Archive for June, 2010
In this post I would like to pose a somewhat different question. I am asking you to view the “persona” of all of your thoughts.
Instead of looking at this thought and that thought, I want you to look at the whole body of the thinking self. What is this body look like? What is its overall disposition? Is it friendly? Does it have a sense of humor? Is it very serious? Is it often critical? Does it make special demands of life?
Really try to find out the overall nature of your thinking body. Get a definite sense of who this person is.
When you get a really concrete sense of who and what this thinking body is, you can really understand it, but even better, you can begin living your life without this unseen thought body controlling and dominating everything.
You see the body of thought is a machine-like slave driver. And what makes its power possible is that it is too deeply enmeshed with the observing energy of the Authentic Self. You will discover that all of your deficiency ideations and the endless seeking that these thoughts give birth to are entirely within the body of thought.
But when you see this body as distinct from the observing energy – suddenly! – it is exposed. It is exposed to be a false power – an impostor.
Yes, thought has great beauty to it and yes, thinking is essential to living this life, but it doesn’t have or need to be the slave master.
I just want to mention a little of my own experience with this exercise. I found that the Thought/Body tended to be a very serious persona (a lot more serious than I would prefer to be) and quick to find fault with others – as well as myself. I also discovered that the Thought/Body is very quick to drawing assumptions about life situations, as well as, wanting ‘things’ to go faster. Its orientation to speed seemed very different from the actual movement of life. The issue of time and thought is a theme that is explored in detail in my book, Liberation from the Lie. If this is a subject that intrigues you, I would recommend that you check out the chapter on Time and Thought.
But first you must really get a sense of what this body thought body is. Study it like a scientist studies an object. Be as objective as you can.
The instant you disengage yourself from the thought body an incredible exhilaration will fill your body and what you have been seeking all of your life will suddenly be discovered to be none other than yourself.
It ain’t easy …
Can you see that so many of us want to be a somebody? We’re all seeking something … love, money, recognition, enlightenment. We say to ourselves, “If I’m not successful, then I’m going to be a nobody.”
The key of liberation is SELF realization. What does that mean? It means, literally, to realize the self and the self that needs to be realized is who you are prior to the self that went out into the world seeking itself. The moment you start the endless journey struggling to be someone else, then you have wandered in the desert of endless seeking.
The SELF of self-realization is who you were prior to any seeking. We may not remember who that person is, because we have become entranced by the oh so serious game of seeking. We have wandered so far into the desert, that we have lost touch with our Authentic Being.
If you want to return, for this is an act of return, we just STOP the hunt and investigate this very now without any need to find what is NOT THERE!
The SELF of self-negation is that which imitates, emulates, puts on a pedestal, an image that our already negated mind asserts is the person I need to be. This journey started a long time ago and it’s now time to return home.
We embrace ourselves without shame or reservation. To live a truthful and honest life, first we need to be true to ourselves. If that means we get angry, frustrated, irritated with others and all those other “non-spiritual” states of mind, then so be it. All emotions and feelings and thoughts are simply aspects of the personality. They come and go, but even that is an integral part of ourselves.
To be true to ourselves means to be who we are without the energy of self-rejection and all that entails. The moment we cease invalidating our essential nature, in that same moment we will have found our essential nature.
It couldn’t be simpler.
And when reading this brief post, please don’t make the error of trying to be nobody for nobody is just another somebody. No one is no one.
The self-confidence of a warrior is not the self-confidence of the average man. The average man seeks certainty in the eyes of the onlooker and calls that self-confidence. The warrior seeks impeccability in his own eyes and calls that humbleness. The average man is hooked to his fellow men, while the warrior is hooked only to himself. You’re after the self-confidence of the average man, when you should be after the humbleness of a warrior. The difference between the two is remarkable. Self-confidence entails knowing something for sure; humbleness entails being impeccable in one’s actions and feelings.
Everything is connected. We are all related. We are made of the stuff of stars and the energy that animates our bodies and our life is exactly the same energy that animates everything else in the universe. On this one truth, everything rests.
Yet, everything happening is integral to itself.
You are real. Reject all teachings that negate the self (I will send you a list of such teachings upon request).
Awareness is part of any and every happening, but it is not exclusive to itself.
There is a single energy that underlies all happenings.
You are unique – like a snowflake is unique.
The only purpose of liberation is to see how your parents, your society, your culture and you yourself have invalidated and negated your essential being.
Sing and dance your song.
Don’t be afraid of your own emotions.
Ultimately, you are your only healer, teacher, and guru.
Trust the real.
Support what your heart believes in.
Ask others to support you when you need it.
Express your appreciation to another when your heart feels that energy.
Hate and division based on belief (the unreal) is a call for healing, not punishment.
Anger, depression, and sadness are normal human emotional experiences and are not to be negated.
I will add to this list now and then. Keep tuned.
Kristal Mcvicar recently wrote a fantastic note on Facebook, where she used Bugs Bunny as the perfect example of the awakened being. As I read it, I was struck, not only by just how truly awakened Bugs Bunny really is, but how perfectly “asleep” his perennial nemesis Elmer Fudd is, in contrast.
