I started Awake because I had thought I must be going crazy.
There was no other way to explain the intense loss of joy or meaning from daily activity.
This was a few years back. 2013. In 2016, meditation found me, and eventually showed it me the path back. The Pathless Path. We will discuss this one another time. And who Meditation really was. And is. Another time.
But back then, I couldn’t make any sense of it at all.
We had just sold a company, I was living the life.
Ah, life. When will you realize it is not lived, but it lives you?
A priest was once asked if he preferred to preach to the wealthy or to the poor. His instant response was “The rich of course, they already know that money does not bring happiness”. And having grown up in India, or maybe this is a universal thing in some households, I was reminded of this fact, that it is not money that brings happiness, but other things, blah blah blah.
Blah, because obviously, having grown up in India in a fairly middle class family, I wanted to be wealthy. I flatly didn’t believe that money was not a part of the whole happiness equation. I mean, I remember thinking about how great America seemed, the richest and most capitalist of all countries, indeed a land where all meritocrats must make their way eventually, in order to earn the just rewards of their efforts.
And so I did. Relentlessly, I pursued my dream of being in Silicon Valley, of launching companies, of working till you make it work. We did. And we celebrated when we did, and it was an amazing experience. I didn’t become ultra-wealthy, but I didn’t have to work if I didn’t want to, at least for a good long while if I was reasonably smart about things. So I tasted financial freedom, and it felt great for a few weeks, even months.
Along the way was strewn the wreckage of many things and relationships. It had seemed worth it, and I would still do it the same way if I had a do-over. Because, really, there is no other way of knowing, for only the experience of something creates true knowledge.
Knowledge vs Reality
All my experiences in life so far had produced ideas that I was using to drive my decisions each day, each moment. However, it became clear to me that since my very basis to evaluate any experience was itself flawed, all my experiential knowledge was also suspect. Imagine discovering all your worldly knowledge was basically wrong because we had gotten gravity wrong or something basic like that – suddenly, everything was clearly incorrect.
It was then I discovered the nature of false knowledge and the dependent false reality. My entire life I had operated under a set of beliefs about how things were, how the world worked, and what I needed in order to also be successful at this game called life. And with painful clarity, I realized that the very models upon which I based my world view were incorrect, and that was why the results were not as expected.
My world, suffice to say, shattered. Everything went sideways. And I discovered my dark side, the side of human psyche where the light of clarity does not reach. I called it boredom because I couldn’t explain it, others asked if I was depressed. I even went to a few sessions of therapy, but I knew this kind of crazy couldn’t be addressed by other crazy people – they were all afflicted with the same problems I had, they just pretended it was the way things were, and that it was a mere issue of adjustment.
So no, I would need to solve this one on my own. And it was an intense pressure-filled race, because as more and more people certified me in their minds, I felt that the perceived insanity might in fact be the reason for how things were turning out. In my head.
And I began to realize that everything was suspect – not just the people but their ideas and beliefs – down to their very core, so to speak. After all, every idea came from someone, who is themselves merely a bunch of ideas and beliefs. And I realized that even though the right to pursue happiness seemed very reasonable and rational, it is basically rooted in ignorance. This was because using the mind to perceive and detect happiness was clearly an unreliable endeavor, and indeed a mind based on false knowledge and understanding of itself could not be the source of understanding anything about anything at all.
The Pursuit of Happiness, what a cosmic joke on all us human beings who even fight and shed blood in order to defend the right to pursue it.
Normal vs Crazy
What happened next? Coming soon as I get time to write. Or for when I’m up at 2:20 AM again with unreasonable clarity. Or any other time that happens.
And yes, we will get to Shoptype. Stay tuned!