Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Au Contraire

“In the spiritual game, the loser rejoices and the winner feels ashamed.” – Meher Baba
In His Talks, Volume II, Part A, page 108, Upasani Maharaj states:

“The state of the world is contrary to that original state from which it evolved. The world evolved from Para Brahma (God in the Eternal, Infinite, Beyond State). This evolution worked on the principle of the orb and its reflection, i.e. the form and its image, i.e. the substance with its shadow; the first thing, thus, that appeared was the opposite of the original, the second opposed the first, the third opposed the second, and so on, till it—the Para Brahma— appeared in the form of a human body in the state of the world—a state opposed to the original Para Brahama…

“After birth, the child is taught by the parents and others the ways of the world and thus it is made to attain the state of the world, a state which is opposed to its state at the time of birth—the state of Brahma (God).

“This introduction to the world leads him on, with the result, that egoism, desires, etc., take possession of him, and he now has to bear the subsequent sufferings resulting from them; he has now merged himself in the state of the world.”

The world and all its affairs are contrary to God. It is my belief that failure to understand this contrariety is what causes people to misunderstand God and question God’s actions. How often is it heard, in all the great teachings, that God—that Vishnu—that the Avatar—that the Savior—is the Preserver and Protector of all, and yet, in the world we see children and innocents dying, sometimes in the most brutal of ways; we see suffering all around us; we see unhappiness and pain? And we hear people say, “How can He let this happen? Who is He really preserving and protecting?” 

At some point do we not begin to entertain the thought that God preserves and protects us—all of us—through the act of preserving and protecting the Way, the Way that contains all ways and paths to Him? The world, and all its affairs, all its “nothings into Nothing,” is the necessary mechanism for acquiring the consciousness that is capable of knowing, in the words of Meher Baba, that “You and I are not we—but one.”

“…you would not be able to restrain yourself from such laughter, if in some way or another, they were suddenly clearly to sense and understand, without any doubt whatever, that not only does nothing like ‘light,’ ‘darkness,’ ‘heat,’ and so on, come to their planet from their Sun itself, but that their supposed ‘source of heat and light’ is itself almost always freezing cold like the ‘hair-less dog’ of our highly esteemed Mullah Nassr Eddin.” – G. I. Gurdjieff, All and Everything, page 134.

I read this statement many years ago in Gurdjieff’s book, All and Everything, whose purpose Gurdjieff defined as, “To destroy, mercilessly, without any compromises whatsoever, in the mentation and feelings of the reader, the beliefs and views, by centuries rooted in him, about everything existing in the world.”

Years later, in Upasani Maharaj’s Talks, I heard the same thing. He said that the Sun is not the source of heat and light—that it is a very dense and dark sphere that reflects the real light of the soul of all beings and creatures in Creation. In other words, the Sun is more a mirror than a source.

In terms of reality, the world and our perception of it resembles Htrae, an imaginary world in the comic book series called Bizarro Superman. A description from Wikipedia goes as follows:

“In the Bizarro world of ‘Htrae’(‘Earth’ spelled backwards), society is ruled by the Bizarro Code which states, ‘Us do opposite of all Earthly things! Us hate beauty! Us love ugliness! Is big crime to make anything perfect on Bizarro World!’ In one episode, for example, a salesman is doing a brisk trade selling Bizarro bonds: ‘Guaranteed to lose money for you’. Later, the mayor appoints Bizarro No. 1 to investigate a crime, ‘Because you are stupider than the entire Bizarro police force put together’. This is intended and taken as a great compliment.”

What the masters are saying is that the world, as we know it, “do opposite of all things” which represent and lead to reality.

The path to God—consciousness of God—consciousness of the ‘I am God state’—passes through many states and stages. For many seekers, their spiritual odysseys begin with a sincere questioning of the truth of all they have been taught, and all they, and others, have come to believe. It’s often a strange state to be in—a state in which the seeker begins to seriously doubt the truth—the reality—of everything their senses and their minds tell them to be true, while everything that they are hearing from the teachings of the masters is not yet their experience, or as Kabir once said, “If you haven’t experienced it, it is not true.”

“The present education leads only to pain. What is the use of such education? If, however, you think that the present state of yours is that of happiness, and your present education as the cause of that happiness, you can only be described as fully blind to your own real state; that is all.” – Upasani Maharaj, Talks, Volume II, Part A, page 64.

