Life itself can be a journey, a river, chaos, havoc and an intolerable mess. As we straddle our horse, camel, donkey or mule and ride out in the world we seek fortune. On the path towards fortune the river and road can turn into sandstorms and erratic currents bring us out of course. Any detour is a new experience and in every new experience lays growth and rejection. If we approach with interest the stations in life our choices takes us to we will find green pastures and poisoned apples. This is the thrill of living.
I believe we all manifest a complex set of planetary virtue fused and blended with the experiences we make in the world. Our starry soul gets conditioned by the world we live in and our innocent soul absorbs and follows, react and act. We swim in emotions and thoughts – and constantly we are hurled to the crossroad to make the good and bad decision. This is the way knowledge is accumulated. This is how we can know the bitterness as different from the sweetness – and on these two poles life dances back and forth – like a windy river of hope, love, despair and all forms of ecstasy.
Life is good, even when we swim in wormwood, because life is born from love- and medicine is often bitter – so in the lakes of wormwood, there is really just one thing to do and it is to declare, “I am ready! Give it to me! I can Fucking take it!” And as you swim on the pools of honey will surface as solace given miraculously. To resolve the bitterness in a spirit of interest will unleash the honey within and give the oasis needed for gathering Self – and move on. Hopefully stronger, more loving and more aware of whom we are...
But unfortunately, there are those who take great gulps of the wormwood, spitting it out while cursing as they drink it up again and again. Some see this as heroic and yes, it is heroic to battle in your own lake of bitterness – this is the true jihad, the war upon your own lower self, the hungry nafs! Whoever conquers the bitter enemy within is truly a hero. Worse it is with those that deify their own bitter wormwood and becomes the masters of the bitter life. Bitterness is born from suffering and hurt. Bitterness kills love and is the father of anger. If we walk the angry path too far all will be lost – even our Path.
There is wisdom and warning in this, because the bitter masters soon turn into masters of spiritual gluttony and position themselves as self declared patriarchs for councils and orders. This is done in an attempt of generating a structure in the wormwood and dysfunction is set into system, bringing about vainglory and hubris. It is an exaltation of bitterness that plays itself out and gives birth to the Misguider.
In traditional Buddhism the misguider drapes itself as Mara, whose most popular form is of Death. But the powers of Mara can be found in any immature emotional state and also as the temporal factors leading to death in conditioned existence. It is the obstacle of doubt and temptation – a force that calls upon what is base and in each and every one and provokes this to be the misguided path we design our life upon.
For the Buddha, Mara was as important for understanding and realization as your master. Mara is the misguider, the challenger, the power that encourages you to stay in the path of Fate and destiny by providing option, detours, alternatives and seductions. Mara is the antithesis of Fate, the principle of opposition that keeps us all in the track of destiny. Mara is border and what happens when we force the boundaries of Mara. It is the clinging to the powers of suffering in the world.
We read in the Mahaavagga the following message from Mara to Buddha:
"Bound art thou by all the snares,
Both those of devas and of men,
In great bondage art thou bound,
Recluse, you won't be freed from me."
Mara is constantly active in our lives as something threatening to ensnare us in despair and to cause bondage to suffering. All suffering originates from within. It is an undesirable state and if the suffering is not annihilated it will feed the Mara within. The Mara within will provoke ungratefulness in its spawns. It will advise you to severe the head of the master – or at least scapegoat the master for ones suffering and place all blame for one’s own bad decisions on others. A hostile world takes shape around the suffering one and the suffering becomes the reality and by this what provides nourishment for the ill path. The ill path confuses the bondage with heroism. The suffering one has become a victim for immature emotional states that seeks only destruction, because the city of havoc is what the suffering one has built for oneself. The suffering one will constantly throw the ashes of his own bitterness on the world, demonizing its friends and refuse to listen to wisdom, because the voice of wrath speaks so much louder – and in the city of Wrath, the Angry King is the tyrant of Death and viceroy of the host of Suffering.
We see this everywhere, suffering men attempting to survive in a hostile world they decided to build for themselves. But the solution for ending suffering is not to move in to the city of sorrow and wrath, but to see every challenge as an opportunity to reach Self and know Fate. The remedy is to leap forth into the lakes of wormwood with a soul of honey – because honey will never grow bitter.