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Let him who has eyes see


by Shawn Mikula

I recall the time
Long ago
When I raised the mirror of my life up to my face:
Twenty five years.
With a deliberate swing I smashed the reflection of my illusory self
And forever became one with the eternal Self.

Flying into a star,
Spiraling ever inwards towards the Source,
Universe unfolding before my gaze.
In vast, seething space I exalt and soar,
Bellowing thunderclaps.
Tis but the laughter of a god become Self-aware.

And now
I stand upon the corpses of Buddha and Jesus,
And all their saints,
Beheaded with my own blade.
Let the lightning strike where it will,
But know that I am the lightning.

Future made pregnant with my touch,
Universe convulsing under my Self-expression,
All beasts I let out,
Consuming worlds within my fiery mouth.
I am not born, I do not die.
Let him who has eyes see.


Explanation of "Let him who has eyes see"

I've received several requests to elaborate upon this poem, and this I choose to do in the following. First, though, I note that all of my poems are personal expressions that have their foundation in experience. In "Let him who has eyes see", I relate arguably one of my most profound experiences. If you're familiar with the Upanishads or the Bhagavad Gita (ancient Hindu texts whose central teachings form the core of many other mystical traditions), then you'll know exactly what the poem is about: transcendent consciousness (involving consciousness of the universal Self, of which the individual self, or ego, is only an illusion). Most people mistakenly identify with their egos. But they are not their egos. Nor are they their memories or their bodies. The true self is none other than the universal Self (or Atman in the Upanishads), and this universal Self is the fundamental Reality (or Brahman). The message repeated over and over again in the Upanishads is that Atman equals Brahman. It's one thing to understand this at the conceptual level, but it's quite another to experience it during a transcendent state of consciousness. C.G. Jung would call such an experience the "Job experience" (from the Biblical Book of Job), which involves a direct encounter with God after which the person experiencing it could say, like Job said, "I knew you before only by hearsay; but now, having seen you with my own eyes, I retract all I have said." (Job 42:5-6).

The appropriate religious/philosophical background thus being laid down, there remain a few other things which need to be noted. My actual "Job experience" was precipitated by self-experimentation with mind-altering (mind-expanding) substances, with the intent of inducing transcendent (or expanded) states of consciousness, which I was, and still am, very interested in exploring. Consciousness is a multi- dimensional phenomenon. There are many ways of expanding consciousness. The transcendent states achieved thru meditation are but one type of transcendent consciousness. Philosophers (and authors), such as the contemporary Ken Wilber in his rather well-known book "The Atman Project", seem to be of the opinion that there exists only one transcendent state, and that it can be reached thru meditation. However, this view is extremely narrow (and wrong) and totally disregards the multi-dimensional aspects of consciousness, which may be expanded (or transcended) along many different dimensions to result in myriad different transcendent states of consciousness. Unfortunately, the tendency to label such transcendent states as simply 'samadhi', 'nirvana', 'Buddha-consciousness', 'cosmic-consciousness', or 'satori' also reinforces the mistaken notion that there exists only one type of transcendent state of consciousness.

I think everything relevant has been said, so that now I'll just present each stanza alone and give a short explanation.

I recall the time
Long ago
When I raised the mirror of my life up to my face:
Twenty five years.
With a deliberate swing I smashed the reflection of my illusory self
And forever became one with the eternal Self.

In this first stanza, I recall my deliberate intent early this year to risk health (and other things) in order to 'transcend' my ordinary state of consciousness. I had to experience what was beyond my 'self'. I saw it as a necessary transformation. The risks didn't really concern me, or were deemed inconsequential against the possible benefits that such an experience might produce. The specifics involved in transcending my normal state of consciousness were something I'd researched for several months prior to the first experience, and involved the use of certain mind-altering (mind-expanding) substances. Mental set, and setting (including appropriate visual and acoustic stimulation), I also regarded as important for the experience. At this time, I choose to refrain from saying exactly what I did, or what substances I used, though in the future this information will probably come out.

Though my first experience occurred as recently as early this year, I say in line 2 that it was 'Long ago' because, judging by how much subjective time has elapsed since then, it did in fact occur ages ago.

I should note that several months prior to my actual experimentation with mind-altering (mind-expanding) substances and other things for bringing about transcendent experiences, I already noted a subtle change in myself, or rather, the beginnings of a transformation in myself. It's hard to describe this 'gut' feeling. I recall feeling this when I re-read (and carefully reflected upon) the Bhagavad-Gita over Christmas break in late December (of last year). The whole experimentation was undertaken so as to catalyze this transformation, or to make manifest what at that time seemed a latent potential. I saw transcendence as a necessary step in my evolution.

The last line, about becoming one with the eternal Self, refers to my consciousness of this transcendent Self, and identifying it as my real self (or the Self behind all selves).