Education, this is another Au Contraire example. For the most part, there is a world-wide view, rarely challenged, that education leads to success in life, and success in life leads to, is the same as, happiness. But one does not have to go very deeply into his own experience to realize that this is simply not true. Personally, I have found absolutely no connection between success in life and happiness. I have also found absolutely no connection between education and happiness. Some of the most highly educated people I know are suffering, confused, and, well frankly, barely able to ‘handle’ life as it comes to them. On the other hand, some of the most happy, wise, and sane people, have, comparatively, very little education in the modern sense.

“Your present education does not lead to happiness. (And) what you think is happiness is not happiness at all; it is (only) the apparently pleasing prelude to the terrible on-coming pain. In short, your whole present mode of behavior and your present education are, and lead to, nothing else but all-round suffering and pain.” – Upasani Maharaj, Talks, Volume II, Part A, page 65.

Too harsh?  Unfair? Well I guess we all have to decide for ourselves. But before deciding, consider this. The Masters teach that cause and effect is a law that governs creation. Action leads to action. The question is, can we see this cause and effect? For example, does education lead to success? The Masters would say no. As both Meher Baba and Upasani Maharaj explain, the present life one is leading—experiencing—is the consolidated mold of the impressions formed in the previous life. Impressions formed in this life are, generally speaking, not experienced in this life, but in the next. In other words, we live one life behind. What we experience today are the impressions of our last life—and lifetimes—and the impressions we create in this life form the consolidated mold of our next lifetime.

The Masters explain that there are three different types of actions. What they call satvic actions are the ones that lead to punya—punya creates happiness in life and advancement in the spiritual panorama.  What are satvic actions?  There are many, but basically, satvic actions are those self-less actions that lead one closer to love for God and makes others happy. Meher Baba said, “Real happiness lies in making others happy.” Notice He said real happiness.

What the average person calls reality is less stable than a house of cards.

I remember when we experimented with mind-altering drugs in the old days. Ingesting just a drop of some chemical could put us into another reality that could last for days. In that state, people and things looked different, connected differently, and had different meanings and different values. In that state, new ideas and possibilities emerged, while old ideas and concepts took on different meanings and implications. Sense of self was altered—personal boundaries and images, both physical and mental, were altered and changed, and later, after the chemicals wore off, many of us were left asking such questions as, “Which reality is the real reality?” or “Is either reality real?” or “Are any of the realities real?”

Decades ago I stopped taking drugs after an experience—a glimpse—showed me, in no uncertain terms, that a state, a higher state, was a real possibility and could be reached through some kind of inner work and outer help. I also realized that though mind-altering drugs had given me the glimpse, the drugs were not the way to attain that higher, more real, reality; in fact, for me to continue to use drugs would hinder the work I needed to do.

I spoke in the last post about the fallacy of modern education as spoken of by the Masters. The following story illustrates another big fallacy of illusion, the fallacy that good is God. I’m not suggesting that good is bad, or that good is without benefits—indeed, as Meher Baba said, “The saint is bound by a golden chain, and the sinner by a spiked one, but the goal is to break all chains.” Meher Baba also said, “Good is not God.”

 I believe the following story illustrates two points: that good is not God, and that the work of the Perfect Masters is often misunderstood because average people come to conclusions based on many illusory ideas that are often sentimental, self-serving, and morally subjective. But let’s let the story speak for itself. I first heard the story from Bhau Kalchuri, a long time close disciple (Mandali) of Meher Baba. This version of the story is an excerpt from my book, Supervisions, (co-written with Dr. Dorothy Mead), available at eladi-publications.com.

“A mass murderer went to a Perfect Master for help. He realized his soul was in grave jeopardy because of all the people he had killed. So he joined a group who had gathered in the presence of a Perfect Master. The Master was an old and grizzled looking man who wore nothing but a piece of burlap cut from an old gunnysack. Seeing the stranger in their midst, he nonchalantly inquired why he was there.

“The man spoke quite openly and honestly. ‘I am a bad man,’ he said. ‘I have killed many people and I am terrified for my soul. I have heard about you and come begging for your help.’ Of course, all in the group had turned to see the man who was confessing to being a murderer.

