Imhotep and the Mysteries of Egyptian Healing

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Imhotep and the Mysteries of Egyptian Healing

And what is healing or restoration of health? This would be the first question to ask. When we feel pain, the immediate desire is to get rid of it quickly. But what happens when the pain is not physical, but mental or emotional, what happens when disappointments have wounded our heart again and again, and it is so full of scars that there is barely room for one more wound? And how to correct all the physical and emotional imbalances that have led us to this painful present?

Recovering a state of health has become a social myth. We find it in many magazines and in advertisements for consumer products, beauty, fitness, not to mention vaccines, surgeries, prostheses, etc. In fact, it is a myth, because what we call “health” is not something static: life is something constantly evolving. It is an evolutionary process that, for some people ends in death, while for others it never ends, but goes beyond death. In any case it is a “dynamic” equilibrium, an equilibrium at a given moment. But this dynamic balance has to be a state of harmony between the different mental and physical factors that constitute the human being; unfortunately these factors are almost always at war.

And here comes Egyptian medicine, its particular definition of health and the legend of its founder, Imhotep. The very name of this extraordinary man is a moral key for the practice of medicine and for becoming a true doctor, “Imhotep”, that is, “He who brings peace or harmony.”

Many books and documents mention Imhotep, but despite this there is no certain information about him. Shortly after his death, about a hundred years later, he was considered a demigod, and in the time of the Ptolemies he was elevated to the status of a god with full rights. He was considered the son of the god Ptah, even replacing the role of Nefertum in the Memphis triad.

Imhotep in Madrid

Although there were many places dedicated to Imhotep in Egypt, for the people of Madrid it is an honor to have an Egyptian temple in which there are certain parts dedicated to Imhotep, I am referring to the temple of Debod, a donation from the Egyptian Government to Spain, it was moved from its original location in Egypt to the West Park in Madrid.

The main places of worship were in Deir-el-Bahari, in Deir-el-Medineh, Medinet Habou, Qasr el-Agouz, the temple of Dakkah, the temple of Kalabsha and in some rooms of the temple of Karnak, where some chapels are dedicated to both Imhotep and Amenhotep son of Hapu. There are also vestiges of practices of this cult: incubation, oracles and consultations with medical priests.

Bottom left: Horus with the lustral vase, and behind Imhotep

In the temple of Debod in Madrid, in the so-called Adijalamani chapel, there are representations of the god Horus purifying the temple by sprinkling lustral water and closely followed by the deified Imhotep. This representation corresponds to the daily purification of the divine cult: the priest poured pure water four times with the libation cup in the naos, then continued the purification by adding five grains of natron of Nejeb and performed the anointing with the sacred oils, to finally perform a sprinkling with the water of life, whose force-energy arose mythically from the caverns of Querert, in the first waterfall, in the secret caverns of the sacred island of Bigeh.

For thousands of years, Egyptians made pilgrimages to the cult sites associated with Imhotep, in search of health and the purifying healing waters. Maybe, who knows, we should take advantage of this temple in Madrid to get closer to receive, even if only with our imagination, a little of that healthy energy that we need so much. Faith moves mountains.

Imhotep at Karnak

Temple of Ptah, Sekhmet and Imhotep in Karnak

One of the most mysterious places dedicated to Imhotep and his strange soul brother, Amenhotep, of whom more later, is a special chapel located in the Karnak complex. I first learned about it after meeting the late Dr. Khalil Messiha, a Coptic Egyptian physician and Egyptologist, whose family came from Luxor.

Sekhmet

He told me how as a child he went to visit with his father the strange chapel dedicated to the god Ptah and his wife the lion goddess Sekhmet and her son Nefertum-Imhotep. When he entered with his father in the enclosure of the lion goddess, the latter brought a newspaper in his hand close to his face, reflecting on the statue the sunlight that entered through an opening in the roof. The statue then shook, unleashing a strong wind inside the chapel, which forced them to leave it, while the janitor of the place laughed saying that “the lioness wants to play with you”.

Temple of Ptah, Sekhmet and Imhotep at Karnak, before 1900's excavations

Many other stories are told of the place and of the whole area of the temple complexes of Luxor and Karnak, which at the beginning of the last century were freely accessible. It was a place where there were even houses with people living among the ruins. The inhabitants told stories of strange noises, apparitions and disappearances of objects, which they attributed to the “gins”, spirits of nature, and to the “khirasa-el-firaon”, the guardian genies of the place and of the pharaoh.

