I’m finding myself falling into disquieting thoughts on occasion these days. I usually attribute such unpleasantness to physical discomfort; a sore back, being overly tired or whatever. But, when a reasonable physical explanation doesn’t present itself I think demons.
When I think demons I’m not really conjuring monsters such as one sees in medieval paintings; I’m using the term in a more abstract sense, you know, something in the air unsettling my being. Although, if I did think of demons in medieval terms, my demons would probably reflect aspects related to some of the disheartening news that crops up nearly every day. My demons would probably have attributes of some of the mean-spirited politicos who seem to me so bent on imposing their economic and pseudo-religious interests on those most in need of compassionate consideration.
Perhaps, if I envision my demons literally enough I can think of them as scapegoats into which I can stick pins as in the practice of Voodoo and if not diminish what I see as their destructive behaviors at least provide a focus for my wrath, to ease my general discomfort.
And then, when the cloud passes from over my head I can hide my demons away and hopefully not have to bring them back out any time soon. Of course, if I need them they’ll be there.
I happened to catch a fragment, the other day while surfing, of an item about a TED talk given by a woman extolling strength of character as a means of dealing with her obesity. Well, what she actually said was that she was fat, but, she said, that descriptive carries no more weight than being female or, as she declared she was, a belly dancer. This woman, whose name I didn’t catch, was quite attractive in her own way and clearly defiant in the face of contemporary attitudes regarding female body types.
I must say I found her perspective quite refreshing. I hurried off to tell my friends at the spa about this remarkable woman. As it turned out the ladies at the spa, while enjoying the information really didn’t need a moral boost. They feel just fine, they told me, being who they are in their largeness. They then pointed out to me ‘svelte’ when it comes to preferred body type is quite the exception historically. Royalty throughout the ages has often been characterized by largeness of countenance and as far as popularity goes consider the ladies in Peter Paul Rubens paintings.
Well, there’s no doubt they have a point, but in this day and age, with all of the medical caveats directed at maintaining extreme largeness, being too Rubenesque, unless lost at sea, might not be a wise lifestyle to assume.
I was left outside again. I’m lying on my back staring up at tree branches and blue sky; an occasional bird flies by. My mind is wandering; inconsequential thoughts enter, pass through and then exit my consciousness.
Being subject to the whims of my keepers, as I am, I don’t know how long I’ll be lying here; could be over night, even another day or two; which means, if I’m to maintain my sanity, I need to avoid thinking about past pleasantries, the warmth of the playroom, congenial companionship. And I certainly can’t think about what’s next; any thoughts of future possibilities will only lead to frustration. I need to focus on the here and now; total consciousness of the present, let my wandering thoughts scatter like dry leaves in an autumn breeze. I’ll become conscious of the reality that is. Now. If I can do this I may experience absolute truth; the ultimate nature of being; infinite love.
I promise to let you all know what happens when and assuming the children eventually retrieve me. But, if they don’t maybe it really won’t matter anyway. My consciousness may pass into an enlightened state. I’ll be like the Mahatma; he must have been enlightened. He was pretty self-disciplined anyway; what with his fasting and all. I wonder if he lost much weight. My back is getting a bit sore.
According to Michel Foucault, in the olden days, Medieval times I guess, when people got tired of seeing and dealing with the village idiot and others whose sanity they might have found in question they simply gathered them up, put them on a ship and sent them out to sea. Out of sight out of mind, I suppose.
Seems pretty cruel initially but certain medical authorities would have it those folks probably were happier or at least less distressed confined to a predictable environment; assuming the captain and crew weren’t simply inmates in charge of the asylum.
I understand a lot of people in those days saw mental disabilities as some sort of satanic possession rather than a medical issue, which I can understand dealing as I do with demons of my own. But, other cultures have sometimes seen these special needs folks as having access to inner worlds where futures become knowable; which can be very useful knowledge. This belief elevated these seers in people’s minds; it gave them rank and status, commanded respect. As I think about it, maybe such groups had something; there does seem to be a fairly fine line between insanity and genius sometimes.
The issue has me wondering what would have become of the likes of me in Medieval Europe. They probably would have eventually been fine with a walking, talking doll but my skepticism might have gotten me burned at the stake.
After spending so much time lately contemplating spiritual paths I’ve gotten to thinking about what it might mean to live a profane life.
I guess, essentially, it would mean following one’s animal nature first and foremost; side-stepping the cultural and societal mores that have been imposed since childhood and reverting to primal inclinations. Be instinctual. If it feels good do it, I suppose.
Such a philosophic view would free one from karmic considerations as well as guilt of any sort; fears of retribution from a disapproving god or eternal damnation wouldn’t be a problem either. But, I imagine there would be downsides to such a point of view. One’s actions would most certainly be viewed as vulgar, irreverent, even blasphemous by most; alienation would probably be in the cards; one would become a pariah as it were. All of which one could live with, I expect, if you were ok with isolation from the rest of mankind; living entirely by yourself; peeking out occasionally to obtain basic needs.
Well, I’m afraid I’m a bit too compliant to assume such a contrary stance, being pretty vulnerable to the opinions of others. I think I’ll leave the profane life to the self-made men of popular culture in the realization that the concept is pretty much just a romantic fantasy anyway.
In my quest to realize a deeper consciousness I spent time recently in the expanding power of a spiritual vortex. After a fairly strenuous hike I arrived atop a large rock surface that I had been directed to by a group of pilgrims who appeared to have benefited greatly from the visit judging by their peaceful countenances and welcoming gazes.