“‘Let me get this straight,’ said the Perfect Master, feigning the tone of a scholar or a philosopher. ‘You are a murderer?’


“‘And you have come to me for help for your soul?’


“‘I see. Now tell me, how many people have you killed?’

“‘Ninety-nine,’ the man replied, and all of the people gave a collective gasp.

“‘I see,’ said the Perfect Master. ‘You have killed ninety-nine people, and you want my help for your soul?’ his voice sounding thoughtful and inquiring.

“‘Yes, that is the truth.’

“‘I see. You have killed ninety-nine people. You are sure it is ninety-nine?’

“‘Yes, I am sure,’ said the murderer, who was beginning to wonder at the Perfect Master’s questions.

“‘Ninety-nine and not one hundred,’ the Perfect Master persevered while the murderer grew more impatient.

“‘Yes, I have killed ninety-nine and not one hundred.’

“‘And you are coming to me for my help?’ The man jumped to his feet. He felt the so-called Perfect Master was either crazy or teasing him.

“‘Where are you going?’ asked the Perfect Master in mock surprise.

“‘I feel I have made a mistake in coming here. I don’t believe you are taking me seriously. I am leaving.’

“‘On the contrary,’ replied the Perfect Master, ‘please sit down. I promise I will help you.’ The man sat down again.

“‘Now let me get this straight,’ said the Perfect Master. ‘You are a murderer and you have killed ninety-nine people and you are coming to me for help for your soul?’


“‘And you are sure you have killed ninety-nine people?’


“‘And not one hundred?’ Again the man jumped to his feet.

“‘What are you doing?’ asked the Perfect Master with all the innocence of a child.

“‘I am leaving.’

“‘Please sit down. I promised I would definitely help you,’ said the Perfect Master. The man again sat down.

“‘Now listen carefully to what I tell you. Will you do as I request?’


“‘Very well. Do you see that tree by the road over there?’


“‘This is what I want you to do. I want you to go and sit beneath that tree. You are to stay there; I will see to all your needs. You will have food and protection from the elements. You are just to stay there, but when people pass by on the road, you are to go to them and bless them.’

“‘Bless them?’

“‘Yes bless them; you can say may God’s blessing be upon you—anything like that you wish. Can you do it?’

“‘Yes,’ replied the murderer, who was happy to be given a penance for his sins.

“And so the man began to stay under the tree and bless people when they went by. He stayed there for years—after a while, people even began to think he was some kind of great saint.

“It so happened that one day a messenger on horseback came galloping down the road at top speed. The murderer was out in the road, busy doing his blessings, when the man rode by. Not seeing him coming, the murderer stepped in front of the charging horse, the horse reared up and the rider was thrown into the air. Picking himself off the ground, the rider was absolutely furious.

“‘What the hell are you doing, man?’ he shouted at the murderer. ‘Are you crazy? You fool! I am delivering an important message from the king. See what you’ve done, you piece of shit?’ and he went on like that, railing against the murderer, who himself was getting more and more angry.

“Finally, the murderer could stand the abuse no longer and picked up a large stone and crushed the messenger’s head. Just then, at that very moment, the Perfect Master arrived, said simply ‘One hundred,’ and bestowed upon the murderer the highest state of liberation. The Perfect Master gave him the state of God Realization.”

Anne, the character being told the story in my book was quite confused.

“Victor, I have absolutely no idea what this story means,” Anne said after a long pause.

“You see, Anne, the messenger was carrying orders from the king for the execution of one hundred innocent people. By killing the messenger—his one hundredth murder—he saved one hundred people. The Perfect Master knew this in the beginning, knew exactly what was necessary to balance the murderer’s actions and liberate him from their consequences.”

But Anne’s dismay and irritation were in no way relieved by the explanation. “I get it,” Anne said, “but I don’t think I like it. It disturbs me on many different levels.”

“As it did me when Amrit first told it to me. Do you remember when Aunt Lily was telling you about the mirror?”

“Yes. I like that story,” Anne replied with a smile.

“Well, applying the metaphor to this story, the Perfect Master could see the dust that distorted the murderer’s consciousness and also knew how to wipe it clean. He created the perfect circumstances for the murderer to save one hundred lives. He knew all along what would happen, but, of course, neither the murderer nor anyone else had any idea what the Perfect Master was actually doing.” – Kovitz and Mead, Supervisions (eladi-publications.com).

