A spiritual guide to the mystical experience by an enlightened Hippopotamus
Dedicated to the Beloved and my angelic mother
This book was written in a series of spontaneous sessions through the free flowing of consciousness. I didn’t have any clear purpose with the book except maybe for sharing some light and having some fun. This book is probably mainly directed to spiritual seekers that are also looking for a chuckle and a giggle here and there. However the book is not exclusively for hard-core spiritually inclined people, as I find it rather that the book can be read by anyone since the language is quite simple, fun and engaging.
Another reason for me writing this book, now that I really think about it, is that the world today is in some important aspects living in spiritual darkness, and I find the mystical experience to be the equivalent of a supernova going of in the psyche and soul of a sentient being, well maybe not a supernova but close enough. That being said, the book chiefly wrote itself, as everything poured out like water flowing steadily from a mighty stream, without effort and without a real end in sight, though all things come to an end eventually.
What is mysticism? Who is the mystic and what wisdom can people extract from their lives and their various colourful expressions? In this book I will give an absolute subjective outlook of what mysticism or who the mystic is, since that is in fact what I consider mysticism to be, namely absolute subjectivity.
Before we get going I would like to say that there are plenty of books out there describing different mystical schools and traditions from all over the world at great length and in detail. This book however will not even be remotely similar to those fine books of reference. The main purpose with this writing is rather to establish a direct and somewhat humorous dialogue with you the reader and the one writing this. This direct dialogue will be a unique approach to what often times is taken a bit too seriously, that is spirituality. You may ask what has mysticism to do with spirituality? Well, I would say just about everything, as mysticism is the core and climax of all spiritual endeavours and practises.
In this book I will attempt to guide you, the reader and hopefully fellow seeker, through the mystical experience by providing a vibrant and alive discussion and step-by-step journey towards the essence of mysticism. Furthermore on how humanity and more importantly you can benefit from this spiritual refinement that can arise out of the mystical experience, and yes you are more important than humanity. Now don’t ask me on what utilitarian principle I base this on, and just swallow the ego-boosting pill I’m so generously providing. Because your ego will soon be dissolved anyways, so what does it matter right?
Now I suppose it would be considered cordial to introduce the writer of this book to the reader, which is in fact what I should do but will cordially refrain from. You may ask why? Why the darn impoliteness sir, as it probably would only be a couple minute of your time. A couple minutes where you could simply explain to us your readers on why you decided to write this truly superbly magnificent book. I suppose that would be a route to take, where I’m simply conveying how I began my own mystical journey and on the major transformative events that changed my life, but I won’t do that, at least not now, as it would betray the essence of the mystic. How? You’ll find out soon enough, and that is something I can whole-heartedly promise you…
Surprise! It is now soon enough and my name is Daniel Seeker and I’m a shapeshifting wizard that was born and raised in the northern lands called Sweden. That being said, one of my favourite beings that I like to shapeshift into is the noble and supremely enlightened hippopotamus that is going to or perhaps already is writing this book right now. As for that tiny unsettling fact, all I can say is that we can never truly know who’s who in the mystics’ zoo is doing the writing of this book.
Now that we got the awkward part over with, lets get started shall we?
Chapter I: Say who?
The mystic is not a person, and a person cannot be a mystic. The mystic was a person but something internal was dissolved and regenerated into some kind of an impersonal presence instead. A presence which is not less alive than the person it replaced, oh no, in truth it is much more vast in its expressions and much more alive and existent than the person. The word person comes from the Greek ‘persona’ and was used to refer to the masks that actors had while acting on the stage. The mystic has no interest in masking himself; his quest is rather the complete opposite, that is to say the total unrevealing of his own true self.
Now I wouldn’t be surprised if you would be like, Daniel! What on earth does that exactly mean? I beg to differ, not what on earth does this mean but what on the glorious dancehalls of the cosmos does that mean. Well to answer that, lets just say that the mystic has somehow realized a different way of navigating the universe than you currently do, that is if you are in fact a person and not a mystic, which I for the life of me couldn’t know in a million years and that troubles me a teeny tiny bit… However moving on (serious face), the mystic is someone who has seen his original face (no pun intended) and fallen completely in love with it. She has been wholly dissolved and absorbed in its supreme grace and beauty.
Now perhaps that begs the same question, what on earth does it mean? Well to answer the same question again, I would say that this simply means that the mystic was an average Joe who one day fell out of a hole from the universe into a sacred silence that permeates the entire cosmos.
Hmm, let me try again. The mystic is someone who has seen the glory of his or her own consciousness, and thus been mesmerized by its supreme elegance and simplicity. She has realized herself beyond any intellectual or even emotional doubt; the truth of her existence has become her salvation and remedy…
Again! The mystic was a biological conditioned entity with an ego just like the rest of humanity and all other living creatures, that somehow found a way to transcend her own illusions by realizing her own unconditioned and natural state of being.
Cough… One more try, please! The mystic is no one who has attained to what Gautama Buddha called no-thing-ness. Yes… That’s more like it! At least I think so, don’t you? If not let me give it a couple more shots to the temple.
The mystic is someone who has achieved a perpetual direct experiencing of life and reality without any filtrations or projections created by the ego-mind. He has simply transcended the redundant psychological aspects of his personality, surpassed and ascended into a higher or perhaps the highest state of consciousness, or in other words he has smoked the most potent immaterial green herb on the face of the universe.
Now then, if that hasn’t done the trick, I for the life of me don’t know what will!
Oh yes got it! The mystic is someone who has reclaimed his rightful place on the throne within his palace in his own kingdom, which furthermore means that the psychological mind and the ego are now servants and no longer masters of his existential palace.