I sat in the encompassing beauty of Bell Rock, the complementary reds of rock and greens of pinon pine and juniper playing against the blue sky, the light breeze adding to the intoxication of place. After a time I began feeling an upward pull of energy, lifting my being, my spirit soaring, self-dissolving. Pure consciousness revealed the unity of past, present and future, the sense of commonality all of mankind shares flooded over me, love for my fellows and humankind as well, love for our life sustaining mother earth…………………… I know what you’re thinking. Being the skeptic I am I must be playing games, putting you on, acting in a disgracefully flippant manner. Well, maybe a little. But, the combination of fresh air, exercise and beautiful surroundings did lift my spirits.
I’m still meditating and I do feel greater compassion for humankind in light of the many travails it faces; my demons, angers, pridefulness and petty self-interests appear to be dissolving; I suddenly feel serenity coming on; maybe this is a glimpse of what enlightenment is.
As I understand it, according to Buddhist philosophy, the quality of the life I am now living is directly related to previous lives my inherited consciousness has lived; if previous creatures, whatever they may have been, had been essentially honorable, moral and upstanding I can expect to reap the benefits of their good behavior in this and subsequent existences; and visa versa.
When I think about how my life has been going to this point I have to believe that at least the most recent past manifestation of my consciousness must have been fairly upright because my life is pretty good and I seem to be fairly well-adjusted. Of course, if I got down to specifics I suppose I might find some aspects of that previous existence that maybe didn’t measure up real well.
For instance, my physical make-up isn’t wonderful which makes me wonder if past me might have been a bit vain about it’s appearance. And, I can’t say I have great confidence when it comes to public presentation which might mean my earlier self was a bit on the prideful side. But, overall, I feel pretty well prepared to face the challenges of life whether good or bad. Perhaps previous me was of a Stoic nature.
I suppose though I shouldn’t become complacent. It probably would be good to step it up, try to be a little more responsive to others, try to be helpful to my neighbors, more understanding of my playroom mates’ eccentricities. After all, my consciousness will be moving on at some point and it would be nice if it found a pleasant future home.
As I sit here contemplating a deeper consciousness it occurs to me excessive anger is a deterrent to achieving my goal. I do understand human (and doll) spirit demands indignation at times regarding injustices in the world. The problem with rage to the point of hating, though, is it becomes personal, focuses on the ‘I’ narrative so detrimental to deeper awareness. (And, I might add here ‘love’ is quite the opposite, broadening awareness of the world).
So, the question is how to put aside petty, and, maybe, not so petty annoyances that stand in the way of my goal. I could, I suppose, just focus on the positive or as the God-fearing do find peace in the assurance that whatever happens is God’s will, but that, it seems to me, would be like putting my head in the sand as it were.
I could, as the Stoics suggest, embrace the bad along with the good as being simply what will inevitably be, holding events at arm’s length thereby keeping them impersonal or like Buddhist teaching realize and embrace the essential suffering of life.
I’ll have to think about this for a while avoiding as much as possible the daily annoyances that come with living in this world and, perhaps, work on separating personal from impersonal.
Maybe the answer is focusing more intensely on my healing crystals. Actually I think I may be getting closer.
So, I was reading the other day that certain spiritual traditions maintain that the best way to achieve an enlightened mind is to overcome one’s sense of self. What stands in the way of our general well-being according to this thinking is that we all participate in an on-going internal narrative in which the protagonist ‘I’ takes a dominant role.
The idea here, as I understand it, is that consciousness precedes the recognition of self which we conjure up as we interact with others and make value judgments regarding our relative goodness; this egotism or lack thereof inhibits our ability to engage fully in the world.
Apparently these ideas of denying Self have been around quite some time and have led to a variety of approaches. A common religious position has been to acknowledge one’s inherent inadequacy and humble oneself before the benevolence of God. I guess that’s what a leap of faith is.
Another approach is Mindfulness meditation which teaches how to suppress your stream of thought, like through breathing exercises and such, in order to grasp full consciousness. This apparently takes quite some time maybe because as soon as you focus on not thinking about your Self you are thinking about your Self or you’re thinking about not thinking about your Self.
Then, there is the ‘Great Perfection’ of Tibetan Buddhism which aims at attaining one’s primordial state, which, I guess, means pre-self. This apparently can be achieved without years of meditation by those who are properly prepared which may mean time with a guru in Tibet.
And, I guess, there are certain drugs that will do the job as well.
As I sit here thinking about this I do favor the meditative approach. And I take heart in the realization my consciousness is present, first, and for those brief moments when I’m able to lose my Self in the beauty of nature, purely absorbed without description or language of any sort. Such brief glimpses realized are indeed enlightening.
I’m worried about Mother Earth. It’s not like I need air to breathe or food to eat or water to drink like those sentient beings of flesh and blood but our Mother as a living, breathing organism needs to be cared for; she is after all responsible for everyone’s existence.
Mother is amazingly resilient overcoming as she has the pressures of an exploding human population but I’m worried she may be losing the battle. She is fighting back as best she can, imposing foundation leveling earthquakes followed by inundating tidal waves and air befouling volcanic eruptions.
The big question is will humankind heed the warnings and learn to work with our Mother in mutually supportive ways.
I was telling all this to my friend Mini-Max. He not too subtly suggested I was being a bit of a hippy, liberal, tree-hugging eco-freak. His position is that our Mother is here to nurture us, we must take what we need to thrive and Mother will have to roll with the punches.
Besides, he said, our Mother has a rather sinister side that manifests itself in our animal natures. Humankind’s very existence is and always has been dependent on some other sentient’s extinction which is a clear indicator of our own vulnerability and need to aggressively pursue our survival.
Thinking about it later, I realized my inorganic make-up did probably give me a fairly unique perspective on the situation and I suppose Mini-Max is right in pointing out the inter-connectedness of it all. Perhaps mankind will destroy itself or be consumed by a stronger cleverer life-form-maybe Mother herself. Then perhaps dolls will inherit the earth.