“In Christ there is no East or West.”

A point has no dimensions, no up, no down, no depth.

The extension of the point—a series of adjacent points—is a line.

A line has dimension—one dimension.

Extend the line and it becomes a plane—two dimensions.

Extend the plane and it becomes a shape with three dimensions. Technically this shape is called a prism. It can be a cup, a square, a book, a sphere, and so on.

But can the prism be extended further, into a four-dimensional shape?

The idea that creation has more than three dimensions has been around for a long time and interest in it seems to revive from time to time. The nineteenth century was such time. I came across the idea of multi-dimensional space years ago in the writings of P.D. Ouspensky.

For me, the possibility of four (or more) dimensions of space was important in two ways: its impact on my understanding of time, and its impact on my understanding of the universe.

With regard to time: for Ouspensky and other like-minded thinkers, our faulty perception of the fourth dimension is what we call time.

To illustrate his idea, Ouspensky used the example of a world of only two dimensions—a world of the plane exiting in three dimensional space. In this plane world existed plane beings—beings of only two dimensions—beings who could only fully perceive two dimensions. For plane beings there exists a forward and a back, a left and a right, but no up or down, because the plane has, as it were, no thickness.

Ouspensky asked us to imagine a striped poll of different colors being passed through the plane. What would the plane inhabitants see? He suggested that they would see before them a phenomenon of a changing color, but they would not see the poll either above or below their plane. They would not understand that what they perceived was only a slice of the total phenomenon, that it was a result of the movement of the poll through their plane, and that movement was not movement, but something that they deemed to be called time.

Ouspensky then asked us to consider the possibility that our three-dimensional consciousness, our three-dimensional world, stood in the same relationship to the fourth dimension as the plane beings’ consciousness stands in relationship to the third dimension.

Without the ability to perceive the fourth dimension, what chance would there be for us to really understand the nature of the universe and all its phenomena—including ourselves? For do we not fully believe, without a shadow of a doubt, that we are physical beings of three dimensions? I see myself, perceive myself, as an adult man existing in the time we call the year of 2013. I exist as a point with no dimensions.

But do I ever doubt that a man is the totality of what I am—who I am? I remember, have memories, even photographs of myself as an infant, a child, a young adult: different points that make up the line of myself, a line that even extends beyond me—beyond the so-called present—into the future. Is not the entire line of me, from birth to death, a more comprehensive meaning of me? I would have to conclude that yes, it is, but if I am also being honest with myself, and ask myself the question, “Is the consciousness of myself that I actually experience the consciousness of the point or the consciousness of the line?” I would have to conclude that it is the former and not the latter.

And what of time itself—the so-called past, present, and future? Does not the average person feel that the past is something that’s over and done—something that no longer exists—while the future is that which is to come, and in relationship to the present does not yet exist? If the past and the future do not exist, then what is the present? Is not this illusory point of no dimension between the past which is over and the future that is yet to come?

Yet the mystics and the seers say something else, experience something else. There is only the moment, the eternal present that not only includes the so-called past and future, but also extends—exists—above and below the line of my life, as a plane that, itself, extends—exists—beyond that plane as a prism, that extends—exists—beyond that prism in even more dimensions.

And what of the God-Realized ones—what do they say—what do they experience? They tell us that all dimensions of creation, all of creation itself, with its space and time and paraphernalia, does not exist at all—is but an illusion—a dream—a dream we all will ultimately awaken from and experience the Truth, the Reality, of Self, of God.

“The little girl looked down at the sky and wrote bottoms up
And the word called her mad
And she almost came to believe it herself.

“One day in her lifetime of tears there appeared at her side
A light without shape or origin
And for a long time neither she nor it did move.

“One day the light began to slowly turn
And the little girl being bound to that light also began to turn—

“Over and over, around and around,
Faster and faster with such force
That her eyes opened wide and she saw the light
Become all colors and all colors become One.

“Moving in seven directions at once
The little girl became motionless
And exiting in seven dimensions at once
She experienced herself—infinitely and eternally” – Michael Kovitz, 1971.


“To the Universe—The Illusion that sustains Reality” – dedication to the book God Speaks by Meher Baba.

