It has always bothered me how I thought in my last life that I had attained Gnosis and would be free from the bounds of this world at last. It always bothered me that I did not achieve the liberation I had sought and it’s left my mind to wander.
And yet, what I come back to again and again is the Wild Fox Koan, and the natural syncretism between Buddhism and Gnostic Christianity that has kept me fascinated for two lifetimes now. I am now increasingly of the opinion that the lives I remembered as a fox- whether they were actual, literal lives I had lived or a tutelary vision- was something I remembered for a reason. Something- perhaps my higher self- wanted to give me a clue as to why I’m still here and not in some higher plane of existence.
The Wild Fox Koan, for those who don’t know, is a story about an enlightened master who denies that he is subject to cause and effect as an enlightened master (the nearest equivalent in Buddhism of a Christian saying that one cannot fall from grace by one’s attitudes). So doing, he condemns himself to be reborn five hundred times as a wild fox until another enlightened master comes along who liberates him with this one piece of advice: “Do not forget about cause and effect.”
It is a grave error to deny that cause and effect applies to the enlightened and I believe I committed this error. I did not live five hundred lifetimes as a fox as far as I know, and I’m still skeptical that I lived even one or two. That is unimportant. What matters is that my experience of Gnosis had freed me from the grip of this world and that my actions and more importantly, my attitudes, would not cause me to fall from grace.
This is born out by what has been written about my earlier life from those who knew me best. I still had a very unenlightened attitude toward women that thankfully I’ve got some fresh perspective on now after living three years as one. I still had a very unenlightened fearfulness that sadly has carried over to this life and remains an obstacle that I’m still dealing with. I still had resentment toward people in my life who I felt had wronged me. And yet I thought that it wouldn’t matter because Logos had entered into me and made me a new creation.
I was wrong. No matter how far along on the path you are, you can always fall off and the free will of your lower self does apply. Actions and attitudes do matter, and they matter almost as much as our initial experience of Gnosis. I fervently hoped that having learned this lesson, I can strive for the improvements that I need.
The first order of business is my fearfulness. In my last life, I feared Adolf Hitler, Joe McCarthy, and later Richard Nixon with the same intensity that I fear Donald Trump and his ilk today. I fear them so much that I have seriously considered fleeing the country. And before anyone says I wouldn’t, let me remind you I did flee the country after Bush invaded Iraq on false pretenses.
There is, however, a new force in my life that begs me to reconsider such action. That force is the Gnostic church I have been attending for the last several months. I feel that this church actually gives me an opportunity to be in a position to help many people in the times of crisis that are almost certainly on the way.
It’s more than that though. It gives me a chance to find focus and equilibrium. It gives me a chance to make a difference in people’s lives without the sort of leadership vacuum that would allow any moral weakness and ego I still have to become harmful. But most importantly, it gives me a reason to face uncertain times and likely dangers without being so preoccupied with saving my own skin for once.
I’m genuinely concerned that I’ll be killed in the political violence that I believe will soon tear through this country with a ferocity not seen since 1860, but I’ve spent so many lifetimes running from dangers like these. I remember so many lives when I either fled the fight, or I jumped willingly into the fight only to die for a worldly cause that no longer matters. My last life was the former and the life before was the latter. What I don’t remember is a single life when I dedicated myself to a life of non-aggression and spiritual reflection.
I know that abstaining from my centuries-long pattern of fight or flight does not and cannot guarantee my safety, but that’s not important. I do not believe that one should seek martyrdom (people who seek martyrdom are narcissists of the worst order), but I’m also coming to understand that a martyr is not the worst thing you could be if that’s the fate you meet.
This is the attitude I will stake my understanding of cause and effect on: “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God.” I will enter the clergy in a Gnostic order and I will take this attitude as far as my will and strength allow me to.
Here I am, Lord, lowly wild fox that I am!