Luxor Temple in ruins, 19th century

While they were telling me this, just in front of the Luxor temple, in a coffee-shop, the owner of the place added that long before there was a house that communicated through a subterranean corridor with the remains of the temple of Luxor and that there lived a “saint” to whom people came from all over to ask him for cures. The crowd would gather at the door of his house, located in what are now the grounds of the Luxor temple, waiting for the sage to appear, who would then cure people, sometimes simply by blessing them, sometimes with words spoken in the ear and sometimes by giving them a piece of paper with some written words that the petitioner had to take to the bedside of the lying sick person.

Streets of Luxor, XIX century

Next to this chapel of Ptah in Karnak there are strong indications of the existence of an attached sanatorium. This temple has not been thoroughly investigated, and its study has not been without problems from the beginning, for strange reasons: in 1900, when archaeologist George Legrain began to investigate the temple, Egyptian workers were reluctant to undertake the excavation. They were afraid of the place, where seven little children were said to have been swallowed in a cave, leading to the place being known as the “children’s grave.”

Georges Legrain workers

They believed it to be the lair of a monster or ogress that had devoured them, since their bodies were never recovered. Continuing to dig meant attacking the ogress in its lair. He was said to be guarded north of the temple by a barrier of black men who protected him from anyone who approached. Precisely in that place, Legrain discovered a statue of Djehuty (Thoth) in black granite. According to archaeologist Legrain:

“At Karnak, trust was finally restored after the statue of Thoth was sent to Cairo. As far as the workers believed, the discovery of the black statue of Thoth had taken the guardian genius of the temple of Ptah prisoner and, even more,as I had copied and translated some of the hieroglyphs engraved there, I had become the owner of the magical formulas, which would force the devourer of children to surrender.”

There is probably a confusion of traditions, since the seven trapped children possibly refer to the 7 pathakois mentioned by Herodotus as the sons of Ptah, who were represented as small dwarf children, in fact small statues have appeared in the area mistaken for images of the god Bes, which actually correspond to these “pathakois” or “kabiris”. On the other hand, the goddess Sekhmet was also known as “the devourer”, hence the mixture of all these ideas gave rise to the legends related to this temple.

Ptah, Hathor and Imhotep, from left to right

This temple is adjacent to Montu’s temple, it has seven gateways, in the first one there is on each side a prayer addressed to Imhotep (right pillar) of which we will talk later, and another prayer to Amenhotep (left pillar). Inside the temple, on the north wall, that is, to the left of the chamber, Ptolemy IV is represented offering a small statue in the shape of a sphinx and carrying ointments for Ptah, who is standing receiving the offering, followed behind by Hathor, Imhotep and Amenhotep.

Imhotep and Amenhotep the son of Hapu

Also on the back wall, outside the temple, there are representations of Ptah and Hathor, followed by Imhotep and Amenhotep. Imhotep appears with a short skirt and a breastplate and carrying the Uas scepter, while Amenhotep wears long robes and carries a papyrus roll and the scribe’s palette.

Hathor, Imhotep and Amenhotep, from left to right

A prayer in the chapel reads:

The priests physicians pray for you to the god, your brother the first of all, the well loved by you, Amenhotep Son of Hapu, He dwells with you, He never forsakes you, so that your bodies form one and your souls receive the things you love…..

In another bas-relief found towards the north side of Karnak, Amenhotep and Imhotep appear on either side of an offering table. Although the hieroglyphs are very destroyed, you can read the following phrase written next to Imhotep and addressed to Amenhotep:

"I join you... until the end of time"

Who was this mysterious Amenhotep, what does he have to do with Imhotep, why were they both considered men and at the same time gods and both as well related to healing?

To be continue

Know Yoursel and the “E” of Delfphi

 KNOW YOURSELF

The “E” of Delphi and Nothing in excess



In the midst of the turbulence of the last century and the present, in the midst of this accelerated time, even faster than our ability to understand and integrate so many changes in such a short life, it is necessary once again, as in all critical times, calm down and look again for the essential keys to continue on our path.


Just as it is relatively easy to meditate in the middle of the night and in silence, while it is difficult or even impossible in the noise of the street, on the subway or while driving a car, the human capacity for introversion has become enormously reduced in recent centuries.


