Someone I once knew said “I can’t forgive God for making me so inferior.”
Ha ha …Kind of sums it all up really Dan
It seems to me that we have lost this innate ability to laugh at our own stupidity. We seem not to be aware of this inner ‘god’ that we have built called ‘I’ , this ‘I’ that wants endless ‘experience’ so that it can ‘continue’ …building itself and defending itself. This self-image that thinks it is ‘god’ and gets totally depressed or even violent when questioned or put on the spot…is not this self-image the root of all sorrow? It is like a great river on flood is it not …the fixed image of one’s self is like the backwater that becomes dirty and stagnant because it is no longer moving, it has taken up a position where it thinks it is safe away from the main current of the river. From its ‘lofty’ position it now feels different, separate and ‘special’ defending its little piece of turf by the river bank. It now starts to feel so ‘content’ and ‘safe’ that it no longer wants to be a part of the main current and then blames the river for all its ‘problems’ …
There’s no discovery without a discoverer; one who is seeking, striving to find something,
But choiceless awareness, unsought revelation, awakening to actuality, is possible because “I” have nothing to do with it, it doesn’t happen to “me”, and it isn’t “mine”. It is the end of all that…according to my understanding of K’s teaching.
That said, I know nothing but the contents of my consciousness, a significant part of which is my K-conditioning.
The gravity of our situation is clearer when I state it “ I don’t want to be without my knowledge because I would feel naked and vulnerable and this is the root of all my sorrow.”
You ask very serious, deep questions, Alistair. I hardly know how to respond, without falling into the trap that you describe - that is, the intellect coming up with some clever answer, which is actually an escape from the facing of sorrow. Perhaps it IS impossible to respond without falling into that trap.
You are not talking about ‘thinking about’ sorrow, or explaining sorrow, obviously. You are suggesting that we let let sorrow “flower”, to use K’s word. But this is not easy, even though it does not take any effort. We live in a society - we have created a society - which is really based on struggle, on trying to overcome problems, in regarding sorrow/suffering as some sort of personal failing. We are taught to try to overcome suffering, as if a state of freedom from suffering was both realizable and desirable.
I do not wish to glorify sorrow. Yet it is a fact, it is a huge ‘what is’ as you point out so eloquently, Alistair. It cannot be met by mere resistance. Perhaps the only way beyond sorrow is through sorrow.
I’ll change what you wrote but this will be the last time : “I have vast resources and I know every trick in the book to continue myself and protect myself.”
I have seen the frightened sham that I am, perhaps that is what is meant by an act of grace. Perhaps that seeing is the result of seeds planted over time. And once seen the responsibility is for me to end it, not continue it, to “step out of that stream” etc. As I am, I am both the good and the evil in mankind, the cause of war and poverty, cruelty…I will fight to keep from seeing the truth but it’s the ‘seeing’ that’s the real ‘doing ‘isn’t it?
Sorry, but there is no ‘act of grace’ Dan. One has to let go of that ‘concept’ otherwise we are trapped again in ‘waiting for grace’. The flowering of love has its own grace but in order for that to happen, there must first be the flowering of sorrow. As long as I am escaping from this sorrow then this quality of love cannot flower because the ‘escape’ is fragmenting and corrupting the energy needed to SEE. This seeing has nothing to do with ‘me’ and also it has nothing to do with ‘grace’. Both of these ‘ideas’ stop us from coming into direct contact with this quality of sorrow. When you and I no longer escape in any way from this sorrow then the energy of sorrow may begin to transform itself …by itself …it has nothing to do with ‘me’ I hope that is very clear? My only ‘job’ is to stay well and truly out of the picture The ‘idea’ that I have to ‘go through’ this sorrow or ‘go beyond’ it has already corrupted that immense energy …there is only THAT …its nature is totally impersonal. The moment I personalize anything I reduce it down to a very small and petty affair…that is why there is no deep realization or perception or insight because I keep calling this ‘insight’ …MY ‘insight’ …MY ‘realization’ …MY ‘perception’ …it has nothing to do with ‘me’ …
You may be right, but for me , it is only ‘grace / Love’ (or something) that could reveal the shocking fraudulence of myself to myself. In an instant to see the whole shoddy prison of mankind, in yourself!
Pardon for being personal but in a dream last night where I was lost in a strange city and asking directions, everyone pointed me into becoming more lost, women and children in on some menacing plot against me…I even asked an old avuncular Jewish tailor in his shop, and he was also in on it…things are bad when you can’t even trust an old avuncular Jewish tailor!
