Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The madman

Many years ago I had a dream where I was attacked by a madman, who escaped into this endless series of stairs, going in all directions, including up and down.  I got lost quickly.

I was thinking about this tonight. Often life is confusing, and it can feel like it is closing in on us, while simultaneously bewildering us.  Me.  I statement.

There were several elements in my meditation.  I am working downtown in the Big City, and had to park on the top floor of a parking garage.  When I arrived, a squirrel was there, somehow.  He looked hungry.  I wondered about his prospects, but figured garbage at least would keep him alive for a while.

When I left, there was a fat beetle next to my car.  It looked near dead.  I figured it perhaps got caught in an updraft, then lost the ability to fly through hunger.  It is likely dead by now.

I will offer one other element.  My tendency towards Buddhist beliefs notwithstanding, I continue to choose to eat meat.  And it hit me one day that this is an ideal time and method for meditating on death.  I can ponder the life and last moments of the turkey, or the cow, or the chicken.  They did not want to die.  They felt fear.

And I do not want to die.  I feel fear.  But I think we have to practice dying to really focus on living.

And then I thought about this obsessive quality people get when they meditate too much on death, and on the need to "live".  They have to climb every mountain, consume every experience.  This confuses me.  You can't do everything, and it all ends in death anyway.  The most clever fellow, the most adventurous, lucky, intrepid man or woman who ever lived, is dead or one day will be.

All of us to some extent are like the beetle, or the squirrel.  We make decisions, and sometimes they are the wrong ones.  It may be that I make a mistake some day that kills me.  This is not what I want, but much of life is beyond our control.  We do our best, but sometimes we are still wrong.  Perhaps we are momentarily or temperamentally stupid.  Perhaps we are unlucky.

Do we go left, or do we go right?

So, returning to my dream, it hit me tonight that EXPANSION is always the correct direction.  The madness and the constriction and the confusion are all of a piece.

This is a fundamental Kum Nye tenet, that when our energy is flowing properly, an innate wisdom and an innate pleasure in life emerge spontaneously.  They are our natural gifts, but we have forgotten them.

So I think I don't want to climb every mountain. I  don't want to consume life.  I want to learn how to watch trees swaying in the wind with greater and greater pleasure.  I want to be more and more fascinated by the quality of light in the day, and the moon at night.

I am that squirrel.  I am that beetle.  I am the meat I ate today.  They lived for a time, and then they died.

This is really the balancing act of life: remembering impermanence, but relishing every moment.

And I'm going to make another point I had intended for another post. I  just worked a really long day, but a flood of ideas just hit me that I'm going to post while I wait for the wine and melatonin to take effect.

Every time you hit an emotion you can't process, you separate.  I feel this.  I am slowly reversing the process, by reinhabiting the emotional places I was driven from so many years ago.  It literally just hit me today some of the ways I am EXACTLY like my father.  It is so obvious, now.  I feel it.

And to take that specific case, I find I have a penchant for cruelty.  I really feel this.  This is what I am feeding when I go out and find people to argue with.  It's a step up from barfighting, or finding a masochistic woman to abuse, but this is the reason I can understand Sade (up to a point, I think).

Yesterday, I was feeling tired and frustrated for several reasons, so I went to an old go-to: I got in a Global Warming "debate" with someone I knew had no ability, much less interest, in listening to what I had to say.

Now, my ideas in my view are solid, but this need to argue is directly related to a primary means by which I deflect negative emotions which would otherwise bedevil me.

Specifically, I BECOME SOMEONE ELSE when I go into arguing mode, one not connected spontaneously and on an on-going basis with my emotional energy.  I separate into two.

And I feel this happens to all of us on many levels.  The process of self deception is so well developed in all of us that we fail to see it.

I was watching this woman walk along a long, busy road this morning, who was nowhere near anything.  She wasn't going to a bus station, so she must have been walking to work, or somewhere.   She had a bag.

Now, I have been, roughly, this person.  And what do you do?  You rationalize the situation.  You say "It isn't so bad".  You say you like walking.  It's a nice morning.  Etc.

What you do is you become someone other than the psychologically normal person who would object to this situation.  This is what women (and let's be honest, no small number of men) who are in bad relationships do.  This is what all people who are confused do.

So, returning to Buddhism as I tend to do, when the Buddha says "No Self", what he likely meant was "Who you really are, you have never met."  and "who you think you are, is the result of a long series of lies you had to tell yourself at one time."

How many of us can honestly say we can stay deeply connected to our inner world on an on-going basis?  We react habitually and call it honest.  We find an emotion of some sort, and call it profound.  But what is behind all this?  What is left when nothing we know is left?  Who is in the Void with you, and who are you in the Void?

I don't know why, but this last question made me laugh.  I don't understand myself, but I am sure as hell trying.  If living well is expanding, and the key to expanding is self knowledge, then I am doing my best to live well.

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