In previous epochs, the environment that surrounded man was limited: colors, tastes, clothing, settings and landscapes, customs and festivals, life and work were well regulated, simple and durable, without many changes over time. It was relatively easy to abstract consciousness from this familiar and controlled environment. On the contrary, the upheaval and acceleration we are experiencing today make it increasingly difficult to assimilate and adapt to new advances in technology, culture and art. As soon as we begin to master a new field of knowledge, it becomes obsolete.


In the past, for a student in search of wisdom, the process of seeking and assimilating new knowledge sometimes required long journeys and even risking one's life. Finding a text, copying it carefully and commenting on it in the closest circle was in itself a way of learning and contrasting with the opinions of others.


When we are told, for example, that Tsong Kha Pa, the founder of the Gelugpa tradition in Tibet, had up to a hundred different teachers, or that Paracelsus traveled to faraway Tartary, or that Plato managed to accumulate a small fortune to travel to Egypt in search of knowledge. Today it is almost incredible for us to imagine ourselves in such circumstances, because despite the ease of transportation of our times, we lack that kind of perseverance and dedication in the search for deep knowledge that can take a lifetime.


It is not causal, then, that the birth of many religious movements began in solitude, in the desert or in the high mountains. There the soul tends to rise, free from distractions, propelled to higher spheres, free from the fatigue of daily life. Serenely at rest, in the midst of these "deserts of the senses", the soul tends to immerse itself in the profound mystery of individual existence.


The ancient advice of the Oracle of Delphi: "Know thyself," was the necessary end to a routine and mechanical life. In our time, however, the constant hustle and bustle, the constant impact of news, advertising and the many ways in which the senses are forcibly drawn outward, make it very difficult for our minds to find a moment of peace, without being bombarded by external impacts.


In reality, the Delphic Motto was only a part of a complete program, therefore to know ourselves was not the end but the beginning of a spiritual adventure. On the frontispiece of that temple, accompanying the famous phrase γνῶθι σεαυτόν, (Know thyself) there were two other indications of the next step to follow: It was not enough to know oneself, it was also necessary to harmonize ourselves, as indicated by the second motto engraved there: "μηδὲν ἄγαν", that is, "Nothing in excess." Therefore, it was necessary to perfect habits, perfect the human being by seeking the necessary balance between the different components, physical and psychological, to finally chart the course towards the goal indicated by the third Delphic sign: the letter Epsilon.



This was a symbol of the number five and of the human superior and celestial plane, as Plutarch tells us in his treatise "On the E of Delphi", that is, the fifth celestial or spiritual quintessence, above the 4 usual components of the human being: physical body, energy-vitality, psychic-emotional plane, and mind.

It was, therefore, an entire life program, which began with a deep introspection of oneself, continued with the practical work of polishing the edges of one's personality through moral practice, and finally culminated on the level of the intelligible wisdom.


The three Delphic mottos could also be expressed as three phases: Information, Integration and Transformation, i.e. the acquisition of the necessary self-knowledge, the concretization of this knowledge by working on the harmonization of the different factors at work in the human personality, and finally the access to the higher through a process of transformation.


Nowadays information dominates, it has never been so easy to acquire it, at our fingertips we can have any of the thousands of treatises and books of wisdom from the present and the past in a few seconds. Education itself is conceived as an accumulation of data, as if the human being were a modern computer.


Nobody today demands that certain knowledge become a reality in a human being, it is enough to memorize it and then to remember it, i.e.: to know how to access the mechanical memory stored in our brain.


But the real and necessary information is not that which comes from the changing and illusory world that surrounds us, but rather that which comes from introspection within ourselves, it is the result of the profound “Know thyself” of the Delphic mandate.


Thus, knowledge that comes to us from the outside often prevents the knowledge that comes to us from the most intimate and spiritual, and therefore hinders the moral integration of this knowledge and its logical consequence: the transformation of the human being.


THE PLATONIC CAVE IN THE 21st CENTURY - FITNESS AND SMOTHIES

The PLatonic Cave in the 21st Century

Fitness and Smothies


Almost everyone knows the ancient Platonic myth of the Cave, that place dominated by powerful and invisible masters of the cave, and where the prisoners, born there, can only see their own shadows reflected on the walls, as if they were in front of a cinema screen, and which they believe to be themselves.

The interpretive key to the whole matter is twofold: on the one hand there is the illusory world of the prisoners and on the other the self-deception of the jailers, who, believing themselves to be owners of the cave, are nothing more than actors in this drama of life. In fact, the only truth is that no matter whether you are part of the dominated prisoners or the dominant masters, you have to free yourself from the cave, you have to get out of it and return to the true sun light.

