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By Brianna Wiest
In 1996, Jack Kerouac’s biographer Ann Charters published “The Portable Jack Kerouac,” the first and only compilation of his work, and the last thing that Kerouac worked on himself. Until his death, Kerouac wrote passages, chapters and poems for the book, but one in particular stands out. It’s a short essay that discusses receiving mystic guidance that informed him of what he believes is the true nature of reality.
“I have lots of things to teach you now, in case we ever meet, concerning the message that was transmitted to me under a pine tree in North Carolina on a cold winter moonlit night,” he begins. “It said that Nothing Ever Happened, so don’t worry. It’s all like a dream. Everything is ecstasy, inside. We just don’t know it because of our thinking-minds. But in our true blissful essence of mind is known that everything is alright – forever and forever and forever.”
He goes onto describe the world as an illusion to the eyes, and explain how that illusion – paired with the mind’s perception – actually creates a separation from truly experiencing bliss. He instructs the reader to close their eyes and try to connect with it:
“Close your eyes, let your hands and nerve-ends drop, stop breathing for 3 seconds, listen to the silence inside the illusion of the world, and you will remember the lesson you forgot, which was taught in immense milky way soft cloud innumerable worlds long ago and not even at all. It is all one vast awakened thing. I call it the golden eternity. It is perfect.”
Everything is ecstasy, inside. We just don’t know it because of our thinking-minds.
He goes on to explain that the concept of “self” is what’s mortal, and that because the world around us is a temporary illusion, we were never really born into it, and we will never really die out of it – we will simply continue to transit from form to form.
“We were never really born, we will never really die. It has nothing to do with the imaginary idea of a personal self, other selves, many selves everywhere: Self is only an idea, a mortal idea. That which passes into everything is one thing. It’s a dream already ended,” he said.
Kerouac makes the argument that there is nothing to fear as much as there is nothing to be happy about: everything is a transitory experience that is, in it’s true essence, neutral. Our experience of it depends on our interpretation of it, usually within the context of what we were taught good and bad should be.
“There’s nothing to be afraid of and nothing to be glad about. I know this from staring at mountains months on end. They never show any expression, they are like empty space. Do you think the emptiness of space will ever crumble away? Mountains will crumble, but the emptiness of space, which is the one universal essence of mind, the vast awakenenhood, empty and awake, will never crumble away… because it was never born.”
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