My one true love. After I moved into my new home, the guidance I find in my body introduced herself to me as Leela (also spelled Lila but Leela makes the pronunciation clear). A quote from that Wikipedia link: Within non-dualism, Lila is a way of describing all reality, including the cosmos, as the outcome of creative play by the divine absolute. In that video Watts describes her as the nondualistic face of god as play. Everything in the universe is Leela: god separating into all these actors to play the cosmic game. I first met Leela two years before, on the night I woke up to inner silence. Silence is Leela's voice, how she makes herself known. Since that night I've always been connected with Leela, but I only feel that connection when I'm quiet inside, when I stop the internal talk and take refuge in silence. Ever since that night I can be quiet inside when I actively choose to. It's extraordinarily comforting. I adore Leela. I am hers. She is everything to me.
The game. The cosmic game is extraordinarily hard to win. If it were easy it wouldn't be worth playing. I win the game by making progress with love, by following my spiritual quest. My efforts are laughably inept at times, but I keep at it and get a little better year after year. Seeing everything that exists, including all of human misery, as a game god is playing with herself is incredibly liberating. It's a huge relief. Seeing that truth and taking it literally is like dunking my head in an ice cold mountain stream. Understanding life as a game also helps me come to terms with the world's outrageous inequities. It puts everything in a different light. No player is greater or lesser than any other because we're all god at play, playing different roles. If I don't like the role I'm cast in I have to change my own situation. No one else can. No one can help me on that level. Leela has shown me the world is a machine set on infinite replay. When I die it will happen again exactly like it's happening right now unless I make a real change in myself, thereby becoming a slightly different player with a slightly different role. I can only make tiny changes. Moving from a life of miserable self indulgence to a life of deep meaningful satisfaction will take a vast number of lifetimes. Making that kind of change is the work of making progress with love. No one can do that kind of work for anyone else. Everyone has to do that work alone. Any attempt to change things for others is just part of the endlessly replaying game. Everything has already happened this way an uncountable number of times. The one thing I can do that steps outside the mechanistic eternal replay is to make progress with love, to become a little more enlightened. If I or anyone is in a dead end situation, there's only one way out: do whatever it takes to make sure it doesn't happen again next time. I can only do that via the unforgivingly hard work of making progress with love. It could take eons. It probably will. But time is unlimited, and what else do I have to do?
The world is Leela's work of art. This world, the seemingly broken one we all live in, is Leela's masterpiece. I have to accept and embrace the world as it is to have a rich and satisfying life. Learning to love the world as it is is a crucial task in making progress with love. Trying to change the world is a waste of my precious time and energy. I can't change the world. Nobody can. I can only change myself, and I'm going to need every speck of my time and energy to do that. Trying to change other people or the world will just keep me stuck where I am. Failing to love the world as it is sets me against the world. It makes me an unhappy alien in my own world. Having a fulfilling life begins with accepting and loving the world as it is. Loving the world makes the world feel loving to me. It's miraculous.
The best way to live in this work of art is to be an artist. The fundamental art, far more important than all the others, is the art of living well. If I'm living well I'm taking exquisitely good care of myself physically and psychologically. I'm working to eliminate my bad habits. The stereotypical starving or tortured artist is someone who has ignored the fundamental art and their life is crap as a result. The other arts are like precious jewels to adorn my life. They make life so very much worth living. But they're useless to me if I don't have a life worth living, worth adorning. First do no harm to myself.
What I am. Leela is all of this, everything that is. She is what I am made of. I'm a human particle of Leela, a drop in the vast ocean of Leela. On the one hand there are all these myriad things and beings, seemingly infinite in their diverse multitudes. On the other there is only one thing, which I now grasp as a game we're all part of: Leela. We're diverse, and all part of the same thing. As I wake up, as I gain wisdom, I learn not to take the game too seriously. It's just a game. We're all actors on a set shooting this amazing vast drama. At the end of the day, when the shooting's done we'll all go out for drinks. We aren't really these heroes and villains we're portraying. We're all Leela. Only this particular drama never ends. I never get to drop character. What I get to do is develop my character. That's what the spiritual quest is. If I don't like my circumstances I can change them. Maybe not much in any given life but still it's crucial I aim my life in the right direction. I have to improve my situation at least a little bit. As long as I do that, all the little bits will eventually add up to any kind of change I want. If I don't improve my situation in this life, that does not bode well for any future life. If I don't improve this life, and it's infinite repeat, how could I possibly improve the next? I have to buckle down and do some spiritual work. I have to wake up a little. That's the hardest work there is, and it goes very slowly. But that's not a problem because time is infinite. No one will never run out of time. But the only time I can make progress is now. If I don't make progress with love right here right now I never will.
