#2572 - Saturday, September 2, 2006
Nondual Highlights Issue #2572, Saturday, September 2, 2006
Ascetics wander shrine to shrine,
looking for what can only come
from visiting the soul.
Study the mystery you embody.
When you look up from that,
the dub grass looks fresher
a little ways off, and even more
green farther on. Stay here.
- Lalla, from Naked Song, translation by Coleman Barks
It's a strange phenomenon how difficult people find it to love themselves. One would think it is the easiest thing in the world, because we're constantly concerned with ourselves. We're always interested in how much we can get, how well we can perform, how comfortable we can be. The Buddha mentioned in a discourse that 'oneself is dearest to oneself.' So with all that, why is it so difficult to actually love oneself?
Loving oneself certainly doesn't mean indulging oneself. Really loving is an attitude towards oneself that most people don't have, because they know quite a few things about themselves which are not desirable. Everybody has innumerable attitudes, reactions, likes and dislikes which they'd be better off without. Judgment is made and while one likes one's positive attitudes, one dislikes the others. With that comes suppression of those aspects of oneself that one is not pleased with. One doesn't want to know about them and doesn't acknowledge them. That's one way of dealing with oneself, which is detrimental to growth."
Another unskillful way is to dislike that part of oneself which appears negative and every time it arises one blames oneself, which makes matters twice as bad as they were before. With that comes fear and very often aggression. If one wants to deal with oneself in a balanced way, it's not useful to pretend that the unpleasant part doesn't exist, those aggressive, irritable, sensual, conceited tendencies. If we pretend we are far from reality and put a split into ourselves. Even though such a person may be totally sane, the appearance given is that of not being quite real. We've all come across people like that, who are too sweet to be true, as a result of pretense and suppression.
Blaming oneself doesn't work either. In both instances one transfers one's own reactions to other people. One blames others for their deficiencies, real or imagined, or one doesn't see them as ordinary human beings. Everyone lives in an unreal world, because it's ego-deluded, but this one is particularly unreal, because everything is considered either as perfectly wonderful or absolutely terrible.
Apparently we're all very different. That too is an illusion. We're all having the same problems and also the same faculties to deal with them. The only difference is the length of training that one has had. Training which may have been going on for a number of lifetimes has brought about a little more clarity, that's all.
Clarity of thinking comes from purification of one's emotions, which is a difficult job that needs to be done. But it can only be done successfully when it isn't an emotional upheaval, but clearcut, straightforward work that one does on oneself. When it is considered to be just that, it takes the sting out of it. The charge of "I'm so wonderful" or "I'm so terrible" is defused. We are neither wonderful nor terrible. Everyone is a human being with all the potential and all the obstructions. If one can love that human being, the one that is "me" with all its faculties and tendencies, then one can love others realistically, usefully and helpfully. But if one makes a break in the middle and loves the part which is nice and dislikes the part which isn't nice enough, one's never going to come to grips with reality. One day we'll have to see it, for what it is. It's a "working ground," a kammatthana. It's a straightforward and interesting affair of one's own heart.
If we look at ourselves in that manner, we will learn to love ourselves in a wholesome way. "Just as a mother at the risk of life, loves and protects her child..." Become your own mother! If we want to have a relationship with ourselves that is realistic and conducive to growth, then we need to become our own mother. A sensible mother can distinguish between that which is useful for her child and that which is detrimental. But she doesn't stop loving the child when it misbehaves. This may be the most important aspect to look at in ourselves. Everyone, at one time or another, misbehaves in thought or speech or action. Most frequently in thought, fairly frequently in speech and not so often in action. So what do we do with that? What does a mother do? She tells the child not to do it again, loves the child as much as she's always loved it and just gets on with the job of bringing up her child. Maybe we can start to bring up ourselves.
- Anna Khema, posted to BodhisattvaTS
The World for most People is what they see.
Their Reality is created by their Senses.
However... what they see
are their Thoughts posing as their Reality.
Most People do not know
that their Circumstances on this Earth
are the Result of their Thoughts.
That's why they suffer.
Most People are lost in their own Creation.
They have to learn how and what to think.
- posted to CosmicCookies
You Are the World
Yesterday we went into the difference between concepts and reality. In the course of that, we discovered that there is no such "thing" as Texas. Today, we are going to expose the simple fact that there is no such thing as you either, whoever you are.
You and I are not different from Texas. When you investigate carefully, to see if you can locate your "self," all you find is a flow of thoughts and images and ideas and opinions and roles and scenarios and names and identities, all of it made up entirely of memory, and fantasy derived from memory, accompanied by a flow of bodily sensations -- again, muscular contractions and other feelings -- giving you concrete referents (physical anchors), but no solid, separate, stable "you" to be found anywhere.
Furthermore, in discovering that you are nobody, you also discover that you are everything. That is to say, you can, in any given moment,distinguish between your hand and your foot and your head and your house and your car and the earth and the sky and so on, but close investigation reveals that those are all a part of you. In other words, there is no part of you that is separate from any other part, any more than you can separate your head from your body or your heart or your blood stream. They are all parts of the same thing. Different parts, yes, but not separate.
In reality, every living cell in your body is made up entirely of things you normally think of as "outside of yourself," that is, continuous interactions between water (clouds, rain, streams, rivers, ground water, etc.), plants, animals, minerals from the soil, sunshine, an ovum from your mother, a sperm from your father, genetic structures from both of them as well as their parents and so on and on. In other words, everything is related to and constantly interacting with everything else. Physics tells us this. Biology and ecological sciences tell us this. Psychology also tells us this. But far and away, much more important, is that direct observation will reveal, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that nothing is, or can be, separate from anything else. And that includes everything we think of as us.
The beauty of this very radical realization is that, once you actually see it, feel it, discover it for yourself, you can stop pretending you are somehow this isolated, lonely, fragile little ego, suspended as if in solitary confinement, with its own private life and its own problems and longings and fears and regrets and disappointments and resentments and frustrations and worries and so on. In other words, there is no private you, and there is no private life. (It only seems that way, because when we are thinking about whatever we, at the time, imagine to be ourselves, nobody's watching.)
Please don't make the tragic mistake of reducing this to a philosophy -- something you agree with, or perhaps have a problem with, and so on. Find out directly, beyond any question! You have an opportunity to put a stop, once and for all, to this shallow, silly, neurotic misunderstanding.
You are the world. You are the universe. You are the Infinite Consciousness into which all worlds and all experiences arise and disappear. Are you big enough and bold enough to embrace all that you are, to embrace your own Pure, Infinite Being?
- Scott Morrison, posted to SufiMystic
What I Said
To The Wanting Creature
What is this river
you want to cross?
There are no travelers
on the river-road -
and no road.
Do you see anyone moving about
on that bank - or resting?
There is no 'river' at all
and no boat - and no boatman.
There is no tow rope either
and no one to pull it.
There is no ground - no sky - no time
no bank - no ford!
Do you believe there is some 'place'
that will make the Soul less thirsty?
In that great absence
you will find nothing.
Be strong then
and enter into your own body.
There you have a solid place
for your feet.
Think about it carefully!
Don't go off somewhere else!
Kabir says this:
just throw away all thoughts
of imaginary things,
And stand firm in 'that'
which you 'are' ...
- Kabir, from The Soul is Here For Its Own Joy, edited by Robert Bly, posted to Mystic_Spirit