Truth is the only thing that exists. Everything else is illusion. Illusion is not real, although a lot of us seem to believe in it. Illusion does not need to be destroyed since its illusion in the first place. It is when we understand illusion for what it truly is that we find life more abundant. -- Po Tai
How All Things are Perfect
By Eleazar, 2004
This narrative is the last in a series written about understanding the LDS temple endowment at new and deeper levels of meaning. The temple endowment tells a profound and meaningful parable about the patron himself (or herself), his birth into spiritual and material existence, his entrance into a state of imprisonment by illusion, and his reason for being. The endowment portrays this perfectly, though few understand how or why. In a profound way, the endowment is like a mirror that contains the (perfectly reflected) image of the patron.
Endowment patrons tend to look upon the endowment experience as one of the most sacred events in their lives. This often accompanies a failure to perceive that everyday experience is as sacred as the endowment experience. To see perfection, endowment patrons will need to look further and perceive more. Temple patrons will first need to comprehend how the endowment is all about them. This last sentence should be understood at two major levels of meaning. First, it refers to the LDS temple endowment as specifically relevant to the temple patron himself (or herself). At a deeper level of understanding, the endowment comprises everything in creation. All of our daily experience in this sense-world comprises an endowment similar to the one received in LDS temples. Thus, an endowment is comprised within everything that surrounds us (ie. is about us).
One of the fundamental messages of the endowment is that the patron is a fallen being, living under illusion and (spiritual) death. As in Adam, it is for the patron. Adam does not realize that he is blinded by illusion and spiritually dead. Adamís illusory world has him believing in a false notion of opposition in all things. The belief in opposition leads Adam into a continual state of conflict and suffering where he mistakenly interprets all that is about him in terms of good and evil. This interpretation is as a veil that prevents Adam from perceiving perfection.
To understand perfection, Adam will need to cleanse himself thoroughly and completely of that which blinds him. Adam will first need to come to the realization of the existence of his illusions so that the cleansing process can begin. Ultimately, he will come to understand what he experiences. He will also understand why. Itís this way because Adam has planned it that way before he fell into illusion. The created world has always been perfect from the beginning, despite Adamís failure to understand it as a fallen being. When Adam emerges from the veil of illusion, he will comprehend how and why the plan has always been perfect.
In truth, there can only be reality, because unreality is illusory. In reality, there is only perfection. Everything is perfect. However, how all things are perfect is difficult to comprehend for those who are now standing in front of the veil and desiring to pass beyond. The purpose of this narrative is to offer new ideas that will help to understand how perfection is the one and only true reality. This author sees this as a task much more difficult than presenting the ideas found in prior narratives. Explaining perfection is akin to trying to explain a joke to someone else who doesnít understand. There is only so far that a person can go in trying to explain a joke. In the end, each individual must get it on their own. It is this Ďgetting ití that this narrative cannot provide. Nor should it. At best, it can attempt to explain things not popularly perceived.
To comprehend how all things are perfect, it is necessary to first rid oneself of popular notions of perfection that can be misleading. What will follow is suggestions of a new ways to look at what perfection might be.
Why suffering? The notion that all things are perfect may appear incredible to those hearing it for the first time. ďHow can this world be perfect? Have you not seen the injustice, suffering, and death that are part of this world?Ē
The existence of injustice, suffering, and death is not denied by the notion of perfection, but rather is accepted as an integral part of it. In order to comprehend how these things are part of perfection, one must be able to go beyond them to see them as they truly are and their reason for being. Most importantly, one must come to understand why these things exist.
Seeing things are as they truly are is a difficult task for fallen man who consumes himself with the illusion of appearance. Appearances arenít real, although they symbolize what is. Yet, appearance has a purpose, which is to create an illusion in which God can individualize and live out by self-expression and (self) discovery. Suffering is an outcome of this process and misery is a chosen path. This world is a place for God to dwell, that he might express himself in myriad ways, according to his desire. Unknown to carnal man, everything is happening right here in the smallest microcosm of the all.
