Freedom and the Monkey

nicaraguaWhat is being sought, cannot be gotten. This is devastating news for the seeker. The seeker will not want to accept this. This is because that which the seeker is, is just a thought, existing in an illusion of time. You don’t actually exist. There is only existence. Nothingness appearing as everything.

Mostly everyone is fretting. They are worried about being left by their lovers and being alone, not living their dreams or fulfilling a meaningful life, not having enough money for their freedom. You’ll never make it. You’ll never get the freedom, the love and the peace that you’re after.

This is not a hopeless message. It is not pessimism. This is talking about death. This is talking about dissolution and loss. This is talking about the mystery of the creativity of life. The unknown. This is talking about something that can’t be gotten.

When we’re born, our parents give us a name. We then begin to explore our desires and our resistance. We develop preferences. We learn to communicate. We become socialized. We develop the concept of a self. Someone who has something to do, somewhere to get to, something to have. We design our whole lives around this identity. We cultivate ideas of being a good person, an entertaining person, a creative person, an intelligent person, a peaceful person, a loved person. Yet, universally the belief is that we are not enough.

This belief exists in everything, everyone that has ever developed the concept of a self, of someone existing in time. Someone that will live a certain amount of years, and must make their lives worthy. Someone that has something to prove. That they’re enough. Someone who must make life meaningful. Someone that must make the most of it. They try to fulfill a void to find completion, yet the whole time the real completion is the void.

The whole time – life was just existing. Free. It never needed you or your concept of self to be free. To the person, this realization might be devastating. “What!? I’m important. I’m valuable.” Life never needed to be legitimized, improved, justified. Life was always just happening inside of you. Free. You had no choice in this. Life chose this. It chose the seeing, the speaking, the expressing, the heart beating, the thoughts arising, the skin feeling, the blood coursing through the veins. It chose to express as you, for itself, just because it could. Because it is creative.

Yesterday, I walked over to the pool in a beautiful yoga resort, where my boyfriend and I are working in Nicaragua. There was a young lady there holding a dying, baby monkey. Her partner and her had gone for a walk and found it on the ground. She said they watched the baby loose consciousness and fall out of the tree. This is happening a lot out here because of the terrible drought we’re in. She was nursing this baby monkey with sugar water. It had a teeny heartbeat. It’s eyes would flutter open for just a moment, her tail was curled, her knees were bent, she wrapped her perfect human-like hands around the girl’s finger. She was dying. I watched it fainting, dying. Maybe it will live.

This monkey was consciousness existing in that particular form. I was watching life choose to drift away from it’s form. It was incredible to me that consciousness could be alive at all. Jumping in treetops, eating bananas, playing with her monkey friends. This was death happening to the human. But life, was watching life happen. Life has no preference where it goes or what it does. It can only experience excitement, sadness, life or death for the sake of existing. This is quite a beautiful message. What it’s saying is that life is happening. This happening is miraculous. It is the fulfillment, the freedom, the love, the peace that the separate self is seeking, it is just the pure recognition of what it truly is, not what it thinks itself to be – a human, or a monkey….that lives in time.

  1 comment for “Freedom and the Monkey

  1. Diane Villafane (author Anaya Roma)
    August 24, 2018 at 5:39 am

    Hello there: Having read your post, I thought you might enjoy this story I wrote.
    A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH
    Copyright Anaya Roma (2016)

    “Once upon a time, Mars and Venus met in a temple somewhere.
    Mercury was there, too,
    And he set up a slightly different game of chess for them to play,
    Where the King represented reason,
    The Queen was strong willpower,
    Thoughts were Bishops,
    Knights were sweetly eloquent praises,
    Rooks, desires arising in the mind,
    And pawns, fighters for victory.”
    —Scachs d’Amor (verse one)

