In the Autumn
of a Pandemic

“Shabda Sue” Swanback, doctor of Oriental medicine, unapologetically delights in a seasonally inappropriate culinary celebration of her endlessly prolific garden, miraculously recovered from hail, wind, and drought.

This, 2020, has been, perhaps, the best and most interesting year I’ve had.  Yes, in the midst of an ongoing global pandemic whose virus is relatively not that deadly (yet), although the number of people who have already translated from it is beginning to sink in, the world over, and learning to live with it still holds the promise of tanking the economy for years.  Perfect!

And, yes, even with the depth of a concurrent, full-on and unchecked explosion of our collective shadow exerting its desire to destroy anything and anyone standing in the way of its frail ego’s twisted desires, fears, and hunger for power, relentlessly and devotedly assuaged by a feckless news media, universally clueless to the laws governing the power of attention, we’ve watched the American Dream shrivel into the last gasp of a fond universal illusion, fawned over for centuries.  Cool!

When I give this amazing spectacle my attention, it’s simultaneously horrifying and fascinating, yet unsurprising and perfectly predictable, given the unconsciously chosen behavior of each of its participants—the shadow perpetrators, the ego enablers, the Chicken Littles, the lethargic and unresponsive public, basking in a dwindling few, short-lived pleasures, now yearning for the pablum that was—we’re being given a vivid opportunity to more deeply examine the nature of life in the lower worlds.  (If you haven’t guessed, the entire physical dimension is the lower worlds we live in.)

Sue and I are finding this experience a perfectly appropriate accompaniment to our journey—we’re having a blast!  


How can I possibly say such a thing?

Well, it’s been horrifying to my hand-wringing, diminishing little mind, dithering over the destruction and chaos taking place, with more to come.  Yet, being largely irrelevant to soul, whose attention—keenly aware of those universal laws that govern it—is largely elsewhere, and is now joyously taking up residence in realms where genuine truth, beauty, and yes, love, actually exist, along with the keys to its eventual liberation from the bondage it’s experienced here for countless lifetimes and ages in this brittle, yet purposeful, plane of existence.

That may sound fanciful or outrageous—maybe even irresponsible.  But really, what are we here for?  This is not our home.  As David Byrne sang it, “This ain’ no party; this ain’ no disco; this ain’t no foolin’ around!”  The bowl of cherries—even if we think we’ve possessed or tasted it—is a myth that will vaporize into thin air, no matter how solid the mirage appears to our clouded vision.  If not right now, then on our death bed.

The true Masters throughout time, continuously, from long before Lao Tse to Jesus, to Sawan and into this precious moment with the current Living Master, have all proclaimed the same reality: that life’s purpose is a little different than we all imagine.  This world is a horror show, at best a boot camp to facilitate soul’s eventual awakening and ascension into pure consciousness and the planes that are its true home.  And, frankly, this year has been very conducive to facilitating such realizations.  None better in my lifetime.  Yet.

If that seems a little lofty or out of touch for you, consider the unseen and previously contemplated Gifts of the Pandemic that surround us right now, and are in plain view for anyone with the eyes to see.  Seriously, I know there are readers out there—many of whom I consider friends—who are convinced that what I’m saying is pure and utter bullshit.  That’s perfect—a long, necessary and unavoidable stage to pass through.  But if you care to continue reading, I’ll do my best to illustrate some very real considerations that essentially no one fully engaged in this illusory vale of tears can (or will) actually perceive, much less comprehend, or respond to.

Mind you, I’m not even talking higher world considerations—we’re looking at plain ole ordinary, lower world mechanizations.  Unperceived.

Let’s make a little Thanksgiving list for the hapless mind to chew on before it plunges back into despair and anger that ‘things are just not working out!’.   The mind loves lists (until their conclusions become uncomfortable).  Here are three mundane realities and their implications presently in our collective face.  There are countless others of equal profundity (to the lower worlds), but I’ll otherwise never finish this contemplation.


Whether or not one knows a single thing about the brilliance of Oriental medicine, this year continues to make unavoidably obvious the hilarious illusion that contemporary Western medicine wishes to perpetrate on humanity: that it represents the apex of the glorious technological age in capably administering to the function and well-being of our composite physical being.  This pandemic, slowly being spelled out on the blackboard of experience, is finally, unequivocally, stating in the courtroom of life that this notion is unmitigated, blatant hooey.  The sole function at which Western medicine excels is in generating obscene amounts of wealth.  As far as providing a mature, coherent paradigm of how our bodies work and how to keep them in balance, for the benefit of discovering and fulfilling life’s true purpose, not to mention providing genuine, effective treatment options for what it purports to specialize in—life-threatening illness—Western medicine is an abject failure.  Its high priced, yet thoroughly adolescent mechanizations are an embarrassment.

Yet, the public conversation (guided by ‘news’ media owned by Big Pharma) has been, and continues to be, nothing more than arguing over who should pay for it.  Really?!  You want me to pay what?  For THIS?

