How do systems work? - Part II
by Milo Clark


Whether "Big Bang" or "God [Goddess]", back there [or right here] everything, every aspect of our perceptual actuality, emanates from whatever existed or didn't exist before creation. Time adds nothing. If that preexisting state may be said to represent perfection or, at least, some sort of "whole", then all that is now apparent is also perfect or whole. To see otherwise may be said to name not the imperfection of the whole, but something else. It is the naming of that "something else" which consumes the time and attention of those who may be inclined to think in those directions. I believe it vital to attempt to dig out some sort of base on which we can found the webs of succeeding assumptions: and to be conscious, ever aware, that our beliefs are built on assumptions 1) about a whole largely unknown and probably unknowable and 2) therefore descriptions of which are based totally in conjecture, hypothesis and synthesis.

Having set up this construction, appalled by its immensity and complexity, I notice that I still have nothing to show: only words stringing out across a reader's perceptual sensors. To review what I have written so far, throws me into hopelessness about ability to communicate meaningfully about much of anything. I need to talk about phenomena.

On the way to phenomena, I'll pass through thought. A special form of thought is prayer. If we accept an assumption that prayer, no matter how formulated or formalized, is intentional thought, we have not separated prayer from thought as a force, an energy, an aspect of the whole generally assumed to be intangible. Therefore, if prayer, thought with conscious intention, brings results as a force moves an object: then it may be plausible to assume also that thought may have results: may have a degree of tangibility. If thought is, as is everything else, a part of the whole, then we may look for thought as a quality of the whole: I am therefore I think, for one pole. I am therefore I think names the being and thinking mechanism as I when it is just as logical that I is not separate but an integral and inseparable aspect of the whole. For humankind as whole and I as an aspect of the whole to "think" both us and I as something special in creation, the evidence just presented speaks to the contrary. If humankind is sentient, conscious, aware and humankind is one part of the whole: the whole must therefore also be assumed to be sentient.

Assuming further that what I am is a speck of embodied consciousness, a speck of the whole given form, I am linked to the whole: that is, the whole is available as I am [ontogeny recapitulating philogeny] for the flicker of time represented by this embodiment, merely and temporarily separated from my constant state within the whole. The phenomena which accompanies "spiritual" realizations for some, is not something special, rather it is a simple act of accessing the whole which, for some reason, we have lost track of while given form. As the whole is us, I am the whole, then all is within and nothing without.

Among the systems configurations common on the Indian subcontinent is a gradation of spiritual practices or seekers ranging from the purely experiential lauding of the divine among the Bhaktis dancing in abandon to the names of god to the rather abstracted practices of the Advaita J˝anis mentally equating themselves with the divine. Why make this distinction when the subject seems to be phenomena? Phenomena has already been described as aspects of the whole assumed to be unique to individual experience and, in fact, simply accessing the whole: nothing special.

To bring it all back together: the system of the universe is a whole, perfect in itself and complete in all aspects. I and we are aspects of that whole, perfect and complete in all dimensions. That neither I nor we "know" perfection and completeness doesn't change the nature of the whole or our being within it: being a microcosm of the macrocosm. What we report perceiving is both imperfect and marvelous: marvelous in that we ascribe it to ourselves when we are no more than within it looking in and out simultaneously and assuming that the selections taken from our looking constitute reality. Prayer, assumed as intentional thought, is no different than thought, per se. If "good"is assumed to be an outcome of prayer, then "bad" [to make the pair] may be an outcome of thought. Pessimists see more thought than prayer.

What do I see in my state of being a separated "I"? How do "I" behave? Both intellectually and experientially, "I" know the actualities described as much as an "I" can "know". I know them transcendentally: I also know the separated state and slip back and forth when "I" takes over and gives up. Listening, I hear what Indians call "shabda" or "shruti" the background sound of being: what the tamboura provides in ragas: the drone: consistent, pervasive, unchanging, constant--the residue, no the active presence of creation still creating. The initiation name coming from Nisargadatta is Shabdabrahmananda: the sound of Brahma, Brahma being the underlying contintuity of all that may be, whatever it may be: God, I suppose, were one to place such outside of oneself. The Tibetan initiation name from Chadud Tulku is Ngedong Dorje, Vajra of Ultimate Wisdom: Vajra being the adamantine, diamond-like quality of that same thing named by some as Brahma or God. I have written about the differences between this age, the Piscean, drawing to a close and the Aquarian, slowly but inexorably substituting the future for the past [as if there may be such]: The New Age. A key difference: transcendence is succeeded by transmutation: in our separated states, we will be either there or here with no flipflops. The Maitreya Sutras come from the next Buddha making a transition from the waiting place within me to the active place within creation evolving: also "me". The paradox lurking in this prison of language is overwhelming. I can't seem to break out of it. I read what I write and find it perfectly clear and yet others who read it find no clarity for themselves. No, that is not totally accurate in that others who have seen what I write are not as consumed with the passion to pursue that I cannot shake off to get on with living a life in this time in some functional way.

The separated "I" is dysfunctional, out of synch, writing and writing and writing: doing nothing else but the constant fashioning of words. Here I sit in Hawaii: writing. I sat in Hawaii before and wrote and wrote. I sat in Berkeley and wrote. I sat in India and I wrote. I came back from India and I wrote. I sat in Arizona and New Mexico and I wrote. Nothing done in the external world "worked" in the terms of that external world. Abandoning the established ways, no job but constant instruction, little income, constant frustration in trying to be "real", relationships foundering or sputtering along. I can just as well wander about the streets beating a drum and chanting the names of the Lord. I can just as well fashion images of the Lord. I can sit and listen to shabda and whirl out into the interstices of being. And I write and I write: I am not sure that I can any longer attempt to talk: for the simple unadorned message there are no listeners. For the complex explanations of the simple unadorned message there are no listeners. And if anyone "knows" the futility of words, I am that one. And I have nothing to show for all the words, for all the work of a lifetime coming slowly to its ending. I ask if I can come home now and the answer is always "not yet". There is still more to do: more to learn. Just be patient, wait, give up the ideas and let it be what it is. Will the body hang together long enough? Done that, been there.

The unseparated "I" finds beauty and peace in every moment. From this place, I can no longer participate in the schemes of cruelty and greed that dominate. Nor can I escape.

All of this rambling puts me back in Lama Govinda's domain.


Published July 09, 1996
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