It seems to me that our worldly life has become a constant search for security and comfort with which we have become habitually conditioned to. The possibility that we might have to spend a significant amount of time with ourself without the distractions that we are so conditioned to rely on is quite an uncomfortable scenario to imagine.
To my mind, I am coming to see that this-worldly life is an escape. When you have a problem you can turn on the television, phone a friend, go out for a coffee or turn to google. There is the internet and the iPhone and so many other options that enhance that possibility and propensity for escape. The market place is about these distractions, but I am discovering that these acts of escaping , fragments our consciousness. There is something of us missing in living according to popular conventional, worldly norms. There is an absence of a process of honest and open self investigation and contemplation in our reliance on escape.
I saw a post recently suggesting that we should let our children be bored; that boredom provides an inner quiet that helps our children with self-awareness. I have learned to value the step out from that worldly life and to increasingly value what unfolds for me in solitude; the insight and peace it can bring. In solitude you have no one to turn to but yourself. When problems arise and things become difficult you have no choice but to go through them, and come out the other side. In solitude I am learning to be with my own nature in the raw and to find a way of working and dealing with it.
These are not things that are much valued these days but there is something about connecting with this place in awareness that is essential to our being. It is the place that we unfold from and all that needs to happen is for it to be uncovered. The responsibility and the choice is ours.
Every age has its leitmotif, a set of beliefs that explains the universe, that inspires or consoles the individual by providing an explanation for the multiplicity of events impinging on him or her. In the medieval period it was religion, in the enlightenment it was reason, in the nineteenth and twentieth century it was nationalism combined with a view of history as a motivating force. Science and technology are the governing force of our current age.
The Leitmotif helps us to understand our worlds but it is not in and of itself an absolute truth. If it were it wouldn’t change from year age to age. It is more the way that we come to rely, relate and believe in a leitmotif, that is itself a problem and maybe there is some advantage in learning to explore other possibilities of perception and understanding the world. Sometimes our attachments to our thoughts can separate us from what we truly are. To let go of the narrative, grand or individual, and to look to our own direct experience in life and to trust in something that we are a part of and that is a part of us and that we can know more fully from looking inward.
In some ways, “to look within” is a leitmotif. But it is not in believing in the leitmotif or the narrative or the meaning, or concept that we look to understand and know more intimately our being and role in existence. It is in coming to relate to and be in life from the direct experience, that there is a new way of seeing.
Change is required, if this world is to move in the direction of recovering from what humans have done to it. I have asked myself, what it is about myself, that might need to change. From there I have proceeded with examination and questioning of my own perception and self seeing. I as well question the need for another attachment to a story or set of beliefs that will help me to feel more secure in my transformation to a better person. It seems that we human beings, in the world are always seeking security for ourselves, both physiologically and psychologically. It seems to me that this pattern and/or intent and the narrative that it produces, hasn’t in fact worked all that well.
On a grand scale of narratives, Hegel introduced the notion that there should eventually come a time when modern humans would develop a social political system that would be based on freedom and liberty and that this would be the end of history. Francis Fukuyama published his book “The End of History and the Last Man” exploring this issue of liberal democracy and whether or not it would be the saving grace for humanity.
This idea of liberal democracy being the ideal state is just another example of humans looking for solutions in a grand narrative and it has contributed to a realization, for me, where by, I question whether or not psychological security, even really exists. It is a fact that it is sought by humans, in various forms that seem to have no substance and can even be said to be illusionary, divisive in belief, dogmatic and religious in their sanctioning or not; and so on. I have come to realize that these are all psychological delusions and attachments to narrative, divisions that if not investigated and explored in a responsible way for oneself, have a fragmenting focus that inevitably creates physiological division, which contributes to conflicts, wars, and the suffering and the tragedy and the inhumanity of man to man.
It’s not in the pursuit of another narrative that we will become more attuned to our problems. Perhaps it is in a different way of seeing that a more holistic and relevant response will emerge. .
In his book the Alchemist, Paul Cohelo writes about a young man, Santiago, who journeys away from home in search of a treasure. After his long adventurous journey he returns home and finds that what he was searching was always there at home.
It seems that I have had a similar journey, metaphorically speaking. My journey has been a life long search for “Self” and the truth of this. It has taken me far from my home and more than anything to a place of aloneness. For me that was an extremely relevant place to be looking. From the loneliness and isolation that I encountered there, I eventually reached a place where I could no longer run from or avoid a most clear realization. That involved encountering the extent of and consequences of shameful actions of my past, that I avoided dealing with and/or resolving and as a result they were buried deeply. It was probably that I did not know how to cope or understand what I was experiencing at the time.
It seems that in aloneness I had no place to run from this realization. In terms of meditation process, the more that I could return to the wild, elemental, spaciousness of my own mind the more that I have been able to come to confront and overcome the painful sense of isolation and the more that I am able to connect clearly with my own being , I am experiencing a sense of wanting to help others.
I’m not of the thinking that it could have been done in a different way. This has been my journey; my awakening. There are many ways to wake up to a the “depths of our being” and it seems that I can not know what that might look like for another. But the sense of what we encounter when we move through “that which blocks us” seems to be quite a universal experience.
It’s not that I know better or that I think that we humans should know better or that they should have made better choices but more that we “wake up” now and use what we have been given to understand in a more comprehensive way what is arising. Maybe we are not ready for that. We still collectively, and in general individually, are caught up and dominated by nationalistic anxiety and individualistic fear of not surviving and pursuing what we think will bring us security, to the point that we put everybody and everything else at risk. This is a fixation and barrier that seems to prevent us from opening past our individual perceptions and projections, to greater insights and greater cooperation with each other. Relying on thinking, or the science and/or technology that it has created, will not solve the global problems that we face, especially if we are not able to come together collectively and somehow see the relevance of all living creatures to the ecological, spiritual balance of this planet. The planet is itself a living changing organism and every change that we impose on it from our selective fragmented perspective has a consequence. To understand the relevance of this we have to be able to open past the fear and self fixation and the perceptions that they perpetuate.
The goal is not to kill the ego—not only because it will not die anyway, it also informs us. We are trying to learn to live with ego. We are working to gain a mastery of its functioning so that we are not dominated by its genius. We want to befriend the ego, to know it for what it is—in all its horror and all its glory—so we can slowly begin to find within ourselves, and identify with, that which is not ego, the perception that arises outside of egoic functioning. Mariana Caplan