I See Dead People!
Hotspur: Why so can I, or so can any man; But will they come when you do call them? --Shakespeare, Henry IV
Oh, I think so, wise guy. Where would we be without the authentic gurus, avatars, saints, seers, and miscellaneous holy men who have marked out the path of exit and entrance into the closed circle of material existence? Once you have formed a relationship with one of these celestial beings, it brings real tears of gratitude to contemplate how much they have sacrificed for the love of mankind and where your life would be without them. Thanks to their guidance and example, we can have real faith and hope that our spiritual endeavors are not in vain--that they will bear fruit.
Formed a relationship? With a dead person? Say it ain't so, Bob!
Now that I have successfully driven away half my readers with all the spiritual mumbo-jumbo--those so-called "normal" ones--I think I can say it, can't I? It's just you and me, right?
Yeah, I talk to dead people. And they t.... Never mind. I'll get to that part in a minute.
Mankind is haunted by the memory of paradise. Religions arise to memorialize and give structure to this memory. Rituals are enacted to make the memory present. But Buddhas show us that we are mistaken to see this as a memory of the past, as it is actually a memoir of the future. A Buddha is someone who has found the vertical path of exit from the closed circle of mere animal and material existence.
On the other hand, the avatar breaks into time from eternity in order to reconcile the horizontal and vertical worlds. There are more Buddhas than avatars. It is said that the avatar only incarnates at world-historical crisis points, when mankind has reached a hopeless impasse in its spiritual evolution. The avatar comes to fulfill a specific mission. That mission is not always strictly spiritual in the narrow definition of the term, but can be scientific, political, even military. You can look at it metaphorically if you like. But do look at it. Consider where the world would be if you removed a handful of capacious souls from the world-historical stage, say, Plato, Newton, Edison, Einstein, Washington, Lincoln, and Churchill. One of these men is worth more than most nations.
Now, I hope it isn't offensive to my Christian friends to suggest that there has been more than one avatar with a divine mission. As a matter of fact, it has been orthodox belief--ever since Augustine I believe--that the Christ had been present in the world in an attenuated or partial form from the beginning. There were hints and adumbrations before the full revelation appeared in the form of Jesus. You might say that the Christ existed as a sort of quantum field or wave function until, in the fulness of time, it collapsed and became particularized in the person of Jesus: "Before Abraham was, I AM." In any event, it is not so much Jesus' divine birth, but his divine death, that counts. That is what really sets him apart from the others. He is risen!
So one can still remain Christian and recognize the existence of other divine emissaries, even if they are not regarded on the same plane as the "only begotten"--at the very least, Moses, John the Baptist, St. Paul, etc. And I hope no one doubts that there have been "Christian Buddhas" as well--Denys the Areopagite, St. John of the Cross, Meister Eckhart, Theophan the Recluse, Seraphim of Sarov, and so many more. Ignore these luminous beings and you are denying yourself one of life's true metaphysical delights.
As I tried to convey in my book, there is only one story. It is the story of an evolving cosmos awakening to itself and becoming conscious. Who could argue with that? It happened. And it's happening. First there was matter. Then one fine day, life. Then just a short while back, self-consciousness. And most recently, the recognition of, and identification with, Spirit. Matterlifemindspirit. You can insert an arbitrary line dividing one from the other, but at least recognize that you are the one who created the abstract dualism. The underlying Oneness of existence knows no such demarcations, neither in space nor in time. Is that why it's possible to form a relationship with a teacher outside our local spacetime matrix? To resonate with someone who dwells in the nonlocal noumenal world from which this one is a local projection? I don't know. Probably. Off hand I can't think of a better reason.
I do know this. For a long time, I tried the "do-it-yoursoph" approach to spirituality. You may not think so, but I tend to be pretty rational, and it actually wasn't too long ago that I was an atheist. Still, I was always drawn to spirituality, so long as it was something along the lines of Zen or Taoism--strictly rational in a right-brained sort of way. Most forms of Buddhism might be described as "psycho-spiritual technologies" aimed at facilitating post-biological evolution, or ego transcendence. You don't even have to have any particular beliefs, either rational or otherwise. You just sit, meditate, and wait. That's it.
The purpose of such spiritual exercises is to become deep, that is, to plunge into the vertical. You can only think of one thing at a time. In this regard, it is just as important to develop a good forgettery as it is to have a good memory. In order to recollect the vertical, we must forget the horizontal. Meditation is learned forgetting. It is to change one's center of gravity from the horizontal to the vertical, or perhaps die to the one and be resurrected into the other. Either way, death is the guardian of this threshold. In making this transition, one recognizes the existence of something analogous to "gravity" on the spiritual plane, as we are "attracted" by and into it--as if it is a giant planet or star.
The uncorrupted heart is able to perceive the divine presence in the Buddha or avatar. When we perceive this, we spontaneously bow before it. In so doing, we open up to their benign influence. This is to move from spiritual technology to radiant grace. In the transitional space formed by the heartfelt veneration that occurs here, you actually reincarnate the departed avatar or Buddha. Their words become flesh.
Look at it this way. Our human personality develops in the transitional space between our brain's neurology and the empathic others of our childhood. Just so, our higher self is given birth in the transitional space between us and a transcendent being. As you know, some have even made the analogy explicit by referring to it as "the Father." In this view, our earthly parents only derive their just authority in being divine deputies of our nonlocal parent. Their job is to serve as examples and take care of us long enough to usher us into the presense of our real parent.
You want spiritual advice, right? I can do that, but I must emphasize that he in whose name I speak is mightier than I--mightier than me and Petey put together--and whose sari I am not fit to carry. I can bobtize you with my honeyed words, but s/he will do so with fire!
Yes, you can try to be a soph-starter, as I did. Or you can enlist the priceless assistance of one of the many helpful nonlocal operators who are always standing by. Immerse yourself in the word they have left behind, and read it not with your mind, but with a higher faculty: your heart. See for yourself if you can't make them a real living presence in your life.
O merciful Homo futurus, wholly I-AMbassador of the Omega Point, esteemed Eschatolator Operator, we pray that you lead us upward and occasionally throw us a freakin' bone down here in 4D! If it be your will.