Deeper Dimensions of the Global Crisis – Part I
by Igor Kufayev
It’s absolutely clear that we all are currently amidst a very unusual crisis—a crisis which is characterized by a certain symptomatology with unknown origins, a lack of treatment, and a global quarantine—all of which is affecting us in a profound way. Let us, then, consider the potential remedies. Whenever some kind of impurity sets in, or whenever our health is in danger, or our sense of well-being is compromised, we must follow certain very well-known procedures, irrespective of the circumstances. All traditions have created profound, holistic systems, summarized in three words: diagnosis, treatment, and recovery. Perhaps we could add prevention, because prevention really should be our first and foremost priority. Everything unfolds from that. If we can prevent the calamity, then we are obviously better off. But since the calamity is here, we need to diagnose it as accurately as possible and to administer an appropriate treatment. Then, once the treatment is being administered and recovery begins, we need to make sure we’ve done our best to put it all behind us. So we will address the underlying condition, and define a set of solutions to deal with this crisis, from the perspective of Consciousness.
It is important to add this particular perspective to the myriad voices that we are hearing on this issue and on the underlying reasons behind it. The perspective of Consciousness is valid and important, and must be spoken with sincerity and with the highest degree of integrity, without falling back on some kind of more cushioned, softer, rosier, or more preferred perspectives. Those who are familiar with the major criticisms of Western culture are perhaps better placed to understand what we will unravel here, because this crisis is essentially man-made – a statement which, in turn, requires us to address what the term “man-made” itself means. In other words, we need to redress the whole affair of what it means to be a human on the planet today.
Speaking ultimately, Life, as an expression of Being, is beyond any meaning we can ascribe to it. That does not mean that Life is meaningless, but rather that it has as many meanings as there are levels of creation and degrees of experience. At a certain level, we could say that the survival or procreation instinct is the highest meaning of Life’s expression. At another level, Life’s meaning may be found in playful interaction and the display of basic emotive ranges. At yet another level, meaning is found in the potential for creativity, self-expression, and self-actualization. At a certain point, there is a refinement of feeling and perception, along the way toward self-realization, with love as a natural condition of the heart, where the search for meaning is no longer a concept but one’s own reality, cognized and lived to its fullest potential. One could even be so bold to say that the meaning of Life is in beholding the magnificence of one’s own Self in all its glory – as Bliss.
Now, to comprehend this fully, we need to question what we mean by ‘life’. If by life, we mean this embodied world of forms and phenomena, then it’s easy to trivialize this question or to make it virtually unanswerable. Life, in all its manifestations, as creation or existence itself, is nothing other than Being manifesting as the Universe. There is no way to tell Being and Life apart, as one is an expression of the other. One is the other, in all its fullness, as absolute Oneness. Being, which we may call Awareness, Self, or the Absolute, cannot be understood through intellectual contemplation. Awareness is unfathomable; therefore Life, as an expression of Awareness, is unfathomable.
Life has no meaning other than being aware of its own magnificence, which itself is hidden by the layers of creation. Each phase of creation is neatly wrapped, concealed by the preceding stage, as a forebear whose name is absorbed into a newborn reality, only to give way to the next phase. Is there a meaning to it all? Oh yes! There is meaning in every breath, in every birth, in every death, in every grip and letting go, in every confusion and clarity, in every commitment and betrayal, in the ways the cup is being brimmed, in the ways the light is being lit and dimmed, in the ways we touch and are touched – all filled with the highest meaning we aspire to unlock, even if we never will.
Absolute reality and the phenomenal world of form and appearances are not two different realities; they are one indivisible whole. In other words, Being IS life. Being, as the Absolute, IS that which we call life. This is what we are all really experiencing at every moment of our life.
So where does that leave us in terms of any inherent responsibility? Because along with this understanding of the meaning of life, comes the recognition of a responsibility to live life in such a way that that responsibility is fully acknowledged, and passed on as the greatest of all inheritances. If we truly understand that Being and life are not only synonymous but one indivisible reality, then nothing that happens at this level of what we call “life” can be called good or bad, or seen as somehow having gone astray and needing to have been done in a different way. We would understand that all this is inherently in the domain of Being itself, in its Totality, in the fullness of its expression. With this understanding, which a lot of lofty realizations are based upon, we can essentially remove ourselves from the picture entirely, because there’s nothing that we can admit to doing that is not the way that it should have been done in the first place.
It’s important to ponder this, before building to this perspective of utter Oneness—from this nondual Advaita perspective that there is no such thing as life going on by itself, with Being somehow uninvolved entirely. The perspective that we stand on is monistic. And from this perspective of monistic understanding, there is nothing that happens in this reality that is in any way not preordained by the power that this reality is really a manifestation of. Ponder this for a moment. There is nothing in this world—absolutely nothing—that is not your own Being, that is not what it is in terms of its fullness of expression. Therefore, this recognition brings about the terrifying realization that life—with all its calamities, with all its tragedies, with all its overwhelming narrative—is not something that we have any censorship or authorship rights over, or that we can go behind the scenes of, to begin to make adjustments. At least, that’s what this monistic perspective presupposes—or so it seems.
