"What Do Humans Need Anyway"
by L. Kevin Johnson

What's left when you finally see through the whole game
And you decide not to participate?
You discover you can't.
Life forces you to play at some level.
But by slowly withdrawing more and more each day,
Perhaps you can accomplish great things in smallness.
True simplicity must come in reducing
Loping off another superfluity-
Creating more space
Throwing out more stuff
Giving away what you think you need ---
Embracing sacred boredom.
Boredom is a sign that you are on the right track.
Being entertained and stimulated by another thought,
Another idea ---
This is sticky,
This is subtle entrapment.

What do humans need anyway?
Is it not warmth, shelter and simple food,
maybe a decent pair of jeans.
Of course, who says simplicity has to be hardship.
But equally true,
Why does abundance usually mean junk?
I'd rather join Saint Francis in poverty than tote another
box of stuff I've not used in six months.
Stuff is hell,
It reflects the grasping mind,
The insatiable emotions.

What do we humans really need anyway?
Is it not the ability to travel all the planes of consciousness?
        Joy, emptiness, sorrow, hope, anger, pain, rage,
        enthusiasm, mental clarity, loneliness, self worth,
        frustration...?
It seems so to me my friend.
We play in all these realms over and over in order to get to the place
        where we really see that it's just more stuff.
        And we can't hold onto anything,
        Not even our own consciousness.
If we think we are going to achieve what we call peace
        at the sacrifice of pain,
        the escape of all suffering,
        Then it is not truly peace.
Peace is being okay with whatever plane or condition of consciousness
        you're in right now.
Misery comes, then it goes ---
Pain arises then passes away ---
Hope changes to doubt ---
investment to debt ---
Insecurity becomes indifference.
As waves roll and twist and splash
so too does the vast ocean of human consciousness.
Can we not get hung up or stuck
        to another form of grasping?
        But instead, let go into the bliss of nothing-ness?

What do humans need, anyway?
Is it not freedom to choose to screw ourselves up?
Why not?
And why not be heavy from time to time ---
Why not grieve and scream,
And then laugh when it's finally seen as really funny.
And why not feed people
Because what human's really need is ---
       The consciousness of the unity of all things.

When there is a real sense of this inter-connectedness,
Without grasping or getting hung up and lost
        in our own pursuits,
Then perhaps we can sit quietly and feed ourselves from the
        living sap of life.

Humans describe many different needs,
Some say salvation,
Some say peace,
Some say freedom,
Some say liberation,
Others call it justice or abundance,
Some say revenge.
Each pursuit makes sense I suppose.
Even the pursuit to understand or accept another
        person's pursuit.
So I ask one more time,
What is it that humans really need from each other?
        Is it not simplicity (the basics of life)
        Is it not mindfulness pure awareness of what is)
        Is it not emptiness (detachment to all forms)

Perhaps some would agree while still others would say, "no, it is something else."
Again it is all just consciousness, it's all just more stuff on some plane of existence.
Eventually we'll surrender into them all. No matter how much power, light, or energy, or
how many beings appear to us, no matter how many great teachings, wisdom or
knowledge we consume, eventually we'll see it's just another game. And then another
and another. It's just another space with more stuff. And attachment to that space is just
more suffering.


The sixth Zen Patriarch reiterates, "Develop a mind which clings to naught." All
these planes of experience are probably described in some Buddhist sutra somewhere.
They may be useful and interesting in helping us loosen our hold on this plane and to
transmute and burn out desire, but ultimately, we see it's just more stuff. Because
experiences in meditation, relationships, diet or kundalini, and experiences on acid,
ultimately must be let go of.


If you can just give it all up, if you can accept that everything you think and
believe is all made up by the separated mind, then you can just eat your karma alive, you
just consume your impurities. Then you can go beyond polarity, beyond pleasure and
pain and wake up out of the separateness trip, the alone game, the freedom game, the
victim game, the guilt game, the frustration game, the vulnerability game ---
So how do we do that?


Well, we go about life just simply "collecting experience." "Oh look, it's the
suffering experience." And without resistance, we collect that one, but we're allowed to
whine. Then, "Oh look, here comes ecstasy," and there are no words for that one. This is
an attitude that life is about the being part of us collecting experience by the doing part.
Being and Doing are our wholeness. Both are true. In divine paradox, we are one, yet it
is equally true that we are many.


The art of collecting experience eliminates all judgment about life, all anxiety, all
need to acquire knowledge from outside authority, and all need for self-improvement.
And so the final answer to "what do humans need anyway?" is:

There is nowhere to go
And nothing to do
Except collect experiences
As they flow out to us from
The Great Divine Mystery


January, 1999


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