What we are is a mystery. It is coming to live from this place: from this realisation that we live fully. Humankind has benefited from the adaptive ability to highly refine selective perception and it has had great benefits in terms of survival of the human species. But in this process of coming to rely on this evolved perception there has been a down side in that we become veiled from what we are. Reliance on this selective consciousness takes away from a greater awareness of the whole and acceptance of our place in it. The whole can not be known through this process as the authentic nature of the self can not be.
For me the path to waking from this dilemma has been one of coming to rely on a knowing of a different kind that can not so easily be rationally supported. Up until now my life has been a process of becoming trained and conditioned. I have been coached and influenced to look for expertise and wisdom outside of myself and this has become habit. There is and always has been an expert ready to assume that role for most everything in our modern world. And what do they really know. What they claim to know is constantly changing depending on what color of glasses they are seeing from. believing that the world and all in it can be known in this way has contributed greatly to the confusion regarding who I am. More than anything it has detoured me from my own exploration and in finding a more authentic way of seeing and understanding that comes as a result of my own direct experience and relationship with life.
A more direct seeing has emerged from the veil for me and it involves embracing a more realistic notion and acceptance of the imperfection that I am and of what human kind and life is. In our striving for survival; for perfection, to be something, we can miss this, not realising that in our origins there exists already a kind of perfection. We have been gifted with a very mysterious creative ability that is part of our nature and blossoms and contributes to our unfolding when fueled by a living that is unseparated from this nature. It is magically filled with unimaginable potential. Striving for perfection only separates us from this as striving to be something that we are not only separates us from what we are. Our efforts to understand from a place of our evolved selective consciousness are not a problem if we can realize that they are symbolic and abstract in their capacity. If we want a more absolute, direct and authentic experience we need only to let go and flow with the mystery that we are.
I found Boyhood to be a wonderful movie. It had a rating of 8.9 on the IMDB website data base which is a viewers rating. I read a number of reviews and found them to be over analytical and irrelevant missing the point. It is a long movie and It seems best to just be present to it beyond intelectual effort to understand. There are aspects of the movie that can not be understood through words or analysis.
The movie is filmed over a sevan year period and uses the same actors over that time. The main character a young boy named Mason, begins the movie at 7 years of age, with his estranged family and ends as he enters college as an artist (love for photography) What he experiences reflects the challenges that a child might experience in their journey of becoming something in a human created adult world and on the other hand what they have to deal with if they are aware enough to want to retain the mystery and larger ineffable connection that is at the heart of our existence. There are a number of individuals in the movie who have lost that connection and there are a number who have sought to consciously rediscover and maintain it as part of their life. It is a very real movie in its expression of this duality in living. Mason ends the movie after he has hiked up to a mountain top in the American south with some new young friends and he shares with the young woman the wonder that is involved in being present. They both acknowledge this by saying to each other” grasp the moment”.
When we turn to spirituality, we may think that we’re leaving the corruption of the world behind. But our old ways of thinking do not disappear; they follow us, coloring the way we approach spiritual practice. Since we have all been raised to be good consumers—getting the most while paying the least—as dharma students and teachers we carry our consumer mentality right into our spiritual practice.
—Bhikshuni Thubten Chodron, “Shopping the
My life seems to be about change. The most recent change is a move we have made into a wonderful new home in the Heide, which means pine forest, in Dolaou Germany. It reminds me of my home, for two years, in Dharan Nepal, located in the foot hills of the Himalayan Mountains. It is probably more about how the natural environments around me affect how I feel. My Nepal home was a very soothing place away from the hustle and bustle of modern life as is my new home. I am surrounded here by forest and bird song that is so inspirational for painting, meditating and contemplating. But everything has an end and already in talking with my wife last evening I realize that life changes quickly for her and I and we could be located somewhere else within a year or two.
Having all this adventure and change has caused me some discomfort with the realization that I have been grieving losses that have been a consequence of these changes. This is the cycle of birth and death it seems. People who have been an important part of my life change as I do. There is a part of me that does not want this but at the same time I think that it is important to be authentic about our experience and expression of it and we must live with what we are. People find there way in different ways.
A change that has been most profound for me is the recent coming to a deeper awareness and experience of the personality being distinct from being. I have always thought ideally that the personality could be perfected through meditation and spiritual practice. This has been my hope however unconscious it may have been over the years. In general I understand that the problem is not that the personality or ego is something that we must eliminate but that through our conditioning and ignorance of what it is we have been cut off from our being , our nature, our origins or whatever else you might refer to it as. It is something of ourselves that is fundamental to a deeper awareness of what we are that we have been disconnected from. We have come to believe in the concrete construction of a self identity that is largely influenced by symbolism and concept.
There is a part of me that has not wanted anything to do with the personality that I have come to have. I have not liked what I have become and I have wanted to change it so very badly. This is what has in the first place brought me to Buddhism. Only now at sixty years of age I am I coming to see and accept my conditioned self and to see that it is not me.This is a reality of the personality, that it never is the authentic self. Through awareness I have come to experience a break through to what I truly am. Transcendence comes from this realization. I am not always in this place of transcendence but it is something that once experienced has a lasting affect. I will always need my personality to negotiate the world but perhaps now I can relate to it as something of a tool as opposed to something that is me. And perhaps this realization will influence the personality in a way that is more authentic expression of being.
Last week I moved into a new home in Halle in east Germany. It is located a t the edge of a village and within a very forested area. Today Iris and I watched a pair of woodpeckers in their routine and a hawk scanning and plotting his next move from the tree tops, things that we were never able to see in the our city location. Our neighboirs also told us of stories of seeing deer regualrly and the occassional siteing of a boar.
Living in nature has the ability to bring one back to a more natural way. In the civilized world we have become hypnotized by systems of symbolism. It’s hard for many to distinguish what is real and what is symbol these days. I don’t think that simply moving to the country automatically wakes one up to the more intense vibrations of the real world although it can be a conduit for that to occur. It has to be more that somehow we become de-hypnotized to the degree that we let go of the conditioning that has contributed to it.
Why is it that we have to rediscover this esoteric experience if we are to live a more real and whole life? Is it possibly because this ultimate truth of life is so subtle to the point that it transcends our thinking about it. We must be able to distinguish a place of being from that of thinking that has become our habitual way if we are to have a more whole experience in life.