Thursday, July 22, 2010

Change is our very nature

Positive disintegration

It is helpful and despair work to realize that going to pieces or falling apart is not such a bad thing. Indeed, it is essential to evolutionary and psychic transformation. For the individuals who, in confronting current anomalies of experience, allows positive disintegration to happen, it can bring a dark night of the soul, a time of spiritual void and turbulence. But the anxieties and doubts are creative, not only for the person but for society, because they permit new and original approaches to reality.

What "disintegrates" in periods of rapid transformation is not the self, of course, but its defenses and ideas. We are not objects that can break. We are open systems, whirlpools in a river of the ever flowing water, patterns that perpetuate themselves.

We do not need to protect ourselves from change, for our very nature is change. Defensive self-protection, restricting vision and movement like a suit of armor, makes it harder to adapt. It not only reduces flexibility, but blocks the flow of information we need to survive. Our "going to pieces," however uncomfortable a process, can open us up to new perceptions, new data, the responses.

From World as Lover, World as Self, by Joanna Macy,

Monday, July 19, 2010

Enlightenment: the liberation of concepts

In Focusing, we learn that concepts can interfere with experiencing things as they are, freshly. I recently learned, through @Ali Miller, about a teacher called Gangaji. When I read Gangaji's writing about the nature of her enlightenment, I was deeply moved because I recognize what she calls the liberation of concepts. Her words make enlightenment accessible to me.

With Focusing, I already know how to experience without concepts, and have had many experiences of experiencing without concepts (so to speak). This connects me with the trust I feel in my body, as a result of what I have already known and experienced, that even more freedom is available to me as I move Focusing and felt-sensing out of the formal practice and into daily life. I feel excited and inspired about the next step forward in my understanding and lived experiencing that is supported by Gangaji's words:

"Even though there is a personality associated with this body, and a sense of a “person” in experience, it is continually revealed to be nothing in the face of truth. It is not possible to integrate this truth into anything else because truth already exists as everything and it always has. Instead, you can recognize is that your life is already inside this vastness or infinity; it is already a part of that integral whole. Then every situation in life is an opportunity to recognize the ground of beingness that holds it all.

Any thought of separation from this whole, however much suffering follows it, still is only a thought. Separation must be maintained, it must be thought, it must be proved, and it must be practiced to exist. Without this maintenance, the experience of separation vanishes.

However your daily life presents itself, whether it is a life devoted to monastic duties or a life in the midst of the world, every moment is an opportunity to realize who you are. True investigation reveals that whatever prior limitations you think keep you from who you are (be they grand or lowly) are nothing but concepts, concepts that, when not maintained by mind activity, cannot cause suffering. These concepts can be liberated so that you, as you are, can shine fully. This is the invitation extended to you."

From The End of All Excuses, by Gangaji.

Friday, July 9, 2010

The great one, who went to the mountaintop said, "You can't solve nothing with violence!" Oscar Grant I

This video moved me deeply and made me cry last night. It's the grandfather of Oscar Grant III, a young Black man who was shot in the back by a white transit officer while being arrested, speaking on July 8, 2010, after an all-white jury convicted the officer of involuntary manslaughter.

Daisaku Ikeda, in an essay called the Courage of Nonviolence, writes, "Nonviolence is the highest form of humility; it is supreme courage. Prime Minister Nehru said that the essence of Gandhi's teachings was fearlessness. The Mahatma taught that "the strong are never vindictive" and that dialogue can only be engaged in by the brave. "

In Liberation Magazine (October, 1959) , the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King wrote, "There is more power in socially organized masses on the march than there is in guns in the hands of a few desperate men. Our enemies would prefer to deal with a small armed group rather than with a huge, unarmed but resolute mass of people."

I pray for the day when I can be a one in a huge, unarmed but resolute mass of people who are brave enough to live in dialogue, creating the very peace we wish to see in the world.

May we, Oscar Grant, his family, Johannes Mehserle, the jury members and every one of us affected by Oscar Grant's killing and the verdict against Johannes Mehserle, be filled with lovingkindness for ourselves and others.

May we all be free from suffering and the causes of suffering.

May we be well and happy.

May we know peace.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

What we can offer one another

"The only thing I think we have to offer someone else is our own centredness, our own being all right, and knowing beyond a doubt that they're all right. If I know that about myself in a way that lets me know that about everyone, I speak with true authority, in the sense of knowing what is so. But if I don't have that experience of being all right, if I am afraid for you because I am afraid for me, all I have to offer you is my fear. "Maybe if you quit drinking..." or "Why don't you try such-and-such?" That all comes from my own fear.

I think it's disrespectful of someone else's life process to assume that they are inadequate to their experience. It would be good to follow that back and see how I am simply projecting my own fear of inadequacy onto them. I simply cannot know about someone else's life... The contribution I can make is to clean up what's mine... I can't remove the obstacles to your path, but I can avoid putting things in your way... I this way to do I most deeply vow to train myself."

Cheri Huber, Good Life: A Zen precepts retreat