This World is Only a Mirror
I grew up in white-bread America. Maybe you did, too.
I felt like an outsider. Maybe you did, too.
I’m a tall, handsome, white, straight male. Why did I feel like an outsider in a society that could afford me such privilige?
Have you felt this way, too?
From my youngest years, I knew—deepin my heart—that my culture was wrong. Everyone seemed to follow a secret script – a set of taboos they would never specify, but vehemently defend when broken. The things that felt best to me: eureka moments, deeply loving sex, and adventurious conversation all seemed to belong in that “we never talk about these things, or even list which things we don’t talk about, but we’ll hurt you if you do them” category.
I didn’t belong in my birth culture. Maybe you didn’t, either.
I knew they weren’t teaching me the right things:
1) They taught me to learn by rote and accept their knowledge as true. They urged me to work hard and become one of our society’s best-paid wage slaves.
2) They taught me about God, a distant authority figure, and his Son, who put others ahead of himself – to a tragic extreme. They wanted me to have a very specific (and negative) relationship with these mythical figures.
3) They taught me to work harder, not smarter. They wanted me to simply tolerate (and never speak of) the vast emotional pain that came from not living and speaking my truth.
4) Most of all, they taught me never to have sex, except within marriage. They wanted me to accept guilt, which acts as a form of birth control. By vilifying sex, people vilify those who have more children than they do, and justify hoarding resources for their own.
My whole society taught me these lessons. My parents were only passing on what they learned – what worked for them. Survival mechanisms. I don’t blame them. They thought these harsh lessons—and the lives they lead to—were the only prescription for survival.
I absorbed so much from the culture into which I was born. I bought into a collective lie. A collective delusion. I absorbed so much poison.
It almost killed me.
“Yes, when you look in the mirror and you feel this is not you, it is very disorienting. Nothing to be worried about – enjoy it! This is how it should be; this is truth. If you think you are mirrored in the mirror, that is a lie… although an accepted lie and everybody believes in it. You will feel at ease with it, because everybody also thinks that way. Otherwise, this is a lie we have agreed upon.”
– Osho: God’s Got a Thing about You
Our Spirit Ancestors Got Here First
Many of the most potent people in my Spirit Family lived far before me in the illusion we call time. They left hidden easter eggs for me (and others in our clan) to find, scattered across the centuries. I know them best from their writings – their legacies. I feel their influence on the communities I love. I know their truth so simply and easily when I stumble across it. Because it’s my truth – and my soul ancestors speak in ways so similar to my own mind!
When I discovered Rumi, it was a happy accident. A friend had recommended Hafiz (another Sufi poet), saying Rumi was too strict, but Hafiz was playful and fun. In the bookstore, I read through Hafiz, but he didn’t speak to me. I picked up Coleman Barks’ The Essential Rumi from the same shelf, and my life changed forever.
To me, Rumi isn’t strict or limited. I love him. He speaks to me. He’s part of my Spirit Family. Yes, I understand the Rumi we know and love comes to us through the filter of Coleman Barks. Perhaps Coleman is also part of my family, a person who serves as a translator or a lens… (to read about my encounter with Coleman Barks, click here).
My Rumi Feeling is the feeling of coming home. Of finding my family, but not in a literal family, or a group of friends, or a community. I found my family across time. When I found Rumi, I knew I was him and he was me.
The Essential Rumi became my “desert island” book – the book I would have chosen if I could only have had one for the rest of my life. I carried it with me on many adventures until it was no longer a book – just a pile of pages. I wrote and doodles in the margins. I gave copies of this book to close friends on special occasions. When I transitioned to a digital library on my minimalist digital nomad trip, I gifted my beloved book to the Universe – leaving itin a special place where the right person might find it.
I’ve recenlty become curious about Osho, who has increasingly shown up in my recent conversations, studies, etc. Many Tantra practitioners recommend and quote his writings/monologues. I’ve been checing out a LOT of Tantra web pages, these days. Just this week, I began checking out Osho’s videos as part of my studies. I’ve looked into his controversial life (and lifestyle).