Using Buddha’s example of the via negativa, we might get just as much insight into the absence of awakening by taking a closer look at Elmer Fudd and see what emerges. Because Kristal’s structure is just so perfect, I’m going to use it in this post. It also has the added advantage of including the “awakened” position side by side with its corresponding “asleep” position. So let’s get started.
1. If you don’t know what reality is, don’t take it seriously. Elmer Fudd is almost always serious and even when he appears to be light-hearted, his real purpose is one of dark manipulation. Frankly, both Bugs and Fudd manipulate and use deception, but Fudd’s goal is always murder, while Bugs is always fun.
2. Question authority first; then ask good questions like, “What’s up Doc?” Bugs perennial question, “what’s up Doc?” is never really interested in acquiring new information. In contrast, Fudd is always reading and studying books and manuals. In vivid contrast to Bugs’ love of fun, Fudd is the failed intellectual always using what he has read in books in the vain hope of finally capturing Bugs. And, despite all of his learning, ironically, he never learns. He persists and persists in his mania for victory, yet it always eludes the head-centric Fudd.
3. Deal with your enemies by giving them, a full-on kiss on the lips. Where Bugs loves to kiss and to kiss in the spirit of fun, Fudd wants to kill and to kill in the spirit of grim seriousness. But, perhaps more to the point, the kisses of Bugs are just pure fun and totally amiable, where the sexual predilections of Fudd are inherently lustful and lascivious. There is something very creepy about Fudd’s physical desires. Where Bugs is adorable, Fudd is more than little nauseating.
4. Choose a religious symbol that is also a successful cross dresser. Where Bugs is perfectly comfortable in any outfit, Fudd is always shown wearing clothes that are painfully uncool, and often tending to have a uniform-like quality. He is nearly always outfitted to be the bumpkin hunter, completely lacking in style or urban affectation. In contrast, Bugs is lithe and sinuous in his naked animalness in perfect contrast to Fudd’s rigidity and oafishness. Also, Fudd is always dressed as the books demand he dresses. He is the pure authoritarian – always seeking orders and directions from other authoritarians.
5. Be adventurous! Be outrageous! Be Bugs! Where Bugs is always thinking and acting creatively, Fudd is weighed down by his knowledge. Where Bugs thinks on his feet, Fudd thinks on his head. He bases his plans and actions on what he has learned in books. Fudd depends on instructions, where Bugs wings it in the moment – full of grace and aplomb. Fudd is a dunderhead, heavy, predictable, and laughable. We laugh with amazement at the antics of Bugs, but we laugh with derision at the pondering stupidity of Fudd.
6. Know when it is “Wabbit Season” and when it is not. Where Bugs knows exactly when to employ his many schemes and tricks, Fudd is relentless with his single-minded plan. Bugs is always keenly aware of his environment exactly in the measure that Fudd is not. All Fudd cares about is getting Bugs. Where Bugs just loves the play and is all but indifferent to its outcome, Fudd is passionately addicted to only its outcome and thus “winning”, which always means capturing Bugs or even killing and eating him.
7. Always leave ‘em laughing. We laugh with Bugs, but we laugh at Fudd. Where Bugs is fun, Fudd is just a painful dunce. He is the straight man, all zippered up, all ready to flail at life and fail at life.
8. There are no small cartoon characters, only small people. Neither Bugs or Fudd are people, rather they are archetypes and the whole purpose of this post is to explore the contrasting archetypes of he who plays at life using alert observation and a heart who knows the enduring value of joy as opposed to he who works at life and is always motivated by what he lacks, instead of what he might possess. This is something we really never come to know about Fudd. His actions are so knotted around lack, that we rarely see his gifts, but they are there. He is a bit of a curious chap, eager to learn. He yearns to be loved, but then does everything possible to spurn that affection.
9. Live to be over fifty years old, with only one gray hare. Let’s face it, Bugs and Fudd are cartoon characters who don’t age, yet there is something wonderful and child-like about Bugs, while Fudd is the perfect grown-up. He never questions any of the rules and structures within which he lives. Bugs does possess an adult-like cunningness, which Fudd also lacks. Fudd tries to be cunning, but because he so attached to his rules and his head, he is always outwitted by Bugs. It’s easy to see that Bugs lives in the now and Fudd lives in his thoughts.
10. Take life lightly — and Bugs seriously. (for those very careful readers, I have skipped Kristal’s point 10 because it doesn’t really apply to our topic). Bugs, of course, takes nothing seriously, not even the prospect of his own death and demise. As we have already discussed, Fudd takes everything seriously, except that which might enable him to finally capture his prey!. Invariably, Fudd ignores the one essential detail that might enable to win and that’s because his focus is so narrow. And isn’t that exactly what a serious mind does? It’s focus is usually so narrow that it misses the forest for the trees. Where Bugs is so fully and unashamedly expansive, Fudd is fully contracted. This is the difference between living life as play and a living life as purpose. For Bugs the fun is in the now. For Fudd the pleasure is always later. The trees are wonderful, but don’t forget the woods.
