Last night in our tele-dialogue (or pentalogue) on At Peace With Not Knowing, we were discussing Steven Harrison’s Advaita-as-the-last-patch idea in the context of letting go of all conceptual frameworks, including non-duality. An understanding of the concepts, and a facility with the language, can be a stopping point—or a safe place to land–because we think we know something; because any concept is useful as a safe place to land or hide. Safety from what, I cannot be certain, except possibly from the perceived discomfort of not knowing, or worse, failing to understand or to “get it.”
Someone on the call mentioned that Advaita-Vedanta translated to “the end of the Veda,” and someone else added that Veda means knowledge. So, Advaita as the end of knowledge. There was a lot of laughter around that one. (Maybe you had to have been there.) In fact, we laughed a lot in the hopelessness, and the relief, of our collective stupidity.
And the Veda, of course, is filled with as much sturm und drang, or sound and fury, as the old and new testaments…and life itself. So the words “Much ado about nothing” came to mind—again. Those have to be the most succinct, cogent arrangement of words—so few that say so much—that effectively nail what is or isn’t happening here. And the words are necessarily devoid of the duality-creating-and-maintaining structure of language. No subject or object, no past or future tense; no personal pronouns.
That I am, that I exist, can be known, but cannot be quantified, qualified, or further articulated. So when we’re caught up in life, or what we affectionately refer to as my life, or yours, or theirs, we can look and see: This is the much ado, happening within and to, nothing or no one, again–and again.
Much ado is the drama of life; I am is the nothing within which it appears to happen. We cannot discount, or hope to transcend, the much ado. It is the play as it is being written; characters mandatory for the full catastrophe. But we can step out of the roles, or simply watch from behind the mask, and laugh—or weep. It matters not which.
Who is to be either at peace or suffer interminably within this? Only a character who takes his role literally and seriously. The world is the stage, whether Vedic, biblical, or seemingly personal–Incomprehensible, smelly, sticky, tasty, loud, and superbly, patently seen in all its splendor. What’s not to say “yahoo!” about all of it? Have a look-see.