As It Is ~ LOONY LORD COLIN
AS LONG AS WE persist
in seeing just what we want to see, and disregarding
or twisting everything else to suit our particular
views and preferences, all that we might say about
Truth is vain and meaningless. Moreover, much of what
we call Religion is a selection of certain things
made long ago by people who had, in many cases, personal
aims and purposes in mind. Most people since then
merely inherited their religion from others, knowing
little, if anything at all of the foundations of their
religion, or of how it came into being. Thus, delusion
is carried over from generation to generation, and
is even added to rather than reduced; it is given
the sanction of time, and seldom questioned.
Sometime in 1992, while glancing through
a local Melbourne newspaper (which is something I
rarely do), I came across a short announcement which
read: "UFO researcher seeks genuine new friendships
with anyone who cares anything at all about UFO's.
Come and have coffee with me anytime. Colin."
Well, I have little doubt that there are—must
be, by reason of the immensity of the universe—such
things as UFO's and Extra Terrestrials, and am interested
in their philosophical implications. I called Colin
and made an appointment to go to see him a couple
of days later, at 9:30 a.m.; being an early riser
myself I thought this would not be an unearthly hour
to visit anyone. However, my standards of early and
not-so-early were obviously not his, for when I arrived
at his door and rang the bell, I was met by a long
silence, until finally, he lumbered down the hallway
and opened the door, clad in a scruffy old dressing-gown,
still half asleep. I guessed he had been out in some
distant galaxy the night before and had gotten back
He invited me in and showed me his bookshelves,
and told me to browse while he went to straighten
his antennae and rinse the stardust from his eyes.
I was struck by the predominance of books on the Bible
and Christianity, and (sorry if this displays bias
on my part) thought: "What have I got myself
into here?" There were also several framed certificates
with dubious and preposterous titles like: "From
Jehovah God to Colin," and "Lord Colin Something-or-other."
Anyway, I was there and could hardly leave
immediately, so had to stick it out for a while, and
went along with him politely while he spouted a lot
of unabashed nonsense. He claimed that E.T.'s, of
whom there are different kinds, of course—"MIB's"
or "Men-in-black" (the bad guys, one of
whom Colin said had once fired some kind of ray at
him which had caused him acute headaches and nightmares
ever since), and their opposites, the good guys, whose
generic name I don't remember, not deeming it of great
importance—had come to Earth to verify and endorse
the Judaeo-Christian Bible. My reaction to this was:
"Why only the Bible? There are lots of other
Scriptures in the world that are regarded by their
adherents as 'holy' and authentic." But he seemed
to know nothing about them, which caused me to further
doubt his sincerity, as I feel that a serious Ufologist,
such as Erich Von Daniken (the author of the best
selling book on the subject, Chariots of the Gods),
would surely have made the effort to examine the various
scriptures of the world for possible references to
UFO's, and not confined his research to just one book,
especially since he (Colin) had been interested in
UFO's for thirty years or more. He further claimed
that J.C. was an ET., and quoted his words: "My
kingdom is not of this world," in support of
his contention. He also showed me some photos that
he had taken of 'UFO's', but they were just blurry
bright spots in the sky that could have been anything,
and were not at all convincing. And, needless to say,
he was a veteran of so many trips in space-craft that
it had become as commonplace and unremarkable as riding
on Melbourne's trams!
He wasn't aware that I was a monk, as I
don't always wear my robes, and my hair at that time
was about 1 cm long, but later, after I had told him
of my opinion of the accounts of bloodshed and horrific
crimes to be found in the Old Testament, and the anthropomorphic
deity created by man (rather than the other way around)
therein described, I revealed to him that I was a
monk. He seemed a bit surprised at this, and, if I
might say so, rather impressed; perhaps he'll add
me as another feather in his cap, and might even consider
me an E.T.! I went on to tell him something of my
'down-to-earth' philosophy, which, while it has room
for UFO's, E.T.'s, and lots of other things, is quite
in contrast to his head full of scrambled ideas.
Anyway, I made an excuse to leave, and thought:
"That's that; no point in pursuing it any further."
A couple of days later, however, I got a call from
'Lord' Colin, inviting me over there again; he said
some of his friends would like to meet me.
Well, since he didn't offer to send a UFO
to pick me up, I prevaricated somewhat, and told him
"maybe some other time." But, considering
that there was a possibility that his friends might
be a little less addled and more open-minded than
him, I agreed to go when they called me again a few
days later; there might be an opportunity to impart
some Dharma to them, I thought.
The second visit, however, was even worse
than the first because, although there was one man
there who seemed to be a bit more rational than Lord
Colin, the others were clearly under the sway of their
silly leader. Sometime into the meeting, he asked
me if I would like to see a video about UFO's, and
I thought: "Well, anything's better than having
to listen to twaddle from these folks," so eagerly
agreed. It was a home video they had made, and one
part of it showed them making a trip out to some mountain
where, at night, they shone flashlights up into the
sky in an attempt to attract any UFO's that might
be in the vicinity.
Around Lord Colin's neck was 'a priceless
crystal from Venus'—obtained during one of his
trips there, no doubt—which he said enabled
him to communicate with extra terrestrials in their
spacecraft. Unfortunately, on that particular night
no such craft responded to their signals; perhaps
the E.T.'s were camera shy!
Another section of the tape showed Lord
Colin and some of his friends sitting in a circle,
holding hands, meditating, and chanting "Om."
He then said to them, "What did you get? What
did you feel? Did you feel anything?" For people
who are supposed to be initiates into cosmic mysteries
(as they claimed) they looked very silly!
