I am not optimistic about the future of the planet and human decision making. I even have doubts about human potential to change. But I have to be honest with myself and what I am aware of in the present. That is that the planet and all beings that live on and within it have entered a state of crisis. Maybe the planet can survive the catastrophic consequences of human decision making, over the last twenty thousand years, that have resulted in the accumulation of so many environmental and humanistic catastrophes.
I accept all this; that it could be no other way. I am not really that fearful about it all. Its not me,at sixty years of age, that it will be most affected by it. But I think that it could be different, if, as a species we were to become aware of the limitations of our way of thinking and the connected experience of being that we have brought and continue to bring. And. if, in becoming aware we were to change the way we live on the planet and relate to the planet, each other and other beings things could be different. There are those who are bringing awareness but there is no where near the kind of awareness needed to turn things around.
Human lives have become so overly structured; to the point that change does not come easy. It is the reality that we have created and have come to live by. In general our cultural and social conditioning has a lot to do with preparing our children to function within and to assume those structures; the consequence being that we have become habitual in that. We have forgotten what it means to be free and authentic. What is expected of us, and what we are expected to be, does not leave much space for honest reflection or truly creative choices. It is always possible that we can come to realize that there is something of us that is more fundamental and genius, as Thoreau suggests, than what we might have come to be; and that in seeing this possibility, we might step out from our prescribed and conventional ways. How and where we have been raised and taught to perceive life and ourselves is always an aspect of how we will negotiate the world but it need not be the dominant influence in defining who we are and how we should live.
Thoreau writes; ” Little is to be expected of that day, if it can be called a day, to which we are not awakened by our Genius, but by the mechanical nudging of some servitor, are not awakened by our own newly acquired force and aspirations from within, accompanied by the undulations of celestial music, instead of factory bells, and a fragrance filling the air—to a higher life than we fell asleep from; and thus the darkness bear its fruit, and prove itself to be good, no less than the light. That man who does not believe that each day contains an earlier, more sacred, and auroral hour than he has yet profaned, has despaired of life, and is pursuing a descending and darkening way.”
It has been said that if our intent is to engage others in discussion regarding change, it is best not to be confrontive, directive or suggestive as it might initiate a reaction against that change that is being suggested or proposed. The days are past that I simply give to others what they want to hear at the expense of my own understanding. For me human conditioning has been the normative way of raising our children, and to those of us who have not questioned their conditioning, there is always a risk that what is said by another might contradict that conditioning, ones structured way of understanding life or what one has become. The likelihood of a defensive reaction is always a possibility when we confront our static ways and perceptions.
I have moved on from feeling a sense of responsibility that I should first assess where individuals might be in terms of their unfolding and openness. Who am I to do that. On the other hand it does not take much to realize when another is entering dialogue with an open mind, or not, and my intent is not to stimulate the opening of other minds. It is more to express and carry myself in truth as I perceive it to be and as it unfolds in my own consciousness. For me that is something; that is not static but is dynamic and unfolding. If others wish to engage in exploration of life, intimate sharing and open dialogue than this is what I am most interested in and if not than the conversation will be superficial and brief; the relationship will reflect that.
I will always honour and respect the individual and their perceptions but I have no need to indulge in discussion if there way of being is rigid and resistant to new experiences. The individuals security and comfort are important issues to consider but for me not to the extent that it causes the mind to be closed. I cant help but see that if the mind is closed it is not as it was meant to be. It is obvious that in such cases it is a misguided perception that one has come to hold, that the world should be one way or another. Who are we to know this?
What is real of us might lay so deeply covered over and not so readily accessible ; often requiring being stimulated in a way that we might come to pay greater attention to it. I’ve always felt a sense of being stifled when my life becomes overly structured. It’s as if an alarm goes off, whenever I have forgotten myself and I always seem to realize that it is time to find space where I can listen more deeply to who and what I am. At one point I did not attend to it. I questioned my normality and turned to therapy and other mind altering influences for resolve. I never really understood it fully but in my sixties it has become much clearer. The search to find open space is an important part of finding my way back to something more real when I am adrift, caught up in life superficiality. I often looked to nature for this and still do and when it’s not readily available I have meditation and walking.
To follow in a way that perpetuates what we and our world have become is not the only choice that we have. New ways are in fact, desperately required if humanity is to survive. That is the beauty and wonder of being human; that we can perceive and pursue existence in different and diverse ways. Coming to understand and experience directly the flexibility and creative nature of our thinking and being, can enable us to realize that most of the conflict, dispute and ways of being stuck in the world involves individuals imposing their fixed notions of reality on others. To arrive at the realization that there is more to life than this fixed idea of “self” and that the acquired “self” is in fact a relative creation of numerous external influences is a life changing insight. A more universal and vast understanding and experience can open us up to endless possibilities. It can come from restoring the influence of our nature and the essence of what we are rather than what we have become.
