Question: It’s almost common knowledge now that stars are furnaces for the creation of carbon atoms, the things that human bodies are composed of. We are, in fact, made of stardust, right?
Michael Richardson-Borne: Today, the accepted story is that all the material in our bodies originates with residual stardust. It finds its way into plants, and from there into the nutrients that we need for everything we do—think, move, grow. This is all fine and good. And would answer a lot of questions if you were, in fact, the body. But you are not the body.
Thinking in purely biological or astrophysical terms is just a modern-day religion created by people who are usually avidly anti-religion. We’ve made a new priesthood out of doctors and scientists. We’ve accepted that it’s important in some way to answer these kinds of questions without first answering the question of who or what we are. We continue to look to the outside for the answers of our identity– we are obsessed with the external world and almost fully neglect internal exploration.
One can find a television show every evening talking about these sorts of things– the origin of the universe, how our bodies work, how evolution has unfolded to make us who we are. These stories have been swallowed hook, line, and sinker by the establishment. And have you noticed that these stories are almost always presented in a way where it’s understood that these discoveries should be accepted as unbelievably fascinating? It reminds me of spiritual teacher Adi Da’s saying that the world of the separate self is filled with “the fascinated and the disturbed.” How many television shows do you see about self-inquiry? That’s correct. Zero. Destroying the separate self must be bad for business.
If one looks, one can easily see the foundational assumption of separation at work and how the scientific narrative is told in a way that justifies the re-enforcing of the self as a separate individual entity. First, there is you as a separate entity and then there is “the universe” around you. And, together, these two make up reality.
But take a look right now. Are you separate from your so-called surroundings? If so, where does this separation occur? Outside of you or in your mind? If outside of you, keep trying. If in your mind, who or what is aware of this mind as another object in your awareness? At the foundation of this awareness, is there any content? Or is it contentless? If there’s content, keep looking. If contentless, what do I mean by non-separation?
Q: That’s a little over my head, sorry. I came with all of my questions already written down. What’s your favorite part of Twelve’len’s song?
MR-B: Probably when he sings the line, “love, I got you.” It shows he is confident that his beingness is filled with an abundance of love. If love is what you need, his presence will supply it.
That said, notice how the way I answered your question maintained the unspoken agreement between us that love is an object that can be given– that love is something that can happen between two separate objects.
This is how most people think about love. It’s part of the same narrative of separation that the scientific paradigm preaches. Again, there’s you as a separate entity and then there’s the universe which surrounds you. Part of this surrounding universe is composed of “other people,” some of whom you may give love to or fall in love with. This way of thinking turns love into a kind of currency that can be spent or withheld. Much of the pain of the human world is created because of our agreement to continue playing with love in this gamified way.
Real love has no separation– it’s an open presence, a surrender to the process of what wants to happen. It’s a recognition that the individual autonomous doer does not exist; that love is an alive process and is revealing itself to you more than you are making anything happen by willful action.
This is what the Buddha’s teachings on non-attachment are pointing too. Most people don’t equate this teaching with love, but that’s what it’s ultimately about. The Buddha is reminding us that things happen on their own accord, so let them. This holding leads to peacefulness and out of this peacefulness, the kind of love that humans are really looking for arises.
Q: That helps me make sense of what he says in the middle of the song– when he talks about wanting to create a soundtrack for the last days on Earth. To tap into a higher frequency of happiness.
MR-B: What are you making sense of? What I am pointing to is beyond sense, beyond the mind. Who cares about a higher frequency of happiness? Ask yourself this.
What I am talking about is not some airy-fairy walk in the park about finding happiness. As Nisargadatta Maharaj stated, “The search for reality is the most dangerous of all undertakings for it destroys the world in which you live. The search for reality destroys more than that. For in its pursuit, it destroys the meaning and illusionary purpose that this world has come to mean to ‘you.’ Even more so, it destroys all images, lenses, and frames of reference. In a word, it destroys all you think or imagine yourself to be.”
A dying star is a generator, a supernova that will explode into millions of atoms. A human spiritual death is also a generator– exploding the self into its millions of component parts revealing what is living all of it.
And would the last days on Earth be something special? Admittedly, it would probably be a spectacle for the “fascinated and disturbed.” But would the pressure of having a known limited amount of time induce people to become earnest seekers? If no, it’s another waste of time, what would amount to the final days of dreaming for the separate self.
Q: Did you catch the political commentary in the song? In the description of the video, it mentions, “We are the forgotten, the second class citizens of America…”
There’s also a moment in the song when he states: “They want to fuss and fight, but we want to dance/ They want to lock us out”– and then the music cuts out.
So even though the song claims to want to spread happiness, it also takes the time to make a statement that could increase division.
MR-B: Yes, I caught it. He’s saying the same thing that has been said for centuries by the disenfranchised. As I’ve said a million times before, separation (however good one’s intentions may be) just breeds more separation. Spreading true happiness means there isn’t a “they.” There is no other. Literally.
You can only lock people out from external things. One can’t be locked out from awakening and the pursuits of self-inquiry. One can’t be locked out from the inquiry, “Who am I?”
And it’s not the individuals, races, cultures that are forgotten, as they don’t even exist. What is forgotten is the Self that is living all of us.