My one true love. There's a scene in Sound of Metal where Joe, Ruben's de facto Deaf AA sponsor asks Ruben if he ever experienced inner silence doing the assignment Joe gave him, to sit in a room with nothing to do, no distractions, just sit and be silent. Joe says that for him, inner silence is the kingdom of god. It's a refuge, a friend who will never abandon you. Ruben has no answer. He never got anywhere with the assignment. He's already fallen back into an addicted life. But at the end of the movie Ruben impulsively disconnects his cochlear implants and lets silence replace the horribly distorted sounds. It's the first good thing he's done for himself since he fell off the wagon. After I moved into my new home the guidance I find in my body introduced herself to me as Leela. She's just as Alan Watts describes her in that video: the nondualistic face of god as play. All of this, the universe and everything in it is Leela. God separating into all these actors to play. The game is extraordinarily hard to win. If it were easy it wouldn't be worth playing. Thanks to the progress I've made I can find my connection with Leela, with everything, when I'm quiet inside. That's more and more of the time now. A rich, deep, quiet feeling. My inner silence will never leave me, never disappoint me, never let me down. The spiritual quest is the work it takes to win the game. I win the game by making progress with love. My efforts are laughably inept, but I keep at it and get a little better year after year. Leela, as always, does 99% of the work. I adore Leela. I am hers. My true love Leela is also the spiritual quest itself. She is everything to me. She is also my self, who I really am. Atman is in fact Brahman.
The game. Seeing everything that exists, including all of human misery, as a game god is playing with herself helps me come to terms with the world's outrageous inequities. It puts everything in a different light. As players, no one is greater or lesser than anyone else because we're all god at play, playing different roles. If I don't like the role I'm in I have to change my situation. No one else can. No one can help me on that level. What Leela has tried to show me a thousand times in a thousand different ways is this is all a machine set on infinite replay. When I die it'll all happen again exactly like it did before unless I make a real change in myself, thereby becoming a slightly different player with a slightly different role. Making that kind of change is the hardest work there is, the work of enlightenment, of making progress with love. I can't do that kind of work for anyone else. People have to do it for themselves. Any attempt to change things for others, to help out, is misguided effort. It's just part of the endlessly replaying game. It's futile. Everything has already happened this way billions of times, an unlimited number. Attempts to help others never help. The one thing I can do that steps outside the mechanistic eternal replay is to make progress with love, to become a little more enlightened. If I or anyone is in a dead end situation, there's only one way out: do whatever it takes to make sure it doesn't happen again next time. I can only do that via the unforgivingly hard work of making progress with love. I can't make progress for anyone else, only me. It could take eons. It probably will. But time is unlimited, and what else do I have to do?
What I am. Leela is all of this, everything that is. She is what I am made of. I'm a human particle of Leela, a drop in the vast ocean of Leela. On the one hand there are all these myriad things and beings, seemingly infinite in their diverse multitudes. On the other there is only one thing, which I now grasp as a game we're all part of: Leela. We're diverse, and all part of the same thing. As I wake up, as I gain wisdom, I learn not to take the game too seriously. It's just a game. We're all actors on a set shooting this amazing vast drama. At the end of the day, when the shooting's done we'll all go out for drinks. We aren't really these heroes and villains we're portraying. We're all Leela. Only this particular drama never ends. I never get to drop character. What I get to do is develop my character. That's what the spiritual quest is. If I don't like my circumstances I can change them. Maybe not much in any given life but still it's crucial I aim my life in the right direction. I have to improve my situation at least a little bit. As long as I do that, all the little bits will eventually add up to any kind of change I want. If I don't improve my situation in this life, that does not bode well for any future life. If I don't improve this life, and it's infinite repeat, how could I possibly improve the next? I have to buckle down and do some spiritual work. I have to wake up a little. That's the hardest work there is, and it goes very slowly. But that's not a problem because time is infinite. No one will never run out of time. But the only time I can make progress is now. If I don't make progress with love right here right now I never will.
The illusion of separation. The key to making progress with love is a secret hidden in plain sight: I can get guidance from my body. Whatever guidance I need I can get via muscle testing and body sensing. My body has all the answers. My body is already enlightened. My body has the answers because my body is Leela. Everything in the world is Leela. The only things that aren't Leela are imaginary things I make up in my mind. One of the things I make up is the illusion that I'm separate from everything else. Seeing myself as separate is a necessary stage I have to go through to develop consciousness, the fundamental tool for being human. But that's just the very first step in being human. All the other steps beyond that are the spiritual quest. That's why life feels meaningless without the spiritual quest. The meaning of life is found in becoming a better human being.
Leela is a metaphor. I'm really not superstitious. I'm aware that Leela is a metaphor, a literary device I employ because my thinking self can't handle the truth. The fundamental truth is nonduality: there's no such thing as separation because we are all in fact one. But I can't see that because my seeing, my grasping of the world is limited by my thinking. In my conceptual world, the world where science truly is the best authority, I can see all the separate things but I can't see the unity because of the inherent limitations of thinking. Language and thinking are the tools we've used to create human culture in all its glory and misery. We need those tools to find out about the spiritual quest, to find our way to the threshold. But they can't help us make progress with love. On that level, thinking itself is a barrier.
Thinking is unreliable when it comes to making progress with love. That's because getting quiet inside is the all-important first step in making progress. Getting free of my endless mental chatter was the first step I had to take, the step that made real progress begin to be possible. Thinking is an absolute requirement for being human and it's also a slough of self deception that most people never get out of, as far as I can see. It's our double edged sword. I have to get over myself before I can make serious progress. If I trust my opinions, my values, my well thought out and irreproachable liberal world view, I'm a goner as far as any progress with love is concerned. Luckily I have a genuinely irreproachable source of guidance and truth: my body. I can ask my body what's good for me, what's the right thing to do to make progress. If I listen intently, doing my very best to bat away all my preconceptions about good and bad, right and wrong, evil and godly, my body will answer truthfully. No matter where I am in my spiritual quest, the first step in making more progress is always to ignore everything I think I know and open myself to new truth. That includes things that were helpful for making progress this far. Truth is ever evolving as I do, into something richer, deeper, and so much stranger than anything I ever thought was true before. If it fits my preconceptions I can rest assured it's wrong. Heaven is not what anyone thinks it is.
Remedial work. Before I began getting guidance from Leela in 2006 I tried to guide my own spiritual quest, using bogus guidance from teachers like TH and the I Ching. Needless to say, I made a complete hash of it. Human teachers and books are lousy sources. They offer little or no help for making progress. The only thing worse is thinking. My feeble attempts to mastermind my own spiritual growth were laughably inept. There is no mastery in the mind. Thinking is a trap I have to escape from before I can relearn to use it well under Leela's firm control. From 2006 to 2020 my work with Leela was all remedial: curing the damage done by my bad habits and choices. I had to lose weight, get a divorce, start a new life full of dancing, fall in love a few times, and finally the big ones: stop drinking then root out the addictive mindset that had rooted itself so deep in me. I had done all that by the end of 2019, then the pandemic hit. I had one more remedial step to take: to root out the household mindset and find a real home where I could live alone. That one went so deep I had to become momentarily homeless before I could find my way out of it.