BY URVIL JAMES VILLARUEL
Feb. 7, 2016, Toronto, ON - Mario. Iconic Nintendo mascot and savior of Princess Peach. He can traverse through tunnels, waterways, sky fortresses and ghost towers. But, who is Mario, really? To Mario, he is the be-all end-all of his own experience. He walks rightward, simply because he believes it is the right thing to do. He saves the Princess and defeats Bowser because that is his calling -- his self-identification. That is who he is.
Now, zoom out of the video game entirely. Who is Mario, then? I turn on the game, there he is. I turn off the game, there he goes. But to him, he is all that matters. To him, he is real. I push right, he goes right. I push up, he goes up. I choose to save Princess Peach, he will go and save Princess Peach for as many times as I tell him is necessary. Yet, to him, only he is real.
The thing about life, death, ourselves -- what we say and think we are -- is that it is all an illusion. Like Mario, to see past who we think we are into what we really are is the true gift. However, just like Mario, there will always be a wall in the way. An obstacle that we call the "mind". We can’t necessarily see the conductor, but we know that it is there (when we sit quiet just long enough to realize it). Not ruled by the superficiality -- the thoughts, the feelings, the narratives that we tell ourselves and get told -- true freedom; that is the real us. An understanding of what we are, only when we come to know that the “I am” is just another narrative in our own way. We are space, we are the silence.
So, be like Mario. Enjoy the video game of life. But, unlike Mario, just know that beyond you is something more infinite, more subtle; completely indescribable in-mind because it resides in no-mind. That is where you really exist. In this moment. When the you that you see truly disappears.
Ultimately, life and death are like video games. You come in, you come out, and you think it’s all about you until you realize that everything you see also sees itself as you. Non-separation in its apparent separation. How can Mario “leave” a game that he has always and will forever be a part of? Impossible.