Had I not fallen, I would not have arisen.
Had I not been subject to darkness, I could not have seen the light.
This quote echoes true and speaks volumes to those who seek to understand the human mind. A glimmer of the cruel streak of fate can be seen if nothing else. To rise is to inadvertently ask to first be beaten down. To find the light one must first be lost in the darkness of one’s soul.
Despite the accolades that this wisdom receives, I cringe at the thought of mankind’s unworthiness. Perhaps it is my aversion to pain, suffering and all things I deem negative that makes me so. Why should I fall to rise? Can I not fly? Why should I be lost to find the light? Can I not be blinded by the sun?
Perhaps this wisdom alludes to a more subtle truth, that we are already in possession of all the beauty that we can behold but are blind to it. Like fish in water, unaware of the tides and currents, even as it’s gills are wetted by it, the fish is unconscious of the water that it is emersed in.
Time and again I come across various forms of the blindness of humanity. Two thousand years ago Jesus had lamented, “seeing they do not see.’
Is that what suffering is? Life trying to shake us out of our delusions? What then should I make of our resistance to pain? In Buddhism, The First Truth is that all life is suffering, pain, and misery. The Second Truth is that this suffering is caused by selfish craving and personal desire. Translated it reads, life tries to wake us up from our delusion (think MATRIX the movie), but our resistance causes us great discomfort.
While this truth resonates and seems logical I cannot come to terms with it. All this misery that I see, the pain we cause each other in the name of religion, politics, ideology, right and wrong, all to wake up? Perhaps I can take solace in what Alan Watts says, “Man suffers only because he takes seriously what the gods made for fun.”
Here is a thought, we are all celestial beings bored out of our minds and we decide to take a holiday on earth as humans, the catch? In order to return home, we need to ‘wake up’ so we engage in elaborate mind games designed to snap us out of our trance so that we can return home. The greater the pain, the quicker the exit.
Rabindranath Tagore had said, “Death is not extinguishing the light; it is only putting out the lamp because the dawn has come.”