Now let's ask ourselves: is the Cave simply a philosophical myth, a more or less attractive story proposed by Plato? Or is it a daily and present reality in our lives? Because if it is real, then all those who desperately ask for freedom (in the family, social, work and political spheres) do not make sense in what they say, unless they mean that we must get out of this cave. The Cave exists in many forms, and we have to learn to distinguish its manifestations in our environment, and know how to recognize it and how it traps us in its darkness.

The hardest and most direct form of the Cave, the darkest and most painful, is that Cave made up of our bones, our flesh and our blood. Locked within its demands, enslaved by its particular tyranny, we run and fight incessantly to satisfy our body, thus becoming eternal slaves to that mass of arteries, veins and nerves.


But there is an even more sinister twist, because there is an even more subtle tyrant, one who appears in our brain after passing through our senses, and after settling in there he becomes the master, the lord of our thoughts, worries, desires and ambitions, hatred and separateness. This sinister "invader" does not rest, and to continue controlling us the invader constantly proposes new tasks to distract us so that we do not discover its perverse game. Let's look at some of the external traps of him.



"Social networks": a better name could never have been chosen, because “networks” are only used for hunting and trapping. In the nets, social fish move restlessly, from side to side, swimming incessantly in illusory waters. Another trap is called "Multitask", that is, becoming a model of an "active and efficient human being", which consists of working on a thousand external things at the same time, and at the same time forgetting about oneself as a being with a soul, which It also has its needs.


For those who dare to slightly lift a corner of the veil, the “invader” of our being has other traps prepared, for example the “False Inner Life”, the invader and controller of our inner being proposes this time a “deeper and intense life” that consists of “hugging trees”, reading some “inspirational” or “self-improvement” books, or “practicing meditation” far away in some lost place, or maybe practicing some “feng-shui” or “raja yoga” to harmonize our lives.

There are other options, for example a "healthy lifestyle" as a false proposal to comply with, focused on "fitness and fruit smoothies." Thus we see our streets flooded with runners, cyclists and carriers of natural juices, smoothies, etc. in an airtight glass, by the way, all of them in very natural plastic containers.



Another variant is the "False Preservation of Nature" which consists of having an electric car with the green "ecology" label, or avoiding the use of plastic bags, although the big brands continue to use plastic packaging for their products. After fulfilling all these “moral and social duties,” as good citizens, we consider that everything is done.

Added to all this, there is a fundamental task before us: to achieve the social status of a mature and respectable member of our society. This model varies according to cultures, but is always in relation to the social models proposed by the media and advertising. Most cases consist of having a partner and children, although lately what is really “cool” is having a same-sex partner, or renting bellies to have children, or simply buying them on the international or national market, so to fill our empty life. The problem is that this feeling of emptiness will never disappear by "buying" things, or obtaining a social status, or even by drinking a beer.



Yes, this is the Cave, our Great and Dear Cave. But even in the darkest caverns, the prison guards cannot prevent one of the prisoners from occasionally discovering their real chains, and then to work to free himself and find true freedom, and then to shout “at last I am free!”, not feeling anymore furious or in despair, but on the contrary feeling the Joy of a true free being. Ah, I forgot to tell you that this tyranic “invader”, the master of the Cave, has a real name, it is called the "Illusion of the World" and its antidote is called "Philosophy" or Love for Wisdom.


Time and Fidelity to Oneself

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The Hall of Dual Truth

Time and Fidelity to Oneself

Trial in the Hall of the Dual Truth - Maati

“Memory is not a passive recorder but a tool in the construction of the self”
Arthur C. Clark

“What is Truth?” asked Pilate of one who must have known it…. Bu He kept silent…But the same question stands open from the days of Socrates and Pilate down to our own age of wholesale negation: is there such a thing as absolute truth in the hands of any one party or man? Reason answers, “there cannot be.” There is no room for absolute truth upon any subject whatsoever, in a world as finite and conditioned as man is himself. But there are relative truths, and we have to make the best we can of them.” H.P. Blavatsky

Truth, Maat in ancient Egypt, was symbolized by a feather, because of its lightness, that is, its lightness in the memory of man, its immateriality, its spiritual character.

