You choose your belief
I’d love to be wrong, I really would – but unfortunately this is all there is. That means belief in spirits, other realms, and even escaping the cycle of death and rebirth is all in your head. Their only real reality lies in the psychological impact those notions have upon you and your emotions.
To put it another way, it’s as if you had a red sweater but you imagine it’s blue – you do this because it makes you feel happier and you wear it more often that way.
Sure, it’s all well and good to do things to deliberately make yourself feel better about the world and your life in particular – but why is delusion acceptable?
Yes, I’m aware that I am deluded also; it’s not even a red sweater but a bit of colourless cloth. Or maybe it’s not even cloth. Or maybe there isn’t even an ‘it’… that doesn’t change my point – that of choosing what to believe about this reality. Physicists attempt to stay as objective as possible in determining the nature of reality – but they can’t even see their own bias. The futility in having any mention of ‘size’ for example, since that’s an entirely subjective property and has nothing to do with reality. Or what about the distinction between inside/outside? That too is subjective. That means every preconceived notion about space is subjective and biased. Geometry is subjective and the notions of coordinates, points, and other such things are again subjective and biased.
I’m not satisfied being satisfied
Settling for a ‘good enough’ idea of the nature of reality is deeply unsettling for me. I don’t like that I have no choice but to choose one of the trillion different ways of seeing reality. The fact that any of them are ‘good enough’ since they’re all true, just sits in my gut like a lump of undigested food.
The fact is that this is all there is and that you can call this anything you like – ‘god’, ‘cheese’, ‘tao’, ‘the force’, ‘transformation’, whatever – pisses me off. It’s an unavoidable consequence of saying “all” – as soon as you conceptually group all of reality into one whole, the only way that is possible is by grasping it by what they all have in common – i.e. you have to reduce everything to the same sameness in order to group it.
“Good enough” is not good enough.
Throwing-in the towel
Zen teaches the ultimate ‘I give up’. Much of Rinzai zen buddhism uses the koan to ‘break your mind’ – to make you give up trying and just experience without distinction. Soto zen doesn’t do koans, but they have the same ‘sit down and shut up’ objective of getting you to stop pestering yourself – to get you out of your own way, so you can just be.
Maybe that’s all that we’re left with: Shut up and Live.