Friday, June 6, 2014

Well, you meditate and realize, "that's the thing:  It's the ego, that's what's causing all the unhappiness, and it's an illusion."  And looking around you, it's all about the ego!  The market economy modern "Western World" must of course cling to that consumerist ego as driver of the economy, creator of "wealth and prosperity."  All based upon this great illusion that has no deeper reality. Thus, wars are fought, empires stake claim, individuals get greedy, strife and conflict happens, money made, money lost, bitter struggles to dominate life...  All missing the point.  And yet, we don't seem to know any other way to make it happen, as if everything got away from us, so long ago, so many population booms ago, so many changes of social structure that we're stuck in our addiction and all the ways that enable, allow and continue it.  We squabble over politics, based on selfish concerns.

So, take a moment to do some good yoga, then sit cross-legged, incense lit, candle flickering before Buddha, proceed to meditate.  And then you realize, "ah-ha, This! This is what I always wanted to do with my Friday evenings, something good for you, something which gives you will-power and perspective, the perspective necessary to see the path and do the things you really need to do."  A small step forward, maybe, but earth-shaking in its own little way, changing the way you see things.  And it beats sitting and staring at your iPhone waiting for something, some message.  It lets you see the things of illusion which you are enslaved to.

The insight strikes you as an exact flip of what inculcated common sense tells us.  Unless you're an educator (and even then...) your professional identity only serves to feed the chain of egos.

Personally, I know.  To always be listening to that little figure of your ego seated at your temples, a little friend telling you what to do, very much like you were a bartender and the ego was a customer subtly persuasively demanding things to which you feel you are obliged by some duty to fulfill, it just doesn't work.  And being a person inclined toward a general kindness can make you more rather than less self-indulgent, indulgent to the ego's biddings.  There's always the ego-driven person who wants to do stuff. and though, yes, stuff can be nice and enjoyable to a point, simplicity wins in the long run.

Maybe you break out of it by slowly patiently doing yoga, incorporating that with readings, then discovering this great distance between "the real you, the real clear mind" and this little voice constantly bugging you, discovering further the littleness, the small-mindedness of that voice, its foolishness.  And hopefully you get to a place, to a state where you don't have to listen to the little pestering voice.   You see the great exaggeration wherever it crops up, and it crops up everywhere, in consumer society, but also in the very way we think.

It might not seem earth-shaking, but the perception brings a sense of peace and calm.  It helps you judiciously deal with people who are relatively more assured that they who their egos say they are, which in some ways in inevitable of them if they have lots of stuff, have 'worked hard,' 'done lots of things,' want this and that, have become a particular professional identity entitled to certain things.

It helps you sort everything out.  It buys you some self-protection.  It buys you some maturity.  But it is radical, quite so, and probably not popular amongst city people who have so much at their beck and call, so many things to do, so many options.  You have the Buddha on your side, at least.

I guess we hope or expect to find within ourselves an individual talent, something that sets us apart.  That would be a life, relying on your own unique talent.   But perhaps that's not how things get done, how novels get written.  Perhaps any work has to reject that perspective of a fixed self, of a strong ego, of individual conquering, of all the things we feel we deserve as individual egos.

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