-The residue of those experiences accumulates
-I am and am not
-What’s death if I don’t exist in the first place?
– a mortal soul for an immortal being?
Another process begins to be possible when, for whatever reason, I start to recognize and value those experiences that feel like encounters with another reality. As brief or incomplete as they may be, they open another door for me, they make it possible for another process to begin. Thanks to these brief and glancing brushes with a different time and space, it seems that I start to accumulate something, even if it is just the memories of what it’s like when “I’m not there”. Even if I only realize this in retrospect, only when for a moment at least I am more truly awake.
In this process of gradual accumulation I find myself amazed at how, without being present, I go about my days (and my nights): I eat, I drink, I work, I invent, I puzzle things out, I give my opinion, but at the same time, even when impassioned, I’m like a sleepwalker. If I now start to value this wakened state it can very, very gradually become deeper and last longer. Until I start to value it, nothing seems to add up – that odd state is just another just random, psychic hiccup. Everything changes and my life is oriented in a new, unforeseen direction thanks to this experience—not the experience of being awake, rather of realizing I’m not, but could perhaps wake up. It’s amazing when you consider that this possibility opens thanks to one of the greatest failures possible. How could I fail in a more spectacular way than failing to exist? But it seems to me that it’s exactly there, in realizing that failure, that I start to exist.
Unless you too have had a glimpse of the sporadic and insubstantial nature of your existence, I know that all this may seem dubious at best, and pure lunacy at worst.
On the other hand, if I only exist sporadically, it poses some interesting problems in my thinking about death. For example, if I don’t really exist (in a permanent, continuous fashion) then how will I die? Will death be like the non-existence I experience most of the time? That should be reassuring — I guess. On the other hand, if the smallest change in my environment or myself puts me back to sleep, causes me to vanish, how do I have any chance of finding a way beyond death? And thanks to those questions we can approach an unusual story. It is one that is also embedded in The Inner Look and shares the same purposeful ambiguity of that book where each phrase, and the entire text, is open to at least two broad types of interpretation.
Here is a version of this ancient tale which some of us think is the very essence of the spiritual path Silo made available to us. And some of us take it as a kind of powerful and inspiring metaphor: Living matter generates a field of energy that has traditionally been called the “soul”. The soul, or energetic double, acts both within and around the vital centres of animate beings. Human beings have the possibility of generating a new principle in that double. That is, conscious and coherent actions allow a centripetal system of forces to take shape, forming what since ancient times have been called “the spirit”. Contradictory actions lead to the formation of a centrifugal system of forces that cause the double to dissipate once the anchor of the body is lost. Through kindness, through the elimination of internal contradiction, through conscious acts and the genuine need to evolve, the human being can give birth to the spirit. Love and compassion are necessary for this evolution.
Metaphor, or much more than that? For many of us it is with that possibility of continuity, of transcendence, that we find yet another reason for The Path to insist that, If you believe that your life does not end with death, you must bring into agreement what you think with what you feel and what you do. All must advance toward coherence, toward unity.