“Then there is the odd privilege of existence as a coherent self, the ability to speak the word ‘I’ and mean by a richly individual history of experience, perception, and thought. For the religious, the sense of the soul may have as a final redoubt, not as argument but as experience, the haunting I who wakes us in the night wondering where time has gone, the I we waken to, sharply aware that we have been unfaithful to ourselves, that a life lived otherwise would have acknowledged a yearning more our own than any of the daily motives whose behests we answer to so diligently. Our religious traditions give us as the name of God two deeply mysterious words, one deeply mysterious utterance: I AM. Putting to one side the question of their meaning as the name of and character by which the God of Moses would be known, these are words any human being can say about herself, and does say, though always with a modifier of some kind. I am hungry, I am comfortable, I am a singer, I am a cook. The abrupt descent into particularity in every statement of this kind, Being itself made an auxiliary to some momentary accident of being, may only startle in the dark of night, when the intuition comes that there is no proportion between the great given of existence and the narrow vessel of circumstance into which it is inevitably forced. ‘I am Ozymandias, king of kings. Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair.’”
(Marilynne Robinson, Absence of Mind, pgs 110-111)
I love the truth; I like to discover the truth but what I ultimately wish for is “to be”. Blogging has allowed me the opportunity to openly express and reveal my most intimate insights and realizations. I understand that one´s insights are relative to that unfolding. The soul is in an ongoing state of unfolding and however it is blocked and or open to this, will affect what is ultimately realized and in turn expressed.
It is not that I am eager to share my knowledge. The assumption that I have knowledge to share would be a highly questionable assertion. It is more that I am taking the opportunity to be what I am, and where I am at, in the understanding that in pursuit of the truth one must be authentic if one is hopeful that a free and creative unfoldment will occur.
A H Almaas suggests that the action of true nature is self-revelation. In agreement with this I turn to inquiry as a method to emulate what true nature does. It is a very human way and hopeful attempt to encourage a soulful self-revelation.
Almaas also writes that “the possibilities of creativity and depth in our soul are unlimited. And the agent of this creativity is the dynamism of our true nature. Inquiry is the ultimate aesthetic creativity; what is being created is life itself. As we move closer to the original nature of our experience, that experience opens up and reveals the beauty of all things.”
And it seems to me that the more inquiry and in turn the unfoldment of our understanding is allowed, the more we appreciate that revelation and as well the meaningfulness, precision and beauty of all things.
Iris and are back in Germany, from our trip to Myanmar and Sri Lanka. I am readjusting again to the changes. It seems that life is about constantly adjusting; or maybe its an unfolding, or a combination. The actual analysis and description is not the experience and in fact it can interfere with the direct experience if we try to understand it in terms of the concepts. These days I think that it is that I am more aware of what I directly experience than I once was. I see differently than I once did; in a more intimate way, how things change and are affected by other things and how i relate to it and what my experience of it is and I make an effort to express that directly in my own way.
I have been very aware these days of how there is, something of me, that gets in the way of an authentic unfolding of consciousness. That part of me wants things its own way, or how it has learned to see; not understanding how to experience being vulnerable or anything unpleasant or unfamiliar. I am not so sure that I was born this way. The traditional practice of making our children’s into something, is a conditioned belief and influence that takes us away from authentic experience. It seems to provide us with some relief from the sense of vulnerability, that is something of our essence. We grasp on to the belief that we can become something better; not having to experience the fragility of truth. In the end it serves to cover over and does not eliminate the sense of limitation that is part of our consciousness. Perhaps it has been a necessary part of survival of the species that we have learned to be this way. I am quite sure that it does not serve in the same way that it once did for the human race. I am very aware that it has become a pattern of human behaviour that interferes with being and unfolding, more than anything. It seems to me that if we could get on with life, learning to live with our vulnerability, we would be much less dualistic and much more whole than our adaptations have allowed for.
David Brooks an author for the New York Times writes about two kinds of values; one set of values that we learn is “resume skills” and the other is “eulogy values”. Eulogy values are what people talk about after a person has passed away. They are about a persons capacity for compassion, justice and wisdom and other such ways of being. Resume values are skills we develop in our effort to become something.
I now understand how this “becoming” takes me away from a life of unfolding. At moments that I am trusting in this unfolding there is an absence of emotions such as anger, frustration, fear; in fact there seems to be a much more vast and wise influence that I am in flow with that is a guidance within. It is where I find compassion, acceptance, empathy and genuine concern for others and love. And it involves an understanding that arises from experience; not a conventional knowing, but a realization of how one fits into life and at some level what I am an inseparable part of that is unfolding. It all unfolds in awareness.
This morning the light was shining here in Halle and the birds were singing although it didn’t start out that way. I did a 7 kilometre hike through the woods and I saw for the third time a wild boar. I have seen him when I go through this part of the forest that is a bit more desolate. We also saw some wild life in Sri Lanka; many wild elephants in different parts of the island and crocodiles, buffalo, boars and many birds and I saw a leopard in the forest while driving by. Somehow it is comforting for me to experience, our increasingly dwindling natural world.
The nature of everything is illusory and ephemeral,
Those with dualistic perception regard suffering as happiness,
Like they who lick the honey from a razor’s edge.
How pitiful are they who cling strongly to concrete reality:
Turn your attention within, my heart friends.
NYOSHUL KHEN RINPOCHE