this passion for nonbeing, this denial of sensual life, that drives so many gurus and prophets

They speak out against desire while propelled by the overwhelming desire to lose themselves. They luxuriate in a kind of cosmic masturbation, titillating their psychic organisms into pitches of mindless excitement; cavorting in orgasms of self-surrender. They bask in a sort of universal steam bath that drives all impurities of individuality or creativity from their souls, leaving them immerses, supposedly forever, in a bliss beyond description; in which, indeed, their own experience disappears.

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Thank God that some god managed to disentangle itself from such psychic oneness, if that’s what it’s  supposed to be. Thank God that some god loved itself enough to diversify, to create itself in a million different forms; to multiply, to explode its being inward and outward. Thank God that some god loved its own individuality enough to endow the least and the most, the greatest and the smallest, with its own unique being.


The gurus say: ‘Give it all up.’ One of those we read about today counsels: ‘When you want to do one thing, do another instead. Do not do what you want to do, but what you should do.’ Never trust the self that you are, the gurus say, but the self that you should be. And that self is supposed to be dead to desire, beyond wanting or caring; yet paradoxically, this non-feeling leads to bliss. The gurus say that All That Is is within us, yet tell us not to trust oneself. If All That Is didn’t want appearances, we wouldn’t experience any! Yet appearances, the gurus say, are untruths, changing and therefore false.


Is my body an appearance, hence an untruth amid the truth which is changeless? Ah dear body, then, how lovely and blessed our untruth, which is senate and feels desire though the hollowest of bones. How blessed, bodies, leaping alive from the microscopic molecules that combine to walk down the autumn streets; assemble to form the sweet senses’ discrimination that perceives, for a time, the precise joy and unity of even one passing afternoon. The body’s untruth then, is holier than all truths, and if the body is an untruth then I hereby proclaim untruth, and truth and all the gurus’ truths as lies.


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