Maat was also represented as a goddess with multicolored and iridescent wings, under whose protection and projection dwelled all: gods, human beings, and every thing that exists in this world. Therefore, she represented the Totality, that is, the Eternal Truth; but in this world we, the human beings, can only access some of her colored feathers, i.e.: the relative and temporary truths.

For the Egyptians, that culminating moment, the passage into the afterlife, was represented by the “Maati” Hall, that is, the Hall of the Double Truth and Justice. And this truth was verified in the Heart of every Judged Soul.

The heart was a symbol of consciousness in motion, that is, the consciousness through time. For this same reason, during the funeral rites, the heart was replaced by a green beetle, Khepri. A dark and heavy insect, so earthly that it buries its young hatchlings in dung balls carried between its legs: a true representation of man in his eternal toil, dragging his own material creations. But there is hope, because Khepri is also a verb meaning transformation, evolution, creation.

This dark animal possesses the capacity to change, to evolve and recreate itself. Suddenly, responding to the call of the sun, the heavy insect spreads its wings and flies into the sky. In the same way, the human being can also make his consciousness free and soar into the sunlight of the spirit.

The scarab amulet deposited among the bandages has a recitation inscribed on its base:

Heart of mine, heart of my mother, Heart of mine from my mother, and your earthly heart of my successive transformations. Do not oppose me at the Judgment, may the Divine Judges not reject me. Be not hostile to me in the presence of Him who holds the Balance. Thou art the original force and cause that formed and protected my limbs. May you too reach the happy place to which we yearn. Do not make my name rot and stink among the Almighty Lords who shape the Destiny of Man. Do not utter lies about me before God, but may the ears of the gods rejoice and their hearts be satisfied when my Words are weighed in the Balance of Judgment. (Egyptian Book of the Dead, Chap XXX)

That is what it is all about, that is all the Judgment that is needed, it is about Fidelity, about distinguishing the celestial heart, that is to say the celestial consciousness, from the terrestrial heart or the daily consciousness in constant transformation, the terrestrial consciousness that disappears with death. Both are subject to time, but to two types of different times. The terrestrial consciousness is subject to vulgar time, it travels through time forgetful of itself, only capable for retaining the momentaneus experience, the passing criterion only useful to survive from day to day.

However, the Celestial Heart or celestial consciousness travels or, better said, lives in the Great Time, that of the Great Cycles that go beyond life and death, because it lives in the time of the One Life.

The one who is judged asks to this double consciousness to be faithful and not to betray him only judging his words and memories, because what we think of ourselves and the others is always colored by false and distorted perceptions produced by this illusory world, in which we are incarnated and deluded.

The soul tells his heart: Do not bear false witness, do not make mistakes, do not declare what is not real, do not say that you are just when you are unjust, do not say that you love when you don’t love, do not say that you are good when you lack goodness.

Only fidelity, the Great Fidelity that only exists in the Eternal Time, Fidelity to the Truth, to the Truth of who we really are, and not the fictional “character” that we have become, only this is the guarantee of Permanence in the bosom of That which does not die.

Between Two Worlds

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between two worlds

(If you like music, accompany this reading with that one that inspired me)

After writing the last letters of an unfinished poem, the poet turned his hands away from the cold, crumpled paper, as cold as his own soul.

Trough many desperate attempts, he had been unable to find within himself the divine inspiration for his poem.

“I need music; I need angels to touch my dry heart!” he said to himself. With moist eyes and trembling hands he once again spun the old record with his favorite music.

Slowly, languidly, he followed the aerial trajectory of the divine music, ascending to ethereal planes that only he knew, saving his soul from dying one more day.

Sublime landscapes then appeared before his now serene eyes, forests of eternal green, fountains of turquoise waters, where fairies quench their thirst.

Then, his consoled heart was filled with warm joy, so much so that for a moment he thought he might even die of happiness….

The next morning, a servant slowly opened the door of the study and, surprised by the silence, entered the room, but it was already too late. His lifeless body lay on the desk.

Everyone mourned his loss, and his unfinished work. A mourning crowd accompanied his body to his final resting place.

That same night, the poet, who had been sailing through infinite paradises of celestial inspiration, returned from that secret place to finish his poem… but he was unable to find his body.

Sad, without heaven and without body, without hands to write, his soul remained absorbed for a long time in front of the old desk.

Then he heard a different music, coming from an unknown place, so beautiful that it suspended his soul in a kind of eternal and infinite instant and, although he had no body anymore, he could still feel his heart beating…

Many days and years passed, letting thousands of sunsets fall uselessly on the opaque and dusty curtains of that room. Until one lonely night an angel passed on his way back through that lonely and sad place to take with him the broken shreds of what was once a ghost in love.