Hopefully, the idea of how the world is perfect, despite the perceived reality of misery, suffering, and death, will become clearer as this narrative progresses. These are our own creation, all illusions with a purpose that they might be experienced as real so as to give meaning to life. God created the world so that there would be a place to dwell. It can be nothing else but perfect, notwithstanding the appearance of misery, suffering, and death. There is nothing wrong with things as they are right now, that is, except when we say so, since that is a part of the perfection of our being.
A motherís definition of perfection. Perfection in all things is a difficult idea to grasp because of a wide misunderstanding of what perfection means. There is a mistaken tendency to think of perfection as it is defined by worldly notions and earthly values. Perfection is mistakenly viewed in LDS theology as the endpoint of an incremental and progressive growth path similar to how a child grows to teen, then adult. Perfection is thought to be an achievement, the ultimate reward for great effort and endurance in terms of obedience to Godís commands. A perfect being is thought to be one who knows a lot, can do a lot, a great leader, conductor of Godís work, and presiding authority. However, these are narrow perceptions that can be misleading. In understanding what perfection truly means, it may help to first consider perfection in cases where there is a lack of these things. To illustrate this, it may be helpful to consider the idea of a mother and child.
Consider a mother who has just given birth to a child that is healthy and wanted (desired). The mother will look upon this child as perfect, will she not? Can anyone else rightly proclaim that a desired and healthy child is not perfect and the mother is wrong for thinking so? If there is imperfection in a child, then what is it? In truth, there is no imperfection, yet such a child cannot feed, clean, clothe itself, is unable to speak adult language, and is unaware of the world outside of its immediate environment. Omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent are terms associated with Godliness and perfection that would certainly not apply to a newborn child. Yet, the words of perfect or Godly are appropriate for describing such a child.
With the above analogy in mind, it may help to reconsider what else perfection can mean. Perfection can be rightly applied to that which is desired and fills its purpose or that which rightly fills the measure of its creation. Here, readers may want to consider that there are many things in this world that, like a newborn child, rightly fill the measure of their creation and are, therefore, perfect. In reality, it is all things, but if you canít seem to get it at the present time, try to first consider that there are a few things in the world that are perfect. Newer considerations may help to perceive how perfection is in all things.
At a deep level of comprehension, even illusions are perfect. But, how can our illusions be perfect? Well, this has everything to do with our reason for being. Illusion is necessary for our being, even when it appears that things are really messed up. How can that be? To understand how this is so, it may be helpful to look next at an analogy that is illustrated in a Book of Mormon stories about king-men.
We want a king! How an (apparently) imperfect world is perfect can be illustrated in a variety of Book of Mormon stories about the people desiring a(n) (earthly) king. The Book of Mormon has it that Godís counsel us that having an (earthly) king results in suffering (cf. Mosiah 23:7). Despite this counsel, some people want a king anyway. After enough people demand a king enough times, they are given one (cf. Ether 6:22-27). Like the endowment, these stories (parables) are about what is going on here and now in the world about us. Being such, they are parables directly relevant to us, our-story or, as it is mistakenly perceived by those who do not comprehend it: his-story (ie. about someone else). In truth, what is mistaken as his-tory in the scriptures is better understood as a profound metaphor about us in the present time and place.
In the Book of Mormon (his)story, God advises against a king, but when the people desire to have a king, their wishes are granted according to their desire. After having their own desires granted, one of the multitude could rightly run around proclaiming that God said they (the people) should have a king. ďThus saith the Lord: Ye shall have a King!!Ē Such a statement is comical since it is true in fact, but misleading. Having a king was the desire of the people and that is why it (desire) was granted. Incidentally, our deepest desires are always granted, notwithstanding few understand how or why. This is as true now as it always has been, despite the fact that most are oblivious to what is really happening.