The mystic is also someone who through contemplations, meditations, and prayers reached a complete standstill of the willy-nilly activities of the psychological mind. She has cultivated a state of deep silence within the retreats of her own soul, where the waters of the psyche finally stood still as her true face was inevitably revealed unto her, and in that non-happening she became utterly mesmerized by her own subtlety and undeniable grace.
Hmm, maybe this one will hit the bullseye, the mystic is someone who somehow came in contact with the immaculate formless awareness that is his own true self, and in that contact was absorbed in the same way as when light hits the event horizon of a black hole.
Now then, I get the reassuring feeling that should have made it perfectly clear on whom the mystic is, don’t you think?
Oh and don’t do drugs kids, especially the immaterial green herb I just mentioned, as it would blow your mind to Alpha Centauri and back again in the blink of an eye, and we don’t want that now do we!
Chapter II: What so freaking mystical about mysticism?
I have conflicting standpoints on the term mysticism, as it is on the one hand has a rather cool and esoteric sound to it, and the other hand where it makes the essence of mysticism more mystical and elusive than it should be. Mysticism isn’t mystical! Its not some arcane magic spell known by some Dumbledore lookalike somewhere in Transylvania…
Erm, say what? I thought there were supposed to be vampires, or more specifically Dracula in that specific geographic location, and not some old and grey bearded wizards walking around and casting magic spells… I don’t know why I wrote that but I’ll keep it just for the funs of it.
Now before I continue any further, I need to say that I hope this book doesn’t give you the feeling that it isn’t at all serious about the topic in focus, as I want you to know that I’m serious as serious can be, nothing or no one less serious has ever been more serious as I am right now! I am seriously writing this secret magic book of arcane spells in order for you to realize your true nature, and in doing so being completely one with the Dao just as my dear hippo master friend Lao Tzu was, as he was chilling on the peaceful Chinese mountaintops smoking that immaterial God-given space and time bending blue herb I mentioned just now, or was it green? Nevertheless don’t do druu…
Moving on, my quest with these words is to empower your direct experience by giving you the tools of the mystics and the buddhas, as they are one and the same.
Although some people wouldn’t agree on that statement and some would even go so far as to challenge it fervently by accusing me of spreading misinformation and furthermore ask me of what I could possibly base that on. Well to that my reply would be that, I base it solely on the fact that both the mystics and the buddhas are hippos living in the land of the enlightened hippos where I hang out, period.
Now back to the empowerment of direct experience and about the tools of the mystics and how to use them. Tools that allow one to suck the marrow out of life, as the great American transcendentalist Thoreau so fascinatingly put it. Perhaps even more than that, as I find it greater to not be an entity that stands separately and that’s doing the sucking of marrow out of life, but more so that you actually become so totally lost in the process of extracting that precious marrow out of life, where your ego, identity, and all your superfluous thoughts and feelings are simply dissolved in that process of sucking. You in other words become the sucking itself and not some one that is sucking the marrow out of life… Perhapsss I stretched this metaphor a bit too far.
Now, where were we, oh yea, what’s so freaking mystical about enlightened hippos, or was it mysticism? Same, same, we hippos are the perfect mystics, so any distinctions would only be fictitious. The enlightened mystic Hippo is not mystical in the sense that he has layers upon layers of magical complexity surrounding him, rather he could be called mystical as in he has achieved a perfect stillness by reaching his own centre. When mysticism is seen from this perspective there is not that much mystical about it, and definitely nothing strange with the fact that some hippos are mystical or supremely enlightened.
In fact I dare say that I am in the habit of shapeshifting into this supremely Buddha-like enlightened Hippo whenever I feel bored. You are, in reality, reading the words of an enlightened hippo at this very moment, and the shapeshifting wizard from the north that was previously mentioned was just a fiction, because enlightened hippos are the only ones truly existing in the universe, or are they?
Moreover I do tend get bored when I deem the fruits of samsara to be a little bit too bitter for my own taste. And what could samsara be you might ask? Know your history and read some freaking religious literature is my unforgiving initial answer. As for my kind and loving second answer, samsara is a key concept in Hinduism and Buddhism that describes the perpetual and meaningless cycle of death and rebirth of all sentient lives. It simply goes on and on without end, that is until the mystic hippo and his hippopadawans arrive to the scene and burst open the champagne of nirvana and dance perpetually in the ecstasy of the supreme consciousness. This is truly what enlightened hippos do all the time; they are in an unbroken and perfect orgasmic state of mindlessness, and not mindfulness, mind you…
Furthermore which lucid and sane individual, not that enlightened hippos are sane… I would argue for the contrary. Nevertheless putting the sanity and insanity of enlightened hippos aside, which healthy-minded person wouldn’t want to achieve this perfect state of existing?
Join me and lets dance across the shores of infinity and beyond.
Chapter III: The many mystic friends of your master hippo guide
Before we go into the natural mechanics of how to achieve the mystical experience, I think it would be nice to mention some dear friends of mine that have graced the face of this green earth. I’m of course talking about my mystic buddies that also have achieved this state of supreme enlightenment, absolute subjectivity, silence and stillness of whom I will reveal more of shortly.
One of my greatest hippo buddies is actually someone who’s not so far and remote in time from the day this book is being written. This majestic hippo master was called Ramana Maharshi and he was a master mystic hippo of the highest rank. In the land of the hippos he is very much respected and loved for his infinite compassion and his graceful eyes. He is also supremely revered for his clear and concise teachings that have guided the souls of many a thousand beings. What master hippo Maharshi proposed or put more correctly, established, was the method of self-inquiry as it was and still is called. It is a method that unforgivingly goes directly to the source of the suffering and problems of man, the suffering that is incessantly being generated by the turning of the wheel of samsara.
In short his teaching was about locating the sense of the ego, and subsequently of where that I-thought or the separate sense of self arose from. According to Ramana, this would in turn allow the spiritual seeker to then become one with the supreme Self or Atman. In other words, when you see clearly the root of the problem you will immediately be distanced and detached from that conditioning and hypnosis that has been accumulating for years upon years. You’re separate sense of I is then dissolved into the Self which is the formless substratum of all manifest phenomena.
