6 – Survivors
We are all survivors of having lost the Natural State
‘To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.’ – Oscar Wilde
Matthew: Looking at the world, with the violence, and even the disharmony in my own family, I don’t see much evidence of this Natural State.
Jez: You could imagine a world in which the Natural State we came with is not lost, a world in which that Stillness and Joy remains with us as we grow into adults. But that’s obviously not what happens; people are not conscious of the Original Relationship to Life. In fact, it would be true to say that we’re survivors of losing this. It’s left everyone with scars and ways of living centred around getting by in this life without knowing and living this original experience of Love.
Matthew: But I’d say that most people are trying to Love, trying to do their best.
Jez: Yes, they’re trying. There’s an effort in it; that means it doesn’t come naturally. If you think about the Love we feel emanating from a newborn baby, there’s no effort involved. The baby is not doing anything; it’s just Being what it is.
As adults we’ve forgotten that we are Love. Love has become almost like an altered state, something we only feel when a strong experience jolts us beyond the everyday life of our Personalities back into the wonder and Joy of life.
Matthew: Like if we fall in Love, for example?
Jez: Yes, or we give birth or a loved one recovers from a life-threatening illness. It’s as if the experience is so strong that we’re momentarily shocked back into a taste of our Natural State. But our ongoing experience is not of that Love.
It’s important to remember as we talk about this that, from the Absolute point of view, we can’t be anything but Love: It is who we are. But our ongoing human condition in the Relative Level is often an estrangement from feeling that Love.
Matthew: So we’re talking about two apparently opposite things being true at the same time again?
Jez: Exactly. In the Relative world, where Duality runs the show, Love has found an opposite: the apparent absence of Love.
Matthew: You say ‘apparent’ because on the Absolute Level there’s only Love, right?
Jez: Correct, it appears that there’s an absence of Love in us, and because of that we’ve lost our Joy and it’s been replaced by emotions and the absence of that deep sense of contentment.
Matthew: But we can experience happiness too!
Jez: Yes, but happiness isn’t the same as Joy.
Matthew: They’re pretty close – what would you say is the difference?
Jez: Unlike Joy, the happiness you’re talking about is conditional. If we have some good news… happiness comes; if we get bad news… it leaves.
Matthew: I know what you mean. I was walking down the street yesterday feeling rather happy and then I received a text message from my bank telling me I’m approaching my overdraft limit. It was like a happiness switch had been turned off.
Jez: A whole different mood descends in an instant, and all it takes is a few words of text appearing on your screen. Conditional happiness is transient because it’s dependent on certain conditions, and conditions can always change.
Matthew: Just to be clear, you’re not suggesting that if we have the understanding you’re talking about we can go around ecstatically excited all the time, are you?
Jez: No, of course not, remember I said that Joy has different modes of expression? It can be excited but most of the time it shows as a quiet contentment arising from simply engaging in this life through feeling.
Matthew: ‘Chop wood, carry water.’
Jez: Exactly. You can fill in your own experiences of Joy: the feeling of passing soap over the contours of your body in the shower, the subtle flavours smelt and tasted in a sip of a fine wine. In Being these kinds of simple pleasures are found in so many daily activities.
Matthew: If Being is part of our Natural State, then why do we lose it?
Jez: That’s a good question and the answer is: We don’t know.
Matthew: I’m a bit surprised to hear you say that.
Matthew: I suppose I thought that when it came to this subject, you’d have all the answers.
Jez: That’s one of the myths about finding this: that it provides all the answers. There are some things that you can’t know. ‘Why do we lose it?’ You might as well ask: ‘Why do dogs exist?’ or ‘Why haven’t humans evolved wings?’ Such questions are irrelevant because the answers are unknowable. Knowledge can take you so far, and then you’re left in what I call the Mystery (with a capital ‘M’.) The inexplicable, wonder of life.
This reminds me of my favourite cartoon: A visitor stands in the grounds of the Institute of Philosophy in front of a notice board with a map of the buildings on it. On the map is a big arrow, above which is written: ’Why are you here?’
Waking up to this understanding involves finding out what you can know, or what you need to know in order to rediscover this, not wasting energy mind-f***ing about what you can never know. This is about seeing life as it is, feeling it, and living it. We all lose that original state of Being, that’s a clearly perceptible fact. Why we lose it is unknowable, how we lose it, that’s another thing altogether.
Matthew: So you can know how we lose it?
Jez: Absolutely – in fact understanding the mechanics of how we lose it can be helpful in pointing us back to Being. It can be a mirror in which we begin to see the Personality, and once you can see it, you can start to perceive what lies beyond it.
Finding out how we lose the Natural State is a big question though, and we have to do a bit more setting up before we can get into it.
Matthew: So what’s next?
Jez: We’ve discussed the world of the baby, which is informed by the Original Relationship to Life. Now we need to talk about the world the baby enters, which is governed by parents, family and the society in which the family exists. It’s the Tribe we’re born into; another word for it is the Group Personality.