Handbook for Heroes preview
Paradoxically by following even your vainest aspirations, deploying these Taoist self-optimization methods will lead you through all the clamor and hopefully some glamor to the enlightened state regardless.
Yet, isn’t spiritual fame and fortune a paradox?
Depends on your concept of spirituality.
If your path is one of renunciation and austerity, then you really shouldn’t be looking at this book anyway. Put it down straight away, lest you be quickly corrupted. If, however, your spiritual path tips more to the liberal side of things, like mine (Path of the Wayward Taoist), then you’re set to have a (spiritual) ball with this information. (Please note that Taoist spiritual methods are universal and do not conflict with, and indeed may be used alongside, those of any other spiritual path.)
Spirit is ubiquitous and universal. It’s everywhere, all at once, throughout time, space and matter forever and ever. Nothing could exist without it. That’s just how it is for me and I’m not interested in justifying it. Every illusion thrown out by the magic lantern—that is, everything we see including you and me—has the basis for its existence in spirit. Even, and sometimes especially, the grand illusion of fame and fortune.
So, if f’n’f is where your fascination takes you, go there with awareness and that’s where you’ll receive the lessons you need to grow. These lessons will probably occur with similar frequency, intensity and general content as if you were a renunciate (monk or nun). The only difference will be the local scenery. The path of fame and fortune will obviously be more colorful and probably a lot more fun, but will be just as painful, maybe more so [see The hero’s pain].
Once you’ve started on the spiritual path you can’t get off. It makes no difference how you dress up the scenery or with whom you choose to enjoy it. The lessons your guiding spirit wishes to set up for you along the way will be the lessons you get. Whether they come through the abbot in a mountain monastery or the critic in the morning papers, your lessons will be the same in essence. And when I say lessons, I mean signposts to guide you home. And when I say home, I don’t mean your house in Islington or your loft in Soho, I mean, and you may have to use your imagination for this, that state of undifferentiated oneness and every-thing-about-you-joined-upness akin to which you probably felt in the womb, and which you are now seeking to regenerate and perpetuate in the quest for f’n’f.