Jorge Luis Borges (a 20th Century short story writer from Argentina) was fascinated by labyrinths, puzzles, and strange phenomenon. Maybe that is why his writing has endeared him to me so much over the years.
Through his writing, Borges seems to say that life is one big riddle–an ongoing maze–that we are trying to work our way through, but often fail to do so. Just when we try to find out the answer to a riddle life presents, we fall into a trap again: we think we’ve deciphered the code, but no, alas, the maze just keeps on going and going.
I believe the best poets, writers, and artists present to us not answers, but riddles, labyrinths for us to try to get out of. I think this approach makes them great because life itself is like this ongoing riddle that no one can seem to solve, and overtime, we may think we’ve reached the end of a maze, but we’ve only hit another wall in the great, never-ending labyrinth of space and time.
The Riddle of The Aleph
There is this one short story by Borges which he called The Aleph. The Aleph, as Borges describes it, is the point in the universe where all points converge. It is both the Alpha and the Omega, the end and the beginning of all things. All time and space—the entire universe—existing in one, single point.
One could say that the story of The Aleph is the greatest story ever written—for this brief story attempts to explain the inexplicable: the tale of the entire universe.
But Borges, one of the most celebrated writers in literary history, was not the only individual that was fascinated by The Aleph. Carl Jung, a psychologist and apprentice to Sigmund Freud, grew obsessed with the creation of mandalas: spiritual symbols that are often created (and recreated) by Buddhist monks all over the world in an attempt to capture the entire universe. Jung believed that creating mandalas was a healthy psychological exercise since it fed our natural urge to contemplate the universe (and our place within it).
Albert Einstein spent his entire career attempting to find a scientific theory that would unify all the scientific theories in the universe. A single, beautiful equation that would essentially express to us how God created everything. (Einstein actually said that he wanted to know “God’s thoughts.”)
John Lennon, a music artist and famous member of The Beatles, once wrote a song called Imagine, in which he asked us to imagine a world in which everyone lived in the present moment in total peace and love. He asked us to imagine a world in which all division was wiped away, leaving us to live as “one.” What is the riddle in his song? What is the mystery at the center of his lyrics?
In science, another word for The Aleph would be a “singularity”—or a place where all time and space dissolve into infinity. You might have heard that the place where such a singularity occurs is a “black hole.”
What causes a black hole?
The collapse of a star after it goes supernova.
It appears that out there, in outer space, far and away from us, the universe is constantly exploring the cosmic riddle of The Aleph.
In the annals of spiritual history, in all cultures and in all religions, there is something that is often hinted at in puzzles and riddles and esoteric poetry. It is something that people today call “enlightenment” or “ascension.” The gurus and saints and prophets all said that enlightenment is achieved at the moment in which our personality—or Ego—collapses, is annihilated, and all that is left is a singular being that finds himself at one with the entire universe.
The enlightened individual moves with the flow of life, in total harmony with the universe, unconditionally loving of everyone and everything it encounters. He is present and, therefore, fully alive.
The enlightened individual becomes the great riddle of life itself: she becomes Borge’s Aleph, Jung’s mandala, Einstein’s equation, Lennon’s verse—she becomes a singularity—the unifying, organic principle of the universe—she ascends, she becomes enlightened.
What Is Enlightenment and How Can We Achieve it?
What is enlightenment?
Enlightenment is the awareness of our oneness and it is the living of this truth on a day-to-day basis.
That is it. That’s all enlightenment ever meant. It’s as simple as that.
Enlightenment is something you may have experienced while reading a particular moving poem by your favorite poet, or when observing a particularly striking natural landscape, or when becoming enraptured by the beautiful eyes of your beloved, or when you played a stellar game of tennis where your body suddenly performed at its optimum strength and power with minimal effort on your part, or in the middle of the creative process, when all time and space seemed to dissolve, and, suddenly, ten hours passed by in a blink of an eye, and morning became night before you even knew it.
Each one of those moments was a moment of enlightenment.
You just didn’t call it that when you experienced it. Instead, you may have called it “bliss,” or “awe,” or “serenity,” or being “in the zone.”
