the bomb and at least give the people of earth some slim hope of survival. Then Bruce Willis stands up and says "I know it's bad, it's really bad. But goddamn it, I have been a driller for 20 years and I have never missed a depth, never, not once. I will drill that hole."

That's kind of how I'm feeling. Enlightenment is tough, don't let anyone tell you different. Oh sure, it's easy to mince around the place saying pseudo-profound things you've ripped off from Gandhi or Tolle, Maharshi or Maharaj, Christ or Buddha, Alan Watts or Obi Wan Kenobi.

And you can tell yourself that you believe them, hell, you can actually believe them 100% with every fibre of your being.

But it don't mean shit.

There is something here, goddamn it. Beyond all the bullshit, behind all the spiritual crap and philosophical circle-jerkery, there is something here. And I have never missed a depth in my life.






I may miss this one.

But I don't see anything around me in this world to break myself across that has the potential to change the world like this shit.


So once more into the breach.

I'm not going to be posting here until I feel I have something to report. That is to say, once I feel there's a serious case to be made for my own enlightenment. At this point, after a lot of false dawns, I'm pretty cynical - but that's good, because it means I have high standards, and won't get suckered in by every spiritual buzz I can pull out of my subconscious.

Well, fingers crossed.

So look - the blog stays up, and the mailing list stays open. Sign up on the side of the blog if you haven't already. The next time I post, God willing, I'll have something to say you won't want to miss.

Thanks for all of you who've stayed with me. Anyone who hasn't signed up, sign up now.

And to those of you out there who see this world the way I see it, yes, this is tough, and it can be scary and treacherous at times. Dangerous, heartbreaking, lonely - all these things. But good God - we are so lucky to be here, born in these broken times.



For all of human history, the truth of this thing has lain buried beneath power and theology, stifled by priests and philosophers, kings and dictators and mobs and motherfuckers. And yes, we live in a time where the beauty and moral simplicity of those days has gone, and it's a scary thing to spin through the shrill and toxic desolation of this, our neon world.

Much has been taken, and many of us - the overwhelming majority of us - face daily the gnawing truth that meaning itself is weakening and leaving us alone in the cold.

But guys look - if there never was any meaning, then we have lost nothing but our illusions. And if there is meaning and it is real, if there is something true and eternal, some great power which can be tapped to heal this world, then the shallow glittering hollowness of this world is the best fucking friend we could ever hope for.



Indeed, there is a legend of Buddha's upbringing which states that a god intervened in his life to shatter his illusions, shake his world view and take away his ability to be content.

Looks like that god went mainstream. Good.

So what are we left with?

We have an ocean of information at our fingertips. We can pull up the unedited back catalogues of the great spiritual masters from any computer in a matter of seconds. We have ourselves, and the answer embedded within us. And we have free time and Starbucks coffee shops to sit in so we don't get distracted by XBOX360s or Heat Magazine or whatever, if only for a brief while.


I am not a prophet, nor really a leader of any kind. If you're sitting back waiting on me to crack this, you're a fucking fool. My chances in this are impossible to calculate, but all I know is that better, smarter, wiser and deeper men than me have thrown their entire lives into this and have failed utterly.

But more than this, if you're sitting back waiting on me to crack this, you are a coward. Hide behind your excuses if it makes you feel warm and fuzzy. It won't for long. If ignoring this shit was an option, I'd be front of the queue. It's not. One way or another you'll deal with the emptiness of this world. You can get all up in its grill and try to stop it, or you can bury your head in the sand and wait for it to find you. Either way, there are no spectators. Not anymore.

I am a grunt.



Stinking, unwashed, rude. If this shit is going to go down we need less people directing the fight, and more people bringing the pain. Less pie in the sky, more boots on the ground.

But then of course, we live in a big world. Six billion and counting. And I refuse to believe that I am unique. I think there are others who look at this like I do. It's probably all in my mind, but in my darkest moments when yet another beautiful and promising avenue of inquiry has led me into yet another brick wall, I refuse to believe that this is simply me against the night. That there are hundreds, maybe even thousands out there willing to throw themselves upon this problem. Maybe you are one of these people. Maybe you are not. But by the law of averages I think it unlikely that they do not exist. God, I hope they exist. Because if this shit is on me, we're more roundly fucked than Tiger Woods.


I leave you with this, it made me laugh out loud. I was reading Nisargadatta Maharaj's book 'I Am That' and I came across this bit in it where the interviewer (who is from India, presumably) asks Maharaj about Western culture, and how Western culture doesn't really have the idea of an enlightened person.

