Last weekend Iris and I were in Mainz Germany. It is a fabulously old city with origins back to 15 BC. The Romans first set up an out post there at that time. The local domed church is an enormous construction over a thousand years old. It amazes one to see such a structure built so long ago and still being used. Parts of the Roman aqueduct still stand.
Being needy! I understand that we all have a neediness at the core of our personality. I certainly do. It arises often. These days,I think increased awareness allows me to see it more clearly and not to take it as seriously as I once did but it still presents itself.
One thing I find changing, is that whenever I do a meditation I enter a state of being extremely sensitive, almost unpleasantly. There seems to be a feeling of vulnerability and in that place I am affected by things so much more easily. The difference these days is that I see it all so much more clearly. There is something about learning to live in this place that enables me to see more of myself and the world and to understand my connections in a different way than I have known. In the past I was consumed with my own unseen needs and desires.
I still do, sometimes, easily react from a place of neediness, habitually wanting to reduce the vulnerability and sensitivity but I see more clearly, where it comes from. So in my awareness I am learning to be there with this, coming back into the vulnerability. I now realize that this is not a place to be fixed or eliminated but to be learned and explored and to live from. It seems to open me to an expanded, not so defended and protected awareness.
We have constructed a system we can’t control. It imposes itself on us, and we become its slaves and victims.
We have created a society in which the rich become richer and the poor become poorer, and in which we are so caught up in our own immediate problems that we cannot afford to be aware of what is going on with the rest of the human family or our planet Earth.
In my mind I see a group of chickens in a cage disputing over a few seeds of grain, unaware that in a few hours they will all be killed.
– Thich Nhat Hanh, in “The World we Have”.
Everything is changing. My perceptions, understanding, opinions and even my consciousness changes. What I thought it is “to be” today, may not be the same tomorrow.
For many years I had a recurring dream. In the dream I was locked in a dark dungeon on a mountain top, guarded by a lizard like human who held the keys to my cell. He was quite frightening in demeanour and appearance. I saw him only occasionally. His actions towards me were aloof, without verbal communication. I remember the underlying theme of these dreams being the fear of being trapped here, possibly for life, and upon that realization settling into a place of passive acceptance of it; that I might as well get used to the situation.
One night, after many years of this dream the guard began to speak with me. He started to become gradually more friendly and eventually we began sharing intimately with compassion for each other. Eventually he opened my cell door and allowed me to leave my cell and I entered into a world I had not seen for a long time. The sky was blue and the sun was shining and the ice that lay there on the mountain side was melting. There were rivers of water running down the mountain towards something alive, beckoning me to follow.
This was the end of my recurring dream. I wonder to this day what it meant and why it ended my ongoing nightmare of enslavement; if it was a symbol of having destroyed in myself, a certain basis of illusion that made life bearable but that kept me in ignorance; incapable of really knowing myself and/or others. I see now that there was a shift of a sort that did enable me to face a deeper truth. The gream was symbolic of that. I felt elation in that, as I would arising in the morning to a bright lovely spring day where life was beginning again.
Coming out of the darkness did not result in eternal bliss but it did permit me to leave old ways and to enter a place that I was more prepared to face the darkness of life in my waking hours, openly and honestly. As well I was able to cope with the reality of the suffering of life a little bit more directly without the use and need of conventional aids, numbing and diversions. In that I am more open and more alive, possibly having taken another step forward in my own unfolding of consciousness.
Human behaviour is affecting life on this planet. It is apparent to me that society is invested in a delusion, a part of which involves a selective narrowing of awareness and abandonment of a more holistic perception of self. In this modern vision of self, individuals seem to strive for identity, focusing on becoming something with a great deal of emphasis put on fitting in and coping. We cant seem to see or do anything about the destruction we are causing.
I question what becoming better-adapted cogs in a toxic industrial culture does for us and if at some level it helps us to ignore something urgent calling of ourself and the planet. Naturally when we ignore something of our being there is the chance of dysfunction. We must ask if it is a delusion that we have chosen in our use of conventional tactics and strategies, necessary for striving, becoming and fitting into society, that take us away from something more creative and real of ourself and the universe. I suspect that there is certain necessary basis of illusion that makes life bearable for most human beings these days.
Jiddu Krishnamurti said, “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” Contrary to convention I favour the idea that ‘”not fitting in” is not an indication of pathology or abnormality although it does increase the likelihood that we will feel marginalized and that is not an easy experience to navigate. However more authentic it is to be with our “aloneness” and “deeper realization” it can be very challenging to see these truths and to live in this place of deeper awareness. Most human beings have no chance of seeing through and understanding the delusions and the structures that form our conventional experience. The fear of being marginalized is powerful and many can not cope with the thought of being alone and because of that they seem to be unconsciously caught in a dance of striving to become something of perceived value and of coping with not ultimately being able to achieve that.
Over the years any efforts that I invested into attempting to solve the problem of myself in conventional ways always seemed to leave me with a subtle sense of selling out. It has taken some contemplation to illuminate that to go along with the conventional strategies contributed to individual and social dysfunction. The deeper truth did not always hold the promise that our delusional ideals did; only of destroying the illusions that make life tolerable. I question the notion that there are ultimates in the classical mystical, or even scientific, sense although for me there is something relevant to the active notion that the world is a living being to which we belong and that it is a part of our own self and that we are a part of its suffering wholeness. Until we go to the root of our image of separateness, there can be no healing of self or the world.
Our modern methods of solving our individual problems seem not to address the deeper causes of distress, aloneness and depression that seem to be not so separable from overall social dysfunction.
I now accept the notion that I am an “Outsider” and that I am marginalized in that. I consciously take my leave from a conventional point of view; realizing that it has resulted in me being enmeshed and lost— overwhelmed and bound by so many irrelevant issues, delusions, and illusions, all intertwined and overlapping, that kept me in obscuration and perpetuating dysfunction at various levels. I now realize that there is a difference between the “adjusted coper” and the “intelligent, sensitive citizen”.
A part of waking up and living more fully, for me, involves embracing a more active and aware thinking, feeling and direct experience of life that includes a never ending unfolding and opening to something more intuitive and authentic, emanating from within. In that there is the awareness that, beyond our individual perception we are intricately connected to a larger world and community of humans and beings. To be able to realize this involves an expansion of our experience of our deeper nature. A more contemplative focus in life may help us to examine and explore more deeply the root causes of our fear of being alone and other influences that are unsettling us, that block and separate us from experiencing life more responsibly and fully; that underlying grief and panic may be an unavoidable consequence of the change and dying of our culture and our world.