My spiritual teacher uses the word “beatitude” a lot because that is his wish for everyone, that we all experience felicity of the highest kind, or consummate bliss. That got me thinking about bliss, what it means to be blissful, and how that squares with, well, life. For instance, on New Year’s Day, my parents and I found the back window of our car rental smashed in. How does that fit in with consummate bliss?
I don’t know because I’m just a human being, but what I do know, according to my spiritual philosophy, is every entity is moving from crudeness toward subtlety (some more quickly than others). The image that comes to mind is that of a river flowing toward the ocean. A current is carrying us from where we are now to somewhere else. Parts of the river are calm, others are choppy. While flowing down this river we may experience anger, fear, or sorrow, but the one constant is the water itself. Maybe bliss is like that. Maybe it’s the ever-present water below carrying us forward.
In my spiritual tradition we have a word for viewing the world from this lens. It’s called madhuvidyá. Madhuvidyá literally means “honey knowledge” and requires seeing everything, EVERYTHING, as an expression of an infinite loving consciousness, also known as Brahma. Yes, that means our car rental window getting smashed. It also means all the bad things, all the irritations, all the whatever that seem anything but blissful.
“This universe of ours is not absolute truth – it is only a relative truth,” my spiritual teacher says. “So the wise should try to know the absolute truth. But simultaneously it is also desirable that while striving to realize the Supreme Entity one should maintain an adjustment with this relative world. While doing one’s duties properly with the application of madhuvidyá, one can achieve permanent cessation of afflictions from this relative world. Then all the entities of this world will be as sweet as honey for the spiritual aspirant.”
That’s what I want for myself. I want all the entities of this world to be as sweet as honey. Not in a spiritual bypassing sort of way, but a recognition of both the relative truth and the absolute truth. The relative truth is I was so pissed off about the smashed window I screamed at the top of my lungs, cussing out whoever did it. And the absolute truth is the glass scattered across our backseat, the person or people who broke the window, and whatever they used to break it, are also Brahma, are also love, are also the Supreme.
As I enter this new year, it will be easy to fall into the trap of seeing things in black and white. Or labeling them as good or bad. But maybe I can also keep in the back of my mind that I’m evolving, the world is evolving, and the river we’re traveling on will never run smooth. But regardless, the water pushing us forward is there, is steady, is constant, and quintessentially is love itself.
I dream of a world where we can hold relative truths as well as the absolute truth. A world where we understand rough things will happen to us but love is still there. A world where we realize we’re all on a river moving forward in our evolution. A world where we do our best to lace our perspective with honey knowledge so that we can experience untold sweetness.
Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.