The Humble Pebble, The Lofty Hermit (Part 1 of the Lofty Hermit Series)

So there was this hermit on a hilltop. He had been sitting still for so long that anthills grew around him, on him and in him. Trees had dropped their branches and with every wisp of air, the leaves tickled his nostrils. Vines crept mirthfully around him, entangling his thumb with his forefinger. The rain fell as on a pillar, the sun beat down its uv’s, the winds blasted his hair off their sockets and the cold froze his shoulders. Seasons passed, ants crawled, bees buzzed, spiders spun, and he sat on, seemingly oblivious. No water entered those lips, no food touched that belly.

He has attained Nirvana, everyone said, staring at him in awe. They filed past him in reverence which he never saw. They brought him food that he never ate. They adorned his seat with flowers that he never smelled. They chanted his praise that he never heard. They sought his blessings that he never gave. Years passed. He sat still.

He has attained Nirvana, everyone said. He is beyond hunger, thirst and greed, they said. No sorrow, no joy, no emotion could move him, they claimed. His is in the ultimate state, they said. That for which one needs to do penance for years, endure hunger and thirst for eons before they fade away. Forget family, forgo love, shun hate and ignore greed, until one feels that inner peace.

It takes a great deal of introspection, everyone said. Scouring hundreds of religions, thousands of gods, dealing with the mirth of agnostics and philosophical thoughts. It takes grit, they said. And a burning desire to find the truth.

He has attained Nirvana, everyone said, it takes devotion and deep thinking. He is one that has gone beyond the need for food, for water, for love, for plain laughter.  He has attained the sate of nirvana, they said, he is now so still, so unmoved, so without desires and needs, much like the pebble at his foot, everyone said.

The pebble at his foot.

The pebble at his foot had been lying there for years, no one said. They did not file past it in reverence. They never brought it food. They never adorned it with flowers. They never chanted it’s praise. They never sought it’s blessings. Years passed. Vines grew on it, ants danced on it. Spiders crawled, spiders spun. The pebble lay still.

It is beyond hunger, thirst and greed, no one said. No sorrow, no joy, no emotion could move it, no one claimed. It is in the ultimate state, no one said. It has no wants, no hunger, no thirst, no desire, no one said. The pebble must have done penance for years to reach this state, no one said. It is in the ultimate state, that for which one needs to be a seeker for years, endure hunger and thirst for eons before they fade away, no one said.

The pebble is the state of Nirvana, no one said.

It took evolution millions of years, everyone had said, to make the first life form out of rocks and pebbles, reptiles out of amphibians, humans out of monkeys, and even more to refine a hermit out of a human. So had everyone said.

The hermit became a pebble, while the pebble stayed a pebble. Evolution made a human out of a pebble while nirvana made a pebble out of a hermit.

The hermit and the pebble are but in the same state, no one said.

The Knowing Brain

To be is to know. We know what we are, why we are and how we are. We may not know that we know, but know, we do.

We limit ‘knowing’ to the senses we sense. To sight, smell, sound, taste or touch. These are the modes by which we ‘learn’ or gain knowledge. Once we perceive, it becomes a thought. We feel something, or see something …such as the feel of the wind or color of the sky and this leads to formulation of thoughts, say “oh, the sky is blue” or “the wind is gentle”. We then relegate these thoughts to the memory bank in our brain and this becomes part of the ‘conscious knowledge’ that it carries.

But there is a knowing that is beyond the realm of our senses that we need to try and bring to the forefront of our senses. We are so attuned to sensory perceptions that we ignore the non sensory perceptions of intuition or internal knowledge. The non-sensory perceptions have to be brought to the sensory bandwidth in order to be recognized and integrated into ‘knowledge’.

We ask questions because we perceive an anomaly. However, to perceive an anomaly we need some knowledge of normalcy. For how can we perceive discordance if we have no idea of harmony? When we see a jigsaw puzzle with a wrong piece, or a missing one, our brain knows it does not fit there because it has an idea of what would fit there. It is just a matter of finding that piece.

So it is with life.

Life is a jigsaw we try to comprehend. We seem to know some pieces, some seem obscure. But we sense what does not fit. Theories and philosophies try to fill in the gaps. The mind questions, parses, broods. We question paradigms that do not seem to fit or seem to have missing links. This is because our subconscious has an idea or knowledge of what should be there. It is just not in our conscious knowledge bank as of yet. So we try to bring the subconscious into the realm of thought, to decode if you will. This entire effort is just to be conscious of all that we already know. To find those missing jigsaw pieces. So the conscious brain continuously tugs at the subconscious, trying to open it out into the conscious.

Therefore, it is not that there are questions that we will never know or that the world is so complex that we do not have the capacity to decode it, it is just a matter of reaching deep into our subconscious and bringing the submerged knowledge onto the surface, of merging our conscious into our subconscious until there is no more need of perceived knowledge. The subconscious and conscious become one.

Fear Fear

Fear defines us. Fear defines all that we do. It could be some subtle, subconscious fear or a phobic fathomable fear. Fear binds and chains us into doing what we do.

Fear keeps us from naked thought.

As toddlers, we are at times fearless, wanting to touch the proverbial fire. However we are taught to fear fire, and to fear not only the dark, and the unknown, but a plethora of other ‘undesirable’ objects and behaviors. We are taught to do things  the ‘right’ way, the ‘right’ way to be, to think.

And as we grow, our thoughts get tunneled for fear that we may intrude upon some set moralistic, cultural or social boundary. Even if we did want to venture out, our fear of disapproving glances from those around us keep us in check. We do not want to be ‘the’ transgressor. The fear of being a moral or social outcast keeps us in. Fear becomes a habit.

What if we had no fear, or shed the fears we have? One tiny fear at a time.

Fear fear. It takes courage to be naked…..until it becomes the new habit.