Saturday, April 02, 2016

Why I Took Up Self-help After Enlightenment

There I was, all decked out in resplendent white robes, a hint of a halo around my head...

Nah, doesn't happen that way.

Alan Watts was fun of repeating the old Chinese proverb:
"Before enlightenment: chop wood, carry water.
"After enlightenment: chop wood, carry water."

The trick is that life goes on.

You can get all Zen and Mindful and such, living in The Zone or The Moment. All this is good and gives you peace.

Meanwhile, life goes on around you.

So Life After Enlightenment can be endless peace, or you can set goals as a game to play.

I'd spend most of my life sorting out self-help books and materials, including investing 20 years of my life in a corporate cult devoted to deluding their staff and public about their "one road out."

(To which a truly enlightened person would tell you some koan about "there is no end, only the journey" or "heaven and hell are both metaphors for what you're already experiencing." Said the Red Queen to Alice, "You have to run as fast as you can to stay in the same place.")

Anyway, I already knew all these authors and their titles. So I might as well make a game out of that somehow. So I started publishing them (as there were so many in the public domain) and making a living from that. And the game of "making a living" requires goals and plans and whatnot. Perfect for "whiling away the idle hour."

Sure, I know all this enlightenment stuff, and keep busy at pushing people toward it. But I also know it's a very un-serious activity, that people are already there and only have to accept it fully.

Any job is an amusement, a source of entertainment. Nothing more. The difference between people who are going through life being entertained and people who are entertained going through life is both very slight and a huge gulf.

It may take some study to understand that sentence fully. But that's where I am, and why I do what I do.

Luck to us all.

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