For me to “live life” is inseparable from communicating my life experience. I find life to be, essentially, an evolving phenomenon, a moving toward the future; toward greater complexity and consciousness. To be in this way I understand the importance of realizing what is authentic of my experience and shed what it is that I have become that is blocking that. Beatrice Bruteau indicates that our sense of self must change from the “dead” periphery of the personality description (“I am this and I am that”) to a living core of transcendent and creative freedom.
In that I must trust in something that I have been conditioned to avoid and that has involved attending to what is inwardly realized, shifting away from external authority that I have come to rely on in earlier development. “The abundant universal unconditional graciousness goodness givingness of our warmly personal God is our central reality, our root, and it’s secure. . . . You can realize it directly for yourself; you just have to pay deep attention to your own act of existing.”
The sharing, exploration and expression of what is arising in that experience of existence is a part of life.
Desire is falling away for me. Practice has brought me to this point. I no longer wake up each day desiring to do certain things. Being is coming to lead me. Being replacing desire. Desire seems to emanate from something that we have become that has become disconnected from being. Where there is no desire something of being gives direction. Something that is more complete I suspect.
There is something about the American over-identification with individualism which is inseparable from a quality of owning and having which collectively has frozen the nation into a nation of “I,” that cuts one another off forever from the “we.”’. It contributes to an intensification of a focus on identity politics. Groups of people have been treated unfairly and a more just goal might be one of pursuing equality for all and not in a way that pits one group against the other. This is the advantage of a perspective that is more of the”we”.
There is something that is becoming painfully obvious to me on this path of contemplation. It seems that all past conditioning was in pursuit of an illusive sense of security and happiness. In contemplation these old, habitual ways of being are falling away and it seems to mean for me becoming increasingly vulnerable to the pain and suffering of the world. This realization of truth in the past was denied or ignored as a result of its ability to obstruct the pursuit of happiness. In those earlier days I would have been totally unprepared and possibly crushed by the awareness of such suffering. These days I am more ready to relinquish the security of a sleepwalking existence and to accept what may come from my exposure to the world’s suffering. There is something more that the realization of vulnerability and death brings to us on the path in terms of transcendence. Is this the freedom from suffering that the Buddha talked about? Is it realized in this way?
It seems that thoughts flow and arise. In openness they bring insights and creative ways to see things and than they pass.
In openness something of us is unfolding and extending. It seems that the source of many problems is the grasping and attachment to thoughts and in so doing there is an abandonment of openness. Our western materialistic culture seems to bring with it a relative fragmented sense of knowing that obstructs openess. What we think to be creative is limited by that obstruction.
There is something about the process of thinking in Buddhist philosophy that seems to be often misinterpreted. Far from it being a worthless, passive exercise, thinking can be the result of a very dynamic, connected and creative essence. When we awaken to the folly of the world internalized in me our experience begins to move towards becoming externalized into the world. Suddenly the world opens and the barriers increasingly fall away and thinking becomes attuned to that. In my experience this is the goal of contemplation. A natural unfolding, through awareness takes place when what we have been conditioned to be becomes realized. Through awareness, the limited sense of self increasingly becomes less of an influence in our cognition and overall existence. In that awareness we are more capable of differentiating the source of thoughts. There is a distinction to be realized between an imagination influenced by our limited self and what spontaneously arises in awareness in letting go of that conditioning.
It seems that it is important to be eclectic. In fact the question of how eclectic in our spirituality we can be seems to be at the heart of the question. Embracing ultimate conclusions based on psychological and self help assessments can be limiting: however, as a step towards increased awareness they can have a transformative affect that is relevant.
The essence of the following sentences here is influenced by a book that I’m presently reading. It suggests that there is a process of increasing illumination that orders a complex hierarchy of poetic imagination in much the same way that alchemical imagery begins in the bizarre and pathological, but is given its orientation by something beyond. For me Buddhist practice seems to have involved a similar process, that in silence, stillness the unconscious conditioning is encountered. In attentiveness to that confrontation there is an experience of something more expansive.
Henry Corbin’s critiques of Carl Jung and James Hillman, who both embraced the concept of the “Mundas imaginalis” writes about his fear that the essential spiritual dimension of the “mundus imaginalis” will be perverted by the powerfully secularizing and disorienting tendencies in the modern world. I can’t help but think that this applies, at these times that social, religious, political and institutional influences that are often given the kind of weight that dilutes the aesthetic and spiritual significance of the works they have created, that arise from a process of discovering what is within.
Modern psychology can be a form of secularizing as it leads us away from the “divine”. In the encountering of inevitable difficulties that arise in our conditioning there is a linear reduction in the idea of pathology. What we encounter along the way towards seeing more clearly is a part if a process of realization and moving through past blocks. The likelihood of becoming stuck in that is increased with the notion of pathology.
Being someone who creates, I have been involved in an endless search for words that reflect, rather than represent my reality. Being a creator is not separate from my spiritual sense. That is at times difficult for a non artist to understand. I am of the world not in a so conventional way. I look to whatever helps me to live naked in the world, able to move past and through any shame or difficult emotion I may encounter, even when under attack, to move through being afraid even though there is so much out there to fear. There is a place that is most real, that I can find my way at times where I am alone with my mortality, where I simply step out from the superficial security of the self. More and more I am conscious not to replace that with another belief system. It’s a place where I find more to life than I have ever imagined yet at the same time it is a place that props and invigorates that imagination.
With all that is happening in the world these days there has been much talk about justice, individual rites and human nature. We have our conventional ideas about these things but for me it’s important to investigate in a deeper way. It seems to me that thinking , itself , is a tool that we use to understand our environment. Words are very much a part of that thinking process. Those words make up language and allow us to see in abstract, metaphors, pieces and parts and to explore, understand and perceive things in different ways. There always seems to be another way to perceive things and we are always discovering new things and new ways of seeing so how do we know if what we think captures truth. For me thinking does not resolve some very relevant things of my existence. Meditation and mindfulness seem to be more helpful in exploring the direct experience of life. I enjoy the creative process of thinking but I see the limitations of thought especially when I am exploring the depths of my being. Nothing is fixed so how can our fixed thoughts, words and perceptions represent that. I don’t see that thoughts can represent truth or provide ultimate answers in terms of those things that I mentioned in the beginning. I look somewhere else for my relation to those things and in a more open contemplation and inquiry, what emerges is more substantial than can be explained in terms of thought although I cant seem to say why or in what way.