If this sounds too mystical, don’t worry, hopefully soon you’ll be a mystic hippo like us and you will know exactly of what I’m speaking of!
Another gathering of mystic friends of mine are the great lovers within the Sufi Taṣawwuf tradition of Islam. These figures include the likes of Rumi, Hafez, Khayyam, Rabia, Attar and many more. What makes these mystics so remarkable is that they have chosen the path of love as the means to bring themselves closer to the supreme consciousness, and you know how that song goes, what’s love got do with it?
Well apparently for the Sufi saints, just about everything. Not to take anything away from the song, a great song no doubt, but while Tina Turner smashed the top charts with that song in the 80s, these Sufi saints completely and utterly smashed cosmic charts in the darkest age of man, the middle ages. This was when the European continent was plunged into shadow and ignorance, not that I fully believe this historical myth, but it nonetheless makes the whole story just a little bit more exciting to tell.
The Sufis were lamps of spiritual light in a world terrorised by war, ignorance and despair. The Sufis just like any other mystic hippos have the great quality of spreading light without really consciously trying to do so. They are so consumed by love that they become love itself, and when the two becomes one, the goal has been reached. They are like the radiant sun that shines without intention, but their light is of spiritual light and not of light particles and/or waves. The Sufis are very dear to my heart, as they should be to yours as well, that is if you have one, and if you do, why not let it sing, dance and whirl away in complete freedom and ecstasy! Or in the words of the fine hippo mystic poet Rumi,
“Love is the dancing cry of the soul, calling the body to worship
Like a shining whirlpool, or a spinning mayfly
So is love among the skies…
I leap across the mountaintops, madly singing the song of all songs
I float through the ether, intoxicated, thrilled
I think only of your love, your calling to me
And I dance the thousand dances of love, all returning to you.”
If we now would turn from mystical school of Islam to the Christian mystics, not that mystics really can be separated as with these divisive terms, since we enlightened hippos are inevitably beyond our cultural operating system and conditionings no matter how thick those mists or how high those walls may be.
The defining characteristic of the “Christian mystics” was and is undeniably the power of their prayers, not that the Sufi mystics did not pray, oh dear lord did they pray. But the prayer of their Christian brethren and counterparts had in a subtle way a different quality to it. The words in the prayers were a little different; and the object of focus and of contemplation was distinctive too, though they in truth never differed one inch when it came right down to the mystical experience. Furthermore their prayers had as expected the Christian language embedded into it, where the holy ghost, Jesus and the Father were the important key words, where as the mystics and poets of the Sufi school referred to their supreme deity as Allah, the Beloved or the Friend. They truly were madly in love with their own creator, and boy did their creator reward them with the wine of pure silence.
Such beauty! Oh dear, I think your master hippo is about to cry a tear or two, such grace and beauty in my hippo brothers and sisters that I am overwhelmed with joy…
Sorry for that, it appears I sometimes do that and will continue doing that, namely going of topic without really knowing it!
Now lets continue talking about the Christian mystics. The most prominent of them is without a doubt the incredibly influential St Augustine of Hippo. Oh! What do we have here, could it be a mere coincidence or are the threads of fate playing come splendid game for us to behold and marvel at. Augustine was a Hippo! He is indeed from the land of the enlightened hippos, but his way back to us took some considerable time and effort from his part, as he considered himself to be thoroughly restrained by his deeply lustful and sinful nature in his younger years, not that anything can truly restrain or limit the mystic in any real way. What perhaps Augustine didn’t initially realize was that all the lust or sinful thoughts does not truly matter in the end, for lust and desire are simply there to be understood by your perceptive eye, and when fully grasped they are naturally transcended without any real effort.
Well this is easier said than done of course, but we enlightened hippos, including Augustine, have no problem going through with it when push comes to shove. As I said Augustine was a troubled man, and simultaneously a dedicated soul when it came to finding and loving God. Another thing worth mentioning about our man-turned hippo friend Augustine is that he is one of the rare mystics that have written about his own life story. As I mentioned, or was it the wizard from Sweden that said it, that you would find out why I or he was so reluctant to share his own story, well this is because in truth mystics don’t really have any biographies. It is simply because their dream of being a separate self or identity was dissolved into something much greater, and how could you ever go back to those lesser aspects of yourself when you are totally in love with the great supreme. But there are of course exceptions to the rule, and perhaps St. Augustine was one of those exceptions.
Another one of my friends with a Christian suit was the great Meister Eckhart Tolle. Doh! Wrong era… Who I meant was rather called Meister Eckhart without the Tolle at the end; Meister was a dear hippo friend of both Augustine and myself, your ever so humble supremely enlightened and gracious master hippo guide. There are so many hippopotamus on the horizon now that its getting hot in here, so please don’t take your clothes of, because we don’t want to see you naked unless you are in fact an enlightened hippo, because seeing the ego naked is just not that attractive for us!
Yes, right Meister Eckhart! Oh the great sanctity and holiness when his presence is summoned, such a great mystic its hard to truly fathom unless one becomes a grade-A hippo, then it becomes ones sweet second nature. What made Eckhart so compelling was his powerful sermons, and his undeniable mystical presence. This as expected startled the organized Christian establishments of his time, but that didn’t stop him. Nothing can stop a true hippo, except for the Ring of Power that was forged in the depths of Mount Doom, because honestly that would be just too much even for a master hippo like myself.