Maharaj tells the story of his own master who was asked "what about the enlightenment of those in the West who have no concept of enlightenment." He said "It is useless to try. Let them live useful lives and be reborn in India."


Which in a way, is an insult. And in another way, it is a joke.

But there is a deeper sense in which it is a challenge, a challenge I believe it is our duty to answer.

So, this is Ciaran signing off. I don't know how long it's going to take. Nisargadatta Maharaj is said to have cracked it in 3 years. Buddha is believed to have taken 49 days. Jesus, apparently, did it in 40.

That said, Buddha and Christ weren't going at it fresh, looks like they'd been trying to crack it for at least a couple of years before their 49 day / 40 day final stretch.



Shit guys, I don't know what is going to happen. I feel like I'm on the brink of cracking this, but I've felt that way for months now, and I always end up turning up nothing. But time and again, although I fail to hit the mark, I am increasingly persuaded that there is a mark to hit.
This isn't easy. I've done some serious stuff in my time, taken on some serious challenges, and this is right up there with the toughest stuff I've ever tried to do.

A lot of the time I'm haunted by doubts, by how ridiculous it is for a guy like me to even attempt this. But then I think about the pointlessness of anything else I might be doing.

I also am keenly aware of how much of what I do is motivated by my weakness, which has always been egotism, vanity. But then I think that no matter how base my motivations for walking this path, the real question is not what has brought me to this search, but whether this search is credible in and of itself. And it seems plain to me that it is.

And sometimes I think I'm just ridiculous and I should just get a real job.


And sometimes I'm reminded of how lacking I am in any of the traits needed to walk this path -- wisdom, genius, compassion, patience. But then it strikes me that those traits aren't requisites for this journey so much as part of the destination itself.
Which is to say, you don't need them to get there, you get them from going there. Or something.

But truth is, I have made real progress. That is to say, looking back about 6 months to a year ago I can't believe the shite I was sifting through. The shite I'm sifting through now is much better.

Will I share that progress with you and talk you through all the positive steps I've made?

Well therein lies the rub. Guys and girls - I have no business writing a blog about enlightenment when I am not enlightened. No matter how slick my stuff is, and no matter how much effort I piut into making it good, it can never rise above the general haze of information out there because it just isn't coming from a pure enough place.

I need to get this done, and then I think I'll be of use to my fellow man. Until then, I'm just one more voice in a hurricane of noise, as are we all. And what's worse - writing about this stuff, thinking about it and dressing it up in words is something that's only going to fuck my ability to actually crack it.



So this is goodbye for now.

There is something here, people. I intend to find it, and I know how ludicrious that sounds. As soon as I have something to tell you, I'll hit this blog, so if you want to keep your finger on the pulse, sign up for the mailing list on the sidebar if you haven't already done so. It will keep you immediately updated of any posts I put up.


Also, add me on Facebook if you want to, I announce all my blog updates (as well as general life stuff) there and I'll almost certainly accept you as I have appallingly low standards. Natch.

Good luck and godspeed, and I mean that especially to those dumb enough to be doing what I'm doing. If you are that stupid and you want to share experiences, ask questions about what I've learned so far, or lessons I've pulled from the 1000 Days experiment, feel free to ask.

I might even answer.

Stranger things have happened.

See you on the other side, you crazy motherfuckers.

Much love.

18 comments:

Nazim said...

Ciaran,

I am glad that you wrote a post, you lazy bastard! :)

But otherwise, your whole argument does not satisfy me. Perhaps measuring, speculating, making judgments about results did impede your progress but this very idea was underscored several times in the beginning of The Power of Now. Being a "seeker" prevents you from ever attaining enlightenment. In fact, enlightenment can not be attained! It is here, now. It's really that simple. A lot of Buddhist monks often meditate for a retarded amount of hours and still don't believe enlightenment is possible - for them, in their lifetime.

Yet, enlightenment comes with simply becoming present. Forget all the rest. Eckhart Tolle warns that you should not make presence into another experience you want to attain. You also should not make it as a vehicle to change the world or any such thing.

As soon as you put a label on it, it loses its majesty, its wonder, its ineffable beauty. Using presence as a means to an end constitutes something similar.

Perhaps you may see yourself as some type of idealist. Striving for something higher, hitting road bumps, getting frustrated with life, etc.

But that is not you. I highly suggest re-reading The Power of Now to take care of some of these apparent fallacies.

I went through the same thing as you, if you are going through the thing above.

Good luck and good day!
Nazim

Will said...

