The Wheel of Samsara is the eternal round of transmigration through six realms: the muggle (human) realm, the diva (heaven) realm, the muppet (titan) realm, the addict (hungry ghost) realm, the victim (animal) realm and the demon (hell) realm. We experience the muggle and muppet realms as “Earth”, the addict and victim realms as somewhere between “Earth” and “Hell” (call it “Purgatory”), the demon realm as “Hell” and the diva realm as “Heaven”:
We experience the diva realm as “Heaven” but it is a fool’s paradise, a pseudo heaven. It doesn’t last and is characterised purely by pleasure, fame, fortune, power and influence, purely “worldly” goods. It leads to ego inflation, which inevitably sets the diva up for a fall, the greatest fall epitomised by the fall of Lucifer, who fell straight from Heaven to Hell.
Up to a certain point, the mugglish aspiration to reach the worldly heaven of the diva realm does in fact exercise the virtues and so does overlap with genuine spiritual development. This is because to get anywhere in the world, it is necessary to bring the lower impulses of the addict, victim and demon under strict control. You’ll never make it to the top if you’re constantly swayed and derailed by Greed, Fear and Hatred. You will also need to keep your muppet in check so that it doesn’t sabotage you on ideological grounds.
Psychotherapy is good for liberating you from the self-defeating demands of the addict, demon, victim and muppet. Life Coaching is good for helping you up the muggle ladder. But even if you do make it to the top, the diva realm will never fully satisfy you. You may even fall down to a lower level out of sheer boredom.
There is no ultimate satisfaction on the Wheel of Samsara. There is no salvation. There is no deliverance. There is only the eternal return of the same. As the Buddha taught, the only escape involves stepping off the Wheel altogether. He called this realm beyond the six realms “Nirvana”, which roughly translates as “cessation”. Nirvana is reality as it is experienced beyond the round of Samsara, reality as it is experienced once you have stopped being a muggle, muppet, addict, victim, demon or diva.
“Cessation” or “stopping” requires “kenosis” or “self-emptying”, “mu-shin” or “no-mind”. It requires stopping the incessant chatter of your “monkey mind” and stopping the incessant itch of your “ants” (anxious negative thoughts). It requires falling still and letting go. It basically requires meditation, “Dhyana Yoga” (“Ch’an” or “Zen”).
The bridge from the Wheel of Samsara to Nirvana can therefore only be crossed by the Mystic. Through meditation, the Mystic transcends the limits of the Samsaric world and enters a new world, a new dispensation, a new covenant, a new existence. Then, from the Mystic realm of Dhyana Yoga, she passes to the Shamanic world of Kundalini Yoga, the Warrior realm of Karma Yoga, the Monk realm of Bhakti Yoga, the Philosopher realm of Jnana Yoga and the Kingly realm of Raja Yoga.
These six Yogas constitute the Orthodox Cross:
Practice of the Yogas, separately and together, makes you stronger. It strengthens your body, heart, mind and soul. In truth, physical health, emotional health, mental health and spiritual health all require work (yoga) and the development of moral fibre and strength of character. This is the essential point, the key to unlock the prison of Samsara. It’s not just about being meek and mild, kind and considerate. It’s not about being weak. Nietzsche understood this, but few understood him.
The stronger you are, the easier it is to resist the lure of the Wheel of Samsara. It is spiritual weakness that makes us fall into the self-defeating patterns of the victim (“Be afraid. Be very afraid!”) and of the addict (“Go on. Just one more!”) and of the demon (“F*** you. I f***ing hate you!”) It is spiritual weakness that makes us fall for the complacency of the muggle, the self righteousness of the muppet and the arrogance of the diva (“I’m normal! I’m right! I’m the best!”)
It takes spiritual effort and persistence. For escape from Samsara is not a once and for all event. You will find yourself back on the Wheel over and over again. So just keep escaping. Keep escaping until there is no more Samsara and no more Nirvana, but only Satchitananda (“Being-Consciousness-Bliss”) in all worlds and in all directions. Don’t give up! There is nothing to compare in Earth or Heaven.