Is that really the state of affairs, and if so, to what degree? Do we have any free will whatsoever? Can we be held responsible for what we have done? Of course, we could have begun with a long enumeration, with a whole list of wrongdoings that we’ve been directly involved with, on this planet, in terms of what we have done to ourselves as a species—as human beings to human beings—and to what we have done to plant life, to nonhuman life, to animals, and to the ecology. Yet there is value in beginning with the perspective of Oneness, where we first give ourselves the possibility of beholding everything with an eye of nondual Awareness. That allows us to have, at least momentarily, the perspective that this world and that which we call the immanent self, the immortal spirit—that which doesn’t come, doesn’t go, cannot be wet, and cannot be burned, as the scriptures say—is one indivisible reality. In other words, the lump of clay, or the fire in our fireplace, or in the pit, is just as real as Being itself.
This monistic perspective—before we can accept and remove ourselves from any sense of responsibility—might bring us back to the terrifying realization that actually what it means is that we are all there is, or I AM all there is. Because really, “we” is a New Age slogan. There is no such thing as “we,” even though the use of the term has a beautiful sentiment behind it. The state of affairs here, is a singularity of experience. It’s I AM-ness only. No one actually experiences reality in terms of “we.” Even the lovers interlocked into an amorous embrace are experiencing only from the perspective of I AM. Everyone IS. Everything IS. Nothing exists other than that which is exemplified in terms of that Aham, that I AM-ness – that I AM.
So where does this monistic perspective take us? Does it allow us to feel that we can just remove ourselves from the picture of the crisis because, after all, we spiritual folk might rightly be considered the crème de la crème of the human race on the planet now? After all, these realizations have the capacity to set us free from the unbearable burden that exists and imposes itself upon us.
Instead, let us look at and realize the degree of responsibility that we actually have—that “I” have—that each and every one of us here has, precisely because of this monistic perspective. Nonduality, the Oneness, removes us from the picture on one hand, but puts us face to face with reality as it is, on the other, because there is no God out there as an independent reality, nor as a higher reality. It is our own Awareness that essentially beholds Itself as this experience. The all-pervasiveness of this experience would not be possible if not for that.
This takes us to those monistic propositions that we can find in many scriptures. We can find them in Vedantic and Tantric sutras and shastras. We can find them in “All this is Brahman, all this creation is the Absolute.” We can find them in the Shiva Sutras: “Nothing exists that is not Shiva.” We can find them in more modern teachings, in the common era, in the 12th to 13th century Sufi mystic, Ibn Arabi, in whose teaching, Creator and creation give rise to each other, exemplified in the Quranic sura as “Wherever you turn, is the face of God.” In other words, there is nothing—neither inside nor outside—that is not my own Self. Whatever I behold, whatever experience I undergo, is nothing other than my own Self. All this is not happening somewhere out there. It neither came from somewhere, nor is it going anywhere, outside of my own Self. It’s a principle, rule of thumb realization. This realization not only exemplifies the upper hierarchy of the noble truths, but it also reminds us that the freedom that we all have the capacity to experience, is literally at the tip of our fingers, and at the tentacles of our cortexes, as all this is being programmed and reprogrammed, only to reorganize itself again, so that we have a fuller picture of reality rather than a fragmented one.
The Creator and the created are, in essence, what subject and object, observer and the observed, exemplify—forever locked into this unfathomable, mutually interdependent, algorithmic embrace. Whatever we experience is empowered by that embrace, with one giving rise to the other. This is the principle axiom of monism, that there is not even a creational myth as such. There is no such thing as some higher power that creates this world in its own image, for its own liking but rather, one gives rise to the other. They are interdependent, and inseparable. There is no one without the other. There is no Being without this life, and there is no life without this Being. One reflecting in the other; one gives rise to the other. This is where nonduality and duality are giving this possibility of any experience through the subject-object split. This split is not a mistake—it is not an error in creation—but is an unfathomable relationship of the Absolute reality and the world of forms and phenomena.
Of course, this is where pure wisdom begins to get diluted, because of the possibilities of experience within Consciousness, This experience, supported by mutually created constructs, gives rise to the myth of good and evil. These are mythological poles of opposites, which we try to reconcile within our own psyche. The whole job of emotional maturity could be summarized as that: reconciliation of the poles of opposites. Before that reconciliation, one’s psyche is split, as it were, into good and bad—or good and evil, in more religious terms. Because of that separation into good and bad, the job of each individual is to realize one’s wholeness or universality. Up until that realization takes place, there is no possibility for wholeness to take over — because even though wholeness is all there is, that understanding gets lost, and rends us asunder, both individually, and collectively. As a result, we live in a world that is split apart, fragmented. And in that fragmented world, this notion of the battleground arises – a battleground with the human being at the center. Why is that? Why did certain cultures put so much emphasis on what is happening at the human level of affairs?