The Three Pillars of Enlightenment:
1. Non-Resistance
2. Non-Judgment
3. Non-Attachment

Tim Jefferies said...

Sounds like time to read the Tao Te Ching:

http://www.sacred-texts.com/tao/taote.htm

Here's a start:

http://bit.ly/5SwfPB

old soul said...

Ciaran,

I don't think your readers expect you to be enlightened. If they do, then they are some dumb motherfuckers. I also think, that if you're gonna write if and only you've 'punched into Reality' as you say, you will never ever write again. That wouldn't be a problem if you weren't a writer and writing didn't come naturally to you, but it seems as though it does. Fact of the matter is, when you're going to punch into Reality, and if you're going to write about it, then you will form a 'concept' about it, not making it "reality". Fuck all that--just keeping writing as it charts your progress towards enlightenment. Even if it's just an opinion, it's all part of the game, baby. Maybe this is an absurdist way to view things, but Reality deconstructs all things, so what you write is not something we can take for gospel. But since Reality is on your side and Reality is what you're going towards, what you write points to Reality. I hope that makes any sense.

Maybe it's selfish on the part of the readership, but yes, some of us do learn from what you write. I don't think we have to be enlightened to write--hell, maybe Lao Tzu wasn't enlightened when he wrote Tao Te Ching. Imagine that. In any case, if you want to get woo-woo or new-age about it, since your teleogical fate is enlightenment, you are writing from an enlightened place ANYWAY.

I hope this helps.

Keep writing, mofo.

Andre said...

Good luck on your quest. Hope you find what you're looking for, you'll be one of the few.

Erik said...

Gotta agree with the other posters. There is a simple humanity in sharing your raw experience, clouded by opinion and internal contradiction as it may be. Remember you once quoted Juggler as saying "What's attractive is our innate humanity"? Or something to that effect. Well reading about the struggles of a spiritual warrior is inspiring! It's cool, even if you don't have all the answers and may never have them. What we're sharing here is also a celebration of what it means to be WALKING THE PATH of a human being, which includes the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Ciaran, you have a knack for writing and it's a joy to read your stuff. So share what you have with those who will listen and don't worry too much about being properly understood.

Besides, too many teachers out there forget what it's like to be a student. You have something real to offer as you chart your own growth pains as they happen.

Namaste
Erik

Ciaran said...

I want to, good God I want to.

But no matter how good I am at writing, if I don't get this I've got nothing to say. Not really. I can spin a yarn, say something 'clever'. It means nothing to me.

Or worse, it means a lot to me, gets my juices flowing, gets me hooked, keeps me thinking.

This isn't the first time I've had to walk away from something I cared about because it was getting in the way, and it's not the hardest thing I've ever walked away from.

The other thing is this - there's a lot of ink being spilled in cyberspace. Everyone's got an opinion, and more often than not those opinions are actually pretty sharp.

But shit dudes and dudettes, what does that make me even if I climb to the top of that particular molehill. A pundit?

Really, a pundit?

I'm good thanks.

Secondly - and it pains me to say this to a lovely bunch of peeps like my blog readership - but there is only one reason I'd write things about enlightenment while not being enlightened.

It comes down to a simple cost/benefit analysis.

If by writing about enlightenment I could get people to really put their lives on hold to crack this there'd be a point of me writing.

And if the chance of someone cracking it was higher by me playing cheerleader than by my stumbling, halting attempts to address the problem on my own, I'd play cheerleader.

But here's the fucker - I don't think I'm inspiring anyone to really take this seriously. Not now, not yet. I mean, I just spent the best part of a year cracking my head against this problem. I've learned some crazy stuff that might help someone if they were interested in doing the same thing.

I said I'd talk about it here if someone asked. No-one has.

That tells me something bad - not something bad about you peeps - but bad about what this blog can be, about what I can do with language.

I don't think I've got any real traction here with any of you.

The other thing is that sooner or later someone's going to have to knuckle down and crack this.

Balls to the wall, kids, there's a shitload of cheerleaders, and a lot of Zen Masters, but what someone needs to do is to really get down and dirty in the philosophical guts of this thing and find out what we're really looking at here.

Annoyingly, this means getting down in my own philosophical guts, but thems the breaks.

I hope you can all understand, and thanks for staying with me.

Word

Halffull said...

You think to much Ciaran.

I'm sure the Buddha would agree.

Manny said...

Hey man.

I take this stuff quite seriously. Please write about what you have found that helps, and what one should avoid.

