Mysticism and enlightenment : awakening to mystery and wonder
A book excerpt from the Iconoclast Press online library.
Indeed, it was only after the grosser movements of my confined imagination had been burned clean of redundancy and need; after the unforgiving calamities usurped me from all courage and despair; after the whole mad show boiled up in ecstasy and failure; after I stumbled and bloomed, aghast and transparent in what could not be and is; it was then that I broke, redeemed and abolished, as if newly awoken or just fallen to sleep; it was then that I possessed intimacy with gratitude and awe, because I was life and living, and now was all too new forever.
Like a happenstance dismay of unknown wonders, the specious and soothing images upon which I had been weaned had broken apart in an apocalypse of unmeaning. And it was from, and because of, such a disastrous undoing- in which I was dismantled into unrecognized bits and then smashed irrevocably beyond myself- that I was subsequently patched back together, so as to return to the world, to life, and somehow manage to live it. And that is the hard and living hell of it, let me tell you.
Euphoria, you see, is indeed a ghastly blessing; I expired from the inspirations by which I was engulfed, I was dispersed by the ecstasies which described me, I exploded against the firmament, and then was torn asunder, shredded magnanimously into digestible bits, and swallowed back into the fulcrum of torturous, graced bewilderments. I lived then intoxicated by a thousand realms at once, respirating in the thin abysses.
There are indeed limitless depths of disbelief which I have swum through breathlessly; the incontrovertible, exhilarating moments when I remembered that I did not understand.
My mind had become a lung through which I inhaled impossibilities. My endurance was infinite. Never did I feel the need to surface gasping, for I had come again to live in the impunity of not‑knowing (ergo in the redemption of awe), and I knew that every moment in which I would not stare incapably off into space, aghast with disbelief‑ every moment in which I was not honest enough to seize up, inexorably baffled, every moment that my being did not turn incorrigibly towards the splendor of the unreachable, immanent Mecca that is and is not mind‑ would be a golden moment lost.
I sought to last forever in those ephemeral cataclysms, in those lost velocities and spent configurations, wherein I was composed solely of problematic ecstasies, of masochistic ebullience, for I so willingly inhabit only those disastrous tranquilities, expatiating along the harrowing, vertiginous ridge of lostness, and thus thriving fecund in those dimensions which exhaust me.
It was not enlightenment that I underwent, but its opposite; a pure, absolute, intelligent ignorance. Who are we? Why are we? What are we? I tell you I did not, and do not know. I only know that we are not what we think we are, thus we are what we are not. Hallelujah indeed!
I had returned again to the mystery, the distillate, the quintessence of the all.
As the last remnant of memory and recognition dissipated from my dissipating consciousness I was delivered into unimaginability after unimaginability; I received a showering of ‘never beforeness’ colliding all about and around me.
There are no samples nor tastes of infinity, there are only unswallowable gulps of life, drowning me in swollen breaths of intobated non-suffocation. Me? and this? and all of it, and good God how to come to terms?!
How could it be? How could all of this be? And yet ...and yet it is, and I am it- the Mystery incarnate within itself; intimate and detached, part and yet parcel of the whole crazy show, as it were.
I no longer yearn for fathomable happenings. This world is as good a place as any to confront implausibility. I know merely a bewildering, spectacular, authenticity that I can but poorly describe as ‘unfathomableness’- a confounding, wordless, somethingness; I believe only in the outlandishness of being; I am convincingly, absolutely, absorbed by the wonderment of being.
My life becomes more and more mythical to me; I come to realize that I am not what I am; I am less and so much more; I contain everything that was, is, and will be; every event, every fantasy, every reality. I am, and I cannot believe it.
Everyday, reality becomes increasingly less real, and this unreality becomes increasingly more real; the unreality of reality feels more real. Reality is so unreal it must be real; absurdity is the most certain validation of our questionable existence.
It is not logical to see the world logically. The reality of reality is its unrealness; reality is nothing more than the unrealness that it is; a fantasy that is real. Reality occurs as this unreality of the real- as simply the most absurd concoction of improbabilities that a reasoning mind can hope to withstand. It is far beyond anything imaginable; whatever it is- it is; and only reality could have come up with this unreality.
Ah, to be the complexity that man is, and yet to not be complex enough to understand this very complexity; existence pondering existence; mystery mystified by mystery; it amazes me that I ‘am’, and yet that I do not, by the very act of being, know of it already.
Have I then come into this life only so as to applaud the miraculous implausibility of all that is, by ecstatically not understanding it? Am I here to humbly exalt the glorious mystery of being, and nothing more? Are there others who have lost their mind as grace‑fully as me?
Yes, indeed, Prometheus may have stolen the fire, but I made off with the bomb. I severed the bonds by which I was uselessly tethered to machination. I slayed the last of a dying species by debunking plausibility, and disproving without proving.
I uprooted the Tree of Knowledge, and then burned the fruit using the limbs for a pyre.
I resonated entropy into the tangling forms, tearing all of life’s hardened images from my virginal eyes, and finally I forgot the knowledge by which I had been ex-communicated from Life. And when I staggered back onto my feet and found my new footing in the ether- that was the first step I ever took forward.
It was as if I finally caught up to myself, and then ...I existed no longer. As if I descended and then rose again, resurrecting myself out of the death of what I know I was not, into what I know not; no, I do not know what it was that I was, nor what it is that I am- and this is the cornerstone of my absorption.
I did not, after all, contaminate my being in the vortex of plausibility. I did not embrace the rhetorical overtures of conception. I did not accept life’s eternal distractions. My task was, and is, to continually not-know what others claim to know; to weigh the anchors of the mind.
I have no truths, only the rejection of all untruths. I did not find a conclusion, only a beginning; I disappeared into mystery, emerging out of the absence of myself.
Yea indeed, as the raging forms glistened in the ecstasy of what may, I stood again before myself.
Indeed, it is time to purge the cloaca of our fetid concepts; time to cauterize our septic meanderings; time to euthanize obsolete symbologies. After all I have seen, and all I have unseen, I now preen conception from my mind like a baboon picking squirming gnats from its own knotted fur; I gnaw upon the mind’s maggots.
I simply want to erase everything and to start anew; to smash the blackboards, and throw away the chalk. Oh, life indeed is a more genuine mystery than it is a common fact.
I am no longer a coward of the mind, I will not cognitively submit to agreeable notions. I unknow the world ...defiantly.
In a genocide of cerebrations I massacre ontologies and pillage their existential remains, ruthlessly exterminating ideas, and hacking my way through the barricades of false emancipations. For in the realm of false understandings there is no heroism, only a war that never ceases, and soldiers that never die.
You see, though mine was a distorted illumination; like the blinding light of the sun, bouncing off the lightless, light-giving moon, I did still rise up in the night of our being, and shine forth despite my perpetual darkness.
And now I have returned to take mankind’s whole being away with a single malicious observance.
Give me your greatest edifice, man, that I may with innocence knock it mercilessly to the ground.
I did not come to take part, but to take apart. Mine is a ruinous decomprehension. I have devoured facts, and excreted mystery; sacrificing so as to get rid of- and not with intent to gain- I did not cauterize the infected wound, I severed the entire limb; I unrecognized existence in a fanatical moment of destructive non-interpretation. I am a wild animal of mind. I am ferocious in brave ecstasy. I am savage …because I am free. The blood of meaning is on my hands.
(excerpted from Roots and Wings: adventures of a spirit on earth, by Jack Haas)
Books by Jack Haas. Autobiography, Memoir, Spirituality, Mysticism, Comparative Religion, Poetry, Art, Photography.