“Well, I had certainly been miserable enough, lately. My bridges were broken. I saw no way out. But still I couldn’t honestly say that I’d reached the despair line. My ultimate remedy for everything was sleep, unconsciousness – produced no matter how – by Seconal, alcohol, a movie, a crime story, or sex. And now here was Gerald [Heard] urging me in the opposite direction – towards greater wakefulness, consciousness, awareness. All my laziness hung back.
Nevertheless, what he now put before me was the most exciting proposition I had ever heard. He told me what Life is for. ‘And why was I never told this before?’ I kept asking myself, almost indignantly. It was an absurd question. I had been told ‘this’ many times. Every moment of my conscious existence had contained within itself this riddle, and its answer. Every event, every encounter, every person, and object had restated it in some new way. Only – I hadn’t been ready to listen.
Life, said Gerald, is for awareness. Awareness of our real nature and our actual situation. The day-to-day, space-time ‘reality’ is, in fact, no reality at all, but a cunning and deadly illusion. Space-time is evil. The process of meditation consists in excluding, as far as possible, our consciousness of the illusory world and turning the mind inward, in search of the knowledge which is locked within itself – the knowledge of its real nature. Our real nature is to be one with life, with consciousness, with everything else in the universe. This fact of oneness is the actual situation, the only absolute reality. Supposed knowledge of individuality, separateness and division is nothing but illusion and ignorance. Awareness is increased through love … and weakened by hatred,” – Christopher Isherwood, Diaries: Volume One, 1939-1960.