Im on my way back to Canada, about one hour from Toronto, writing from the Air Canada Boeing that I am crammed into. My trip home has turned into a bit of an adventure. Adventure always seem to have an aspect of challenging my normal intentions and coping abilities. It can turn into discomfort. It can certainly upset my physical orientation and as I age that is more possible. On the way to Frankfurt from Dresden the plane was diverted to Cologne because of a Frankfurt airport closure, due to weather. I missed my Canada connection and ended up having to take two extra flights and an added night stop over and detour to Heathrow airport in London before getting on a Flugzeug to Toronto.
One consequence of this was that I ended up spending a lot of time watching people in airports and on the four plane rides over two days. More than usual I was aware of my occasional reaction to others. Things change, so maybe I am seeing the world in a different way these days. I still have a sensitivity that can make my experiences self encapsulated but not without the lack of insight as was the way before. Certain things touch a place within that seems to trigger a need to be defended. I cant pretend to know why. It seems that it is just something of me that learned to be this way, that I thought was something permanent. I now realize that thinking of myself as something fixed in my ways is a mistake. It comes with unfolding in my perceptions and realizations; one might say an evolving.
One might also think that twenty years of meditation would have helped to resolve those things of myself that are so flawed, like my anger and defensiveness. This airport episode helped me to see that I still react in frustration to things that others do at times, often from a sense of feeling victimized or taken advantage of. The best I can say is that at least I now see my ego. I see how I am defending something perceived and unspoken and I increasingly realize that much of what I think and assume is influenced by factors are not clearly classified as reality, that are somewhat rigidly implanted and unconscious. In my desire and intent to awaken to deeper truth I question and loosen and work away at these fixed formations. I still have that edge that wants to react and Im not sure it is so easily amendable to willful resolution. I am now more able to laugh at that part of my conditioning and to let go and feel remorse for those I’ve hurt in my defensive reactions. I realize that its okay to confront people but when it involves insight into these dynamics it works out better. I no longer take myself, my fixed perceptions and lofty self expectations so personally and that translates as well into not being so defensive and ashamed of my flaws.
Im just another Joe although thats not entirely easy to be at times. It can leave me feeling exposed and vulnerable. I have spent my life pursuing and believing that Im something special, at least conceptually and in a distorted way of belief. I’m no longer in this way or in need of perfection which was something that always seemed to accompany it. Accepting my ordinary Joeness has its challenges, but its a more real place and there is something awakening about it. In letting go of all expectations and in settling into such ness there is something more real discovered. There are people and other beings in an alive universe that are inherently and fundamentally a necessary part of my existence and experience.
Meditation takes me to a place where I am more aware of my every day, habitual, and unconscious thinking that seems to be part of a learned way. I am more aware of how much of my energy is invested in coping with an underlying sense of existential insecurity. Almost all thoughts arise from this providing a superficial snd delusional sense of security. In meditation I attend more to that sense of vulnerability directly and not to the unconscious effort to superficially minimize it.
I understand that the aversion to the experience of vulnerability is a conditioned phenomenon and why many might find the experience as undesirable turning to conventional interventions to resolve the discomfort. They perceive it as a symptom of something amiss, treating it as something pathological . This serves only to limit perceptual experience and contributes to a greater felt sense of alienation and isolation and to impede a natural unfolding. As James Hillman writes “to get rid of the symptom means to get rid of the chance to gain what may one day be of greatest value, even if at first an unbearable irritant, lowly, and disguised.”
What this vulnerability is, I can not define. It seems to have something to do with a fear of the unknown, a grasping onto something perceived to be known. Our identity is such an item, incomplete and fragmented, yet finite and complete in its perception. It insulates me from insecurity of the unknown from which I have emerged. A consequence of this grasping is something is lost in the rigid, closed and confinement of this approach to living. A diligent attention is required to maintain that superficial veneer, ultimately at the cost of disconnection and isolation.
In entering into the vulnerability there has been a dimension of entering into a place of felt nakedness as the belief in self is shedded. If I can get past that initial response letting go of something that is of questionable substance, something more fundamental and authentic of myself is revealed. In meditation I see beyond the conditioning and the self definition At the same time I am left with how to cope with the sensitivity and that I now experience when I no longer cling to a pseudo armour that has become so familiar.
This insight enables the realization that the material reality that I have lived, was mind-made all along. Conventional wisdom focused on resolving these symptoms is not a way that truth is illuminated. As James Hillman says “It may be the curing away of the soul.”. Sensitivity arising is something to be entered into; an embracing and exploration of experience. There is something more fundamental and profound in existence that is discovered in this way that has not been realized through past efforts to remove, alter or to divert from that experience. A transformation occurs as something more of a life essence is experienced and embraced. Settling into it that includes a more expansive realization of my place in existence. An inherent sense of curiosity and creativity are freed in opening. A focus on meeting more basic needs is as well present but within a context of realizing the bigger picture and my roll of “being” in and a part of that. Its not that I have achieved an ultimate understanding but that there is a newer realization that in openness there is endless unfolding.
A H Almaas writes: This essential activation is the freedom of being, of our true nature, to manifest its myriad possibilities and move us through various awakenings and realizations.
In a dualist setup, “my” mind is different from cosmic mind. It’s much smaller, for one thing, and its viewpoint is limited to the experiences I’ve had since birth. Yet if we abandon the illusion of separation, there is no need to choose either/ or.The mind feels personal and at the same time it is cosmic. Imagine that you are a single electron flickering in and out of the quantum vacuum. As a single particle you feel like “me,” an individual. But in reality you are an activity of the quantum field, and in your guise as a wave instead of a particle, you exist everywhere. In our daily lives we are accustomed to feel like individuals while overlooking that at another level,every person is an activity of the universe. What is true for an electron is true for structures like the human body that are constructed from electrons (and other elementary particles). When you live in separation, ignoring your holistic self, life resembles presliced bread. The urge to divide and subdivide allowed science to claim, quite falsely, that objectivity and subjectivity were entirely different, with objectivity being the superior part. But the quantum era abolished this neat division, and reality started to lead in a new direction—the very things we’ve covered in the preceding chapters.
From You and the Universe Are One By Menas Kafatos and Deepak Chopra