You love your family, your friends, your job, your house, your car and what you perceive as your life. These are the circumstances that bring you joy and contentment. When death comes to you, none of these circumstances will go on. What’s missing from this list is the only thing that matters; awakening from the illusion that you call your life. Reality is clearly missing.
The late poet and Native activist, John Trudell said (and I’m paraphrasing), “We have entered the reality of the already dead and we are spending our lives waiting to die” In other words, we spend our lives performing menial tasks and never delve deeper into what it means to be human. Being human means not only recognizing the physical attributes of such an existence but recognizing what our being is. We are after all, human beings.
I was raised Catholic but I was never what one would consider to be a spiritual person. In my late twenties (I’ll be 50 shortly) I began to question my faith. I believed in a God and that Jesus was the son of that God. However, I had no reason to believe in such a concept, other than the trust and faith I had in those who passed on the Christian story to me. I had not delved into the being of my humanity.
Most of us run around our entire lives participating in a series of engagements where we perform a variety of functions. Between birthdays, holidays, school/work weeks, weekend excursions, vacations, occasional funerals and various appointments our lives become nothing more than a strung out timeline of events. There’s little to no time to explore what all of this means let alone explore our existence. Even if there was time, most of us are so indoctrinated into a lifestyle of task completion that the essence of living is not even a possibility because it doesn’t exist in our version of the world.
I’m fortunate enough to have the time to do such contemplation. I am finally beginning to realize what’s at stake. The human experience is not to be taken for granted. The consequences of such callousness is the clusterfuck of a global society we are experiencing and witnessing today. Sure there are pockets of cultures that have incredible insight and understanding concerning the essence of life, but they cannot and have not up to this point, been able to hold back the colossal wave of ignorance that washes up upon our lives daily. We are soaking in obliviousness.
Imagine you are fortunate enough to experience consciousness in the human form. Out of the billions of species that have come and gone throughout geological time (on any planet), you have an opportunity to be human. What are doing with it? What do you think you’re doing with it? There’s really no easy way to say this other than you’re wasting it in a way that’s (if this is possible) unimaginable to the universe. If you were awake from this illusion of complete madness you would be shocked and dismayed by the monumental proportions of people just chugging along like lemmings until they drop dead.
Pursuing ambitions, goals and dreams amount to what you see before you; a species gone mad performing and completing tasks that continue to drown life in an ocean of cluelessness. The few who are fortunate enough (or maybe unfortunate enough) to observe this ongoing catastrophe continue to stand amongst the pounding surf that surrounds them as they touch those who float by with the intention of ending their attachment to such blindness. Reality isn’t pretty, it isn’t ugly, but it simply is. Until we look through a lens that reveals what is, there’s no real chance of being human. Instead we remain walking cadavers who are as empty as those lying in morgues around the world. I’m still trying to awaken as I wash up on shore.
Mike Sliwa is a husband and homesteader. He taught high school for 12 years and left his career for a simpler existence. Currently he and his wife are living off grid, perfecting their durable living skills in rural New Mexico. Mike speaks about a wide variety issues concerning simple living, white privilege, abrupt climate change, Near Term Human Extinction, and other consequences of the civilized industrial global economy. He's also a co-host for the radio program, Nature Bats Last on the Progressive Radio Network (Prn.fm) and co-founder of the social justice speaking agency truality.org. He is the author of Chasing a Different Carrot, A Manifesto for the Predicament of Privilege. You can find more information at michaelsliwa.wordpress.com.