Archive for March, 2009
If you would like to see the video of this tale click here.
A very long time ago there was a man who sought the truth. This man lived in a world of sadness and tribulation. He had studied the ancient texts for most of his life, but just couldn’t figure out how to be content and serene in his life. His wife and children would look into his eyes and feel his sadness.
On one of his travels he heard that a woman of infinite wisdom lived in a distant village and that could finally bring him the answer he was so desperately seeking. Of course, the people could not tell the man exactly how to find her, but that she lived among a foreign people just past the distant hills in the west.
The man decided to seek her out. He bid his family farewell and went to find this woman of infinite wisdom. The elements of his journey are not well known. Some stories said that he found a strong horse, others say he was taken to the west by a kind taxi driver, but it is known that he made the long trek to the base of the distant mountains where he began his painful and arduous climb now alone. The man looked to the vast sky above him and whispered to his god, ‘why have you made my life so difficult? why must this question rend my life with such woe?’
With a heavy heart the man climbed the trackless mountains and finally reached their perilous summit. Alas, the zenith was covered in fog and clouds. In the distance the man could hear thunder and see the distant flashing of lighting. Stepping on rocks glistening with the stuff of clouds the man began the descent to the unknown lands.
When he reached the other side, the sky had cleared and the man could see the small pillar of smoke that suggested a village not far from where he stood. With confident strides he set off in that direction and indeed there was a village. The people greeted the stranger with beaming smiles, kindness, and most of all with delicious food, for he was starving.
After his meal the stranger asked the villagers about the woman of infinite wisdom. Many of them burst into laughter for they had heard this question before, from other seekers. Some of the older villagers asked the younger ones not to make the man feel so badly about his hard journey. One elder looked with great compassion into the stranger’s eyes and said that the woman was a myth.
The man was crushed. His last and only hope was shattered in a riotous laugh. ‘My life is, indeed, a joke’, he thought to himself bitterly. It was all hopeless.
Now the people felt sad for the bereft man in their midst. ‘Why are you sad?’, they asked. He told them his long story and his dream for finding the meaning of his life. While they felt great compassion for the man, his ragged and confused appearance tickled them as well. He could also see that some of them were valiantly holding back gales of laughter. This angered the proud man.
‘Why do you laugh at me?’, he asked. ‘Why must you be so cruel?’, he shouted at the villagers. A kind older woman said, ‘we understand what ails you my friend. There was a time when we experienced the same pain and confusion that you possess. But we have been healed.’
‘How were you healed?’ the man demanded. ‘What is your secret’?, he shouted.
The old woman stepped back a little frightened by the man’s intensity. ‘The answer you are seeking is a simple one, but I am not sure if you’re ready to hear it.’ ‘Please tell me.’ the man said in forced calmness.
‘Then I shall tell you’, the woman whispered. She went into a kind of trance and said, ‘You are a ghost … you are a phantom … you are not real. In a way you scare us, for you are a ghost and ghosts are hungry and they feed on their world. They have no balance. Their hunger is never satisfied.’
‘So what am to do’, the man cried desperately. ‘I do not want to scare you.’
‘You must know only one thing. You must know that the person you believe yourself to be is utterly a ghost, a kind of prowling beast. You can know this person in only one way and that way is to believe that you will be. That you is a ghost, a phantasm. The you that no longer hunger never will be, it is life without any will be. It lives free of wanting. Their is only one path to balance, to a life that ceases to hunger and that is to let go with your belief in an I that will be. You are, but without a you – You are, but without a you.’
There was a long pause, but she continued in a hush …
‘The false self of ‘will be’ is violent. He is driven by need and desire. He will stop at nothing to get what he desires. This person is never fully satisfied. He always hungers for more for will be can never be, it is always just beyond reach. So he grasps and struggles, but can never attain. The angry man of will be will cloak his desire with the kindly sounding word HOPE, but that is just a way to mask the festering discontent that feeds his anger and desperation. This man of will be must be seen as false, as poison, as hell in this life. That is all.’
The stranger turned around and faced the mountains he would need to cross to return to his land. Now the peaks shone brilliantly in the warm sunlight. He felt rage at the villagers and thought they were fools. So without even a farewell, he began his long journey as discontent and frustrated as ever. The villagers pushed delicious food into his sack and felt sorrow for him, for he had a hard journey before him.
The man finally returned to his dark, but busy village in the middle of night. He entered his home where his anxious wife children greeted him nervously. They asked him about his travels. They asked him if he found what he was seeking. They looked into his exhausted eyes with hope.
The husband and father said, ‘I learned nothing. I am condemned to this search. This is the only meaning of life.’ He burst into tears, tears of both rage and sadness.
The next morning was grey and windy. When the seeker woke up he said how I love these great gray skies, how I love my wife and children, how I love … life.
Revolutionary Approach to Self Transformation
The first group of reader reviews for Liberation from the Lie.
There are many people who are dedicated to mindfulness as a way of practicing Buddhism. I would like to relate my own take on this practice.
To focus on what we’re doing in the here and now is one of the core pointers in Buddhism. So, when I’m busy brushing my teeth (for example) I’m aware of the taste of the toothpaste, the feel of the brush, my hands gripping the brush, etc.