But before he left, with his own heavenly hands he wrote the last word, the end of the most beautiful poem ever written by a man and…. an angel.

Is it good to be a Pessimist?

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Is it good to be a Pessimist?

Beneath our apparent mask of optimism sold to us by the media, of joie de vivre, of unlimited expansion of human possibilities, hides materialistic pessimism.

Materialistic pessimism is based on the idea that everything, after all, is matter, and beyond it there is only the inexplicable void. The horror before it, the anguish of what has no solution, generates fear and pessimism, which one tries to compensate with an increasingly evanescent and transitory present, to which one gives oneself trying to forget.

Materialism explains the existence of pain as the result of a nonsense (for them) that began with the differentiation of the homogeneous matter of the beginning, from the Big Bang, towards the infinite diversity full of contrasts and contradictions of our present reality.

As there is no ulterior end, but only the absurd end of existence; the tireless search for pleasure (physical, emotional and mental) becomes the only way out of this pessimistic background of human life. It is a false optimism based on a deadly pessimism.

Let us live and eat today, as the texts of the famous Carmina Burana suggest, let us delight in earthly pleasures, human love and the enjoyment of nature. In all that there is nothing wrong in itself, except that everything that lacks a context, a transcendent purpose, and it is ultimately meaningless.

Fortune spins without rules, giving sometimes freedom, sometimes relief, and sometimes oppression and pain to human beings, as presented in the image above from the original text on which Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana is based. Below is the music that perfectly characterizes this insane joy of Fortuna:

O Fortune, like the moon you are changeable, ever waxing and waning; hateful life first oppresses and then soothes as fancy takes it; poverty and power it melts them like ice….

Philosophical pessimism

Unlike the above, philosophical pessimism starts from the recognition of the need to annihilate the insatiable Desire, confronting the evidence of a world that in itself is nothing more than a Great Test, a great battlefield, where souls have to fight again and again, and against the thousands of internal and external enemies that come their way.

In Philosophy, the annihilation of the Self is unthinkable, for that is something impossible; however, the same does not happen in the field of materialistic pessimism where, as we have seen above, self-forgetfulness, the accelerated search for the end of so much suffering, is disguised in cheerful colors, in orgiastic resignation, with the motto “let us live to the fullest” before our only days are over.

Neither is philosophical pessimism the negation of the world, nor is it seeking refuge, isolated from the world, in a place where no one can reach us. It is rather a matter of accepting the challenge, of “playing the game” against Maya, the illusion, acting well in the scene we have to represent, an illusion that is reflected in the unforgettable verses of the famous Calderón de la Barca:

It is true, then: let us repress
this fierce condition,
this fury, this ambition,
in case we ever dream.
And so we will do, because we are
in a world so singular,
that living is only dreaming;
and experience teaches me
that the man who lives dreams
what he is until he wakes up.

The rich man dreams of his wealth,
who offers him more care;
dreams the poor who suffers
his misery and his poverty;
The one who begins to thrive dreams,
the one who strives and pretends dreams,
the one who hurts and offends dreams,
and in the world, in conclusion,
everyone dreams of what they are,
although no one understands it…

The philosophical pessimist knows, then, that death is nothing more than a change of clothes, a new stage to play, and he fulfills his role as best he understands it, because he knows that peace and happiness do not reside in this world, but that this world offers him all the tools to play this great game, to escape from the bonds of Maya, the true Evil, though necessary, like the pains of childbirth, in order to give birth to a truly free and wise Being.

Finally, his philosophical pessimism, now free from the shackles of deadly materialism, allows him to struggle happily in this life, with a real and transcendent optimism proper to the one who knows that one day he will reach his goal.

Individual and Social Liberation

 INDIVIDUAL AND SOCIAL LIBERATION

The ultimate liberation of the human being is a collective task. Except for the Robinsons Crusoes, who suffer their own eslavement, most human beings are by nature social beings. The Bodhisatttvas Buddhist ideal proposes liberation as a common goal for all beings, without exception.

Social progress depends fundamentally on knowledge, education and its dissemination, which does not bring directly liberation, but may facilitate it. In ancient Athens, only those who freed themselves from common necessities of daily life could devote their time to philosophizing. The gap between the most powerful and the most humble may be narrower and precisely thanks to the expansion of knowledge and the participation in its development and dissemination.

