What is a vow? What does it mean to make or take a vow? A vow is a promise, a pledge to dedicate oneself to something. Given that, how can we say that a vow is a choiceless choice? Did I, myself, not make a decision in the moment after my big enchilada experience that I later realized wasn’t a choice? How can this be?
It can be because what I did—and what bodhisattvas do—was go through the motions of making a choice. Why? Because that is the world I was back in. “Coming back to normal” means coming back to the dynamics of time and separation. The dynamics of the physical, of the body. Heart/brain dynamics. Choicelessness filtered through the organism that processes choices.
Think of it this way: the human body has animal impulses, instincts, and drives. You are those and you are more than those. Your psychology, if unbroken, transcends and includes them. You decide when to unleash and when to hold back. You make decisions. And that you who makes decisions—who lives in choice-filled awareness–is transcended and included by one who is choicelessly aware. That one is love. And that love now informs choices with compassion.
Being back into world of choice as she is, such a person may ignore all of this. It takes a lot of work and it sucks, but trust me… you can get right back to being an ass-clown. You cannot unknow what you know or unfeel what you feel, but you can block it out to an extent and treat yourself to a bit of hell. You can, in fact, become something of a trickster if you’re not mindful.
It is from experience that I tell you it’s better, far better, to stick with the vowless vow. Let me fake team for the one—take one for the team, I mean. You go be happy or we’ll see ya next essay and the next and the next.
Oh, but before you go, bring this with you. It’s a bit of knowledge to keep in your back pocket should the big enchilada experience become you, too. Let us put a question to the question that becomes you at the precise moment the experience ends. Let us see if we can’t evolve ourselves right now to that question having a new implicit answer.
Had I thought through the question that was me at that precise moment, I would have come to the conclusion that it is possible to be impersonal Spirit and remain me at the same time. In fact, that’s exactly what the big enchilada experience illustrates. Impersonal Spirit transcends and includes, not excludes, the personal. Instead of Normal 2.0 we could live on the stage of Normal Infinity, for Spirit is being all things at once and one of those things is me.
Perhaps this Truth that cannot take root in the world unless such a one goes through the motions of the choiceless choice, ponders it, has this epiphany, and shares it. Perhaps I am a sacrificial guinea pig for those who read this, retain it, and bring it into their post-big-enchilada moment. Perhaps the new reflexive, non-egoic answer that becomes one is, “I choose this because this transcends and includes that, so I will also be that.”
Perhaps I am not a bodhisattva because I too much enjoy the sound of one hand clapping my back.