Saturday, May 29, 2010

Limit One--Accepting and transcending the limitations of the world

A good friend recently asked me to see what I thought of "The Science of Getting Rich" (Wallace D. Wattles, 1910). It is an amazing book, full of powerful teachings and truths that have the potential to lift you from a powerless existence of frustrated reactivity to an empowered existence of creativity and action. You can have what you wish for.

But beyond the truth that "you can have what you wish for" is the truth that "you will get what you wish for". The moral of many old fairy tales and stories is, "Be careful what you wish for, because you may get it." Beyond the discovery of King Midas that his Golden Touch really works is the discovery that limitless gold is not what he really wants.

Wish. Want. Get. Have. You can possess all you want to possess. But I will speak the truth that Wattles left unspoken. You cannot experience in the world of forms all you want to experience. Only in the heaven, the inner world, is your experience unlimited. That leads to the the self-evident truth I express below as a series of questions:
  • How many chairs do you want to sit in as you read this?
  • How many beds do you want to sleep in tonight?
  • How many breaths do you want to take?
  • How many drinks of water do you want?
  • How many breakfasts do you want?
  • How many baths do you want?
  • How many lives can you live?
Though the ego within us may fight the answer violently, we know the answer is One. I can live exactly one life. I want one breath of air, one drink of water, one place to sit, one meal, one bed, one bath, and one change of clothing. Even the idioms of our language teach us this limit. These are the words we hear from ourselves and our children:
  • I want a drink!
  • I need a bath!
  • I want breakfast!
  • I need a place to sit!
  • Where's my bed for tonight?
When we are in our right mind, we know we have just One life to live. We know our real and present needs are modest.

But we also know that if these needs are not met, we will die. And we fear death. So with only a tiny (but fundamental) error of logic, we delude ourselves into acting as though we can keep ourselves alive forever, or have more life than One.This is the explanation of the error of logic.

Given -->

If P, then Q

If I see the Sun, then it is Day.

If I am Alive now, then I was Breathing enough.

It follows that -->

If not Q, then not P

If it is not Day, then I do not see the Sun. True

If I was not Breathing enough, then I am not Alive. True

But t does NOT follow that -->

If not P, then not Q

If I do not see the Sun, then it is not Day. False

If I am not Alive now, then I was not Breathing enough. False

It also does NOT follow that -->

If Q, then P

If it is Day, then I see the Sun. False

If I was Breathing enough, I am Alive now. False

While it is true that my breathing now is necessary for my continued living, it is NOT true that my breathing now will ensure my continued living. And by extension, it is obviously NOT true that taking 1,000 breaths right now will enable me to live forever, or even to live two lives instead of one.

At the end of swimming a length underwater, I need a breath. It is necessary for me to arise and take a single breath. If I do not, I will die. But it would also kill me to arise and hyperventilate to extreme. And it would be insanity and wasted life for me to go on an air-hoarding crusade to possess great amounts of air that would not ensure my survival.

On a cold winter morning I close the door shivering. I need heat. But contrary to the deluded thought that forms in my mind, I don't need "all the heat I can get". I don't need limitless heat. I turn on the heater full blast or wrap myself in blankets with a hot drink in my hands. I am in heaven. But only a moment later I loathe the heat. Limitless heat is both useless and dangerous to me. Limitless heat does not enable me to live forever.

Limitless breaths, limitless heat, limitless chairs, beds, houses, food, and clothing do not enable me to live forever. And row four of the logic table above (If I was Breathing enough, I am Alive now. False) says that they don't even enable me to live today. They don't even enable me to live at this moment. Limitless riches in my possession now don't even guarantee me a single moment of life and may endanger it.
Jesus said, "There was a rich man who had much money. He said, 'I shall put my money to use so that I may sow, reap, plant, and fill my storehouse with produce, with the result that I shall lack nothing.' Such were his intentions, but that same night he died. Let him who has ears hear."
Truth: I live one life; possessions do not increase that and may decrease it.

But I want to live forever. I want eternal life. I want to live abundantly now. Very well. Now we have come to the truth. What I want, and what Midas wanted, was Eternal Life. Now that we have that straight, we can have done with trivial pursuits and go straight to the Masters. For that, see the Sermon on the Mount, the Bhagavad Gita, the Tao Te Ching, the Gospel of Thomas, A New Earth, and all the ancient and modern acclaimed wisdom texts.

Life to us All.


Karl Bruno Gatti said...

You mention the Gospel of Thomas. I have written a wisdom book of my own. It contains the teachings and acts of Jesus without any pollution from Paul and his invented religion of "Christianity." It is Thomas that is reciting his memories to one of his disciples in southern India where he established the first Christian communities. The book is called Tales of the Master and is available on Amazon.

Thomas Gail Haws said...

That is really cool, Karl. I would be happy to read your book if you would like.