DYING IN THE MATERIAL WORLD
I am teaching my students T.S. Eliot's "Waste Land." I have been teaching British Literature, Beowulf to Ted Hughes, for almost ten years. I think having the words of the master English poets wash over me, through me, around me all this time has played a role in opening me up. Now that I'm open, I can't help but see how many of them--all of them--"practiced" poetry rather than just wrote it. They were all affiliated--ALL--with some aspect of Rosicrucianism or Masonry. And I am more and more convinced that these societies based on Alchemy have been the keepers of the True Religion all this time. There is in "The Waste Land" a perfect journey through the boundary "between worlds." As I taught it, I described this journey as it is found in the poem and this sparked a whole discussion about what the poet means by "dead." Dead is Avidya. Dead is all of this stuff. But what I want to impress upon them is that the spiritual path does not have to be taken in robes and shaved head and that they do not have to give up stuff intentionally. This is a forced detachment and I don't know if it accomplishes anything. All of my losses have been engineered from within the world. None have been my choice. And I live in a really nice house and I drive a CRV. And I've touched God and been feng shui'd from within by Boddhicitta that refragranced my mind. But I read People, Us, and I dye my hair blonde. What opened the doors for me wasn't at all an intentional pushing away of the material world. I was ripped from it as it was ripped from me. And I live in it now with awe and reverence. Just as I did before. And it is not at all far from me. I lost nothing. It's all here.