You see, this is the ‘problem’ Dan Our minds lack the humility to truly SEE all this. To truly allow this ‘conditioning’ to unfold in its own way without judgment surely is the beginning of love is it not? I am not different from this ‘conditioning’ and this ‘conditioning’ is not different from ‘me’ it is one and the same movement. But, for whatever reason, something is ‘resisting’ like hell the flowering of this ‘conditioning’ ?? Why do I not face into it with affection and humility instead of the usual pride with its unfortunate arrogance? Why do I separate myself from anything that is ‘painful’ or ‘sad’ ? How can this ‘sadness’ ever reveal itself and tell its story if I am all the time pushing it away or pretending that I have somehow gone beyond it? You see, there is a total lack of honesty on my part to allow these deeper ‘feelings’ … ‘sensations’ and ‘emotions’ to come up. Is that why we remain so aloof and intellectually ‘clever’? We don’t want anyone to see how truly vulnerable we are? It is OK for a man to be vulnerable is it not? It is OK for a man or woman to admit that they do not know all the answers. It is OK to admit that I may not know myself deeply at all because I am very rarely alone with myself and when I am all these feelings and emotions start coming up and I start to feel very insecure and so I escape or run away into pleasure or some form of entertainment. And this is the pattern of most of our lives is it not? To learn about why humanity is so deeply lonely I have to be with the movement of loneliness in myself so I can learn about how it has come into being. Sadly, we also personalize this ‘loneliness’ and this stops us from seeing the whole movement of it and how it cripples so many human beings as they grow older. How it dissipates our vital energy, how it destroys our sensitivity. We do not seem to see the connection between our self-centredness and this movement of loneliness with its deep sorrow. We seem to have grown used to this sense of deep isolation and do not want to give it up because in a strange and perverted way we ‘like’ this feeling of isolation with its deep sorrow. It allows us to play out this role of being the ‘victim’. And who is it that has created this ‘victim’, this ‘story’ …it is nonother than THOUGHT itself. What a mischief-maker is this movement of thought in the psychological realm
“We are not only slaves of the culture in which we have been brought up; we are also slaves to the vast cloud of misery and sorrow of all humanity, to the vastness of its confusion, violence and brutality. We never seem to pay attention to the accumulated sorrow of man. Nor are we aware of the terrible violence which has been gathering generation after generation.
We are concerned rightly with the outward change or reformation of the social structure with its injustice, wars, poverty, but we try to change it either through violence or the slow way of legislation. In the meantime there is poverty, war, hunger and the mischief that exists between man and man. We seem totally to neglect paying attention to these vast accumulated clouds which man has been gathering for centuries upon centuries - sorrow, violence, hatred and the artificial differences of religion and race. These are there, as the outward structure of society is there, as real, as vital, as effective. We neglect these hidden accumulations and concentrate on the outward reformation. This division is perhaps the greatest cause of our decline".
We don’t see that we are it, in the same way that we don’t see that the observer is the observed. But when we do see that, it is quite marvelous isn’t it? Even to glimpse the meaning of that, surrounded by nature , is a marvelous moment.
Then why live that way? That’s the question isn’t it? Doesn’t judging what you think you are, separate you from what you are judging? Is that what keeps the “flowering” from happening? If I’m in conflict, judging, condemning myself, is that love?
As soon as there is judgement of what I am seeing, then the observer has come between the seeing and what is seen, isn’t that true? And that ‘observer’ is the past.
I’ve read through this dialogue and there are a lot of words that describe sorrow/suffering. Is this whole dialogue just another escape from staying with the feeling?
You don’t know how you’ll feel without your “knowledge” because when its gone, the loser goes with it.
The question strucks me and the answer needs no holding from my side. Love needs no …time.
Please forgive - I have not read all the comments below (or above).
I felt unconditional love when my first child was born and months after there were moments of intense compassion for all children; my daughter was one of them who happened to be in my arms; you may say it was an emotional or hormonal response, but that love is the most profound love I ever felt; I would say that unconditional love & compassion are the same (what does it mean “unconditional” ? I would say: beyond me and mine)
We have talked about how people are escaping from sorrow - not just personal sorrow but the vast human sorrow that permeates our existence, and has done for millennia.
It came to me how this escape, this pretence, manifests in society - so much so that it gives a completely false impression of how the world is. Turn on the radio, on every frequency the common factor is cheerfulness. The endless cheerful chattering about inconsequential things, the emotional, sentimental, or exciting music. Not a real care in the world - I exaggerate slightly, this stuff is punctuated by hourly news bulletins, but somehow the bad news is quickly forgotten, unless it is local and cannot be ignored.
Even in hospital or medical waiting rooms, I notice, when people might be expected to reflect on human mortality, there is the endless cheerful distraction of the radio or television, I was once tilted back in a dentist’s chair to discover an active TV set in the ceiling!
Look at the advertising posters - full of smiling people, delighted at what they have purchased, or intend to.
Neither does politics does not present the human problem. At best the parties in opposition point our certain areas of disorder, but with the understanding that they can fix those problems if they are voted into power.
When one tries to talk seriously, and describes things as they are, one is accused of being ‘pessimistic’.
Where is the sense of human sorrow, the human condition? Is there any sign of it out there?
Society relies heavily on the pretence of psychological time - whenever there is a sense that things are not as they should be, it puts its energy into the idea of “getting better”. Always the should be rather than looking at the roots of the condition.
One might be forgiven for thinking that there is some conspiracy at work. This is the message put out - stay cheerful, be positive, keep struggling, you will get there (be happy) someday. Just don’t let sadness into the mind. And if you have, go to a psychologist and get it fixed.
We recoil from pain. We don’t want to suffer. So unless our pain and suffering is more interesting than dreadful, we remain averse to it.
This may be reflexive behaviour, inherited conditioned, but is it not possible to see the futility of such aversion?
What do you think about people running away from any conflict and insulating themselves from anything that may cause pain. Is it intelligent to live this way?