I haven’t published anything here in a long time. A reader of this blog sent me an email recently, encouraging me to write. Because of his interest, I wrote a long email back to him explaining why I’ve stopped writing and saying a few other things besides. It occurs to me that other readers may also like to see the email that I sent to him, so here it is. I added a few sentences just now when I pasted it here.
Sorry for taking so long to reply. I’m fine. I’m living in a tiny house in New Mexico with my girlfriend and two cats. We’ve been pretty isolated since March because of covid-19. I tried to grow tomatoes this summer but planted them too late so looks like frost will kill them before we get any fruit.
How are you?
Thanks for telling me you find my writing interesting and would like to read more. I frequently think of things to write. Yesterday, for example, I remembered that years ago I read the story of Adam and Eve in the Bible very carefully and noticed to my surprise that it’s a humorous story, light hearted, not “religious” — it’s a facetious account of how human life came to be the way it is. The final event, where God drives Adam and Eve from the garden, isn’t described as a punishment. The text says God did it to protect himself so Adam and Eve wouldn’t become gods. For goodness sake, it’s supposed to be funny. It’s a farce. I think modern readers don’t recognize that it’s a farce because they assume that the ancient people who wrote the story were morons. They weren’t morons. They were as intelligent as we.
I recognize that one of the qualities that make these old stories so weird is that they are affectless. Flat, toneless, without any indication of what the author thinks about the events in the story or what the author wants us to think about them. Like Freudian psychoanalysts, who conceal their personalities from their patients so the patients will project their fantasies onto them, these stories make us see in them the tone and intentions that we choose to see. I acknowledge this and admit that I may be projecting. Even so, I think the author thought the story was humorous.
Like many of the old stories in Genesis, I suspect it was written as a children’s story, but the kind of children’s story that includes remarks designed to go over the children’s heads and amuse the adults in the room. Centuries later, the somber, humorless, school-marmish priests who compiled the Hebrew Bible incorporated this story in their collection and that’s how it became a religious story. A serious story. But I don’t think it was intended that way by the woman who wrote it. I think the literary critic Harold Bloom was correct that those stories were probably written by a woman.
It occurred to me yesterday that maybe I should write about this on my blog. But what would be the point? It wouldn’t help anybody.
Yesterday one of our cats, who is still young, killed and ate a bird for the first time. Didn’t just kill the bird but played with it delightedly while she killed it. My girlfriend was very upset because she loves the cat and was distressed to see that it caused such suffering.
But my reaction was different. I thought, “God is love, and God made this cat. The cat delights in torturing birds to death. The bird died a horrible death and got eaten. God, who is love, arranged all this. This makes no sense at all. It is incomprehensible. Theologians have made theories to reconcile all this but in reality it is beyond human reason. God is more profound and deeper than anybody can understand.”
This was so beautiful to me that my eyes got wet. It made me feel the reality of God intensely. Because a cat tortured a bird to death.
I should add that I don’t think the bird suffered, for reasons I don’t want to go into now. I think God protected the bird from suffering.
I thought of writing about this but again, what’s the point? It would only be more ideas clogging up the reader’s head. It wouldn’t help anyone.
Years ago when I began to want consciously to become Self-realized — the desire and process had begun years earlier but I hadn’t known — I wished and vowed deeply that if I ever became Self-realized, I would observe very carefully how it came about and afterward, I would write instructions for other people. Because I couldn’t find any clear instructions.
But here I am, more than two decades later, and I’m still not Self-realized. Many interesting things have happened to me. I’ve had various profound experiences. I’ve acquired siddhis. I’ve written about some of these things on this blog. But what would be the point of writing about them? They aren’t Self-realization.
I see people like me on Buddha at the Gas Pump and satsang websites, pontificating about enlightenment and awakening. Like me they’ve had some interesting experiences. Like me, they have become different from most people in valuable ways. But like me, they aren’t Self-realized and to my way of thinking, some of them are making fools of themselves. Many of them don’t realize that they aren’t Self-realized. One of the tremendous gifts I got from Ramana, or more accurately the books about Ramana, is that they made me sufficiently aware of what Self-realization is that I know it hasn’t happened to me.
If I get Self-realized, I expect that I’ll write again. If not — I don’t know. Will it happen? Maybe I’m like my tomatoes that got planted too late. Time is running out.
Thank you very much for writing and telling me what you said.
I hope you’re well.