In an email from my friend today, she shared that individuals have commented to her that she is coming to be an old lady, a perception fueled by the fact that she prefers to stay close to her home as opposed to traveling. Coincidently, last evening I was talking with my wife Iris about a similar thing.
We have a lovely home in the woods here in Halle, Germany. It is peaceful and charming, surrounded by the woods and, generally I prefer to stay here rather than to go out. I am learning the German language slowly here and I am content to do so. In not speaking the language I don’t find myself drawn into the drama that others are caught up in. When I hear people talking on the bus I can remain outside of that, not knowing what is being said. Of course it has its set backs, one being that I have made limited contact with like-minded others and in general it has delayed me in developing relations here.
These days I live life and do things with more equanimity. Sometimes my wife becomes concerned that it is a passive endeavour but I have the sense that it is something else. My contemplation is that in this modern world of our collective consciousness many people need to affirm themselves in keeping busy and active in many different ways, pursuing, accumulating and identifying with material things. Christian values have definitely been influences on emphasising hard work, material growth, productivity and other Calvinistic behaviours. But this is where human consciousness is at and this is how the world goes round. Our market places function and our economies grow and this is considered to be the norm. The gross domestic product increases and the cycle of supply, demand and consumption is perpetuated at least until we run out of what supplies us and we have destroyed most everything in our path. And in spite of all of our modern, scientific, technical and comprehensive knowledge and religious leadership it seems to be the case that this is what is occurring. What is it that influences us that we can not see and change our destructive ways?
Many think that to live a good life the individual should embrace these values that I have discussed. Do develop ourselves in a way that we are active, busy and that we take maximum advantage of opportunity to grow and utilize what life has to provide for us as humans. It doesn’t sound so bad. Underlying all this there is the sense of dominion that we have over all else that exists on the planet and we are fixated in the notion of what our needs are and how they can be served.
Is it possible that these ways and our notion of self is not necessarily a biologically fixed reality. But that it is more that they are greatly influenced by our conditioning and that they are not necessarily serving us as we think that they are. They might serve more to feed out fears and to distract us from deeper realities that seem not so pleasant for us by todays standards, such that we are finite and that life is finite. The stimulation that we seek and the beliefs that we attach to seem to serve to provide a superficial comfort, in the end distracting us from the reality of a much more insecure world than we want to believe in and that we have insulated ourselves from. In modern times of increased global communications this state of global insecurity is becoming more apparent than ever.
Could it be that this need for distraction and diversion, arise from a misidentification with self, that we have come to require the need for an affirmation of individual life that we have created. At all costs we seek that affirmation even to the point that we deny the reality that the way we have chosen is a nebulous, destructive and an alienating one for us as individuals and in turn for the planet.
As I awaken to this realisation and turn to a more authentic sense of self and unfolding from that, seeing the disadvantage of endless will full effort to shape what I am and how I live my life, I see that there already is life, passion and heart, inherently in everything that exists. My wilful energy just seems to disrupt all that is already thriving. Emerging out of my dream of self I see that nothing is separate. I come to reconnect to and live through that interconnection despite the influence around me that entices me into a more conventional understanding of what happiness is and how it should be pursued. I don’t seem to experience conventional emotions; joy and sadness as I once did in my individual pursuit of success and happiness. But behind the equanimity there is passion, albeit another quality of passion that has been reborn. It is passion that one is led by rather than it being pursued. And it arises in being; living in a way that is authentic; true to my nature seeing directly the influence of past ways of fear, doubt and paying attention to more external claims to knowing what is best. In general it doesn’t arise without the ability to slow oneself down, so that one can be present to what is arising and what is an obstruction to seeing in an authentic way. It is far from being passive.