The drive to survive seems to be a response to a fundamental sense of vulnerability that is at the heart of my own consciousness. That drive is insatiable in its striving and influence on my thinking. Although when I bring a meditative awareness to this truth I take a step towards loosening this seemingly fixed and innate pattern of response. Could it be that rather than “survival” being of a quality that is an unalterable instinct it is more that it is a response that has been a conditioned one and that is more pliable than generally thought and that it is possible that it can be transformed?
A step towards increased self knowing seems to open the door to a transcendence of this conditioned way as I begin to realize and recognize the impracticality of my striving and thinking. This also requires a settling into the more fundamental essence that is inseparable from the sense of vulnerability. Arising out of being present too and embracing this experience my emotions, perceptions, thoughts and sense of being are transformed. I am able to move past a world obsessed with my own sense of a limited egoistic perception and intent. I settle into and trust in something of an evolving “life essence” that I am inseparable from that has been blocked from being experienced directly in that striving way.
Having spent another month here in Myanmar I am aware of a powerful cultural conditioning that influences and propels a more mindless, conforming orientation to “Being”. The quality of individual reflection, contemplation and expression is generally absent or greatly suppressed here. Myanmar people have been oppressed in their ways for over fifty years by a military government and prior to that the British Colonials and a religious and tribal collective socialization. It seems to me that this extensive social conditioning itself is a powerful force that limits the likelihood and opportunity for an authentic and integral quality of existence. These collective influences seem to be part of an attachment to a rather rigid cultural, survival response that discourages individual expression much of which might be unconscious.
There is an irony to this sense of mindlessness, in that the population of Myanmar is 90 percent Buddhist. My own experience of Buddhist teaching involves following a path to “self knowing.” I have come to realize through extensive time spent in Asia that the reality of Buddhism in the world is that it is often reduced to a religion and/or culture that more than often embraces fantasy, idealistic, and dogmatic thinking and that the authentic experience and awareness of “selflessness” is not realized for the most part,