Much has been said about the marvel of creation that our human nervous system exemplifies. Yet, let us examine this simplified metaphysical concept that the human being is what upholds the harmony between the higher and the lower, between Heaven and Earth. All mythologies, all metaphysical perspectives from East and West, have understood that it is the human affair that decides the affairs of the planet, because it is through the human nervous system that Heaven can be brought down to Earth. In doing so, it can enliven every possibility and divinize life on this planet, precisely because of that instrumentality with which the human body is endowed in the first place. Likewise, if that opportunity is not taken advantage of, if that possibility is not exercised, the reverse is true. The reverse, of course, is that the human can mess things up here, in a big way.
Perhaps what we have witnessed now is that we’ve been essentially confronted with a series of events which have been serving as a reminder of these deeply-seated, unconscious patterns which have been germinating for a long time, deep in the domain of the unseen, where the light of Awareness cannot penetrate, because this is the domain of the causal, the karmic realm.
The spread of this particular virus, or any other virus or lifeform that can take over this life, must come from a place which has nothing to do with being just an accident or a freak of nature. It’s very unlikely. We are making excuses, imagining, “Oh something happened somewhere far away, perhaps in China.” Well, guess what, everything is made in China these days. We just make everything in China, somehow, because it’s the cheapest country to make things in. So maybe this is a karmic boomerang now, which failed and is flying everywhere it will. It’s not because of this particular animal or that particular animal, but rather that something simply germinated at the level of the causal, and is now being brought to the conscious level of affairs. So in other words, we have an opportunity, a possibility, to experience the hidden. That which has been shoved, pushed, and swept under the carpet, for a very long time, is now something we cannot escape. These are at least some of the perspectives at that horizontal plane of affairs, when we speak of more subtle domains.
Amongst all the perspectives that have been given, the more credible ones seem to come from those who have insight into the real intricacies of astrology. It is in the movement and positions of the planets that everything is preordained, in the sense of that trajectory that we all experience here collectively as the destiny of this planet. There are even scriptures, certainly in India, which openly speak about recorded examples of how this or that event that we’re experiencing has been marked in their sacred books. In some of these Hindu sacred books, it is marked with precision, because astrology is a mathematical discipline, an algorithmical discipline. Nothing is given there by guessing or by chance. It’s all done through computation. Coming up with a precise year is not just guessing that “sometime maybe in the 21st century…”—No, it’s a given. This is exactly where this planet and that planet, and this solar eclipse, and that Winter Solstice, and this Summer Solstice will be. Everything is marked by these grand cosmological events which gives access to precision. And with that precision, some may notice that what we are going through now has been prophesized.
So the question may arise, “So wait a minute, so if all this has been prophesized, if all this has been somehow already seen and mapped out, and it is all because of the combination and influence of certain heavenly bodies, then what have we to do with it? How are we, again, responsible, by what we’ve been doing, or wrongdoing, if all this is already somehow written in the charts or the orbits of the planets that give that perspective?” This is another interesting question to contemplate. Perhaps we could see the entire existence of the human species on this planet as mapped and preordained, if only someone could have access to the bewildering, mind-bending mathematics of beauty. If only we could have access to that, we could see that everything we’ve been living so far is what we’ve been meant to go through. But that being said, it does not take away from us our job of experiencing it in the fullness of what we must go through, even though it has been prophesized. Therefore, one can lose sleep over this sense of tremendous, unbearable, emotional guilt—which comes with the destruction of the planet in various spheres of its existence—and take that guilt upon oneself; or one can understand and transcend that guilt into something else altogether. We can understand that it’s not something that has happened because of our wrongdoing. It’s not like some error of human consciousness—which is yet another erroneous understanding, because there’s no such thing as human consciousness versus consciousness of the planet. If we are to speak about it in terms of the totality of what life here represents, then it’s one consciousness, and we cannot separate the destiny of the planet from the destiny of human beings, or vice versa. It’s one destiny, guided by one consciousness. Ponder on that. Please ponder on that. Don’t take it for granted. Don’t settle on any set of answers. Let this be a fertile ground where something very profound can sprout and grow.
… end of part 1.
— Igor Kufayev, extract from a live broadcast streamed by Igor Kufayev during the COVID-19 pandemic, March 28, 2020.
Watch the video recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hhGVbqrZYds&t=4992s
Continue to Part 2…