I still suck at kanji, so I have no idea whether the painted words are in any way related to the romaji and the corresponding English text. I hope they are decent, at least they are pretty. Anyway, my destination lies beyond, and for good reason.
The llama touched on this recently, so perhaps I should describe it in more detail.
I know I have written in great detail about this before, after listening to the voice in my heart. But I have probably not uploaded it, because I am not really a person fit to teach. I am a guy who gets up in the morning, goes to work, comes home, eats, plays computer games or reads or writes or watches a cartoon, and goes to bed. Oh, and walks an hour usually. But the sacrifices I have made for the Truth are so few and so small as to be negligible. That is why one should not take on faith anything I say about more important things. Â Try it against your own conscience, and/or learn from the great guiding lights of the past.
But I think this is self-evident, that Earth is not Heaven, and world is not God. Or rather, Earth is not fully Heaven, at best a pale reflection. And our world is not God in the fullness of perfection and completeness, the Sum of All Good etc.
I am not simply talking about a specific religion here, although I have one. Rather, I think all of us have some idea of perfection, some idea of completeness, some idea of the Highest Good. Since some things are more worth than others, there must be something of the highest worth. Since some things are more real than others, there must be a supreme reality. The ancient form of the pyramid represents the great chain of being, with the One at the top, from which all flows and to which all leads. The Great Pyramid was supposedly in its heyday covered in white stone, but its peak plated in gold.
Now, we must understand that this world is not a direct manifestation of the Supreme Being, of the Perfect and Unlimited. Rather, there is a distance between the two. This world follows laws of nature, but there also seems to be much randomness. And so also with the hearts of men. Though we have principles, it is hard to hold onto them in the face of temptation. Others also have this struggle, so we should meet them with understanding when they try to do their best but sometimes fail.
The natural world itself seems to contain this measure of randomness. Things happen for a reason, but only in light of the transcendent (that which goes beyond). If seen with the eyes of plain matter, there is a lot of randomness. Why do bad things happen to good people? More importantly, why do good people happen to do bad things? Why these fluctuation, in matter and in human will? Why the imperfections, the failures?
I say it is because the world is not God or even Heaven, and is not meant to be so. God – or the Uncreated Light, or the Tao – has granted us space so that we could exercise our free will. If it were not so, we would not be here to talk about it.
Think of a brightly shining light bulb. In the night, it shines brightly. But if we could somehow place this glowing bulb inside the sun, it would actually there be a darker, colder place than its surroundings. It would also very quickly cease to exist.
In the same way, even the most luminous among us – the wisest, the purest, the most worthy – would become an impurity if God were to manifest fully in this world, if God were to take direct control in an obvious way. And because “God is light and there is no darkness in him” (to use a phrase from the New Testament) we would not even be able to exist in such a situation.
We live in this imperfect world because it is the only place fit for imperfect people like us. “God alone is great and perfect.”
However, unlike the rest of nature, man (and this includes woman, of course) can change. It is not easy. You cannot simply sit up one day and decide: “From now on I will not give in to temptation. From now on I will do the right thing every time as far as I can see.” Well, actually you can, perhaps even should. But you cannot carry it through. As a man you simply don’t have that kind of backbone. You are subject to imperfection, to fluctuations, you become tired in your morality much as you become tired in your mind and tired in your body. Certainly I do not wish to hold you back if you want to live a perfect life. Go for it! But don’t kill yourself when you crash.
Gradually – at a snail’s pace for most of us, and that is being generous – we can change. There is what religious people call “grace”, a kind of invisible flow of opportunity (or more poetically “helping hand”) from above. It is not always equally palpable, equally possible to sense and identify. But at some point there should be a small crack in the cosmic eggshell that surrounds us, and that’s how the light gets in. At some point we should be able to find a small stream of grace and follow it, sensing somehow when we begin to get too far away from it, or when it is closer at hand.
Various religions have techniques for finding and making use of such opportunities of grace. If you mistrust them all, I suppose you can try to make it on your own, but I recommend you learn the basics at least from those who have trod this path before you.
The idea is that we can get closer to Heaven while here on Earth. That we can become less random, less an object tossed around by fate and more a living being with its own destiny. Â Our destiny lies beyond this world and its randomness. When the world is random toward us, we need not respond to it randomly, but the compass needle of our mind can come to point more and more in the direction of Heaven.
But won’t that lead us to becoming engulfed by God and cease to exist? Not in this yuga (lifetime of the universe) it won’t. Such complete unification is the point at the tip of the pyramid. It is certainly not something we need to worry about. If the time comes for all to become One, we will be fully prepared for it and even eager for it. Not until then. Divine Love does not force itself upon the unwilling soul. You can get to know this by experience.