There is a story about a man trapped on the roof of his house due to flood waters that had risen nearly up to the eaves, and were still rising. He was a devout man, and when two other men came near in a boat offering to save him, he declined, saying, “No thanks, the Lord is going to save me.” So the men rowed on.

Next a helicopter flew overhead, and someone called down did he wish to be rescued? Again he declined, saying “I’m waiting for the Lord to save me.” His idea was that some being of light—Jesus himself in all probability—would emerge from a cloud, take his hand, and lead him to safety in some distant country where strife was unknown.

Finally, as the waters were rising toward the peak of his roof, an empty rubber raft floated by. He eyed it for a moment, but then turned his gaze upward again, waiting for the cloud and the light. Unfortunately for the man, the waters continued to rise, he was swept off the roof, and he drowned in the dark, roiling waters.

At the gates of Heaven, he demanded of St. Peter, “Why didn’t the Lord come and save me?’

St. Peter replied, “The Lord came to you three times. First He sent a boat with two men that could have saved you. Next, He sent a helicopter. Finally, He sent a large raft you could have leapt in and floated to safety. So instead of admitting you to Heaven, We’re sending you back. Do better next time.”

Perhaps you’ve heard this story before, and gotten a chuckle from it. It’s an old story, but there’s a new version that goes like this.

The Bus Stop

There was a man living in the modern world who had thrown in with a group of others who believed that aliens from another dimension were soon going to cause an Event that would Change the World for the better. Or maybe this Event was unavoidable, and the aliens could and would save them. Either way, this Event was going to happen Real Soon Now. It was going to change the consciousness of everyone, and some people would be ready for it and would go onward and upward to a Better Place, but other, not so well prepared, would be left behind. Instead of Haves and Have-Nots, there were going to be Bes and Be-Nots.

Now this man and his new friends knew that they were well-prepared for this kind of Event, because they’d all heard about it and were expecting it Any Moment. So they patiently waited for it, expecting it, because there had been Signs that meant, to them, this Event was imminent. Or they had heard stories about such Signs.

They were all, so to speak, waiting at the bus stop for the ascension bus to arrive and take them away just before this Event. Or that the aliens were just going to give them whatever they needed to get through the Event safely and move to a higher level of being –just like that!

Now one morning this man heard about a lecture that was going to be given by a famous teacher that evening in his city. He’d heard, though, that she—this teacher was a woman—demanded a lot from those who became her students, and that put him off. Besides, his own group of friends were meeting again that same evening, and he had decided months before that he was going to put in with them, and wait for the Event. No work was required. Only sitting on the bench at the bus stop.

The Ascension Bus to the Big Rock Candy Mountain

I could extend this story with additional suggestive encounters this man had, but perhaps you see how this story is going to end. There was no Event. No ascension bus ever came. Eventually the man and all his friends died, waiting at the bus stop. The moral of this story, of course, is about the balance between Inner and Outer. He had let himself be swayed by the easy path. Salvation, rapture, deliverance—whatever name you gave it—came from Outside. He had come to believe that there were Good-Guy aliens who lived in a place of peace and safety. One old name for this place, back in the Depression years of the last century, was The Big Rock Candy Mountain. There were lemonade springs, and the bluebirds would sing all day long. It was a land of hope, and the bus to it was getting closer all the time.

That bus still hasn’t come.

Even so, that bus stop is crowded these days. Lots of people are waiting for spaceship-busses to swoop down and save them. They are all looking down the road, or up in the sky, hoping to see that bus. They know it has to be Out There somewhere. They pity those who aren’t also waiting for the same bus, but those people are in the Out Group. There is always an In Group and an Out Group in these sorts of things. Believing in these aliens, they thought, automatically put them in the In Group. It’s a status thing; it’s something that gives a sense of belonging and hope. It’s something that sets them apart from their own pains and cares, this hope.

But it’s a false and futile hope. It’s the kind of hope that convinces Charlie Brown to let Lucy hold the football for him, again and again.

Omnibus Stops

Of course, there are other kinds of bus stops, lots of them. There are political bus stops, where your candidate is going the Put Things Right, and your life will be immensely better. Those bus stops have been around for an awfully long time, but if a bus ever comes, it’s so small, only a very few ever get on board.

Then there are religious bus stops. At a lot of these, everyone knows the bus isn’t coming until they die, but that seems to be okay with them. There is comfort in numbers, there are plenty of benches—often in rows—and surely there will be enough busses for everyone. Certain people seemed to have promised this a very long time ago.

But no busses yet. Not one.

Vehicle Construction

Let’s imagine, though, that you’re the kind of person who isn’t content to just wait for a bus. Or maybe you have gotten tired of waiting. You have heard there are ways to create your own transportation—take things into your own hands. It takes some work, you understand, and you’ll have to practice new skills, perhaps expose yourself to new ideas and techniques. And then you find there are special teachers available who can teach you this new stuff, and show you how to build vehicles that move down the road better and faster than any bus ever could.

Also, you discover there are other people already busy building their own vehicles, and they are willing to help you build yours. They have maps and diagrams, symbols and stories that they’re willing to share with you. Tools and techniques. But it’s going to mean work. Work on yourself, because maybe there will be busses for the other folks, but maybe there won’t be any busses.

