Thursday, January 23, 2014

Jed McKenna's Theory Of Everything XIV

Scott Bradley


I (possibly) conclude this series with a comparison between McKenna's Only Way and the Simple Way. The latter is my own concoction, completely unrealized, and thus merely a working-paradigm aware of itself as such. In this sense, it cannot be compared on the same level with McKenna's Truth. It does, however, allow him to have his Truth and for that Truth to even be true. This is because it affirms the entirety of human expression and apparent reality, the 'true' as well as the 'false', maya as well as nirvana.

The Simple Way is simply the experiential realization that All Is Well. Realizing this, we are in a position to make things better. When our "not-One is also One" we are able to walk Zhuangzi's Two Roads without contradiction. Thus, one abides in self-affirmation even while at work with a self-cultivation that ends in a sense of a no-self self (no-self knowing itself as such).

The thing about McKenna's way is that it requires a great deal of mental anguish; 'enlightenment' has to be fought for; it's a bloody affair. The Simple Way laughs and asks, "What's the problem?" No one needs to be 'saved'; why then all this self-torture to be so? No Truth is required for the heart to be thankful in whatever delusional paradigm it finds itself. Whatever our delusion, the Truth is true of us now, not as a Something Other to be realized, but as the realization that it is true of us now in our delusions; our delusions are as much the Truth as is 'enlightenment'. There really is nothing we need do or become. All Is Well. Period. This realization is the Simple Way's 'enlightenment'. And thus it is a way of smiles and laughter and play. Yes! Thankfulness arises!

McKenna's way is in this sense just more of the same, a treadmill; and unfortunately for those who tread it, more likely than not, a futile one. No matter; the Simple Way applies just as well here as anywhere else: Right now, just as you are, without need to change or become something else, with no need to arrive anywhere, done or undone, you are perfect by virtue of your being perfectly who you are (and that is not some idealistic, ‘true’ you, but the actual you). Messed up? So what? “Done”? So what? We are not in school; no grades are given; there's no pass/fail; there's no 'need for improvement'. The trauma of potty-training is behind us.

Zhuangzi seems to live in a different Universe than does McKenna: "The Radiance of Drift and Doubt is the sage's only map." At root, McKenna is all-in with Yang; Zhuangzi is all-in with Yin. Both call for surrender and entrusting of oneself, but for McKenna it must be to Truth which lies on the other side of Doubt, not-knowing and Mystery, and its discovery requires a long path of pain. For Zhuangzi, the Illumination of the Obvious reveals, not Truth, but Mystery, and to allow that sense of Mystery to transform our way of being in the world is to entrust ourselves utterly to it, in this instant, just as we are. Whether there is Truth or no, it is not required that we know it.

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