Even Western alternative medicine is in its infancy, and paddling the same boat—up the same creek.  Like conventional standard of care, it is not a system of medicine at all.  It is merely a frantic search for something—anything!—that will effectively replace what Western MDs were taught in school—as long as it’s rooted in Western science.  Certainly a step in the right direction for disillusioned practitioners looking for something that might actually work.  Ironically though, all the while, a genuine, complete, internally intact, and brilliant paradigm of medicine truly does exist, and easily outperforms both conventional and alternative attempts—precisely beneath our high noses.

Seriously.  When did you last hear anything about how SARS CoV-2 is playing out in China?  Have you looked at their numbers?  When this all began, China was always the indisputable king at the top of any graph of numbers of cases and deaths.  It no longer even shows up on the first page of such graphs.  Uncharacteristically for the Communist party, the government, early on, mandated the use of China’s ancient medicine on all coronavirus patients—in conjunction with Western modalities.  And that decision consequently produced now noteworthy outcomes, which include the otherwise unheard of restoration of genuine health in those previously afflicted.  But who cares about what the Chinese did—what they’ve learned over the past few millennia, and how?  While we, in the West, are still sending recently infected individuals home with some Tylenol until they’re ready for the ICU, because we (Western doctors) are as clueless as we are vanity ridden.


Democracy is a concept that doesn’t exist in the higher planes, beyond duality.  But that’s not where we live, is it?  So democracy, like all else in the lower worlds, is required to reveal the failings inherent within itself, as is all duality.  Such a concept could only succeed with the full, attentive, educated and informed participation of those being governed.  It’s an experiment.  And given the human mind’s supreme reliance on mechanical adherence to its passions—lust, anger, greed, attachment, and vanity—democracy, just like economies, nations, races, planets, and all else must end in failure.  It’s built in to the very nature of duality and the human mind which can only subscribe to it.  Because without it (duality) our precious mind no longer even exists.

The cosmic mirror is clearly showing us we’re not up to the task.  Ironically, the humongous enterprise of soul’s liberation and emancipation, itself, will require dimensions of discipline far exceeding those required to even moderately succeed in democracy.


White supremacy, too, is now unavoidably in our faces—and wanting to be more literally so.  Races, in the passage of time, each have their own, karmatic, place in the sun.  ‘WHITEMAN’ (as immortalized by Robert Crumb in his Zap Comix character) has clearly had his share, perhaps more.  And he doesn’t appear ready to bow out gracefully.

First page of “WHITEMAN” © Robert Crumb, ca. 1967, used without permission.


Off-hand, I can’t recall grace in much he’s done.  But I’m not interested in recounting how ‘WHITEMAN’ has represented himself.  The record is pretty clear, and widely available for viewing—here and around the world.      

An important vantage point for a seeker of truth to understand is that soul has no color or gender.  Of course, the physical manifestation of our bodies has both gender and color, and the mind whole-heartedly approves of that!  But the short-lived pleasures—or pain— of those differences still leave us wanting something more—or might less be more satisfying?

In the words of Hafiz,

Is where the Real Fun starts.
Too much counting
Everywhere else!

These are only three of the many topics being revealed to us in their naked, fully exposed, lack of truth—in full, wraparound Technicolor, or whatever it is these days.  There they are.  Everyone is looking at them.  But who is seeing them?  Who is recognizing the potential opportunities to be acted upon from this moment forward?  When the entire planet’s attention is already on them.  Both individually and communally.  Is anyone home?

These are questions one would expect to be in the news, since the world is showing them to us in a never-before-seen and revealing spotlight.  People ‘should’ be clamoring for discussion.  I mean, how could one not have noticed in the spring of this year, that the very planet we live on gloriously relaxed in the momentary relief of a respite from the inevitable, cloying, destructive toxic waste from the very presence of five times more human beings than it can happily support?  Clear skies.  Brilliant color.  Fresh, vital air.  Quiet.  Even relative peace.  With nary a multinational accord involved!  Until individuals who have never tasted freedom in their lives boogalooed their egos back onto the highways.

These and more revelations are gifts awaiting recognition.  Each of these obvious potentialities available to us represent an invigorating step into the sunlight if we were sufficiently awake to perceive them.  The rare truth is that clarity of vision, thought, and responsible action are simply not available to the human mind—aside from the equally rare fleeting glimpse, so brief as to be non-existent in the mud of its mechanical somnolence.  Yes, I’m aware that’s the nth time I’ve used the word, but a point is being made, and there’s reason to doubt it’s being taken.  We’re hard cases, aren’t we?

In contrast, a chela of the Living Master, really doesn’t want to place one’s attention here.  Time, in these short lives, is too limited and precious to be spent looking downward.  One has become keenly aware of the laws governing attention.  It’s the most elementary manifestation of the most powerful and divine faculty we possess—the previously unawakened soul.  When we place our attention on anything, every power within our inner cosmology is enlivened to serve, feed, develop, and nurture its recipient.

There comes a time in the unimaginable journey of soul through these lower worlds, when gazing at the very One Who has suddenly, finally, awakened it, is all it wants to do.  And the very act of doing so lifts it, with breathtaking speed, into the rarified atmosphere of pure, undivided and whole consciousness, where mind/ego and duality cannot breathe—they no longer exist.  The purpose of these endless lives is perceived and fully embraced at last.

Soul is a happy entity—always.

Enjoy your turkey!






Most Recent Contemplation: Coming to Know the True Driver

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