The Dream of Dalai Lama About the 21st Century

I heard a dream of Dalai Lama on YouTube the other day where he said he had been dreaming that in THIS CENTURY, the world would become one big happy family.

I thought, “Oh… Sounds like wishful thinking. Based on how this century began, I really doubt that the continuation will be any different. Humanity is too sick – just like most people it consists of, including me.”

But then he added something interesting. He said we would only need one thing for it to happen – a realization of the oneness of all humanity.

I scratched my head: “He’s on to something here.”

And then he said that this one realization would be enough to uproot the very cause of all war and conflict.

I found myself thinking: “Yes, of course.”

The problem is that I don’t see myself in anything except me. Then I thought, “Hm… often, I don’t even see myself in me either.”

Then, I thought, “How interesting – when I don’t see myself in others, I don’t see myself in me. And when I see myself in others, I see myself in me.” Serendipitously, a phrase by Jesus popped up in my mind that I had read recently,

“Most certainly I tell you, because you didn’t do it to one of the least of these, you didn’t do it to me.”

When I look at the other person, what do I see? How I treat them is secondary; how I see them is primary. Do I see God in them? If so, God is in me. If not, God is not in me.

In other words, if I didn’t recognize Jesus in another person, I don’t know him, and he doesn’t know me. I miss out on Heaven, and I am in hell. Conversely, if I do recognize Jesus in the other person, I know him, and he knows me. I am in Heaven.

Recognizing God in the other is the ultimate litmus test for whether God is in me. The hell we are seeing around us is a sure sign that God is not in us. If he is not in the other one, he is not in me.

When there’s no sense of connection between me and the other person, I have lost God… and myself. But how do I recognize myself in the other? It happens when I start looking beyond appearances. If I start with an assumption that there’s more to a person than meets the eye, I will start getting glimpses of the Divine in them.

C.S. Lewis said in The Weight of Glory,

“There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations – these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub and exploit – immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.”

There is divinity behind every appearance. Sometimes, it is distorted, but it’s there. If I see it, I have redeemed the appearance. I have glimpsed through. I have seen the divine spark.

Meister Eckhart says there’s only one way to attain this divine soul spark in yourself and in the other:

“Therefore, I say, if a man turns away from self and from created things, then – to the extent that you do this – you will attain oneness and blessedness in your soul’s spark, which time and place never touched.”

There’s no ethics before seeing this divine spark. All ethics flow out of it – ethics spring from esthetics. The moment we let go of self and all created things, we sink into the stillness and darkness that is brighter than light.

According to Meister Eckhart, we attain the divine spark not through any effort or “addition” on our part but rather through the process of gradual subtraction.

“Everything is meant to be lost so that the soul may stand in unhampered nothingness.”

To attain true knowledge and commune with the One, we need to recover our inner silence – the language of the primordial Void in which the worlds were made. Then, in this unhampered nothingness, we will start hearing the Music of the One incarnated in the many. 

The fragmented world will disappear, and all things will become one, just as it says, “God will be all in all.”

“All that a man has here externally in multiplicity is intrinsically One. Here all blades of grass, wood, and stone, all things are One. This is the deepest depth.” Meister Eckhart

Until I let go of self, I can’t see the divine spark in the other. Holding on to self blocks my spiritual vision. But if I let it go, I exclaim like Bilbo Baggins after he had dropped the One Ring,

“I have thought of a nice ending for it [my book]: and he lived happily ever after to the end of his days.”

How Dostoyevsky Came to Believe that Beauty Will Save the World

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How did Dostoevsky come to believe that beauty will save the world? He served his four-year sentence in a labor camp in Omsk where I was born. The barracks where the prisoners were kept are still there to this day and now form the “historical part of the city” with Dostoyevsky’s monument at the entrance.

Four years of hard labor in Siberia in the middle of the 19th century were tantalizing. And yet, in this furnace, Dostoyevsky’s main philosophical ideas were forged, which he later fleshed out in Crime and Punishment and The Brothers Karamazov.

Scholars agree that during this time, a radical shift happened in his thinking from looking for external solutions to the world’s problems to discovering beauty as the only solution to evil.

The pinnacle of his “beauty-will-save-the-world” narrative is his poem The Great Inquisitor in The Brothers Karamazov.

The 90-year-old cardinal arrests Jesus and makes a strong case for why the system of the world based on worshiping external authority is the only solution for those weak and unruly human beings to live happily. He scoffs at Jesus for believing in humans too much. They don’t want freedom. They want bread and someone to bow down to.

We – the system of the world – provided them with all that. Don’t you dare ruin it! It’s the only way to keep evil in check. Jesus doesn’t respond. He is silent. After the old man finishes his tirade, Jesus stands up and kisses him gently. The old man doesn’t execute him as he promised. He lets him go. Why?

Because he met with the ultimate beauty. Jesus’s kiss awakened him to a sudden realization that haunted his dreams for many years. Suddenly, he knew in his heart that all his arguments were a bunch of baloney.

There’s beauty in the world that makes a man forget all about bread and security. It is the beauty of seeing someone readily becoming a willing sacrifice for you. The Grand Inquisitor understands that Jesus is ready to die again as many times as necessary so people can be free. So, he lets him go, unable to resist the inner call of Beauty.  

Dostoyevsky’s famous phrase “Beauty will save the world” sums up his whole philosophy and strangely resonates with the insights of other great thinkers of the 19th and 20th centuries. One of them was Victor Hugo, who, according to Dostoyevsky, was his source of inspiration.

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