Here, a question can be raised about king-men being granted their desires: Would it be right that God now take away their king? The answer is no, otherwise what would be the reason for God granting a king? Is it right for another person among the people to try to force the people free of the king? Well, thatís an interesting question, perhaps answered by asking why one would go against Godís wishes? Should a minority rule over the majority for their own (supposed) good? Some appear to think so. Others might argue that king-men are minority, therefore it is good to force them to live as free-men. And so a war is born, with both sides failing to understand what is happening.
It may be appropriate to now ask if king-men having a(n) earthly king according to their own desires and demands is perfect? In truth, it is perfection, but to understand how it is perfect, one must come to understand why it exists. What is the reason for it? The key to understanding perfection is to ask for what purpose these things exist? In this particular case, a king is the king-menís (perfect) creation.
There is an important purpose for creation. The purpose of creation is not to avoid suffering and gain pleasure, but to experience who we truly are. The suffering that eventually comes from having a king will give the people experience of what it means to re-create themselves in that manner. An experience of what it means is why it exists in the first place. That is why Adam chose to fall into illusion. It was to experience what it (illusion) means.
Here, one needs to remember who Adam is as well as ask who they are and why they are here. Devout LDS are prone to be under a mistaken notion that they already know who they are and why they are here. However, it may help to consider that the popular notions are carnal and sensual interpretations that need to be given up for new understandings. The endowment tells Adam through symbolism that he doesnít understand.
It is important to realize that the endowment parable of is not about what went on in the past, but it is about what is happening right now. Eternity is occurring right now. Eternal life is an ongoing process of great purpose and design. One might say that (Eternal) life is a process of continual be-coming (re-creating oneself). The purpose of life is that God might re-create himself and then know himself through experience of his creations. The world(s) of (apparent) opposition is the medium in which we carry this out. And, itís perfect because it fills the measure of its creation.
Progression is not a long journey
that ends at some far off place nor is perfection something gained by
achievement through effort. Each of us, like children, are
perfect now. We were made perfect, despite our own illusory beliefs
to the contrary. Yet, in being perfect, there is still what is
called (eternal) progression. This can appear paradoxical, but
it will make sense as one understands who we are and why we are here.
Eternal progression is happening right now and it doesnít end. It
is not that there is a reward waiting for us in some far off place as much as it
is that what is happening now is rewarding.
A distant and weak God? In addition to considering the possibility that this (Telestial) world (of Death and Hell), although illusory, is nevertheless perfect, it may help to briefly examine an important concept that underlies notions that many of us profess to hold dear, particularly a (professed) belief in a God who is all-present (omnipresent), all-knowing (omniscient) and all-powerful (omnipotent). At the very least, readers ought to acknowledge that belief in an imperfect world requires non-belief (unbelief) in a God who is caring as well as omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent. This unbelief is the apparent reality of carnal manís illusory world, despite carnal manís tendency to falsely proclaim with his lips that he is a faithful believer.
Many Christian religions tend to view the condition of our world as a result of a War in Heaven in which a rebellious being (Lucifer/Satan) rose up to challenge God. Few seem to question how an omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent God can be challenged at all, much less by someone (symbolized by Lucifer) who represents the opposite of those things, limited, ignorant, and un-powerful. Belief in the traditional notion of a war in heaven not only includes a belief in the (willful or powerless) failure of God to keep things perfect, but also a belief in the power of a rebellious being to make things imperfect.
It may help to re-examine popular interpretations of a War in Heaven as a past event and see it as a parable about the present. The War in Heaven can be profoundly understood as a relevant parable about us, who we are and what we do (now). We should be asking ourselves what role we are playing in the drama (now)?
