Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Shame

What is reality? Is there some kind of solid point fixed in time that allows us to identify ourselves as a person? How arrogant are we, that the mind implies that we are a fixed point in the universe, unchanging and faceless. One single comment by a person, or a look, or something other, can change our entire dimension of our existence and our sense of who we are. The only lasting and true unchangeless face of who we are is I AM. That is the first thing that we truly know when we come into the world and it will be the last thing we know when we leave it. But how fascinating the mercuriality of our nature that glams onto the pleasures of the world and can crash down into the pain with the flip of a switch. Particularly if we are ego identified. But in Western culture any implication of our true selves behind the veil will elicit very intense resistance from us. It threatens the very foundation of our ability to remember who we are and allows us to continue the game of hide and seek. But in the west we have forgotten that this is in fact the game. And when we desire to wake up then we recognize who we really are. Certainly it is the overwhelming nature of western society to take everything incredibly seriously and not allow for the possibility of this in fact being a game. But that in itself is part of the game. Real insight and awakening threatens to derail this.
We are playing the game that we don't know that we know. When we begin to see through the maya of this then we achieve satori, the absurd laugh of Ho-Tai, the laughing buddha, who when recognizing the self has a huge laugh on his face.
We see this in those beautiful eyes of Ramana Maharshi in that famous picture. The eyes that say "Oh come on now...get off it. You know exactly who you are". You are nothing less than all of it.

1 Comments:

Blogger Jeff said...

Tony, Tony, Tony. Is it really your belief that "[o]ne single comment by a person, or a look, or something other, can change our entire dimension of our existence and our sense of who we are." Are we really that frail? My experience teaches me we are not. Joy and sadness, slights and kudos, "Star Trek" and "Dukes of Hazzard," these things do not make us who we are, unless we are nothing more than puddles of goop. Which is not to say the world does not have a role in shaping us, nor does it say we cannot make ourselves into puddles of goop. I have seen slack-jawed lethargy, overindulgence, drugs and alcohol do exactly this.

There is no "solid point fixed in time that allows us to identify ourselves as a person." We are the stuff between our ears. We evolve moment to moment, and the relationship I have to that fetus in the womb with his raveling brain that I once was, and that old man upon the death bed with his threadbare neurofibrillary tangles that I will become have nothing in common with each other but the dot-dash broken lines of memory.

Within a year every single atom in your body will be replaced. How do the new atoms know where to go? There is, for lack of a better term, a Pattern. Interwoven systems of complexity, like the nanoscopic biochemical cascades in our bodies, give rise to order. Chaos theory. It happens. Anyway, the Pattern in you is made by the atoms. In turn, the Pattern puts the atoms in their place, making itself. The atoms never go back perfectly, so the Pattern changes subtilely. It evolves, succumbs to entropy, and eventually breaks down entirely. So how does this relate to the question of who one truly Is? There is no such thing. We are our thoughts, which are formed from information received within and without. Thoughts are the atoms, if you will. We order our thoughts based upon memory, disposition and cognitive ability. This ordering is the Pattern. And the Pattern is altered as the new thoughts are imperfectly put into place. You are neither the Pattern, nor your thoughts. You are both, and with each passing moment, you cease to be you a little bit, and become someone else a little bit. It is only memory that connects you to that other past person.

Cool, eh? I just made all that up.

You are quite the conflicted person, aren't you? On the one hand, you want to wipe out your ego. On the other, well... I can think of few things more ego-affirming than starting your own blog and holding forth on topics both metaphysical and philosophical. The arrogance! I love it. Embrace it, dude. Fold your arms around it, and give it a big, fat, wet kiss. We are of the West. We are Westies. We brought the world reason, and were smart enough to eventually acknowledge that, powerful as it is, it has its limitations. Eastern philosophy is obtuse and slick; you can't really get a grip on it so you assume it must have something to offer. Koans? Jesus, give me a break! Surely Popeye and Jim Kirk resonate better with your Western brain than Ho-Tai and that fraud Ramtha? Read some Epictetus. The world is a forge. Embrace the world. It shapes you. And, believe it or not, we are participants in Creation (remind me to tell you about John Wheeler's "thought experiment"). We make Creation. Sometimes, when we look up and see starlight, we change history. It's true. Cosmic scale application of quantum mechanics. Look it up.

Mars is near Aries tonight. Good luck.

~Jeff

4:52 PM  

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