When I was a teenager in Chicago, Illinois, my friends and I would, on some weekend evenings when the weather was pleasant enough (not always a given in Chicago), migrate to a certain location in a park along the lakefront and meet up with other high-schoolers, to hang out and do whatever teenagers do with their spare time.

Sometimes it was quite enjoyable for me, especially if whatever girl I was interested in at the time would act friendly towards me, and sometimes it was unpleasant for me if the said girl of my eye du jour ignored me or was friendly to one of my imagined competitors. Of course, mine were not the only dramas that played out at the park. Everyone had their own dramas, experienced their own heavens and hells.

Years passed. I had graduated from college, but still lived in the same general area of the city. One weekend evening I took a walk down to the lake and found myself in that same park and that same location where we all used to hang out, and what was I surprised to see? High-schoolers hanging out, doing what we used to do—doing what I used to do.

I experienced a strange feeling as I observed them laughing and talking, doing what they do—doing what we did. It was the same place, same scene, but with different people. It is difficult to explain this strange feeling I felt, but it was something like, forms don’t change, people don’t change, but consciousness changes by playing through the forms in order to experience, in order to involve, in order to become. Years later, Meher Baba helped me to understand that the soul, through the medium of its evolving and involving consciousness associates with, identifies with, various and numerous forms of creation in order to gain and later perfect the consciousness by which it will know itself to be God.

I died as mineral and became a plant,
I died as plant and rose to animal,
I died as animal and I was man.
Why should I fear? Was I ever less by dying?
And yet once more, I shall die as man, to soar
With angels blest; but even from angel-hood
I must pass on; all except God doth perish.
And when I have sacrificed my angel soul,
I shall become what no mind e’er conceived:
Oh, let me not exist! For Non-existence
Proclaims in organ tones, ‘To Him we shall return.’” – Rumi

So, Meher Baba explains that the consciousness of the soul must associate with various forms in order to evolve and perfect itself. The important question for me is, can there be association without identification?  What I mean is, if the soul through its consciousness needs to associate itself with say a human form of a particular sex, of a particular race, of a particular religion, in a particular time and place, etc., is it necessary that the consciousness actually takes itself to be that human form of a particular sex, of a particular race, of a particular religion, in a particular time and place, etc.? The fact that the average person does consider himself to be the form his consciousness is associating with, in fact, never even questions that he may be something other than that human form of a particular sex, of a particular race, etc., does not mean that the identification is necessary for the association.

I remember a story told by Upasani Maharaj. He said that one day sometime after He had achieved God-Realization at the hands of Sai Baba, he ‘woke-up’ in Sai Baba’s body. Now both were Perfect and therefore beyond the distinctions of religion and caste, still, Sai Baba was considered to be a Muslim and Upasani was considered to be a Hindu. Of course, their followers tended to be Muslim and Hindu respectively—being still identified with the superficial distinctions of illusory—un-perfected—consciousness. And so, he said with a touch of amusement, that now the Hindu followers were bowing down to a Muslim in a Hindu’s body and, likewise, the Muslims were bowing down to a Hindu in a Muslim’s body. Upasani then went on to say that all His talk might seem strange to the average person but, in fact, the illusion of individuality is just that, an illusion—that Jivas are constantly in the process of moving from body to body, inhabiting different bodies—with illusory consciousness never even being aware of the changes.

Who am I? ‘Au contraire.’

“Leave all and follow me.” – Jesus Christ

Can you imagine how extreme, how radical, how contraire, that statement must have been at the time? Only a few had any idea at all who He was—who it was who was making that statement. Most didn’t know Him at all; of those who did, many thought he was a rebel—a heretic; a few considered Him a teacher—a rabbi; and only a very few—only those to whom He gave the Gift—knew Him to be God in human form. And even in those days, the idea of leaving all—one’s wife or husband, one’s family, one’s wealth and possessions—to follow some wild-eyed preacher, was a preposterous idea.

At some point when I was a boy I began to question everything. I wasn’t trying to make trouble; I was trying to make sense—sense of what I saw going on around me and what I felt going on within me. I wasn’t particularly disturbed or confused, but I did feel like an outsider looking in—like watching a party through a window. Inside, people were laughing and talking—arguing and agreeing, but basically relating from what appeared to me to be a whole assortment of truths that they all seemed to understand and automatically accept—truths that I wondered about—truths that were not self-evident to me. Not that I rejected them; I just didn’t see them, and the ones I did see I just couldn’t take for granted.