Nope! Just kidding… ain’t no thang for a true hippo master mystic. That ring is full of ego-driven power and treacherous intentions and just like I now mentioned, the ego is just not that fabulously sexy for us mystic hippos, though it appears to be exactly that for the rest of the world. For to our pearly and perceptive eyes, it sometimes appears that the majority of people of this world appear to be so completely, hopelessly and blindly obsessed with it and its innumerable shenanigans. Meister Eckhart would have thrown away the ring in to the fire of Mount Doom in a heartbeat and without any real hesitation. Maybe a deceiving thought or two would appear or perhaps a demon would tempt him and try to lure him, but he wouldn’t be truly phased as his heart was a sanctuary for the Supreme Being.
This is true the power of the mystic, i.e. the power to beat Saurons sorry ass with nothing more and nothing less than pure equanimity and love. Eckhart always stressed the importance of humility, patience, silence and most of all sanctity to reach the pearly gates of your own heart. Because according to Eckhart you need not to create anything, but only realize that God and you, in your inmost core are indistinguishable, or in his own perfect words “The eye with which I see God is the same with which God sees me. My eye and God’s eye is one eye, and one sight, and one knowledge, and one love.”
One last group of mystics that are also dear to my heart and good friends of mine, are the philosopher mystics. The most prominent ones that come to mind are the Greeks Heraclitus, Plotinus and the Jewish mystic Philo Judaeus. These fiery spiritual rubies were the true light of the western philosophical tradition, though many non-hippo academics would probably disagree with that statement.
If we would begin with Heraclitus, we could simply say that he was the undisputed master of paradoxes, and paradoxes have a convenient power of dismantling the limited psychological mind. A dismantled superfluous agitated mind is something we hippos find to be a very good thing, and therefore we find paradoxes to be one of our favourite treats.
My hippo friend Heraclitus was also called the obscure one by subsequent generations of thinkers and writers, and this was precisely because they were not aware of the place where Heraclitus was speaking from. The mystic is not a logical person; he may often make statements that are flat out contradictory or that seem paradoxical without even trying to do so. This is because existence, in its relative expressions is inevitably paradoxical. The mystic and this includes Heraclitus, spoke from the absolute subjective state of consciousness, where it is beyond even paradoxes. This was clearly revealed in Fragment 50 of Heraclitus where he said “He who hears not me but the logos will say: All is one.”
The mystic therefore is aware that he is in a time-bound mortal body with a certain cultural conditioning, but he’s also aware, in fact more aware, of that which is not dependant nor attached to the physical, mental and emotional states of man. This is the place from where the qualities of stillness and luminous tranquillity derive from, and it was from here that Heraclitus spoke.
The last two philosopher mystics of the ancient world that I’m going to mention are Plotinus and Philo of Alexandria. What makes these two hippos so compelling is that they share a common object of interest and study, namely Platonism. Their ideas and language use were therefore quite similar even though they were separated by three centuries and that they were from different cultures. What’s most striking with these mystics is that they used the mythology and paradigm that Plato introduced to the western world centuries earlier by transforming it into something that expressed the true mystical experience, not that Plato didn’t have mystical tendencies, he sure did.
Moreover what Plotinus called the One, Philo called the Logos and this was for both of them the unfathomable supreme deity from which all existence sprang out of. They called these arising objects or expressions as emanations from the Supreme, this worldview was something that the Gnostics developed even further, but that’s not our focus for now. Our focus for now is to be completely defocused so the logos or the one could reveal unto us that all truly is one. Where we are in turn snatched back from materiality back to spirituality. Where all the souls yearning for the Supreme One will be returned to its embrace and in that placeless place be fully fulfilled.
Now that I have laid bare some of the mystics of this beautiful blue-green world, and even though I have infinitely more mystic hippo friends than the ones mentioned here, I think that will do it for this time, since we still have quite a way to go before we get to the top of the mystical mountain!
Lets get going!
Chapter IV: How to master the mojo of an enlightened hippo
So considering that you have come so far in reading this really serious and sober text, I suspect that you might be interested in how to become a supremely enlightened hippo just like me and my many dear friends that I just now mentioned. To that I can say, No! Never shall I reveal our secrets to you, filthy fat hobbitses, it is my precious and my alone. It came to me. My own. My love. My precious… Oh sorry I momentarily shapeshifted into… Curse it and crush it! We hates it forever! Please excuse me for that unexpected inconvenience… Well I imagine you know who I unexpectedly metamorphosed into, and I suppose I don’t need to tell you who that was, because who’s who in the mystics zoo wouldn’t know of whom I’m referring to, I mean one have to be some kind of an alien or something to not know of whom I’m speaking of. Therefore I don’t really find it necessary to literally spell out his or maybe more correctly its name, because that would be so redundant don’t you think? I mean who doesn’t know who that character is, right? As he was probably one of the greatest characters in the history of modern cinema, don’t you think? And if I would spell out his name that could rightly be considered to be so impolitely superfluous and redundant, and oh how I despise redundancy and people who don’t go to the point.
Yes as I was saying, or trying to say, to become an enlightened hippo you have to go through some necessary and crucial steps, I will reveal them unto you soon enough my young hippopadawans. Yes… together we shall conquer galaxies with this powerful knowledge on the nature of all things. We shall bend matter to our will and we shall be emperors of universes.
However before we can go through with that trivial galaxy conquering matter bending thingy, First I must make an important distinction between magic and mysticism. Mysticism is in one way magical but magic is no way related to mysticism. There can be magicians and witches who practice the magical arts but are in no way supremely enlightened like your buddy over here is or the beautiful mystic hippos that I just mentioned. These sorcerers could impress you with many apparent wonders to the senses, they could trick you into questioning your own reality, not that one needs tricking to do the trick of questioning everything. Did I get that right? I hope you get what I’m trying to so clumsily convey. We hippos are indeed very clumsy, and I’m no exception. What a great guide I turned out to be! Perhaps I should be called Master Clumsytongue instead.. Please don’t call me that, as I was just making fun, I hope I’m still your supremely enlightened master mystic hippo guide, I really do hope so…
Back to the important point, but oh dear hippo where was I, as you will notice, I keep losing myself repeatedly, over and over again, that is because of what I just mentioned and because we mystic hippos have indeed lost ourselves so totally and completely in our own consciousness that we forget everything, but when communicating with non-hippos we sometimes need to fold up our sleeves to summon some residual energy of the one that was lost.
