“Last night I lost the world, and gained the universe”
C. Joy Bell C.
[If you are very happy and contented in life, don’t bother with this post. Seriously stop now. If like me you struggle to understand what this life is all about, who you are, what your purpose is…then descend down the rabbit hole. All other readers, you have a lovely day! :)]
The first time I experienced the wonder of self decapitation I was lying idly in my garden watching a bumblebee struggle to emerge from a clump of fresh cut grass.
There was no catastrophic accident as is the case with most instances of decapitation. It was incidental. It just happened. My head rolled off it’s perch on my shoulders. There was no surprise. No thud.
One minute I was a confused self obsessed, angry, unhappy fellow, then next moment I had disappeared into a void. Deep and dark. It went a long way back. I gave up the search in that direction and widened my search. There was only one direction back. Like Bond in Skyfall I fired my emergency torch and found the crack in the ice. Back through the hole. Back to life came I. Something had happened. Something significant. Something deep and amazing. It left a scar too. I no longer had a head, but what was this left in it’s place?
Strange and alarming as decapitation might sound. It was actually quite calming, deeply nourishing and peaceful. This is not a fictional story. A piece of prose…in case that is what you are thinking. This is my real life experience. It is the story of how I had woken from the slumber of the corporate dead. Suddenly the world was bright, new, and amazing to me!
Let me explain.
I’d been a treasure seeker for some time. Like the ancient Samurai or Sufi I was curious to know the world beyond the world. Who am I? Why am I here? What is my purpose? Should I be working harder to become…? Why do I do what I do? Why do I do what I don’t want to do?
I had read Metaphysics by Aristotle, the teachings from Pythagoras. I had never lived in a monastery. I didn’t even know anyone that wasn’t a Christian. Maybe I did, but if so they never revealed themselves to me. One afternoon I picked a random book from the library and within a few hours I had begun to understand the parallel between all the religious teachings of the Buddha, the Arab mystics, the Hindu Sufi, Thomas Aquinas and philosophers like Eckhart Tolle, Einstein, Aristotle and other smarter Greeks who said “The true value of a human being can be found in the degree to which he has attained liberation from the self.” At this time I realised that there were so many people throughout thousands of years of human history that had already figured out something perplexing to me. It was this…[shout out to Bob].
The other trigger, if there was one, was a friend confessing something and telling me that he ‘couldn’t live with himself”. I thought more on his statement than his confession. ‘With himself’ implying two or many. So who were these selves that he could no longer live with?
I understood the perspectives/religions could be traced back to a singular common route. The basis of all of our religions was the same? I’d learned that there was a label for the questions I was struggling with. Anatta, Anattman, Non-duality. By the time that I found my way to these labels I’d already had my awakening. I then stumbled on this fairly strange self portrait. What struck me was the viewpoint. A normal self portrait illustrates the artist from a distance of about 1 metre looking back. We all view ourselves or imagine ourselves how others see us as. A three dimensional object with a face and a head. The portrait I have shared doesn’t portray how the artist might see himself if he were shaving. He has drawn an image showing how he actual sees himself in every moment. Faceless. Or more accurately from behind his face. With no head. Perhaps a blur that could be thought of as a nose, but not enough of a nose to stand up as evidence in court.
Back to the garden. Here I was lolling. Enjoying the idle life. Then I saw a bee. He landed on the newly clipped grass. A large tuft tumbled over him. Slowly, but surely my little friend emerged from the grass. Quickly, meanly I tossed another large clump over him. Once again he slowly emerged and surveyed the field. As I looked at the bee I wondered if it would ever have an identity crisis as I was having at the time. I became more and more absorbed with the bees struggle to climb to the top of a stalk of grass my inner dialogue slowed and then stopped completely. From that moment I no longer viewed myself as I once did. Everything changed I was headless, faceless. I was something other than my physical body. Here I truly was with all of the layers of the onion peeled back.
From then I could observe others from a new perspective. I was detached. I watched the bees for a good long while. I began to wonder why we smarter souls squabble and fight. We act like a knight protecting the Queen’s Chamber from the horde. Now I wonder how some might react differently if someone told them that the Queen wasn’t even in the country. With the Queen out of residence the guards can relax and let life happen. We are all like the guards of no Queen.
Even now years without a head I still use words like ‘I’ and ‘me’ to communicate with others. It is a function of language and it helps me ‘fit in’, but my understanding of what I mean when I say ‘me’ or ‘I’ is totally different than it was the day before that bee jolted me out of my self delusion. I thank the bee for waking me from sleep.
If you have not yet been lucky enough to meet your bee, you flower or your mentor you may very well be wondering what the heck I am talking about. Has the pin holding the plate in this guys head slipped? You may be very curious to know how I see myself since I am claiming to be headless. That is a less important question. You know what you suppose you look like because you have seen yourself in the mirror applying makeup, brushing your hair or shaving, but you are wrong. The real question you should be asking is not who you are from a half metre away, but who you are at zero distance from yourself?
Your quest to answer this question can begin here. This is a link to an excellent series of video resources. Unfortunately I discovered them, the book and the author five years after I met the bee. I know though that I would have really benefited from this video library. Hopefully they will be of use if you choose this path to self improvement no self. If many of us make this journey a great number of conflicts, confusions and the ills of the world might be resolved and this world could become a better place.
Certainly for myself. I am thankful I met Mr Bee. He knocked my head from my shoulders and showed me the world again.