    It was Oliver’s birthday, and Olivia had invited him to her condo for lunch and a game of chess. She prepared Oliver’s very own Cioppino recipe, and baked a loaf of bread from scratch. He brought a bottle of excellent Pinot Grigio. It all turned out perfectly, and it was a very enjoyable meal!
    After lunch, they went out to the back balcony, where Olivia had assembled the chess set. The temperature was a pleasant 71º F, and there was a light fog lingering among the trees. Every so often, the cicadas raised their chant. The cardinals and wrens came to the birdfeeder in a steady stream, adding their own songs.
    The chess set was a gift from Oliver. He loved metalworking and woodworking, and had carefully welded the chessmen from brass and pewter. Each piece was perfect. He had fashioned the chessboard as well. The squares were made of light basswood, and black walnut. It was an exquisite work of art.
    Oliver opened by moving his King’s Pawn two squares forward. Olivia countered by moving her Queen’s Pawn two squares forward.
    Oliver pensively stroked his goatee, trying to decide which defense he would use, when Olivia said, “I had an interesting dream last night.”
    A couple of minutes passed. Oliver decided on a Scandinavian Defense, and captured Olivia’s Queen’s Pawn with his King’s Pawn. Olivia immediately moved her Queen to capture the King’s Pawn.
    “Tell me about your dream”, said he, moving his Queen’s Knight to c3.
    “I dreamt I had been to a dentist appointment. This, in itself, was uneventful, but as I was walking through the parking lot towards my vehicle, I noticed there was a man dressed in a black suit, sitting on the hood of an old hearse.” Olivia paused to move her Queen out of harm’s way, back to d8, and continued narrating her dream. “As I was passing by, he said the following words to me, ‘There is nothing truer than death.’”
    Oliver raised his eyebrows, mulled over her words, and then moved his King’s Bishop to c4. “An interesting statement,” was his remark.
    “I agree,” said Olivia, as she moved her King’s Knight to f6. “But do you think what he said is correct?”
    “Since it was your dream, I’d like to hear your thoughts about it first,” he replied while moving his King’s Knight to f3. Olivia then moved her Queen’s Bishop to g4.
    She offered her assessment of the dream. “I think his statement is valid. Life really is just a transient glimmer of light in an infinite ocean of darkness. Entropy and impermanence are the rule in the Universe. Life is the exception. It seems to bubble up from nothingness the same way virtual particles arise in a so-called vacuum.”
    Olivia paused while Oliver moved his King’s Rook’s Pawn to h3. She continued, “The only difference is that life endures for a longer timespan than virtual particles… relatively speaking.”
    “That’s quite a mind-full,” said Oliver, again stroking his goatee. He then removed his rimless glasses and sat back in his chair. Olivia countered by capturing Oliver’s King’s Knight on f3.
    As Oliver replaced his glasses, he again leaned forward in his chair, and moved his Queen to capture Olivia’s Queen’s Bishop on f3. Then, he went on to say, “Without doubt, death is a fact, but what the mortician told you hinges on a rather narrow point of view.”
    Again, he paused. Olivia knew better than to rush him. Oliver lived life just as he played chess, slow and steady. She moved her King’s Pawn to e6.
    Oliver moved his Queen again to capture the Queen’s Pawn on b7, and said, “He does have a point. Individual lives do seem to be mere flashes in the pan. As a mortician, though, he probably wasn’t thinking about quantum physics. Are you familiar with the workings of an internal combustion engine?” Olivia moved her Queen’s Knight to d7. Oliver then moved his Queen’s Knight to b5.
    Olivia didn’t know much about engines, so she said no, and while she waited for Oliver to resume his explanation, she moved her Queen’s Rook to c8. When Oliver saw this, he countered by using his Queen’s Knight to capture Olivia’s Queen’s Rook on a7.
    “Internal combustion engines have cylinders, pistons, and sparkplugs. The pistons fit snugly and are able to slide up and down inside the cylinders. To make things simple, I will describe the movement of just one cylinder in a car engine, without mentioning the starting mechanism, and all the other elements that are required to make a car move.”
    “Okay. I’m listening,” said Olivia as she moved her Queen’s Knight to b6.
    “In the first step, the engine’s crankshaft rotates, pulling the piston down, and a little valve lets a mixture of air and gasoline inside the cylinder.”