Now where was I really, oh yes, magicians and mystics. Magicians are very impressive, whereas the mystic is not that impressive to the typical person. Why would this be? This is because the mystic is so utterly himself and ordinary that he takes absolutely no space in his surroundings, which also means that he takes up all the space. Since that which is formless has no edges, and the mystic is deeply rooted in the experience that he is more of the formless awareness than his own physical body. Whereas the magician still hasn’t seen the glory of the Supreme Being within and without all manifestation. Now who and what might the Supreme Being be? Come on now my dear hippopadawans, you should have an idea or a full-blown realization of it by now.
On a serious note if you don’t have a real understanding of what I’m speaking of, I can promise you that you soon will, oh yes you soon will indeed, that is if you choose to dress up as a hippo and come to our very casual monthly gatherings somewhere in Africa.
As I have outlined the key differences between the magician and the mystic, it is as I said, up to you, who you will choose to become. Not that one becomes a mystic hippo but rather that all becoming comes to an end when the goal is reached, and in very that moment all that remain is the perfect hippo presence.
Now with that over with, Gollum.. Gollumm.. We can move on, so let us begin the real journey!
Chapter V: Follow the Hippo
This guided meditation consists of four steps that need to be followed in the right order, you should therefore not begin with the last step because that would indeed be not so orderly of you, in fact that would be considered treason and is punishable by death in the land of the hippos. Oh and for your information, in the land of the hippos death simply means the climax of the evolution of the hippo’s spiritual quest, where it simply ascends into the highest states of consciousness and then is forever enlightened and dissolved into the Supreme. Death does not mean the physical death of the biological body, as that is of no real concern to the supremely enlightened hippopotamus.
Before we get on with the meditation, I should tell you about a famous poem written by the 17th patriarch of the Hippotzuian Order, a short poem that is greatly esteemed in the land of the hippos and that, in my humble view, perfectly describes, well maybe not perfectly but good enough the way of going about the meditation, it goes like this
Two steps forward, three steps back
Oh no! The hippos under attack
Three steps forward, two steps back
Oh no! The hippo hit the sack.
What to do, where to go
The hippo did not know
Where to run, where to be
The hippo drank the sea.
Now moving on to the real deal, where we momentarily leave out the hippo talk and poetry because you are in fact not a hippo yet, or maybe you are and I’m just not aware of it yet. Hmm maybe its you Lance reading this right now! Hey buddy, how’s it going back there at the Willerwoo Zoo in Kansas, I hope you’re doing just fine. We’ve truly missed you back here at the land of the hippos and hope you can come visit us soon!
Now I could go on about Lance for ages as he is in fact a hippo mystic of the highest rank, but that would be inappropriate for this book or at least in this very moment, so now then on to the real deal!
The first step is to sit or lie down, and close your eyes and think of me. Think of the great heights of serenity, think of the graceful state of perfect tranquillity, and then think of this supremely enlightened hippo that somehow has managed to communicate in the human tongue called English with you right now. Think of this great being that has transcended all delusions and sufferings of the material world, and think of the priceless gift he now brings to you. Namely the gift of the pearl of consciousness that is ever revealed to you by the grace of this master Hippo; think of this master Hippo that has an infinite capacity for compassion and unconditional love. Think of this hippo’s endless wisdom and how he uses it so smoothly and gracefully without effort. When you have thought about these very crucial things, move on to thinking about this process that is happening right now. Namely think of the concept and the process of symbolism and what it has to do with what we are doing right now. Think of language and how it conveys meaning, and then consider the magical fact that you are reading the words spoken and sealed by an enlightened hippo. When you’ve done this, lie or sit silently for a minute or two and let it all sink in.
Ehmm… that wasn’t actually how the first step was supposed play out, but hey what can you do. The truth is that I have a tough time finding a eraser that can erase the things I write on this computer screen, I mean every eraser I use just makes the screen opaque, dirty and icky, and I for the life of me can’t find out why this is. All I wanted to do is to simply erase the nonsense I may be writing, and it shouldn’t be so much of it anyways, at least I think so, but then again what can a clumsy, somewhat insane and supremely enlightened hippopotamus truly know. Therefore since I cannot erase those nonsensical words, every word that is written here is sealed in eternity and you are its sole witness.
Chapter VI: follow the hippo, for reals this time
Now let us really, truly get on with the first step. I recommend that you should find a comfortable place to sit or lie down where no one will trouble or disturb you for the next quarter of an hour, and then you should calm yourself by shutting your eyes. After this you should try to read what I’ve written with shuteyes, and how you could achieve this is something you have to figure out for yourself.
When you have managed that “magical trick”, you should now direct your attention to the feeling of having a physical body, and in doing so feeling the inevitable weight and gravity of it. Direct then your attention to your breath, as attentiveness towards the breath is a powerful tool to becoming more in touch with the present moment. Don’t force or manipulate the breath in anyway but simply try to be as natural as you are right now, and as you always are when you’re not trying to be someone that you’re not.
Now if your heartbeat is palpable and perceptible enough, try for a moment to listen to it too. Feel the natural workings of your biological body and be simply in that feeling out process of it. You don’t have to do anything but to direct your subtle attention towards the body. As you’ve covered the breath and the heart, you could do a quick scan of your entire physical body by simply letting your attention softly jump from limb to limb and in doing so covering your whole body, and herein you get an immediate and conscious sense of what it truly means to be in a body.