Today, I was astounded by an Osho quote theat came up in a Google search. It said so much of what I had discovered on my own (at great time/effort cost). In this passage, he uses the same “infinity mirror” image I developed to describe the way intimacy triggers sacred sexuality trips (similar to psychedelic trips, without the drugs).
How is it that someone else had the same experiences I did and expressed them in the same exact language? I worked on my own for decades, believing I was alone, when someone else was doing the exact same thing all along!
How it it that so many of us feel alone? Why do we accept this homogenous culture in which only a few feel they truly belong?
Let’s change that, okay?
All we have to do is stay in touch with each other. Click here to get short, daily emails on the topics I explore in these blog articles.
As I look back on this article before publication, I realize seeing Osho choose the same words I did to describe sacred sexuality means something wonderful. This doens’t mean all my decades of searching and wonder were in vain. This parallel language helped me recognize myself in him. It’s a beckoning. I see myself in this person and trust them to teach me. It’s a signal that draws me toward my next beautiful journey! – JN
Below, you can read the quote that mirrored my decades of personal searching. That mirrored my thoughts about the best thing in life (exploring the universe and beyond with intimate love):
“But once in a while it happens to lovers; they can function like mirrors for each other. And when two lovers are in deep intimacy and have become mirrors reflecting each other, a great experience happens, because if two mirrors are reflecting each other nothing will be reflected. Infinity will be reflected. There will be no end to it. This mirror will reflect that, and that mirror will reflect this mirror, and so on and so forth, ad infinitum. If two mirrors are facing each other they will create an infinity. And that’s the beauty of love: at its climax, when two persons become really intimate, they reflect each other and suddenly persons disappear; there is only presence and infinite presence. Only love comes a little bit close to the mirror, but the ordinary mirror cannot do that.”
– From Osho’s God’s Got a Thing about You
I first found this quote on this blog post and followed a link to the Osho Complete Online Library. I’m very grateful for this donation-based service. The OCOL provides a sampling of many wonderful wisdom texts (and a few ads).
If you, like me, appreciate this Library (no, I’m not affiliated with their site in any way…), consider sending a donation. Heck, I just did.
Gratitude in 2018
I donated far less than it wold cost to purchase all the books in the Osho Complete Online Library. But, I gave enough to buy one or two e-book versions of these treasures. It’s a middle path between paying for everything and accepting all gifts as free. It’s a way to release money. To release my need/craving for money. To let it flow in and out like my breath. I trust that when I exhale, I will find more air to inhale. I simply assume plenty and abundance of air. Let’s assume the same about money.
Try it. Give back a little. Don’t feel obliged to give until it hurts. Just tip a little extra this year. Don’t give an extra $20. Give an extra buck. Go just a little beyond what you normally share. I like to tip for refills at the coffee shop. Sure, it isn’t expected. A dollar at the first exchange is socially acceptable. More is unexpected. That’s the point.
This practice isn’t about the amount you give. Think, instead, about the idea that it’s extra. That you’re going beyond what’s expected!
Practice generosity in 2018 by finding lots of tiny $1 and $5 and $10 moments to give. The gift isn’t the money – it’s the act of realizing, “Hey, I could give a beautiful little gift right now. It could mean so much to someone.”
Remember – give smiles. They cost nothing and make you feel better, too!
When you give, you magnify the value of a dollar. A dollar a person makes as a wage, expected and earned, has one kind of value. A dollar given feels so much more valuable to them – and to you.
Imagine how happy the world would be if we all gave more. Not larger amounts. With more and more frequency. Imagine if everyone around you gave you gifts every day. If you gave to them every day. How much could we multiply and magnify the value of every human transaction.
Not all transactions are physical. Give al lot of love—and a little bit of money—every chance you get!