12 April 2012

When everything crumbles, what is left?

Bernard Enginger was a member of the French Resistance when he was captured by the Nazis and put in concentration camps for a year and a half. After he was released, he spent years in India, among many other places, where he was given the name Satprem by his spiritual teacher. One of the Auschwitz Bearing Witness Retreat participants heard an interview he gave much later in life and transcribed what he said. It's astonishing...

…. A man only starts to BE when he reaches the complete nothingness of what he is, what he believes, that he thinks, what he loves. When we reach this complete nothingness, then something must BE, or we die, right? 

I experienced this in the concentration camps. There was nothing. All was destroyed, broken. Even I was broken. All the ideals, the nobility, everything was broken. There was nothing, nothing, nothing, You see? No politics, no religion, nothing to hold on to. So when there is nothing, what is left? What is left? There is a centre of strength, of being. There is something left. And that is the key. It’s not all that we think, all we feel or love. It’s not our ideals or God. It’s none of that! It’s something poignant, as if the whole being was wrapped up in an anguish that is so intense that it becomes a prayer. Or like love, it is warm, powerful. There are no words to describe it. It is our being, what we are. That is the question, the thing that everyone reaches. When everything crumbles, what is left?

Everything is broken to force us to reach that human moment, where we are what man truly is. What is man, really? We are completely fooled by philosophies, religions, politics. They are only outgrowths that were added from one century to the next, They have nothing to do with human reality. So, what is human reality? A man in a cell who will get shot the next morning, knows what that is, sometimes. 

In the morning, in my cell, I often heard steps in the hallway.
So, when one is there alone, in the dark, and the steps are coming, and someone knocks on the next door, and the steps pass by to the cell on the other side, at that moment, where is philosophy, where is religion, where is family, where is love? Where is all that superficial crust? There is nothing left.

There’s nothing, but there is something so powerfully, soft, strong. For once, one truly IS. That is human reality. It has no name. But it is a strength, a great softness. And suddenly, everything slides off our hands. What is left is a softness that understands everything. It is not weak, but strong. And, from above, it sees all this comedy, all this tragedy. Suddenly, it looks from elsewhere. THAT is what man really is. And no one can touch that. One can be shot, tortured, and THAT does not move. It just IS. That is the evolutionary link. This reality will allow us to move on to a less tragic and less ridiculous species. This reality has the strength to go on the next step. Our philosophies cannot help us. Did the philosophy of the fish ever help it become amphibious? Did the dinosaur’s religion ever help it become mammalian? So, nothing of what we know will help us cross. Nothing, nothing at all. Not Karl Marx, nor the Pope. No one! Simply that THING, the pure being that we are. It is like a real heartbeat, and that can go through, yes. Because it is the only reality. All the rest were simply tricks to help us get closer to the reality of who we are. 

Religious, Marxist, Ghandist tricks, all the human tricks that we invented to help us, step by step, get closer to human reality. And now, in our present global reality, all these tricks are breaking apart. We are given the grace or having all our ideas, all our feelings, all our moralities broken apart. We are given this grace so that we are left bare to find the creator part that can survive. Because, when we reach this point, we can feel this creator force that can change everything. But since evolution is not an individual thing, all of humanity, globally, must reach this irrevocable point where you are or you are not. You are or you are not. And if you are not, then you leave, like many species have done in the past. 

1 comment:

  1. nietzsche writes about this often in his works. when you strip everything else away he thought there was a core of moral being that we could all tap into and build our lives anew.


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