Friday, August 26, 2011

Finding the False/True Teacher Within

Every mind-world is a bubble, every bubble bursts.

Among the somnambulists, those most lost in the dreamscape are the ones who imagine themselves to be waking the others.

If you "think" you "know" this, be especially careful; because the mind-world bubble that bursts for you will be the one that thinks it knows that every bubble bursts.

There are two kinds of false teacher. There are those who just pretend, and there are those who have beguiled themselves. One is despicable, the other delusional. Both begin falling from great heights before they even know it.

I laugh inside when people quote Nietzsche. I cut my intellectual eye-teeth on Nietzsche - at the age of twelve. He taught me how to punch and kick my way out of hell. He was my first guru, my first mirror of the truth.

Twenty years later, I dreamt I was at a banquet hall in 19th Century Vienna. There was much music and waltzing. Someone grabbed me by the arm, and said, "Come, come, you must meet Herr Nietzsche, he's visiting from Basil." As I shook Nietzsche's hand, I saw his whole life flash before me. Ironically, he was the younger man. My wisdom had moved on.

And just as he had once carried me, I would now carry him; just as he once protected me, I would protect him, just as he once explained me to myself, I would explain him to the world.

In Beyond Good and Evil, Nietzsche wrote: "... if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you." That's it. The abyss. No one wants to go there. But there is nowhere else to be. And so, we build mind-worlds that burst like bubbles.

And the false teacher within is always there, ready to welcome us into a new mind-world bubble. Sooner or later, it too will burst.

There is no net. Only the next bubble. If you let go of bubble-making, well, you find yourself in a yawning abyss.

The true teacher has nothing to offer you but this abyss. There is nothing else a true teacher could have found. Of course, no one wants to hear this. So it is not as popular as bubble construction, and probably never will be. It's not a viable business model, this showing people the truth of the abyss.

And where does this leave me? Who am I to say this? I am just someone who took a road less traveled. Wherever I go, this abyss moves with me, gazing at its own face on the rock walls of the cave inside me. I laugh, and the abyss laughs with me.

The abyss is the samadhi tank of the whales, I tell myself; and at the center of the Milky Way, there is a huge black hole, just as at the center of NGC 1097 and most other massive galaxies.

-- Richard Power