When I was able to formulate a question at all, I did not have any trouble finding people that were more than willing to answer it—to help me. The problem was that almost without exception, the answers that they gave only made sense in the light of the very truths I was questioning—the truths that they never seemed to have any need to question themselves. These conversations would often turn sour when I begged the question—when I questioned a particular truth. Suddenly the helpful person would become irritated, or even indignant. I was no angel myself, and I would argue back. After a while I learned to stop asking and start reading—but reading wasn’t much better.

I never gave up hope however. ‘There must be answers—real answers. There must be some, or someone, who knew.’

“Age after age, when the wick of Righteousness burns low, the Avatar comes yet again to rekindle the torch of Love and Truth. Age after age, amidst the clamour of disruptions, wars, fear and chaos, rings the Avatar’s call:


“Although, because of the veil of illusion, this Call of the Ancient One may appear as a voice in the wilderness, its echo and re-echo nevertheless pervades through time and space to rouse at first a few, and eventually millions, from their deep slumber of ignorance. And in the midst of illusion, as the Voice behind all voices, it awakens humanity to bear witness to the Manifestation of God amidst mankind.

“The time is come. I repeat the Call, and bid all come unto me.” – Meher Baba, Meher Baba’s Call, Amednagar, India, September 12,1954.
“A bird in the forest
   once flew to a palace.

Inside the palace was a mirror.
   When the bird came to the mirror,
      it saw that there was another bird
         inside the mirror.

That bird (reflection)
   was only the real bird's shadow,
      but the real bird was deluded
         and took the reflection to be another bird.

It started striking its beak against the mirror;
   its shadow inside the mirror did the same
      and the birds' beaks struck each other.

At last the real bird was tired of fighting
   with the bird inside the mirror,
      but it could not understand
         that the bird in the mirror was no other bird,
            but was its shadow.

When the real bird became tired,
   the mirror crashed,
      and with it the unreal bird disappeared.

At that moment when the mirror crashed
   the palace also disappeared;
      the real bird was left alone
         and it realized, "I Alone Exist."

Shadow does not exist.

Shadow is nothing,
   but in spite of its being nothing,
      to bring it into existence is illusion.

And though shadow is nothing,
   it IS,
      and is whereby the illusion (self-delusion) starts.

When this shadow is found to be what it is,
      it is here that illusion ends.” – Bhau Kalchuri, The Nothing and the Everything, p. 330, copyright 1981 AMBPPCT.

Au contraire. How can it be otherwise? If consciousness is illusory, then it must follow that all that follows is illusory—like the image in the mirror. Stand at arm’s length from the mirror; look at your face. You’ve never really seen your face have you? Just its reflection. Others have seen your face, but you have never seen your face. Look at your face and your head in the mirror; estimate the size of the image—from the top of your head to the bottom of your chin—maybe twelve inches or so? Now, place your index finger on the mirror at the top of the image of your head, then place the index finger of your other hand on the mirror at the bottom of your chin. How big is the image? Surprised?

Not only is creation an illusion, even the ‘reality’ of that illusion as perceived by the average person is an illusion.

“When all of you eat, it means I have eaten. Some of you may doubt this statement of mine and ask me as to how it could be possible? Well, if your Jiva (Soul) is within me and mine in yours, it means that when you eat I am virtually eating through your mouths, and vice versa.

“What place or thing is there without the presence of my Jiva? Remember my Jiva pervades everything—all the animate and the inanimate, and yet remains over (beyond everything).

“If your Jiva is within me, then my Jiva is there within you to eat for you; that is why when you eat I have virtually eaten.

“And why don’t I eat myself? I do not do so, simply because I do not want you people to eat, i.e. to satisfy your hunger. Of course, all that I am telling you is contrary to your conception of eating and satisfying your hunger. After all my ways are contrary to those of yours.” – Upasani Maharaj, Talks, Volume II, Part A, page 125.

What’s all this about eating and not eating? Masters speak on many levels. Desires are experienced as hunger. Satisfying those desires is the act of eating. Upasani is saying that He wants His followers to eat less, to satisfy their desires less. But He knows also that His followers are not Perfect. Masters are all very pragmatic. And so, what He is saying is that due to their association with Him, when they eat He will have eaten, i.e. He will take on the suffering and pleasure of the acts of their eating—so that the very act of eating does not create even further bindings that inhibit the ultimate certainty of their Realization.