Personally, I have tried the night-and day-thing for some time a while back after reading your posts. The results were great, and I suddenly had a lot higher standards for what "well being" is. It`s scary to realize that one lives with all this stuff inside all the time without understanding what actually is causing the suffering. For a while, I became almost addicted to listening to Tolle, because it felt so much more calming than my "default state"

However, after a while I found it more annoying than helpful to keep up the constant listening.

I experienced that a lot of the mental/emotional "background noise" had become less overhelming, and therefore dissappeared by itself, even when I was not listening to Tolle.

I now find that listening to Tolle still is effective, but only for 1-2 hours during the day, especially before sleeping/getting up from bed.

One thing I realize from the whole thing, is that ones breathing becomes a lot more smooth and rythmical, and that one is a lot more "rested" throughout the day. It`s almost like constantly being in a state where one has just waken up from a good night of sleep.

It is also a lot easier to notice when one becomes disturbed or irritated, even the background stuff. When the mind gets exited it is also easy to just relax and let it calm down again, at least most of the time.

Also, it becomes a lot easier to differentiate between thoughts that arise about a situation and other emotional stuff that is stored up from before. This way one can let these old patterns "run themselves out" without resisting it (as much as one is used to) or making up new stories about it.

So I hope that you are willing to share some insights about what you do nowadays (concerning this), and what you have found most effective by experimenting with different stuff. I have from personal no doubt that this stuff works, but in the beginning it is mostly not permanent shifts.

I think that there are some peolpe who take this seriously, and those are probably the ones that finds it more harmful than good reading and writing about it. However, insights about things that have caused real results and made you go deeper are good to write about (IMO).

Thanks,
Manny

psychedelicresearchlab said...

Ciaran,

Have you looked into Sedona method? Lester Levenson reached the final goal in three months and he seemed a lot more fucked up than you.

Why not try using the Sedona method to release all your wanting to be enlightened? I think this is one of the things holding you back.

A few days ago I had an amazing experience, my level of consciousness sky rocketed to a level I wouldn't say was enlightenment but miles above my normal state. It lasted about three hours and now I'm back to my normal state. I felt ultimate abundance it was amazing. Now my goal is to get back to that state.

Good luck dude!

Alex

Ciaran said...

Hey guys -

Manny, thanks so much for your response. I really appreciate your questions and I'm very relieved to know that someone out there's on the same wavelength as me.

I started to put a response together, but it's turned into a bit of a monster. I'll post it as soon as it's ready.

Thanks again,

Ciaran

bebop77 said...

have you thought of reading Tom Campbell's My Big Toe?? it may give you a different perspective.

If you havnt got the money. you can view the book on google books or go to his forum and listen to some of his lectures for free

tal said...

You're not going to find anything that substantial. We're just creatures that evolved via natural selection. The way that most of our minds operate is the way that helped us replicate the best. If there was some shift in mindset that made us more effective, evolution probably would have found it.

Sure, we can probably trick our brains into being happier than otherwise, or use various other mind hacks to be slightly more ____, but there's probably no holy grail.

Gseus said...

I feel you.

Stephen said...

If you accomplish what you are attempting, you will be the single most important individual to have ever walked the earth.

I think that the most difficult part of this is not necessarily discovering the truth for yourself(although that in itself is unfathomably hard) but figuring out a way to articulate the discovery in such a way that other people will be able to fully understand it.

Luckily, you have, as far as I'm concerned, an unprecedented talent for expression of difficult ideas through writing. You will certainly need it if you are to have any chance with this.

Good luck. What you are doing is incredibly important to me and I would be extremely appreciative if you would share what you have discovered so far.

P.S. I'm busy reading about Hegel's work and his proposition that the end of history will occur when the self recognises itself in everyone, bringing about the end of all conflicts. 'The self recognising itself in everyone' struck a chord with me based on some experiences I've had. Mainly a once-off LSD trip I had. Any thoughts?

Anonymous said...

"Enlightenment as defined by the Guild is for the mind to be free of attachment to each and all of the elements of consciousness.

Bodily sensation, emotion, energy and thought are all elements of consciousness.

There are levels of Enlightenment. A person may have achieved freedom of attachment to certain dimensions of consciousness but not all. Permanent Enlightenment is when the mind is completely free of attachment or illusion."

http://www.lifemasteryguilds.com
http://www.thepathofpower.org

Not sure if this is what you're looking for but I believe it is worth mentioning.

KK German, Virginia Beach, VA said...

I can only re-spout someone else myself, but your post brought this refrain to my mind:
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.
From Anthem by Leonard Cohen

Mindy said...

Ciaran, where you not going to post a response?