In order to write some sort of guide for the perplexed one needs to have made the journey and achieved understanding. Knowledge is not a simple seeing, not just perception. It is far more complex than that. So often we see without seeing. Seeing involves registering that x is x, and putting it into context. But knowledge involves more than the simple awareness of what is there. It involves ‘how’ and above all ‘why’. It involves understanding the process – that there is a process in the first place and that the process is going somewhere.

There is also intuition. Long before understanding there is intuition – an unrealised, unarticulated awareness of, feeling for, the truth. Against all the evidence to the contrary the belief that conscious life does not end in death persists; in spite of the utter banality of so many lives, that life has meaning. You could say that we’re like tadpoles, busy navigating the weeds and the algae in the depths of the pond and oblivious that there is anything more – that there is an above-the-pond, a supra-pond world that tadpoles can never inhabit but frogs can – a world of depths and soaring heights and vast space where the sun warms and gives life. Or, like caterpillars gorging on the leaves of our daily preoccupations, blind to the terminating cocoon of the grave we are oblivious of the prospect of metamorphosis.  

We rarely stop to think and question. We have been conditioned to believe that because there are 100,000 answers there is no answer because they cannot all be right. Many do select the ‘right’ answer out of the 100,000 and put their faith and trust in it. And many are disappointed. They find that the answers were not really the answer after all. They discover inconsistencies and contradictions. They may shut their eyes to these for a while – for a long while sometimes. But the doubt remains and gnaws away at their sense of peace and security. Some stop asking questions at this stage. It is easier to get off the knife-edge of doubt and step down into the warm reassurances of the well-intentioned. Just believe and everything will be all right.

The problem is that there are no answers – at least no answers that can be put into words. There is an answer but because it cannot be put into words the most that can be done is to point the way. Each person has to find this answer for himself. And the strangest thing of all is that when we do finally realise the truth it turns out not to be something utterly strange, new and unheard of. When we find the answer we discover that in some curious way we have always known it. It has been part of us all along – or rather, we have been part of it. 

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