Leo's Blog: Infinite Insights — Page 27
If you are a poet, you will see clearly that there is a cloud floating in this sheet of paper [assumes you're reading this in a book]. Without a cloud, there will be no rain; without rain, the trees cannot grow, and without trees we cannot make paper. The cloud is essential for the paper to exist. If the cloud is not here, the sheet of paper cannot be here either...
If we look into this sheet of paper even more deeply, we can see the sunshine in it. If the sunshine is not there, nothing can grow. In fact, nothing can grow. Even we cannot grow without sunshine. And so, we know that the sunshine is also in this sheet of paper. The paper and the sunshine inter-are. And if we continue to look, we can see the logger who cut the tree and brought it to the mill to be transformed into paper. And we see the wheat. We know that the logger cannot exist without his daily bread, and therefore the wheat that became his bread is also in this sheet of paper. And the logger's father and mother are in it too...
You cannot point out one thing that is not here — time, space, the earth, the rain, the minerals in the soil, the sunshine, the cloud, the river, the heat. Everything co-exists with this sheet of paper... As thin as this sheet of paper is, it contains everything in the universe in it.
-- Thich Nhat Hanh, The Heart of Understanding
Reality is an infinitely interconnected web of differences, where each "node" exerts a force on infinitely many other nodes, and so on, ad infinitum. There is no central node, such that the web is perfectly decentralized. Such that you cannot even say that the web exists, because "existence" is just one more node in the web. Such that "the web" is one more node in the web.
Which is why you can't grasp it with mind. The only way to grasp it is to become the whole thing.
What you must understand about me and my work is that I see myself as a researcher and explorer, not a master.
I'm a very conceptual guy. I love theory and concepts. I love thinking about life. I am a philosopher in the literal sense of that word: a lover of wisdom. And so what I do is I explore the conceptual landscape. I am especially passionate about understanding concepts about the deepest aspects of life and what it means to be human. My work is to try to catalogue as many of the most profound concepts as I can find. But this is a distinctly separate task from embodying or mastering the concepts.
My prime interest is in knowing the big picture. Of course I try to embody much of what I study, but that is not my prime passion or strength. Being good at embodying wisdom is different from exploring, cataloguing, organizing, thinking about, and communicating it. Some people are born to be Zen masters, some people are born to be more talkative and flowery. Maybe in the future I will completely outgrow my passion for concepts, simply going full Zen. Maybe not. I don't know yet.
But until I do, you need to keep in mind that just because I catalogue a thousand concepts doesn't mean I have mastered them all. I am not trying to give that impression. I am just trying to fulfill my cataloguing duties. But as I do that, many people will get the wrong impression, taking me to be something greater than I am. Always remember that talking about wisdom is a lot easier than embodying it in all aspects of one's life. And I love to talk.
Despite how I can sometimes come off, I am just a humble philosopher. I struggle with embodying this stuff just as much as you. I never want you to get the idea that the stuff I talk about is easy. This is the hardest work a human can do. Which is why virtually nobody does it.
There is a subtle point which I failed to make explicit in this week's video.
"Learning = Behavior Change" doesn't just mean forcing a behavior change. No! Thinking of it like that makes it seem too much like a brute force technique. Intellect must still be involved. In fact, it must play the leading role. The real essence of the the phrase is: grasp the intellectual lesson so deeply that it results in an internal SHIFT, which then naturally leads to a behavior change. See the subtle difference?
Here's an example: Let's say you're overweight and you constantly eat junk food. Eventually you tire of it, so you want to stop. First you try some behavioral changes like forcing yourself to go the gym, watching your eating habits like a hawk, shopping for better groceries, reading some health books, etc. That's a good start, but it's not learning. All of those behavior changes and book lessons are only skin-deep. Which is of course why you fail. After a few months of hard work you will get sloppy and backslide to your old ways. Why? Because you didn't actually learn a god damn thing! To learn the lesson of health means that you have an insight so deep that it makes you stop wanting junk food, whiling starting to want health and exercise. Notice how different that is from merely forcing a behavior change, or reading some health books, or even telling yourself, "I must stop eating junk food." Think about what kind of lesson you'd have to learn to finally make healthy eating natural? Maybe you almost have a heart attack, and that near-death experience jolts you awake and now you FINALLY learn something: "OHHHH!!! Of course!!! Health!!!"
That's when you've learned.
Try to recall some times in your past when you really learned something. Not just a piece of information, but you grasped something so deep that it actually shifted a part of who you were. Like a small piece of you died that day. And from that a permanent change in behavior happened, and it was rather effortless. You didn't have to moralize to yourself, you didn't have to fight with yourself. You just finally learned the lesson.