    Oliver’s King’s Knight captured Olivia’s Queen’s Rook on c8, and Olivia’s Queen’s Knight captured the menacing Knight in return.
    Oliver continued his explanation, “Then the valve closes, and the crankshaft rotates some more, moving the piston back up into the cylinder. This compresses the fuel mixture inside the cylinder. Next, the sparkplug fires.”
    Oliver moved his Queen’s Pawn to d4, “This flash ignites the fuel mixture and it explodes, pushing the piston back down, which rotates the crankshaft.” Olivia followed his explanation closely. “The crankshaft’s rotation pushes the piston back up into the cylinder again, and another little valve opens so that the gases produced by the burning of the fuel-air mixture have an outlet. This completes the combustion cycle.” Olivia moved her Queen’s Knight to d6.
    Suddenly, they heard a gentle rustling among the trees off the balcony. They peered down and saw a nine-banded armadillo digging among the roots. They both smiled. After that brief distraction, Oliver checked Olivia’s King by moving his King’s Bishop to b5. She immediately captured his Bishop with her Queen’s Knight.
    Oliver resumed his analogy. “But engines have several cylinders, pistons, and sparkplugs. My favorite is the 8-cylinder internal combustion engine. The one cylinder process I just described to you is repeated alternately in each cylinder, in order.” His Queen then captured Olivia’s Queen’s Knight on b5, checking her King again. Olivia protected her King with her remaining Knight.
    Continuing his explanation, he added, “This four-stroke movement could be compared to breathing: inhaling, sparking, combusting, exhaling. It is a wonder to behold how the pistons move one after the other in sequence, thereby keeping the entire process going! Let me show you a 3D animation video clip I have on my phone. ”
    Oliver opened the app on his cellphone, and played the clip. When she had finished watching, Oliver moved his Queen’s Pawn from d4 to d5. Olivia captured this Pawn with her King’s Pawn. Then Oliver moved his Queen’s Bishop to e3.
    Being a musician, Olivia commented, “Hmmm… You mentioned four-strokes. That reminds me of the four movements of a symphony!”
    “Yes,” he replied.
    “Ah! That I understand well!” said she, moving her remaining Bishop to d6. Oliver moved his Queen’s Rook next to his King, and Olivia moved her Queen to f6.
    They were exchanging moves more rapidly now, and the game gained momentum.
    “But… however interesting all that may be, what does it have to do with life and death?” inquired Olivia, as Oliver’s King’s Rook captured her Pawn on d5.
    He paused for her to play before answering. She moved her Queen one square to her left.
    “Each moment of combustion inside a cylinder represents a single life, any individual life. It is, literally, a flash in the cylinder.” Oliver moved his Bishop from e3 to f4. Olivia captured this Bishop with her own Bishop. “But Life itself, with a capital ‘L’, is something else… It is composed of a sequence of individual lifecycles. Life passes relatively briefly through each individual, but never really ceases to exist. In other words, the spark of life arises and ceases in each individual cylinder, but the Engine of Life keeps on going.” Oliver moved his Queen to d7 capturing Olivia’s Knight and checking her King. She moved her King to f8.
    “Death is a part of life, but being an engineer, I look at the whole design, not just the parts. Instead of focusing on death, I’d say that Life is the truth. There is nothing truer than Life. In fact, from a universal standpoint, there is only Life.”
    Oliver moved his Queen to d8. “Checkmate!”
    Olivia smiled and said, “The King is dead. Long live the King!”
    “Yes, my dear. Life is about overcoming death.”
    (2016)
    ********
    NOTES :
    1. “Scachs D’Amor” (Chess Game of Love) is a 15th century poem written in Catalonian. This is my free translation of the first verse. The original poem may be found at this page:
    https://ca.wikisource.org/wiki/Scachs_d%27amor
    A Wikipedia Article in English man be accessed here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scachs_d%27amor
    An English translation of the entire poem may be accessed here: http://www.scachsdamor.org/

    2. The game described in the poem is in itself unremarkable, and I am only using it here as a literary device. Here is the game in English algebraic notation: 1. e4 d5, 2. exd5 Qxd5, 3. QNc3 Qd8, 4. KBc4 KNf6, 5.KNf3 QBg4, 6. h3 QBxf3, 7. Qxf3 e6, 8. Qxb7 QNbd7, 9. QNb5 QRc8, 10. KNxa7 QNb6, 11.Nxc8 Rxc8, 12. d4 QNd6, 13. KBb5+ Nxb5, 14. Qxb5 KNd7, 15. d5 exd5, 16. QBe3 KBd6, 17. QRd1 Qf6, 18. Rxd5 Qg6, 19. Bf4 Bxf4, 20. Qxd7+ Kf8, 21. Qd8++

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