"Universal Intelligence" by Eric Platt, 2015. Acrylic on Canvas, 5 ft. x 8 ft.
"Universal Intelligence" by Eric Platt, 2015. Acrylic on Canvas, 5 ft. x 8 ft.

Painters of the Self

Sages like Ramana Maharshi, Lester, Robert Adams, Francis Lucille, Lao Tsu, Sydney Banks, and so on, are all pointing at the same Self, the same oneness, universal consciousness, infinite intelligence that we are, that you are, that I Am. But each is painting a picture of the mountain using different paints and paint brushes.

Some use a very broad and poetic brush, inspiring us at a deeper level than conscious thought; others use consistent precision tools and help take apart our erroneous preconceptions of a separate self. Others blast away at the ego with brilliant colors and talk of the glory of peace and happiness. Yet others are inventive and you can never tell what they will say, using abstraction, impressionism, and realism mixed together as they see fit. Most use humor somewhere along the way…

Then students come along and study a painting and start arguing over the slope of the side of the mountain, and that it’s really green not brown, and you should use oil not acrylic if you want to represent this mountain. Some say the mountain never existed, or we shouldn’t paint and instead focus on buying and selling art, or cars, or real estate, or legal services for artists. Most wouldn’t recognize art if a canvas hit them in the head. Some will make a study of it and publish many books, become famous pundits. Others will make a career of being a critic.

Some of these characters will make into some of the paintings, tiny figures plying their way up the side of the mountain, or picnicking in a meadow in it’s beautiful valleys, having some ice cream, making snarky jokes about mountain climbers; others will be seen lazily fishing in the lake at the base.

Some adventurers will be curious, or even determined to see what is up there, and want to climb the real mountain, and find themselves challenged to the bone. They will be rewarded with fantastic views, beautiful scenes, idyllic and free, and the thrilling openness of vast quiet vistas. Some will even try to go for the top, get the total view. Very few make it.

There are many legends and myths about what’s at the top, and names are give to it, like Enlightenment, Liberation, Self-Realization, the Top State, and on and on. And there of course rumors about what happens when you get there, like you can toss away your climbing equipment, since you will then know you were always already there, and the climb was an illusion, a joke the mountain played on itself because it wanted to see what it was like to be a human on a mountain climb.

But reliable reports are sketchy, and hard to interpret. Us Earth humans will have to wait for a live camera feed…


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