Understanding the difference between a wannabe and the genuine article, you might rightly ask, “But what of the genuine bodhisattva himself? Is there even such a thing?” (Or herself. Or hermself—shall we combine the two? Okay, maybe not.)
Speaking from experience, I can tell you that after the big enchilada experience to end all big enchilada experiences of seeing and being Spirit exploding nothingness into everything and riding as a wind of joy through its delightful forms, while simultaneously being the individuality of those forms, I came back into my time-bound personal shell of an identity and was immediately confronted with a decision: to live on that stage as that fully awake Spirit or to remain me. This was an unspoken offer. I would say it was un-intuited, too. The question simply was. Rather, I simply was that question. Was that question for all of about a second because the question had an immediate answer, which was, “I must come back to ‘normal’ and write about all of this, share it with the world, and liberate anyone who so connects with my voice that it actually affects them.” In other words, I knew I had to hold out my arm and point at the moon and I didn’t know if I could do it as impersonal Spirit, who seems kinda busy being all things at once. I had to be me, I thought, which, now that I look at it, might be the ultimate narcissism.
If this rejection of heaven for hell sounds antithetical to what you believe you’d do, that’s only because you’re living on the hypothetical side of the very real question. On the hypothetical side, you might exclaim, “Oh, man! If I had that choice, I’d say, ‘Screw everyone! I’m out!’” This is the same way those who have never experienced a so-called “alien abduction” wish they could have that happen to them so they could ask to fly the ship. Fantasy has zero relation to reality. You only fantasize the option.
The bodhisattva vow is the same illusion of choice. There is no choice. There is no saying, “Sure, I’ll take enlightenment,” because that isn’t enlightenment. That’s a fraction of it—your fraction. Once we introduce a fraction we’re out of oneness and back into multiplicity. One wakes oneself up or not at all. Unfortunately, that means the impossible task of waking oneself up in the billions of bodies asleep and counting. So that’s what you do.
Of course none of this hits you in such fine detail when you are in the midst of the question: Will you be this or that? You don’t think, ‘Well, this is that, so if that is identifying itself differently than this, then I need to stick with that until the world of thats wakes up to this or else I am not fully awoken to this.’ The tongue-twister is not selfish, mind you. Waking others to wake oneself is about this waking up to this and this and forever this, or else we have a cancer on our hands. Screw that.
No, the implicit details get articulated later. And poorly. Like above, for instance.
All of this is to say that the bodhisattva vow is not a choice, it is you. The question itself is you. The question contains the answer. It transcends and includes the answer. “Wanna go back to normal or become this enlightened being?” Well, there is no going back to normal. It’s the new normal. Normality 2.0. You’re not living from the point of view of Source, but you’re no longer blind to it, imagining things about it, confused by it, fearful of it, and wrapping that stank gift in a lovely bow of belief or disbelief.
You are this and that and you know it. THAT is transcended and included in THIS. No worries. Now get back to the world of worries, where you may just fall back asleep again if you’re not mindful.
The bodhisattva vow, you see, is what is known as a choiceless choice. Therefore, one cannot aspire to be a bodhisattva. Why do so many espouse otherwise? Perhaps it is time to examine the word creating all this confusion. That word is vow.