When you have done this simple step, go now a bit further by trying to feel the entirety of the buzzing vibrations and sensations of the primal life force pulsating through you. Feel the whole organism as one unit, which is functioning as one undeniable totality. When you have done this, let the fact of you having and being in a physical body totally and consciously sink in into your immediate awareness.
The second step is to direct your attention towards a subtler realm of your consciousness, namely the mental aspect of you. This entails the world of thoughts, ideas, identity, dreams, hopes, fears and what have you. Try to lock down your attention on all these mentioned phenomena, and try to feel them out just in the same way you felt the presence of the physical body with your minds eye. You could try to feel them out separately at first, this can be done by moving towards the most obvious thoughts you have, thoughts about what’s happening or what has happened or what is going to happen. Be aware of these thoughts and don’t try to force them in anyway, just as you didn’t try to force your breath. Let them be there and simply witness them. Now you could move on to other objects in the mental realm of your consciousness, lets say all your dreams and fears you have about life. In the same way don’t try to force anything just simply let them appear in the screen of your consciousness and let them naturally disappear by themselves. Feel them out, you don’t have to analyse nor track them back to their source, simply be there as a silent witness watching them without attachment and passion.
When you have done this, you could go on by choosing your identity or your self-image as the next object to be in the focus of your attention, feel it out, the immaterial weight of it, how it appears to somehow always be in the background of your day-to-day experience when your out in the world and interacting with other people, as in the case with your family, friends and strangers. It has a certain mental weight to it, which is the identity or one’s psychological hologram of oneself. A subtle energy that feels stable and permanent but in truth might not be that stable after all.
Now the final step of the second step, whatever that means, is to behold your entire mental realm with one seeing. That is just in the same way that you held your attention of the entirety of your physical body just now. This will in fact be a little more difficult, mainly because you can’t physically feel out your thoughts and feelings like you can with the body in the first step, but it is nevertheless possible to do. Try it out and see what happens.
When you have done this, you are ready to go to the third step.
The third step is where you dive into the depths of your human experience, now considering the fact that you have cast your meditative eye on both your physical body and subsequently your mental “body”. I want you now to go even deeper and subtler, do this by yet again becoming a silent witness to the world of your emotions; this includes the fears, dreams and hopes included in the second step, but also much more than that. Try now to feel out with your minds eye, the nature of your inmost feelings about life and your existential situation. Perhaps you could begin with the feeling and the bond of having a family, or maybe the heart of a certain friendship might be a better starting point. If you happen to be a student you could try to feel that out or maybe you’re a grown adult working a 9-5 job somewhere in the world. Now go further than this, feel your emotional needs of affection and security, both the physical and psychological aspects. Try to see them as if you could see any other object in front of your eyes. Become an absolute subjective witness to your own experiences as a human being.
Try now to hold your entire realm of emotional vibrations in front of your meditative eye. What do you see? If you would combine all the three aspects I’ve laid out in detail in these three steps, what do you see? You clearly see your body and its apparent biological functioning, as the body is the most obvious one, but you also perceive thoughts that are appearing in your consciousness without great difficulty, as the perceiving of them seems to be happening by itself. Although thoughts and the mental realm are subtler than the palpable body, they still aren’t too difficult to distinguish with your dharma eye. However the world of emotions may be harder to feel out, because what exactly is the sense of security or the warm affection of a dear friend? Emotions seem to have a stream-like energy quality and characteristic to them, which furthermore makes it quite difficult to define them.
Now as you might ponder on that for a bit, I could make a comment as a side note, as you may or may not have recognized that your enlightened Hippo guide hasn’t cracked a joke for a while, and there is a great possibility that your currently wondering if something went wrong writing this book. Well nothing is wrong really, except for that recognition that may or may not have occurred to you. So don’t be alarmed I’m still a hippo that is jolly and most importantly supremely enlightened, we shouldn’t forget that part should we. Because really any hippo could be jolly and cheerful from time to time, but not many hippos could be perpetually and cheerfully dancing on the dancehall of nirvana to the music of the multiverses playing on colossal cosmic speakers.
Where were we now again? See how I get lost in the fun when making jokes, that’s why I decided to remain mostly serious this chapter, and boy is it a hard thing to do! Moving on to the finality of the third step, right before the final step as it was about your feelings and the knowingness of them. It was about trying to perceive and feel the entirety of your subjective realm of emotions and your attachments to different psychological aspects of your reality. If that went good or even if you have no idea of what the hell your enlightened Hippo guide is on about, it’s perfectly okay; you shouldn’t worry too much because everything is gone turn out just fine and dandy in the end.
The end?!?, Does infinity and enlightenment have an ending? What kind of a hoax is this? Well all things that have a beginning have an end, and since you picked up this book or if it was dropped down from cyberspace, I don’t really now these days, I’m guessing the latter. Well since the dropping down of this book occurred in time then that of course entails that it will be ended in time. But as you might have guessed, the true purpose with this book is to try to point out that within you, which is not bound by time. Your timeless self! Having said that we will come back to that shortly, first let us end what we started in the third step as we are really close to the final step.
Now before we arrive to the gates of the Great mother Dao, try to without effort combine all your previous steps into one and the same. In other words, try to see your entire physical, mental and emotional realm as completely as you possibly can. Don’t force it too much, as it shouldn’t take so much effort. Most importantly try to see your sense of identity and feel it out more than all the rest, because the identity is crucial when it comes to awakening to your true nature. Your self-image or your identity is at the end what all those objects mentioned in all these steps refer to. It is where they arise and disappear into. The sense of I, or the feeling of being a person is the root of all your psychological troubles, if you have any that is, I suspect that you at least have some, because if you wouldn’t that just wouldn’t be right. Moreover try to feel it out palpably, namely that feeling of I, or identity. What is it made of? Is it you or are you something that stands separate from it, if you are then who might you be that stands separate from this sense of I. Contemplate this for a while, and continue reading when you feel the spontaneous feel to.