Our capacity for deceiving ourselves is
so great, and we cling fiercely to anything that offers
us the slightest chance to escape from, or avoid,
the harsh realities of life, no matter how foolish
or illogical it might be. With our beliefs and concepts,
we try to measure the Immeasurable, rather like trying
to empty the ocean with a spoon!
All religions advocate or prescribe codes
of discipline or things to be done and not done. Such
things, like prayer, meditation, fasting, donating
to charity, and so on, usually differ from what people
normally do in their daily lives.
Now, why does religion recommend/prescribe
such disciplines, and why do people do them? Dare
we ask this? Dare we go into it, and examine our motives,
to find out what lies behind? It might pay dividends
if we did.
Are such things expressions of our understanding;
that is, do they come naturally and spontaneously?
Or do we do them in order to get something back in
return? What are we aiming for with our pious practices?
Do we know? Are we merely following what someone has
told us, or do we see, clearly, the benefits that
come immediately from doing them? Do we do them because
it is right to do them, as things complete in themselves,
or as means to an end?
If we are aiming for Truth, or Enlightenment,
God, Nirvana, or whatever name we use to designate
the Absolute—supposing that there is such a
thing—we should know that It—the Unconditioned—cannot
be manipulated, produced, brought about or attained
by any practice or practices whatsoever. We cannot
go to It, for It is already Here. Thus, there is no
Path or Way to It, for a Path is always something
that leads from here to there, or from there to here,
or somewhere else, but there is no Way to get to Here,
as we are already Here, although we don't know it.
All we have to do is to see It; there is nothing to
attain that we have not already got.
Ramana Maharishi, an Indian sage who died
of cancer in 1956, said this on the subject: "Renunciation
and Realization are the same; they are different aspects
of the same state. Giving up the Non-Self is renunciation;
inhering in the Self is Jhana or Self-Realization.
One is the negative and the other is the positive
aspect of the same single truth. Bhakti, Jhana, Yoga—are
different names for Self-Realization or Mukti, which
is our real nature. These appear as the means first;
they eventually are the goal. So long as there is
conscious effort required on our part to keep up bhakti,
jhana, yoga, etc., they are the means. When they go
on without any effort on our part we have attained
"There is no Realization to be achieved.
The Real is ever as it is. What we have done is realized
the unreal, that is, we have taken for real the unreal.
We have only to give up that; that is all that is
This is not to say that our practices are
wrong; they aren't. What is wrong, or maybe not right,
is how we carry them out, and why. By means of such
activities, we aim to acquire something that we've
already got, and often, in our haste and desire, we
become fools, bigots, and hypocrites. Also, we tend
to blind ourselves to what is in front of us, and
bring about self-projected (self-created or imagined)
ends. Thus, some Buddhists see visions of the Buddha
or Bodhisattvas in forms consonant with their ethnic
or cultural background (Chinese Buddhists would see
the Buddha in the Chinese style, for example, as they
would expect to see Him, and not in the Thai or Sri
Lankan style, while Tibetan Buddhists would see Him
as portrayed in Tibetan images or paintings, etc.).
Likewise with people of other religions: Christians
would see visions of Jesus or Mary in forms familiar
to them. It is unlikely that Buddhists would see visions
of Jesus or Krishna, or Christians see visions of
the Buddha or Rama. But if such visions were truly
what Carl Jung called 'archetypes'—that is,
symbols of things universal, and therefore common
to all humanity—there would be no reason at
all why Christians should not see visions of the Buddha
or Buddhists see visions of Jesus, and so on, for
these things would transcend cultural and religious
barriers. Can it be, therefore, that we see—when
and if we see—only things that we have been
programmed to see, and that visions are subjective—from
the mind—rather than objective—from outside?
People believe that their visions are real and objective,
of course, because they want to believe, but are they,
really? Are they any more 'real' than dreams, or drug-induced
hallucinations? When we dream, we think it is real
at the time, and indeed, it is as real while it lasts
as waking life is while we are awake. Can we say that
waking life is not a dream?
Can we be sure that what we are doing at
this or any other moment is not a dream? When we are
dreaming, do we know we are dreaming, or do we think
it is real? Life as we know it is of the substance
of a dream, and once something has passed out of the
present into the past, we cannot be sure that it really
happened, or if it was just a dream. Neither can we
be sure that the present is not a dream.
Many people are familiar with the old story
of a man who had a dream that he was a butterfly,
flying around from flower to flower, doing what butterflies
do. And when he woke up, he wasn't sure that he was
a man who had had a dream that he was a butterfly,
or if he was a butterfly now dreaming that he was
Not long ago, I had a dream that I was being
bitten by bed bugs (and I have had some experience
of these creatures in India and other countries);
I woke up and began looking for the bite marks on
my legs, and was surprised to find there were none!
So, how can we determine what is true and
what is not, what is real and what is unreal? Is it
really within our capacity to do so? Or must we allow
Truth—if there is such a 'thing'—to reveal
itself to us, and work through us? We cannot 'practice'
Truth; Truth must live in us, or manifest through
us. Nor can we talk about It, as It is not a word,
and any attempt to catch or measure it with words
is useless. Like this, organized religion, with its
theories and dogmas, does more harm than good, as
it forces us into unnatural beliefs and patterns,
instead of helping us to unfold and develop our potential.
In short, to sum up: religion is more of
a matter of learning to put something back into life
than getting something out, of overcoming delusion
rather than of encouraging it and of thereby discovering
who we are.
As he was about to die, some disciples of
Ramana Maharishi begged him not to leave them. He
replied: "But I'm not going anywhere; there is
nowhere to go!"