“Behind the curtain a secret game is being played
That you know not, so don't give up nor be dismayed—or grieved.” – Hafez

A fellow I know, as he puts it, went down a rabbit hole some years ago and never came back. He had received a powerful shock that sent him on a personal odyssey in search of answers. He wasn’t looking for ultimate Truth, at least he wouldn’t have put it that way—probably still wouldn’t—but he just wanted to know the truth about things.

So, he started looking, he started asking questions, and he started listening. But what he saw, and what he heard, only agitated him more. Like a man examining the individual threads that make a tapestry, the more he pulled out and examined, the more the whole tapestry began to unravel. The further he went, the more he examined, the more un-truths, deceptions, and lies he discovered.

As the tapestry unraveled another tapestry with another pattern began to emerge. Now he believes that there is a grand conspiracy. Certain individuals are behind the untruths, deceptions, and lies—individuals selfishly motivated by greed and lust for power and control. When asked, he says with more than a touch of anger and grief, that he wants his country back—he wants his life back.

“Not all those who wander are lost.” – JRR Tolkien

Meher Baba says that the search for Truth is energized by a powerful disappointment with the world coupled with a growing love for God. In the poetry of John Donne, the forcing together of two images or thoughts into a single dissonant image is called a metaphysical conceit. In John Donne’s poem, The Flea, a flea bites him and then hops over and bites his lover. Their blood, mingled in the body of the flea, representing love’s union, is an example of a metaphysical conceit.

“Mark but this flea, and mark in this,
How little that which thou deny'st me is;
It sucked me first, and now sucks thee,
And in this flea, our two bloods mingled be;
Thou knowest that this cannot be said
A sin, nor shame, nor loss of maidenhead.
Yet this enjoys before it woo,
And pampered, swells with one blood made of two,
And this, alas, is more than we would do.”

And what of the forcing together of illusion and reality, is this not the greatest of all metaphysical conceits? Remember Upasani Maharaj’s meaning of the word Jivatma?

“That pure celestial soul identified with the projections of the mind.”

Or, Christianity’s Holy Spirit? The third part of the trinity comprised of God the Father, God the Son, and God as the Holy Spirit—is not that Holy Spirit that pure celestial soul wandering in ghostly consciousness—false consciousness—taking illusion to be reality and reality to be illusion—is not that combination of reality and illusion—that metaphysical conceit—wandering like a ghost, haunting its own dream of itself, man?  I am Michael; I am a man; I am this and that.

“Praise be to God, for He never tries His slave in vain.” – Hafez

Meher Baba reminds us:

“You are first a child, then grow old and drop the body, but you never die and were never born. In the East, Vedantists believe in reincarnation, in numberless births and deaths until one attains God. The Muslims believe in one birth only and in one death only. The Christians and the Zoroastrians believe the same. All are right. But Zarathustra, Ram, Krishna, Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad and all previous Avatars meant what I mean by real birth and real death. I say: ‘You are born once and die once.’

“All the so-called births and deaths are only sleeps and awakenings. The difference between sleep and death is that when you sleep, you awake and find yourself in the same body. But after death, you awake in a different body. You never die; only the blessed ones die and become One with God.”

Paraphrasing Meher Baba, we all went down the rabbit hole with our first birth—our entrance into creation as that metaphysical conceit called Jivatma by some, or Holy Ghost by others. While in that rabbit hole we go through numerous illusory rabbit holes—our dreams of our comings and goings as stones and birds and animals and man and saints and sinners and angels—until we die the final death and emerge with full consciousness from the rabbit hole we first went down, as pure celestial souls finally unburdened from the projections of our minds, knowing ourselves to be what we have always been—infinite, eternal, drops of the Ocean of God.

Au Contraire has been one of the longer series of postings in Embedded with the Kali Yuga—I think for good reason. Everything we know—everything we think we know about ourselves, creation, and God goes contrary to the teachings of the Masters, and so there is more than enough that can be said to fill endless blogs and books. And although the posting Au Contraire ends here, God willing, Inshalla, other postings will follow spotlighting various divine themes and teachings. In fact, will not they all be, my dear, au contraire?

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