As we move along our inner journeys, identifying and jettisoning the various ties that bind us, we soon come to see the pervasiveness and strength of belief systems. At first we pick out one or two of the more obvious, feeling rather grand about our discernment. But then, gradually, we see them popping up like weeds in spring, and eventually we come to understand that they’re almost everywhere, like viruses. Big viruses mind you. Viruses the size of societies. But their ability to infect the individual is not hampered by awkwardness of their dimensions. Mainly because they have the consistency of clouds and can pass through us almost unnoticed.
As we progress in our understanding of how our individual consciousness was shaped, we move through the conventional psychologies of mothering, fathering, sibling rivalry, the school age bondings and pack mentality. We come to see our religions and our our submission to, or rejection of, their ideologies. We see our societies, with their structures of government, their systems of taxation and provision of services. We see how the marketplace binds us in servitude. We see how sex shapes our desires. We see how ambition cages us with rewards. We see how fear fabricates lies. We see how death delivers on its promise, and how we artfully court its embrace. In short, we mature, while managing our affairs and foraging ahead as society would have us do. We know that we live within belief systems and that in order to thrive we must appear to suscribe to their limits and dictates.
At a later, and perhaps for some never-to-be-arrived-at stage, we begin to wonder if there exists in this manifested multiverse anything other than belief systems, and whether there is, in fact, anything to learn other than the successful navigation of those systems. We look back to see ourselves lost, and then found, and then mastering the arts of navigation. We clearly see the stages, and often laugh at our earlier ease in getting and then staying mired in the maze.
Each stage of consciousness has its communities who share in its standards and ideals. Short of mapping those stages, which is not my intention at present, I will say that those communities exist and thrive throughout those spheres of spirit which we all re-enter upon the dropping of the physical shell. Some seem like hell, others seem like purgatory, and yet others paradise or heaven. The inhabitants range from the lowly evolved, mired either in ignorance or the strict definitions and boundaries of their beliefs, and who admit no irruption or variation on the approved modes of behaviour and thought, through those who are learning to loosen the shackles of convention and tradition, allowing in fresh ideas and attitudes, to those who can continue to live with little or no structure at all, free spirits whose joy in life is as pervasive as light itself. These examples are not bound by any culture, epoch or religion.
Those at the latter stage find themselves open to the understanding that all their previous lives and societies were stages of a gradual loosening of bonds and definitions accessed out of fear. Fear of death, of change, of loss of power. As they mastered the various attributes of those fears they lost the desire for the bonds and definitions that they produced, until they seemed to have little or no need for anything, least of all incarnation. Filled with experience and feted with the wisdom its distillation produces, they are ready for the nothingness which lies beyond the somethingness that our worlds represent. They are ready to move beyond all belief systems and merge their consciousness with the All, that huge receptacle for the unmanifest which may indeed be tinier than we dare to imagine, that ocean of light that some call the radiant void.
I have already argued that the radiant void, the bountiful unmanifest from which we all spring and to which we all return, is but a stage on the endless cycle of incarnations, and only seems like home when we’re out on a limb missing its bliss beyond bliss. To that I would like to add the notion, so rascally it would seem beyond heretical, that the radiant void is itself a belief system. That is is beyond the manifestations and needs of prophets and deities is without question, but that it is beyond definition completely is not. We could debate the pros and cons for many a millenium, and I suspect we have done and shall do just that, whether we are there or not there, for we, as the song goes, are “the crown of creation”, and we’ve “got no place to go”.