Notice how rare such instances are. The point of this technique is to increase their likelihood.
This is why it's good to ask yourself both these questions: "What did I learn?" and "How will my behavior change?". Ask them separately, with a little gap in between to contemplate. It will be easier to make the insight click if you approach it from both ends like this. First, wonder about the intellectual component, then wonder about the behavioral component. As you do that, the two will tend to merge into one singular LESSON.
Our school systems are all nonsynergetic. We take the whole child and fractionate the scope of his or her comprehending coordination by putting the children in elementary schools — to become preoccupied with elements or isolated facts only. Thereafter we force them to choose some specialization, forcing them to forget the whole. We may well ask how it happened that the entire scheme of advanced education is devoted exclusively to ever narrower specialization. We find that the historical beginnings of schools and tutoring were established, and economically supported by illiterate and vastly ambitious warlords who required a wide variety of brain slaves with which to logistically and ballistically overwhelm those who opposed their expansion of physical conquest. They also simultaneously DIVIDED and CONQUERED any and all "bright ones" who might otherwise rise within their realms to threaten their supremacy. The warlord vitiated their threat by making them all specialists and reserving to himself exclusively the right to think about and act comprehensively. The warlord made all those about him differentiators and reserved the function of integration to himself.
Buckminster Fuller, Presentation to U.S. Congressional Sub-Committee (1969)
I thought this was obvious, but I see some people aren't getting it, so let's make it explicit.
From your point of view, you have no idea whether anything I say is true. From your point of you view, I could be lying, deluded, have some kind of hidden agenda, factually wrong, or just eccentric.
Notice the key words there: "From your point of view". And that's all that matters. It doesn't matter whether I believe what I'm saying it true, or how eloquently I say it, or whether it actually is true.
This is proper epistemology 101. What's true for me is not true for you. Everything I say — especially things like my personal mystical experiences — are MY truths. If you're serious about learning and doing this work, you need to cross-reference all your sources, including me. Don't be lazy. Don't just assume, "Oh, Leo is probably right." No! You cannot know that until you've directly experienced the things I speak about for yourself or at least corroborated what I say with a few other sources you respect.
And I'm not just talking about things I say about enlightenment. I'm talking everything I ever say. Even the very practical self-help stuff like how to run a business.
And this doesn't just apply to my teachings, but EVERYTHING you ever learn from any human being. It doesn't matter how well-respected or well-spoken the person is, or how genuine they appear. It doesn't matter whether it's Einstein, Gandhi, Jesus, the Buddha, Ekhart Tolle, a textbook, your doctor, your life coach, your professor, your Rabbi, your guru, your best friend, a DMT alien, or Zeus speaking down from the clouds. The whole point is that mere words coming out of a being's mouth do not mean jack. You have to do the work of verifying whether those words actually correspond to reality FOR YOU.
If you don't do this, I guarantee you will get things wrong. This is a non-negotiable principle of life.
When I speak of "Absolute Truth" people sometimes hear that and think, "Oh, that means he really believes it. How could he be so gullible?" It makes me sounds like a dogmatist taking a position. No. That's only a surface resemblance. What people don't understand is how much skepticism I go through behind the scenes. You just don't see it. I'm more skeptical than the biggest skeptic you've ever seen. That's precisely why I'm then able to say things like "Absolute Truth". I do not say such things lightly. When I say something like that, I've cross-referenced it with dozens of diverse, high-quality sources. And you must do the same.
If you haven't gone through at least a few years of your life plagued by crippling doubt, you're not doing it right. Don't even take for granted that your mother is your mother. Words are cheap.
One enlightenment experience rarely gets rid of the ego completely.
Here's how to understand why:
No doubt you've heard of the metaphor likening the ego to a droplet of water separated from the ocean, until it finally merges back in. But this makes the process sound deceptively simple. When we look at how water droplets ACTUALLY work, we see the truth of the matter.
Watch closely. Think of each bounce as another enlightenment experience.
"Like the circles that you find, in the windmills of your mind."
The perfect Absolute Infinity song:
BTW, for those of you doing the Life Purpose Course, study Sting. This guy is a fucking life purpose beast! Selling over 100 million records, net worth of over $300 million dollars, 16 Grammies, 4 Academy Award nominations, a career spanning 45 years. Most of it done solo. One of the most prolific musicians of all time. A man who clearly found his purpose and knocked it out of the stratosphere.