The illusion of separation. The key to making progress with love is a secret hidden in plain sight: I can get guidance from my body. Whatever guidance I need I can get via muscle testing and body sensing. My body has all the answers. My body is already enlightened. My body has the answers because my body is Leela. Everything in the world is Leela. The only things that aren't Leela are imaginary things I make up in my mind. One of the things I make up is the illusion that I'm separate from everything else. Seeing myself as separate is a necessary stage I have to go through to develop consciousness, the fundamental tool for being human. But that's just the very first step in being human. All the other steps beyond that are the spiritual quest. That's why life feels meaningless without the spiritual quest. The meaning of life is found in becoming a better human being.
Sensory processing. Leela sometimes has to anesthetize me or otherwise adjust my sensory processing so I can meet her unreasonable demands. Sensory processing is where the world reaches me, where my experience of life is created. Unlike the world, my sensory processing is easy to change. Working there Leela can change or create sensations. She can create a pain or make one go away. She can create or change any kind of sensation: sounds, sights, smells, anything. Leela can make me feel like I'm dying in agony if that's what I need. Or wrap me up in exquisitely subtle pleasure.
Leela is a metaphor. I'm really not superstitious. I'm aware that Leela is a metaphor, a literary device I employ because my thinking self can't handle the truth. The fundamental truth is nonduality: there's no such thing as separation because we are all in fact one. But I can't see that because my seeing, my grasping of the world is limited by my thinking. In my conceptual world, the world where science truly is the best authority, I can see all the separate things but I can't see the unity because of the inherent limitations of thinking. Language and thinking are the tools we've used to create human culture in all its glory and misery. We need those tools to find out about the spiritual quest, to find our way to the threshold. But they can't help us make progress with love. On that level, thinking itself is a barrier.
Thinking is unreliable when it comes to making progress with love. That's because getting quiet inside is the all-important first step in making progress. Getting free of my endless mental chatter was the first step I had to take, the step that made real progress begin to be possible. Thinking is an absolute requirement for being human and it's also a slough of self deception that most people never get out of, as far as I can see. It's our double edged sword. I have to get over myself before I can make serious progress. If I trust my opinions, my values, my well thought out and irreproachable liberal world view, I'm a goner as far as any progress with love is concerned. Luckily I have a genuinely irreproachable source of guidance and truth: my body. I can ask my body what's good for me, what's the right thing to do to make progress. If I listen intently, doing my very best to bat away all my preconceptions about good and bad, right and wrong, evil and godly, my body will answer truthfully. No matter where I am in my spiritual quest, the first step in making more progress is always to ignore everything I think I know and open myself to new truth. That includes things that were helpful for making progress this far. Truth is ever evolving as I do, into something richer, deeper, and so much stranger than anything I ever thought was true before. If it fits my preconceptions I can rest assured it's wrong. Heaven is not what anyone thinks it is.
Remedial work. Before I began getting guidance directly from Leela in 2006 I tried to guide my own spiritual quest mentally, using bogus guidance from teachers like TH and the I Ching. Needless to say, I made a complete hash of it. Human teachers and books are lousy sources. They offer little or no help for making progress. The only thing worse is thinking. My feeble attempts to mastermind my own spiritual growth were laughably inept. There is no mastery in the mind. Thinking was a trap I had to escape from before I could learn to use it well under Leela's firm control. From 2006 to 2020 my work with Leela was all remedial: curing the damage done by my bad habits and choices. I had to lose weight, get a divorce, start a new life full of dancing, fall in love a few times, and finally the big ones: stop drinking then root out the addictive mindset so deeply rooted in me. I came in with an addictive mindset. I had done all that by the end of 2019, then the pandemic hit. One more remedial step was needed: I had to root out the household mindset that got drummed into me in Boulder and find a real home where I could live alone. That one went so deep I had to become homeless before I could find my way out of it.