Flying into a star,
Spiraling ever inwards towards the Source,
Universe unfolding before my gaze.
In vast, seething space I exalt and soar,
Bellowing thunderclaps.
Tis but the laughter of a god become Self-aware.

This second stanza is a (necessarily artistic) description about my transcendent experiences (insofar as words convey the vaguest hints as to what such an experience is like). There were multiple such experiences. In each of these experiences, I went in with particular questions I sought answers to (I will not go into the particular questions I had and the answers I received at this time), and also sought to push my consciousness to its utmost limits along various different dimensions. As a sidenote, the poem "Sometimes I Wonder" presented itself, to my surprise, to my consciousness in its full entirety during the end of one of these experiences. The first three lines refer to my entry into these transcendent states. The last three refer to when I'm actually there. It's hard to explain it. In a transcendent state of consciousness, your consciousness is larger than it was before, and consequently, you have more 'Being', more 'existence'. This feeling of having more 'Being', and of being expanded beyond your previous bounds, makes you feel more god-like (I use this term with caution). The intensity and expansion of consciousness produces a sort of mania and intense excitation at having so much Being. You become intoxicated with the vastness of your Being, with consciousness of the Self, and the only appropriate way to respond is thru maniacal laughter, like the laughter of a god (Bellowing thunderclaps. 'Tis but the laughter of a god become Self-aware).

And now
I stand upon the corpses of Buddha and Jesus,
And all their saints,
Beheaded with my own blade.
Let the lightning strike where it will,
But know that I am the lightning.

The first three lines in this stanza refer to my spiritual independence from Buddha and Jesus and all their saints (and hence their beheading with my own blade). I've experienced transcendence, and I have little doubt about my going far beyond what Buddha or Jesus ever experienced themselves. I say this for several reasons: 1) based on their own teachings and writings, which I do not regard as so very enlightening from my elevated perspective, and 2) because they never had access to the techniques and substances I employed (nor did they have access to the information regarding brain function, neuropharmacology, and transcendent states that I've acquired). The second to last line, 'Let the lightning strike where it will', refers to the superstition that lightning will strike those who speak against holy men (such as Buddha or Jesus), whereas the last line is a corollary from the central message of the Upanishads. That is, if Reality is the Self (from the Upanishads), and I now experience myself as the Self, then it follows that I am the lightning. My identification with the lightning gains further significance when considered within the context of Nietzsche's "Thus Spoke Zarathustra", where the lightning symbolizes the 'overman', or that which is beyond man.

Future made pregnant with my touch,
Universe convulsing under my Self-expression,
All beasts I let out,
Consuming worlds within my fiery mouth.
I am not born, I do not die.
Let him who has eyes see.

In this last stanza, it doesn't seem like an individual person is speaking, but rather something like the Self, or an omnipresent, eternal Reality or God. But since my true self has been realized as the Self, there's no contradiction or overstatement in having me speak these lines. It should be noted that this stanza has a dual perspective, one from the Self as itself, and another as the Self as manifest in myself (and expressing itself and its will thru my body). It's this first perspective, the Self as itself, that I'll now go on to elaborate upon in greater detail, though similar elaborations would also hold for the second perspective (Self as manifest in and acting thru myself). In the second line, 'Universe convulsing under my Self-expression', I refer to the Self realizing or expressing itself thru the universe. The Self is becoming something, is evolving towards something, and will continue to become more manifest in the future. It's expressing itself thru the universe, massive destruction ('Consuming worlds within my fiery mouth') and creation ('Future made pregnant with my touch'), but definitely evolving ever upward towards something. There isn't necessarily an end, or goal, in mind. Rather, the Self is eternally overcoming itself, eternally evolving upwards and unfolding. There is no upper bound or limit to what the Self is evolving towards, it's boundless. The line, 'All beasts I let out', refers to the Self as total affirmation (in the existential sense), holding nothing back, for nothing can hold it back or prevent it from realizing itself and unfolding and becoming. 'I am not born, I do not die' refers to the fact that the Self is beyond birth and death. 'Let him who has eyes see' is just an invitation to others that see the Self in themselves to read the poem carefully and see the truth in what I'm saying.

The poem thus being explained, I proceed now, with the benefit of retrospect, to offer some general reflections resulting from my transcendent experiences. The brain is an instrument, and consciousness is the music it produces. Consciousness is our doorway to the divine and to God, and as such, the brain is the key that unlocks the door. If we are to realize God within ourselves, it must be thru our brains. We must learn to play this instrument, our brain, ever so elegantly, so that new universes and understandings will unfold, and we'll know God (or Reality), as He really is, for the first time, and we'll know Him to be us, and will experience Him as such. What is the meaning of the universe? The answer is to be found in transcendent experiences, and is in fact synonymous with transcendence and the acquisition of more Being. God is the meaning of the universe. God justifies Himself. Through transcendence, we acquire greater consciousness of God, and thus acquire greater meaning.








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