I’m very wary of criticizing a core Buddhist practice which dates back to a time even before the Buddha, but here is my issue with it. When “I” focus on what “I’m” doing then what am I really doing? I’m sustaining a belief in a me – in other words, I’m sustaining the core belief that blocks awakening. I am encouraging the fantasy that there is a separate me doing things in a separative world. I could be the model Buddhist practitioner, but I will never experience awakening. All the “effort” wasted. What a shame.
So what is a “person” to do? Everything happens in the spotless space of awareness, even that pesky “I” thought. So when brushing one’s teeth one could, instead, open their awareness to the play of “I” as one is brushing their teeth.
Here’s what “I” mean. Teeth are being brushed. Then there is the thought “I should be focusing on ”my“ teeth brushing – and then another thought pops up, like – ”I wish I didn’t have to be wasting time brushing my teeth, I need to get ready for work.” We can see that the “I” thoughts are all over the place. Why not get a sense of what sense of “I” is pulling us away from the experience of the tooth brushing, instead of nailing the unwilling “I” to the tooth brushing? When we are free of that, which we will be if we’re allowing the “me” thought full range of motion to move within consciousness, then the pure experience of tooth brushing will be allowed to just be exactly as it is. Hooray.
When we rein in the “I” thought, we are, essentially, just being a different kind of separate “me”. This is, it seems to me, not a path to freedom. Instead, its just another needy “me” dutifully following directions. That’s the core of the invalidated problem in a nutshell.
One thing that has really challenged me lately is the way ‘experts’ refer to the inevitable economic recovery. They assume that things will be back to the way they were before the current recession. But what does that mean?
Does it mean the everybody will be taking out second and third mortgages on their homes, so that they can buy a bigger flat screen television? Will those mortgages be available (I really doubt that). Does it mean that there will be a ton of great jobs all of a sudden. Does it mean that people will feel confident and secure about the future of the US and the economy? Does it mean that things were NORMAL during the Bush/Cheney era? Does it mean that this is what people want? What is normal?
And the really weird thing is that President Obama seems to be expressing himself that way as well. I voted for him because he said that he was about change I could believe in. Is that true? What kind of change did he have in mind?
What really is wealth? Is it just lots of money in the bank? Or, is it a continually soaring stock market? Or is it the capability to relax and enjoy one’s free time? How much FREE time is there? Do you need to be rich to have free time? Is having lots of money and lots of free time really the same thing?
A couple of facts. The world is warming fast. Unspoiled habitat is disappearing fast. Most of the people in the world live in poverty. Animals and plants are going extinct at rates not experienced on the planet since the demise of the dinosaurs. So this begs the question, if the over-heated world economy (hot in so many ways) is it what we really want, does that mean that we, effectively, fail to care about the environmental systems that support life?
What a mess. It really is time that we woke up to what is real. But how do we do this? Obviously voting doesn’t really mean anything. The US is still mired in endless wars in the Middle East. Our economy is teetering. The planet is dying … oh boy.
But, with it all, beauty calls out to us. We know what it’s saying. We know what living in balance means. What we don’t seem to know is how to actually “do” it. Do we just sit on the side lines in silent satori? Do we just say “hey it’s just the play of consciousness.”?
Could we be living in a time when we have just lost direction and that there is nothing we can do but just continue playing the game of survival?
What do you think?
Pretty much says it ALL!
This is an easy one!
We block awakening two ways (ok maybe three).
1. – We block it with the belief that we are separate. Keep the belief – maintain the struggle of life.
2. We block it by trying to possess it – or get it – which means to contain it with the thought of “enlightenment”. That’s just the self trying to capture the SELF. It doesn’t work that way.
3. Just RELAX into the spacious of THIS. Relax personal Experience – Let go – Let THIS be you.
4. When the personal sense arises – don’t worry about that – it’s NOT a problem. It’s just another perfect happening in the flow of life.
5. Just don’t try to Get It or Possess It.
We are told over and over again that the enlightened state is one of awareness. So true! But if we are all awareness, then we isn’t everyone enlightened?
What do we mean by awareness? I think it comes in 3 overt flavors.
Dog Level (no offense to dogs): Level one can be called incidental awareness. We are aware of what’s going on around us, but we’re investing very little of our sense of self into what we are immediately experiencing. Sounds are there, things are in our field of vision, and that’s pretty much it. We are, usually, more aware of the thoughts that most strongly draw our attention. For the most part, we are led around by these thoughts like a dog on a leash. But within the field of thoughts that are those that emerge that glow with a special light – which leads us to the second level of awareness …
Settled in the now, we are a lot more aware of our immediate world. We see more clearly, we hear more keenly, we taste, we feel, we sense our thoughts and feelings coursing through “our” consciousness and we also more space around them. They don’t, necessarily, pull us around with the same force as level 1. But there is still “our” sensing within the larger story of “our” life. It’s personal and no matter how strong sensed experience may be, the larger story of our life trumps immediate experience.
In the Now: This level is very much level two, but the story of me no longer trumps direct experience. We are, literally, one with everything. And, I don’t know about you, but I love my hot dogs with everything.
p.s. – we will return to levels one and two – but don’t sweat it, once you have a taste of level 3 there’s no going back. Please pass the mustard.