11. Carrots are divine, you get a dozen for a dime. Bugs loves carrots. They’re plentiful and easy to find. His life doesn’t become an agonizing chore designed around unattainable and expensive goals. It’s just not so for Fudd. He want’s only what he can never have. And isn’t that the very metaphor of those of us who have projected the Nirvana of enlightenment and have thus motivated us to set out on a journey whose goal lives only in the imagination? Bugs shows us, in no uncertain terms, the immediacy of awakening right here and right now. It can’t be so for hapless Fudd whose happiness depends exactly on that which he can never have.
12. Monsters are such interesting people! Where Bugs embraces the world as a place of fun and beauty (and even mystery now and then), Fudd’s already knows all about what is good and bad. He lives in the universe of the strict moral patriarch. He is incapable of understanding the mastery of Bugs, because he’s so locked into his own knowingness. He knows what is ugly and what is beautiful. In fact, Fudd is shown to have an appreciation for what most of us believe is beautiful, but his is a very small world when compared to the immediacy of love and engagement that Bugs manifests in his own life.
13. Bugs is a karma free religious symbol. Bugs is an actor and a lover. Fudd is incapable of play and very much a killer. It is certainly not a coincidence that his most common role is that of a hunter (he also has a series where he is depicted as a super-rich capitalist where he is love with nothing but luxury). Where Bugs transcends the world of karma, Fudd does little else than produce more and more negative karma. Bugs lives in perfect balance and harmony in his world, while Fudd is a product of hard-headed and hard-hearted civilization. He is the very force and incarnation of lack onto the placid, fluid and tranquil world of Bugs. Where Fudd ceaselessly uses force, if only to show us his impotence, Bugs uses power in the form of a continuos creative connection with his world. And thus we fall in love with Bugs. We are made to feel happy that we are nothing like crabby, stupid, and styleless Fudd.
Alas, most of have a lot more in common with Fudd than Bugs, but Bugs shows us the way and Fudd holds up the mirror showing where it is not.
Yet, at the end of the day, Bugs truly needs and loves Fudd and Fudd needs, if not loves, Bugs. Thus is the yin and yang of Bugs and Fudd – of seriousness and play – of life and death.
Wake up. Do what needs doing and forget the self. Forget spiritual teaching. It’s designed for cowards and people with way too much time on their hands. Liberate yourself from your own bullshit. The problem is, for so many of us, is that we are way too much in love with our own bullshit. Get over yourself and find freedom in life. Here’s the recipe.
There are two kinds of knowing. The first comes from our culture and our socialization. This is a form of knowing that is learned. As a result of this learning, I’ve come to know that the capital of Illinois is Springfield.
The other form of knowing is part of our essential nature. It relies on no formal education or coming from a family that encouraged education. This form of knowing is immediate.
You might say a racists hating of a black man is immediate. But I would say that no human can hate another on account of his appearance. That form of knowing must be learned. Racism and intolerance is learned. It is cultivated in the fields of fear and exclusion.
There exists a wholly different realm of knowing. It is NOT my knowing or YOUR knowing. It is OUR knowing. It is as natural as the tides that govern the oceans or the sudden migration of falcons as they fly north each spring. It is no different from the blood that flows through our veins.
This is the knowing that resides in each of us as beings of life. Life loves life and this love is expressed as the knowing that is inclusive and knows fear as the rough and ready power that can undermine our natural knowing. For when we have lost our tether with our Authentic Selves and we take fearful refuge in the time and culture bound knowing of human institutions, then we have severed the cord that connects us with all of life and with the origin of life.
If this is confusing then let’s be very direct.
What goes for spiritual teaching is mostly bullshit. It’s designed for self-infatuated people seeking even more ways to engage their pathetic selves.
The spiritual drive to concoct ever more sophisticated ways to spiritual happiness is a nauseating spectacle of the well off, in their tireless journey of even more self infatuation. Take off the mask and they all look like Homer Simpson – anxiously waiting for the next infomercial promising them a new way to get nirvana. Get the fuck over yourselves and just do the right thing now.
2500 years ago the Buddha directed his followers (who were monks) to sit on their butts and watch their thoughts and know that they were not their thoughts. Instead they were the ones observing their thoughts. Do you ‘see’ the problem in this? The one asserted to be watching is also a thought! There is no escaping thought. So stop sitting and wake up to what life is calling you to do.
Endless sitting might have worked for monks living in 500 BC, but it doesn’t work anymore. Get off your butts and start doing the right thing. And, if you’re confused about what the right thing is, know that it is what comes naturally. It is the second type of knowing. It calls us to do what needs doing now. Make your bed. Spend time with your kids. Rest if you’re tired. Eat if you’re hungry.
Let life by your guide. It will not fail you. Rather, you will fail you, but life never will. There is really only one activity that needs to be seriously questioned and that’s even more self-engagement. Forget the self. It too will take care of itself. The more alive you are to life, the more real life will be. Ninety-nine percent of spiritual teaching is bullshit. It is a very convenient way to avoid and deny life. The time has come to move past this phase.
I would rather say – sit on your butt and die (kind of like a zen teaching – ha ha). The more you are THIS life, the less you will concern yourself with the illusory self. Don’t think. Do.