That's how powerful life purpose is. Stop thinking small! Your purpose is bigger than you can imagine in your wildest dreams. It's way bigger than you. Tap into the infinite creative force of the universe. It's right there! Stop dicking around and make it happen.
The ultimate nature of reality is just like a Water Wiggly toy.
When you question what the "substance" of reality is, it slips through your fingers, because every part of it is defined recursively via some other part of itself. No matter how hard you try to grasp it, it will always flip itself inside out. Because you're trying to use IT to grasp IT! But it can't grasp it because it is it! The key is to become conscious of this to such a degree that the master frame — existence vs nonexistence — is seen to be undefined. Everything is undefined. That's the ultimate nature of being. And being is all there ever can be. Being and nonbeing turn into one.
Enlightenment is like picking a combination lock with 5 or 10 disks inside. As you line them all up, some will fall back out of place. Patiently you line them all back up. The final disk is what you consider "existence vs non-existence" or "objective reality". It's the master frame which frames and anchors your ENTIRE experience of life. You believe there is such a thing as objective reality, and you believe, that this belief is not a belief, but objectively true. But in fact, it's nothing more than a groundless belief! As soon as you truly cognize the significance of that, epistemology fuses with metaphysics, and everything becomes up for grabs. Everything becomes relative, including your existence and the existence of the universe. You go into an infinite free fall. The whole house of cards implodes. Everything becomes unknown. As this happens, you will come to the barrier of sanity/insanity. You must surrender to it with grace. You will also come to the barrier of life/death. You must surrender to it with grace. And then you and the entire world will fall all the way down, down, down. Into the Godhead. An actual infinite singularity without dimension or substance.
The most important question is not Who am I? or What am I? The most important question is: What is the substance of reality?
Keep constantly wondering, What is the substance of reality? What is it?!!!
So... I got to the bottom of reality.
Only to discover there's nothing there.
But what a trip it was!
A trip so deep, you never quite come back.
Let me tell you...
Everything is made out of itself.
Like a cat unraveling a yarn that ends up unraveling the cat.
A churning singularity, with no beginning or end.
Everything points to itself. Trying to explain itself to itself through itself, slipping, slipping through itself.
Beyond physicality, beyond the universe, beyond death, beyond awareness, beyond existence & non-existence.
Too insane to care about insanity.
Down, down, down.
Into a dimension unknown.
Like a bottomless floor falling through a bottomless floor.
Into a writhing, bottomless void, denser than the center of a thousand suns.
Into the heart of an infinite-headed hydra.
An infinite-dimensional fractal.
A runaway chain reaction. An infinite positive feedback loop. Drunk with infinite power. Unstoppable!
OH! MY! GOD!
Infinite universes spawned every nanosecond.
Infinite universes inside every universe.
Infinity flipping itself inside-out inside itself. For eternity.
The Holiest of all Holies.
So empty it MUST be full. So full it MUST be empty.
Absolutely relative. Forever unable to define itself to itself because it is itself.
It is what it ain't.
A cosmic circle jerk. So incestuous! Making love to itself for eternity. An infinite orgy.
An infinite human centipede.
A trillion orphans dying hungry on the streets? It's all GOOD!
Too good to be true. And yet it is!
Alive and creative as a motherfucker.
So utterly meaningless it collapses and supernovas into infinite meaning.
The mindfuck to end all mindfucks because it out-fucks them all.
Everything is nothing. Nondual. No Self. The SELF. ONE.
I am Allah, YHWH, Buddha, Christ, Shiva, Krishna, Shakti, Maya, Brahman, Rama, Ein Sof. The Alpha and the Omega.
Not consciousness, not awareness. BEING. Nameless, unnameable BEING.
All beings are ONE. Immortal. Untouchable.
Nothing to fear.
Reality is an infinite strange-loop. Death by delicious circularity.
Like looking into a microscope and seeing the back of your head.
An infinite hallucination machine, hallucinating its own machinery.
Software so powerful it's virtualizing its own hardware.
Absolutely inevitable. More inevitable than a mathematical proof.
The ultimate hero's journey, without a hero.
Heartbreakingly beautiful. Soberingly beautiful. Too beautiful for tears.
SUBLIME. DIVINE. FLAWLESS. INEFFABLE. STUNNING. IMPOSSIBLE. A perfect miracle.
ENORMOUS beyond all measures of enormity.
The only thing there is, yet the one thing that cannot be pointed to.
Everything is understood. INFINITE UNDERSTANDING. The circle is complete.
But no one will ever understand!
As it must be.
You want the Truth? You can't handle the Truth.