Now if you take yourself to be your identity, its okay, we will demolish that unstable building soon enough and you will see truly who you are and not who you think you are. The third step is then finalized and complete, as I hope you have done everything the supremely enlightened Hippo has told you to do. If not, it’s perfectly okay, because what truly matters is the last and final step. Well that brings me now to the confession that I must make before you. Because in a way I was lying to you, that is when I said that one must do these steps orderly, that was in fact a straight out lie, because what is most important is this next and final step. Please forgive your hippo master, as the only defence I can muster up right now is that I love you dearly!
The fourth step is the climax of your journey that is if you embarked on the journey from the beginning, which we already established wasn’t completely necessary. The final step takes place when you have become a witness to the happenings in the realms of the body-mind-soul, and when you have directed your attention to a myriad of different objects, both physical and psychological. The key move now is a radical shift, and may be responsible for you hurling out sacred golden eggs from your mouth, if it happens it’s okay, just A okay, as it is perfectly normal thing.
Moving on, did you happen to notice how your attention easily switched between objects without much effort, and I suppose it felt like you were the one doing the switching, which was on behalf of the command of your enlightened Hippo guide. Recognizing this switching and wandering back and forth between objects of the attention is one of the most important phases in the mystical quest. You should try now, if you have the courage for it, to see what that phenomena truly is, is it really you that is commanding the fluctuating attention, or could it be like the sensations occurring in your body that’s following its own unseen laws.
In other words, are you truly the director of your own life in the way that you up till now maybe considered yourself to be, or are you something subtler than even your most intimate power of attention. You might by now have indirectly noticed that you are in someway creating your reality simultaneously as it is being created for you. That is wherever you place your attention and focus, that placement automatically becomes your immediate reality. This is a truth all mystic Hippos are perfectly aware of, but unfortunately not so many when it comes to people. You are in a very real way, creating your experience by allowing your attention to drift of to wherever it feels like for the moment.
My challenge to you is to find out what this attention is made out of and if you feel that you are separate from it, that you somehow try to stand apart and witness it just in the same way that you did and still can witness your own body, mind and emotional realms. Is the attention something else or is it also an object happening on the screen of your consciousness, try earnestly to perceive it, from where does the attention arise? Is it from the identity, from the sense of I? Is it from your ego-mind or is the psychological mind a later product that is sprung forth in the consciousness.
I cannot give you the answers to these questions because the mystical experience is not something that is given as an object is traditionally given away. It is rather an unrevealing of the transcendental other, which you in turn discover to be the eternal you, and not something other after all.
This is the ecstasy that flows out of the mystical experience, which the magician or the sorcerer cannot offer to you. This is it as it becomes your perpetual reality, which is you simply always being at home, even when you apparently aren’t at your physical home. When your seeing has reached and refined itself to these immeasurable heights, then you have reached your souls eternal abode, where it is happily at rest in all circumstances.
This is the true power of the mystic and of the enlightened hippos. This is the power I reveal unto you, which is already yours if you have the eyes to recognize it. This is the power, which has been hidden from your eyes by the conditioning of the society you were born into, and the ideologies you were exposed to growing up. This is the power, which is your inalienable right not as a human being, but as consciousness.
You are the eternal formless awareness that permeates all existence and all universes. You have no edges; you are without boundaries, and without any objective qualities. You have no name, as anything that can be named is bound by time. You have never moved an inch, because you’re the formless substratum that is responsible for all experiences. You cannot be seen, you cannot be fathomed, as your reality is greater and simultaneously smaller than all things manifested. In fact it is neither great nor small because how can physical dimensions be applied to something formless. You cannot die, because you were never born. You are the unborn awareness that is timeless and eternal. It was through you all things arose, as you gave birth to all existence, as you still are doing, simultaneously as you remain completely untouched and unscathed by all experiences. You cannot be tarnished nor dominated. You can never not be yourself, as you are the immaculate eye that witnesses all things, yet you are ever unseen. You are the therefore perfection beyond the concept of perfection, you are the timeless pearl of consciousness, you are the beloved of the Sufis, you are the Dao to the Daoists, the Buddha to the Buddhists, Brahman to the Hindus, the Invisible Spirit to the Gnostics, you are the One for neoplatonists, and you are the logos for the Greeks. You are ever ineffable, unfathomable yet always the readily available awareness. You breathe life into all manifestation, all is your play, and everything is your dance, as they all move to the melody of your song.
This is what the mystical experience is and your hippo guide has now given you the tools to reach supreme enlightenment, so that you can come now dwell with your true brethren in the land of the enlightened hippos. We are ever eager to welcome new members to our gatherings, we love all and all is happily given unto those ready to receive it.
Now it would only be fitting for me to poke some fun at something considering the humorous theme of this book, but perhaps fun and games were only in the beginning just to lure you into this paradise. As if one needs to be lured into paradise, or maybe it could be put that maybe it was more of a sweet welcoming to the palace of the mystics, and I know what you’re outrageously thinking, our dear enlightened hippo has tricked us! He never was as jolly or cheerful as he claimed to be, that was just an act, it was all a terrible hoax, a hoax to get us into paradise through the gates of Nirvana! Oh how cruel our hippo guide is, we thought ourselves to be his dear hippopadawans, but it all turned out to be a flat out lie. Because what did we get in return? We wanted to have fun and now all he talks about is the sweetest words conceivable to the human mind and heart. Oh such great woe our great mystic Hippo has delivered unto us, such great calamities now that we have to rest in the vast ecstasy of silence, oh how it hurts us that our dear hippo has deceived us. We thought him to be so funny with those really funny Gollum jokes but now he just completely turned on us, hmmm, maybe the hippo is now indeed a wizard walking around Transylvania, or was it a vampire.. Oh how my head hurts, I thought this was going to be all funs, but it turned out to be about infinity and beyond instead. Where did all the funs go!
