Imagine three objects being juggled in the air. Now imagine only those three objects exist. There is no juggler. There is no ground beneath the objects. Only those three objects dancing around one and other at various rates, rhythms, and sequences. Where is the bottom line, the stable ground, in that world? There is no bottom line, no stable ground.
Now imagine our universe. Planets and galaxies dance around one another in a constant state of orbit. Where is the bottom line, the stable ground? There is none. In every conversation, in every interaction, in every activity we look for a bottom line, for an anchor to cling to. But there is no bottom line, other than the illusory ones we stick onto situations to give us a false sense of comfort.
Existence is like the center of the deep end of a swimming pool. There is no concrete side to cling to. No stable ground below your feet. Nothing to hold onto. Instead of learning to swim, we often cling to an inner tube or a rubber duck. That flotation device becomes our ‘Truth,’ our only sense of a stable ground. The rubber duck becomes our reference frame we build our world around. We are conditioned to think in terms of needing a ‘reference frame’ in the first place. We demand a bottom line. We think in terms of ‘bottom line.’ Knowing the boundaries and how far we can fall puts things in relative perspective, and helps us stay safely inside accepted social norms.
Existence is composed of the relative and the absolute. The Absolute is not graspable, has no edge, no handle, no materiality. But the mind, longing for a bottom line, projects the notion of a bottom line and a stable ground upon the Absolute. The point is that we are indoctrinated into thinking in terms that are actually not consistent with the way the universe works.
What is the solution? Is there a way out of the illusion?
Learn to swim. Learn to float. Learn to let go of the rubber duck. Learn to rest into the unbounded nature of your being, of your existence in the bottomless ocean. The very idea of no bottom line terrifies many, because it brings up notions of a bottomless abyss, or the dark unexplored ocean trenches. This is not the case, however.
The Absolute is not a ground floor. It is more like a cosmic cushion. A cloud that holds you. Like the deep end of a swimming pool, the water holds you up if you learn to not fight it. It frees you from the need to cling to the rubber duck of your notions of Truth. The Absolute frees you from having to hold on tightly or furiously treading water. All you need to do is let go and float.
Spirituality is generally taught as the offering of a bottom line, a stable ground. But the problem with this approach is that it goes against how life really works. We take concepts and look for the bottom line, even though there isn’t one. Spiritual teachings and practices should enable us to be comfortable with this truth, rather than mask it.
This is why I have never offered my students a bottom line. My teachings are designed to free people from the notion of a bottom line. They are designed to help people learn to swim in the unbounded ocean of existence. Spiritual growth means realizing that the abyss is not a bottomless cold black void, but a warm and cozy cosmic cushion you rest upon. That is called freedom… spiritual liberation. Freedom means no need to hold on tight.
The Veda is the study of the no bottom line nature of existence… the study of the nature of life. Though it is natural to try to project a bottom line onto the dynamic of creation, the true nature that underlies everything in the universe — a nature that is beautifully displayed in the structure of the Veda. Learn to swim and become free.
Dr. Michael Mamas is the founder of The Center of Rational Spirituality, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the betterment of humanity through the integration of ancient spiritual wisdom with modern rational thought. From personal issues to global trends, Dr. Michael Mamas helps individuals and organizations develop a deeper understanding and more comprehensive outlook by providing a ‘bridge’ between the abstract and concrete, the Eastern and Western, and the ancient and modern. Dr. Michael Mamas has been teaching for 35 years (including the U.S., India, Europe, and Canada), offers free online Surya Ram Meditation instruction, and writes on a variety of subjects on his blogs, MichaelMamas.net and DrMichaelMamas.com.