It may help to first notice the parallels in the story of Lucifer and the story of Adam whom endowment patrons are told to consider as themselves. Church doctrine has it that Lucifer, a formerly illustrious being that Ďrebelledí in regard to a heavenly Ďplaní, is cast out of heaven to the earth. In parallel, Adam rebels against God by eating of the fruit and is thereby cast into the lone and dreary world. It may help to consider that these parables are about the same thing, although different symbols (Lucifer; Adam) are used. The war in heaven and the creation of the world are actually the same story played out redundantly as repeats of a single story: Ours. Unfortunately, carnal man is so infatuated with himself that he falls into the trap of thinking that everything in the endowment that is unflattering must be about someone else and everything that is flattering must be about him. That is a fairly nice description of the character of Lucifer. The real perfection of the endowment can be perceived when we consider that itís all about us rather than someone else. Endowment patrons seem resistant to the idea that Lucifer represents them. Rightly so. If it was otherwise, then its symbols would not be truly reflective.
Endowment patrons are told to consider themselves as Adam and that the story of the Ďman and womaní is Ďfigurativeí (ie. symbolic, metaphorical). Like Adam, each patron in the endowment can be considered as a/the first man. At one level of symbolism, man represents creation or, rather, appearance. One might say that the first being (person) consumed with appearance is Lucifer, even though the first man(infestation) is Adam. These symbols are redundant and profound. But, there is much more than what is usually perceived because we (endowment patrons) are more than the first (being consumed with) appearance (Lucifer) or first man (Adam). If we think we are not Lucifer, but we are Adam, we miss the point because both are synonymous in representation. Rather than look within himself for who he truly is, carnal man will need to stop looking outside of himself and consuming himself with appearances. In reality, we are both the first and the last, notwithstanding we choose (in real time) which of these we will act out. In truth, all is within us, yet reflected outwardly. That too is part of the parable.
Dear reader, if the above paragraph sounds too cryptic and complex for your palate, clear your mind and be at peace. Perhaps you have been thinking too much to begin with. Let it flow from deep within you, just as the waters (metaphorically) flow from beneath the temple. This is understanding that you already have, but have chosen to forget for a wise purpose that you are trying to remember now. When you begin to comprehend what it truly is, you will be amazed at its simplicity as well as depth of accuracy.
You are here now because you have chosen it. Choice and creation are two fundamental principles of endowment symbolism. Michael forgets who he is by choice. Adam eats of the fruit of knowledge (illusion) by choice. You are that person who has chosen to forget who you are, falling into illusion, all for a great purpose that you once comprehended, but forgot so that its purpose would be accomplished. It is all a part of your plan. Your remembrance is a part of it too. And it all has to do with your original purpose and plan which can be understood in the context of what is going on (now) and why. So, what is it that is going on? In a single word, the answer is: Creation. This is part of the fundamental message of the endowment parable.
A mystery to be revealed to students of the endowment is how the world can be perfect as well as illusory. The world in which we live and have our being is full of symbolism that points the way to meaning. The world itself is not meaningful, but it is what was before the world that is. In this, there is a paradox. Man is to find meaning that has always existed through experiencing something that does not exist except as an illusion, counterfeit, manifestation, or creation.
Perfection isnít fatalistic. One of the barriers to comprehending what is happening is getting sidetracked into mistakenly thinking of perfection as fatalistic. ďIf things are perfect now, then what need is there to do anything?Ē Well, perfection does not mean predestination, nor does it mean lack of choice. Comprehending all things as perfect is believing all things and hoping all things. Even illusion has a purpose, which is to provide a means for God to know himself. Fatalism is an anathema to living. Fatalism is an (illusory) opposite to perfection.
Carnal man as a religious zealot lives out his existence in a state of struggle trying to earn salvation and remake what he sees as imperfection into his own image of what is perfection. In truth, heaven cannot be created by improving on hell. Hell is an illusion that will need to be abandoned, not improved upon, nor fought against, since it is an illusion in the first place.
Ultimately, the prideful mind and heart of carnal man is broken by the realization of his continual failure to make heaven out of hell. Although he doesnít realize it at first, his failure lies in the very thing that he is creating. Ultimately, carnal man realizes that the proverbial War in Heaven is his own creation. In trying to destroy it, man serves to strengthen it. In creating a fearful struggle, man experiences the same. In truth, it is truly wonderful, since that is what he (Adam; Michael; God) was about in the first place, recreating himself and then knowing himself by experiencing it.