Whatever you call it, enlightenment is actually a normal, commonplace occurrence that we’ve all experienced in our lives at some level already. And, when we aren’t experiencing enlightenment, it is the state that each of us is constantly seeking to attain on a daily basis.
The achievement of enlightenment is our one, true calling. It is our birthright. We all want to be at peace. We all want to feel joy. We all want to be happy and we all want to be happy doing something that feels like it is meaningful. And this is exactly how the state of enlightenment feels: peaceful, joyful, and incredibly meaningful.
Those who can sustain the experience of enlightenment throughout their whole lives are people who I say are “Enlightened” with a capital “E.” I give them a capital “E” because I believe that such a sustained enlightenment state is very hard for the rest of us to manage.
Few of us will ever attain Enlightenment (with a capital “E”) but the rest of us can attain enlightenment with a lower case “e” or: we will be able to move in and out of an enlightened state throughout our entire lives, never quite reaching a “sustained enlightenment” like the masters, but always getting closer.
Never quite solving the riddle, but always getting clues and hints towards its final solution.
Oneness—The Final Key To Your Ascension
One might say that it is the journey of our lives on this earth to attempt to solve the riddle of The Aleph until we become it; and that it is only through living life as The Aleph itself that the riddle can finally be solved.
How do we become The Aleph? We become The Aleph by realizing that each of us has a purpose in this life, and that each of us has a dream we wish to manifest. My dream is to become a celebrated novelist. Your dream might be something else entirely. But in order to achieve both of our dreams, we must understand that we are not separate from anyone else. Our ascension is tied with the ascension of all the others.
What is meant by “ascension”? It is a combination of three things:
- The detachment from all things that cause us to be afraid. Or: Giving up the ground we stand on.
- The acceptance of our pain and using it as fuel for awareness. Or: Using the energy born of our pain to finally flap our wings and make our way up, toward the sky.
- The final step in the ascension process is the realization that we are all interconnected, we are all one, and that our true happiness lies in making sure that not only us, but everyone else, is happy, too. In other words: Falling into formation with the rest of the flock in the sky.
When we “ascend,” we come to understand that we are not just the caretaker of our soul—we are the caretaker of all souls. We are not just our sisters’ and brothers’ keeper, we ARE our sister and our brother—and they are us.
Ascension is the extraordinary realization that we are all in this together. We’re all trying to solve the riddle of life each in our own way—and we all need each other to use our individual talents to solve this riddle. No one is left behind. No one is “less than.” Every single one of us is vital to our ascension. Each one of our voices needs to be heard for this to work. Not a single one of us can do this without the rest of the 7 billion.
Our cry for longing was always for each other. But now we can safely say that the searching is over. It’s time to stop crying. It’s time to wipe our tears away. Because what is lost, is now found. The long, drawn-out, tragic-comic romance is over.
Let’s meet here now. Let us arrive.
Let’s all start spending every single waking moment of our day figuring out how we could all win this thing together. Because that’s the only triumph humanity will ever settle for. That’s the only prize we’ve ever truly hungered for. That’s the dream we all have and we all wish will one day come true.
A total unification of souls.
The greats, from every discipline known to man, were all obsessed with the riddle of The Aleph. It’s no surprise: The Aleph is the ultimate riddle. The ultimate labyrinth. The supreme puzzle. It is where all education, art, math, science, psychology, philosophy and spirituality all lead to: it is the end and the beginning of all human endeavor.
The Aleph is a single dream we’ve all been dreaming since the beginning of time. Let’s call it the dream singularity: a single point in the universe where all time and space join and where our capacity to realize our wildest dreams becomes infinite.
The Chapter In Which Our Hero Flies
I once told you that this is the story of me writing my first novel and how life keeps getting in the way… but, more and more, I am finding that I’m really telling the story of all of us and the lengths we will take to create the life we want and give birth to the ideas that we hope will leave our mark on this world.
What better way to reach that final goal than by expanding, collapsing, and becoming the universal mystery that is all of us.
Today’s Courage Exercise
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