According to the online Oxford Dictionary folly is defined as ‘a foolish, act, idea or practice‘. Yet is a lunatic mad because he knows he is mad or because he doesn’t? Jesus said ‘let he who has not sinned cast the first stone.‘ So, if a lunatic is judged for being mad who is really the lunatic? A counselor asked why I was expecting apples from an orange tree. Extending on this, is society expecting the wrong fruit and/or types of fruit from a tree not yet ready to bear it? Finding out what is real and what isn’t is one of the most difficult paths a person can tread. Dying without knowing one is loved and lovable has to be the ultimate crime. Until such a time, life will always be empty, tasteless, shallow – and worse, unlived.
Before going to treatment, I read a six-part comic book series on Doctor Strange. It was a journey the Master of the Mystic Arts undertook to become master of the dark world so that, in addition to being master of the upper world, he could become whole. I found the concept of honoring both my shadow and ‘Sunday best’ sides intriguing enough to utilize it on my journey. Whether I accomplished what I set out to do or not I leave for God, He/She/It, to judge, but the enlightening experiences and people I met along the way were worth its weight in gold. Be forewarned it is not a journey I recommend for everyone! Yet for those on such journeys may you learn from my experiences.
In treatment, a counselor told us about a really good book about addiction. Ears perked, minds alert and eager for instruction, we listened intently for anything that’d help us understand what was happening to us. In one fell swoop the door closed: the author didn’t use his real name. As a huge sigh of disappointment permeated the room it revealed how people not only wanted truth, but truthfulness on all levels too. If the author couldn’t put his name to his own words then whose words were they? While the counselor did his best to convince us it didn’t matter about the pseudonym; the damage had already been done. While one bad apple didn’t have to spoil a crateful, it did reveal a hunger and thirst for knowledge. Needless to say not too many people read the book! I didn’t. Yet years later, here I am writing a similar book, facing the same dilemma. Do I put my own name out there for the whole world to judge, mock and crucify me or not? Or has society changed since then and can respond lovingly with compassion?
In our nightly Big Book studies we used to wonder why, if the Big Book was so successful, were there so many people messed up? It wasn’t that we disproved of its message, but rather how the whole world would benefit from taking a timeout and doing the steps all together. I mean if we could put a man on the moon why couldn’t we take this journey or was it too simple for ‘OCPD’ (Over Complicated Personality Disorder) types? And so humankind forever ventures outward relegating the inner journey to the diminutive realms of mysticism, religion and spirituality. What if both were respectfully given equal footing? Maybe we’d have a healthier world where old beliefs were put into proper perspective alongside new ones. Yet isn’t that the essence of growth?
In the Sufi story entitled: Mullah Nasrudin and the Key, ‘Mullah Nasrudin is one night looking for something next to a lamp post in the street. A friend is going by and asks what he’s doing. The Mullah says, “I’m looking for my key which lost.” The friend decides to help and searches the ground under the lamppost. Half an hour later the friend asks, “Are you sure you dropped your key here?” Nasrudin replies, “Oh no I lost it inside my house in my bedroom.” The friend screams, “Why in hell’s name, are we searching here?” Nasrudin smiles and says, “There’s much more light here.”’
Additionally, A Course In Miracles can be summed up as ‘Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists. Herein lies the peace of God.‘ Scared of revealing my decrepitude publicly, a friend’s son told me I had to write my story if it could help others. I hereby thank Ali for his kind words of encouragement that struck a chord within my heart. With that in mind, the following is a journey of finding out what is real for me and me alone. Yet, without sounding too cliché, if it helps just one person besides me then it is a success. The interesting thing is everything written in the following pages was what I needed to work on, plain and simple.
Yet, according to Krishnamurti the truth can also be revealed through the negation of what isn’t. Armed with the quote of the famous detective Sherlock Holmes by Conan Doyle: ‘… when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?‘ With that in mind, after years of disappointment and not understanding how my life affected others – usually in negative ways, I journeyed on the ‘road less traveled’ to find out not only who I was, but also who I wasn’t.
Some say it is impossible to see God directly, that we only bear witness to His/Her/Its effects. This series of blogs is my journey of seeing God, the Universe, in action, alive and well in the apparent wastelands of addiction, homelessness, drug-induced schizophrenia, paranoia, sexuality and illness. Set against the backdrop of Vancouver’s crystal meth scene at the turn of the new millennium, may it find a home in the hearts and minds of those in need? Finding out who you are has to be one of the most difficult yet ultimately rewarding journeys. Yet, as I said to my peers, defining oneself without things or other people’s definitions of things is the key to really finding out one’s true self. While it predominantly a solo journey, I am nevertheless grateful for the help of others and any doors that were opened for me along the way.
‘The Universe always conspires to say yes!’ So manifest a-way!
Michael J. Varma (2011)
© Michael J. Varma, The Gong Show, 2011 –
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