Now my dear hippopadawans, don’t despair, for I can say this unto you, your fun times has not ended because I went on a stroll on the holy mystical avenue, it has never ended, in truth it can never end, as it was just appropriate for that given moment in time! We can all go back to having funs again, lots and lots of funs where I say funny things and you laugh or giggle at my supremely funny remarks, that is if you have indeed become a mystic Hippo by now. Because we can’t accept human persons in the land of the hippos, that was why it could be seen as I was luring you into paradise, but that is over now. You have arrived home, I hope…
Chapter VII: The land of the Enlightened Hippos
The land of the hippos is the happiest placeless place in all the universes in all the multiverses. It is where the many are one, and the one is expressed as many. Herein there is no conflict as all individual hippos are perfectly content with their own lot. Here is where all hippos are at peace and have no desire to rudely intrude on other hippo’s lives and livelihoods or disturb them in any other way, shape or form. We enlightened hippos are fully happy and jovial because we have seen our original faces. The land of the hippos has also been called paradise, nirvana, the entirety, the unground, and the high heavens by many different groups of people, that in turn were transformed into enlightened hippos that are now dwelling in our jolly lands.
We have deep love for all those earnest seekers for truth and grace, for the unfathomable Supreme One blesses their lives incessantly and openly. Their hearts are tuned to the sublime melody of the beloved, which is forever played by her unfathomable immaterial hands on strings that reach into infinity and beyond. We hippos here at the land of the enlightened hippos have no more despairs, for our place is sheltered in the arms of the eternal one, and as I mentioned, we are ever anxious to welcome more to our humble yet magnificent land. We don’t distinguish if you happen to be a little bit rounder or whether you’re more of a thinner hippo than the average hippo. This is because we see through into the nature of things, we are deeply perceptive of what is true and this has set us free from all suffering.
These words are so sweet indeed that I your guide, the humble supremely enlightened hippo is reminded of yet another poem that was written by a fellow hippo from the neighbourhood, this time the poet was the 3rd matriarch of the Hipporumian order, and it went something like this.
Our beloved, the timeless loves and nurtures all
Even you my dear
Though sometimes you feel so small
Our beloved, kisses and strokes our brows at night
Even you my dear
Inspiring you to remember your light.
Our beloved, sings and whispers to our shared hearts
Even you my dear
How can you ever be apart…
Don’t you find that beautiful my dear hippopadawan, although I have to make a short comment on the third line of the matriarchs poem, namely of one sometimes feeling so small. As you might have figured out by now, hippos rarely feel so small as is expressed in the poem especially supremely enlightened hippos like your humble guide over here. We in fact feel neither big nor small, for we have been fully established in the formless immaculate awareness that I previously and maybe still am ranting about. I never could really tell where my ranting began and where it ended.
Furthermore dimensions no longer apply to our infinite hearts, though we realize that our bodies still dwell in a physical realm and abide by rules of the natural world. We are not bound by these laws, we are the watchers of them, and therefore beyond them.
We have an ancient or perhaps it was timeless saying, I never really could distinguish between those two either. Nevertheless lets just go with a timeless saying, a saying that we have in the land of the hippos, namely “Home is where hippo is.”
So come back home to your true friends! Our caravan accepts all that are earnest in their seeking for truth, so come join us at our great land of total freedom!
Chapter VIII: We the hippos are awaiting your arrival
Now that I have revealed the grace, the simplicity and the beauty of your own consciousness, it is only fitting that you take the necessary steps to enter the great land of the enlightened hippos with your own two, soon to be four, feet.
You should know that the light that shines in us is the same light that shines in you. Whatever may have happened in your life, whether they were tragic events or dysfunctional relationships, family troubles, depression and existential anxieties or other uncertainties or psychological deficiencies, it does not matter. The land of the enlightened hippopotamus’ is a land where the past and future melt away in the grandeur of the here and now. Here no footprints can stay and no one walks around with a heavy baggage, in fact enlightened hippos don’t walk around with their legs and feet, because as a famous Zen Hippo master once said when he was asked by his disciple on what enlightenment felt like, he replied that, it felt just like any other mans everyday life, except for the difference being that the enlightened hippo floats a couple inches above the ground.
Well you may say, dear master Hippo, you claimed that supreme enlightenment was much more than just that. You’ve described infinite beauty to your hippo-padawans and in our hearts and minds there has been instilled a longing for perfection beyond imagination. Were your words just embellishments or were they in fact true?
To that your supremely humble and supremely enlightened hippo master can only respond with a poem that I myself wrote. Hopefully you liked those short poems I recited earlier and considering their simplicity and beauty, I found it only fitting to end this great book with the poem I wrote right before I became an supremely enlightened hippopotamus:
The Lovers Way
From silence the first word appeared
From the word ourselves disappeared.
To oblivion we seem to descend
Tis but an ancient pretend.
From silence emerges the purest love
In our hearts sings this crimson dove.
Where and why, the light does not say.
But it answers you in the lovers way.
The lovers way is subtle but sublime
Like a weightless kiss beyond the tyranny of time.
Its a pathless path that leads you straight
To your hearts nest and your truest faith.
So remember this my dearest friend,
That the beloved is here and only she can mend
Your innermost sorrows and utmost pain
By stripping you naked in golden rain
Daniel Seeker is a wandering dervish and lifelong student of the past, present and future. He realized that he was made of immaculate and timeless consciousness when meditating in his hermit cave on the island of Gotland. His writings are mostly a reflection of that realizaton. Daniel currently studies history, philosophy, egyptology and western esotericism at Uppsala Universitet. He’s also currently writing his B.A. thesis in history which explores how Buddhist and Hindu texts were first properly translated and introduced to the western world in the late 18th and 19th century.