A problem with emerging from the illusion of knowledge of good and evil is that an apparent lack of a (so-called) good cause (war) to engage oneself can leave a vacuum in which purpose appears non-existence. Carnal man is prone to hang onto carnality rather than offer all of his former dogma in consecration. ďWithout war and struggle, where is purpose?Ē ďIf everything is perfect as it is because others have chosen it, then what reason is there to act?Ē If you are asking these questions, then you might consider that you have yet to consecrate the last of your carnal knowledge.
It is important to realize that creation is an ongoing process rather than a past event. Re-creation is the better term for what is going on. Moreover, it is not so much about others as it is about you, despite the shared experience of creation in the lone and dreary world. Adam mistakenly perceives the world about him as a creation of others like him. In a profound way, it is! But, for what purpose? Itís a grand one, which is so that he will not be alone and will have a place to dwell and express himself. In truth, itís a wonderful place rather than horrible, perfect rather than imperfect, desired rather than not, planned rather than chaotic. The world is changing, dynamic, breathing, a living thing. And you are here, arenít you? Here is a place for you to dwell (forever). Here isnít the world. If you are confusing here with the world, then you donít yet comprehend where you are.
Here, we arrive at one of the greatest mysteries of all. An emergence from the bonds of illusion does not mean a destruction of the outer existence as much as it means a destruction of ones dependence and reliance on it. That being the case, does that mean that one adhere to a fatalistic view and choose to do nothing and leave things as they are? Sure it does if doing (or not doing) that is what one desires to create and experience. Will it be an enjoyable experience or not? Well, that is the mystery. Create it and find out.
In truth, nothing in this world can be left as it is, because the creation is always changing, evolving. To truly comprehend what is going on, one needs to perceive creation as a going-on event. This is part of what the endowment is about. It is about creation and choice, experience and re-creation. Itís a living process that is a foundation of life (eternal).
Falling into the bonds of illusion does not change what is happening, but rather brings the bitter experience of living in a state of yielding up ones agency, or at least the appearance of it. In truth, you have chosen to be here now and experience what you are experiencing now, despite the fact that you may have forgotten (by choice) so that the experience is (appears to be) a real one.
This is life eternal and it
is an ongoing process rather than a future achievement. What
will you do now? You will do what you have been doing all
along. In this, there is a wonderful paradox. You
have no choice in having no choice. Whatever you choose, you
will always be re-creating who you are and then experiencing what that means.
When it is comprehended, you will want to shout about how perfect it is now and
(Re)Creation. Before illusion, there was (only) Go(o)d. Is it good that God be alone? No. Since it is not good that God is alone, a woman (creation) is formed from the side of God. But, how can one create a second when there is only one existing to create it from? The only way is by bringing about a forgetting such that the first does not recall that it is also the second. Notwithstanding there is an appearance of two, there is really only one. Despite the illusion of appearance, itís Go(o)d. Illusion is good because itís for a wise purpose.
The purpose of illusion is to provide a place where (that which was formerly) one can (re) create him-self and discover what that means by experiencing it. That is what we (I) am doing here. Moreover, it is something that is going on, happening in the present moment of time. Itís perfect. How else could it be, since God created it?
It is good that there are infinite possibilities offered in regard to choosing what part of creation one will experience. There is even the possibility of trying to stamp out evil, notwithstanding this choice re-makes one into that which one tries to destroy. There is a beauty in the world of form that can be comprehended only by going beyond it and seeing why it exists in the first place. All things, including form (image; illusion), has a reason for being. If it were not so, they would not exist.
(Apparent) Opposition is a medium in which we can recreate ourselves and discover by first hand experience who we are. Eternal life is going on right now as an ongoing experience of re-creation and re-discovery. You might consider that now is the time that you have chosen to experience discovery that comes from reading this narrative. Now is the time that I have chosen to experience writing it.