For this reason, in order to free oneself from the pressing burden of extreme poverty, which does not even allow one to lift one's head to look at the sky, teaching and learning is the most revolutionary task for those who want to dedicate themselves to other's welfare. Sharing and exchanging it is the most human attitude.

Virtue and nobility of character does not consist in having a lordly pose, but in sincere and true action, without barriers of class, race, gender or social condition. Abstract service to humankind consists of concrete individual service to our fellow men, this being a necessary step in the learning of this task, since it is not possible to serve humankind without first serving our fellow men and women around us.

A piece of bread, a coin, a word, an uplifting idea, delivered directly, is worth more than anonymous checks donated to fashion NGOs. But serving in this way is not enough either, since the final objective is the whole humankind, a previous and necessary step to find God in nature.

The Patricians, the Lords of war, the Nobles, the Hierarchs, in short, the self-illuminated Leaders, who have no more light than what they assign to themselves, are the children of separatism, individualism and pride, always worried about being recognized, imposing for this purpose to the others visible "signs of submission", typical of courtiers.

Likewise, its opposite, false modesty, self-flagellation, and after that feeling a redeemed sinner, are hidden forms of excessive ambition, a sort of "investment" to obtain benefits in the other world, in exchange for giving up this one. Whoever seeks liberation in this way will never find it.

My immediate liberation does not consist in the search for unattainable goals, baits placed in the way of my ambition, but in the perfect communion and deep feeling that recognizes the divinity in Nature, in myself, in my brothers, in my little brothers, the animals, and in all the extension of this wonderful universe suffering in heroic evolution. Undoubtedly a very difficult task, but one that produces innumerable personal and community fruits, as in the old parable of the sower. 

Instead of lamenting my many shortcomings and my hundred defects, and beating myself in the chest, what I have to do is simply to work on reforming myself, because selfishness, self-centeredness and ignorance attached to this conditioned self is the source of millions of mistakes. Therefore, I will focus only on defeating the Real Destroyer, the Selfish Ego, and then the entire enemy army of my faults will be destroyed.

My liberation from the tyranny of the self is achieved without looking for it, without mental concentration efforts, without mantramatic repetitions, without Byzantine analysis of philosophical concepts. It is achieved by putting my hands to work and bending my back in the task of freeing others from mine and their own ignorance. There is no liberation in the high towers of pride of those who only see themselves.

Liberation is a serene and inner joy that makes the kingdom of heaven begin here on earth. You don't have to die to see heaven.

Returning to Normal Life

 Returning to Normal Life

From my desk, in one of these more or less improvised vaccination centers, I see thousands of people passing in front of me every day. I see how they walk, sometimes fearful, sometimes showing a haughty attitude, and others humble and fearful. 

The entire human race passes in front of me, I see them lined up, each with their characteristic tribal attire, big people and small people, with their hair combed to the right or to the left, their clothes neat or more often neglected. An endless legion of souls, few with beautiful bodies and most with grotesque attitudes, but after all human souls full of the same anxieties, hopes and fears.

This generation will pass, like all the previous ones, and today's events will be forgotten or remembered as something curious. Human desires have never been so rude and sometimes so stupid in the face of the terrible reality that we have lived in this generation. And yet, in spite of everything, we are now beginning to recover a certain "normality", that is, to return to the same worried life, once again forgetting the true foundations of a real life.

So we return to the "normal" fight for the latest gadget, or to the search for a place for our vacations "far from here", even if the people coming and going cross the same path, because "here" and "over there" is just a place in our mind.

Soon the masks will fall, the feeling of freedom will seem to have arrived again with the air that we breathe freely. But after the moment has passed, the air will become thin again, full of the usual anguish, the usual impulses, the false needs that an inhuman and capitalist society will demand and impose like a slab on the soul of all human beings.

But if for a moment, just for a moment, we thank fate, heaven, karma or whoever you want, for that incredible but difficult past situation, for the unique opportunity to face our fears in that homemade monastery, then after that, we would face the rest of our lives, that tremendous adventure that awaits us, full of challenges, exploits and generosity, smiling and courageous, because a life without heroism, even a little bravery, is not worth living.

Take advantage of this opportunity, if you know what I'm talking about, don't go back to the "normality" that they are selling you, but really go back to yourself, look for philosophy or the "love of wisdom", only that will help you on that road.

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