Maybe there aren’t any busses. Never were. All there were, were stories about busses that just amounted to the opinions other people had about busses and bus schedules. Maybe you finally got tired of opinions, and you wanted to know for yourself. Maybe you found out this was a real possibility, and it sure beat reading bus schedules.

Courage

But the thing is, this place—our world—is a rotten place for many people. Some of these people have heard about these iffy busses, but their pain, discouragement and disillusionment have become so great in their lives that the bus idea sounds a lot better than the drug idea, or the shopping idea, or the constant distraction and entertainment ideas—certainly better than the crime idea.

Besides there are those benches, and other people who want to go the same place you do. Out. Away from it all. If there’s a Big Rock Candy Mountain, how do I get to the top? I’ll even settle for the foothills.

In our complicated world, there are no certainties. Or if there appears to be one, it’s soon pushed aside for Version 2.0, which is definitely better than the old one. I’m reminded of the occasional cult leader who predicts Doomsday on, say, June 16. When the peaceful Sun goes down on that day, he releases a statement that, “Oh, sorry. I miscalculated. It’s really going to be December 4.” The faithful stay at his bus stop; maybe a few drift away.

New Age Luggage

The bus stop folks have luggage that’s full of all kinds of stuff. I know, because I had the same baggage back in the day, and it’s jam-packed. Let’s see, in it are aliens—lots of aliens, and they had Motherships—big ones. Also in the kit were Opinions, Promises and Predictions. Some of my favorites were the Platitudes and Glittering Generalities.

There were dead people, too, but that was okay, because certain other people said they could talk to the dead people. Elvis is probably dead, but some said he Might Not Be. Then there were all the conspiracy theories. JFK, Area 51, the faked Moon mission, 9/11 truthers, false flag attacks, reptilians, and more dimensions than you could swizzle a stick at.

Now all these theories have some truth to them (except Elvis—sorry), but I finally realized that all these things were merely distractions. Distractions from what? From looking inside.

Here’s a story the Sufis tell about this.

Where to Look

A man was down on his hands and knees in the gutter in front of his house. A friend came by and asked what he was doing.

“I’m looking for something.,” the man said.

“Well where did you lose it?”

“Inside my house.”

“Well why,” asked the friend incredulously, “Are you looking for it out here?”

“Because the light’s better.”

Ah. It’s easier to sit on a bench at a bus stop where you can see something, than it is to take a far more risky trip down into inner darkness where all kinds of scary stuff is probably lurking. Besides, that’s a trip you gotta take alone, and at least at the bus stop, there are lots of other kindred souls.

I have a friend with whom I like to argue concepts in foundational physics. Simple-seeming stuff, really, like what’s an electron, why and how does gravity work, what’s mass—questions like that, for which physics has no answers (noting that a description isn’t an explanation!). Now he’s a professional physicist, and I’m just a hacker (although a determined and knowledgeable one). But he once told me physicists believe the Standard Models of things because most other physicists do too.

Aren’t we all like this? We believe all sorts of things just because other people do. Who are these others? Our parents, for openers. Our teachers, secular and religious. Doctors. Our bosses (well, we act like we believe them). The media—remember: repetitive advertising is propaganda. Our peers in the bar, around the water cooler, at the spa, at the stadium, on the soccer field sidelines. We agree to get along and to belong. This often comes at a price, but loneliness is a greater one.

Better Guides

To stretch the analogy a bit further, you can build your own bus, and learn how to drive it. In fact, there is a “bus builders” organization with qualified instructors that has a chapter near you. Okay, it’s inside you. You may not know much about it anymore, although you did when you were a kid.

All right, wise guy. So show me!

Well, I can give you a map and some guidelines, but truthfully, you’ll have to find these helpers yourself. In fact, nobody can get you in touch with them except yourself. They’re quite willing; after all, that’s what they’re here for. It’s sort of like Dad helping you learn to ride a bike the first time, except there’s a little bicycle construction project first. You’ll be shaky the first time or two, but after that, you’ll be fine.

Are you following my metaphor? The only way to reach the higher realms of human existence and consciousness is an inner path. You have to take this journey by yourself, but there are guides for you, ready and able to assist you.

No one can take it for you. No one can “bless” you somehow, and say they will take it or have taken it for you. No “alien” can give you a free pass. Nor is there any “bus stop” waiting place. Spiritual advancement is always an active path, never a passive one.

How to Get Started

It’s all very simple, really, but here’s a shortcut. Inner peace, first, then inner stillness.

That’s all. Achieve this and you’ll find your guides. They’ll help you from there.

Now all this is not to say we can’t help each other. In fact, helping each other is a requirement, for this is a journey that can’t be completed alone. My own guides have been busy for a long time now, showing me how to assist other people who want some help with this quest.

I mentioned there’s a map. Here’s a link to it. The map on my sister site, The Fool’s Journey, where you can find a lot more information about it.

There’s a description of the necessary journey at The Fool’s Journey website.

By the way, there are different, valid spiritual journeys. They have different terminology, but if you look at them closely, they’re all pretty similar. None of them have aliens or spaceships, however. None of them ask you to believe anything you can’t prove for yourself—first hand.

They all require real work on our parts however, but they all begin—every one of them—with Peace, Be Still.

So get up off the bench. Start a journey. Be your own Mothership.