Tag Archives: grasping

When you really don’t know…

Video

‘That what I want, basically, what I really want, is what you want. And I don’t know what you want.
Surprise me.
But that’s the kinship between “I” and “thou”. So when I ask, I go right down to the question, which we started with: “What do I want?”
The answer is “I don’t know”.
When Bodhidharma was asked, “Who are you?” which is another form of the same question, he said “I don’t know”.

‘ Planting flowers to which the butterflies come, Bodhidharma says “I know not” ‘

I don’t know what I want.
And when you don’t know what you want, you reach the state of desirelessness. When you *really* don’t know… you see, there’s a beginning stage of not knowing, and there’s an ending stage of not knowing.
In the beginning stage, you don’t know what you want because you haven’t thought about it, or you’ve only thought superficially.
Then when somebody forces you to think about it and go through it, you say, “Yeah, I think I’d like this, I think I’d like that, I think I’d like the other”. That’s the middle stage.
Then you get beyond that, and say “Is that what I really want?” In the end you say, “No, I don’t think that’s it… I might be satisfied with it for a while, and I wouldn’t turn my nose up at it, but it’s not really what I want”.
Why don’t you really know what you want?
Two reasons, that you don’t really know what you want.
Number 1: You have it.
Number 2: You don’t know yourself. Because you never can. The godhead is never the object of its own knowledge, just as a knife doesn’t cut itself, fire doesn’t burn itself, life doesn’t illumine itself. It’s always an endless mystery to itself. “I don’t know”.
And this “I don’t know”, uttered in the infinite interior of the spirit, this “I don’t know”, is the same thing as “I love”, “I let go”, “I don’t try to force or control”. It’s the same thing as humility.
And so the Upanishads say, “If you think that you understand Brahman, you do not understand. You have yet to be instructed further. If you know that you do not understand, then you truly understand, for the Brahman is unknown to those who know it, and known to those who know it not”.
And the principle is that any time you, as it were, voluntarily let up control, in other words, cease to cling to yourself, you have an access to power. Because you’re wasting energy all the time in self-defense, trying to manage things, trying to force things to conform to your will.
The moment you stop doing that, that wasted energy is available. And therefore you are, in that sense, having that energy available, you are one with the divine principle. You have the energy! When you’re trying, however, to act as if you are god, that is to say, you don’t trust anybody and you’re the dictator and you have to keep everybody in line, you lose the divine energy, because what you’re doing is simply defending yourself.
So then the principle is: the more you give it away, the more it comes back.
Now you say, “I don’t have the courage to give it away. I’m afraid”.
And you can only overcome that by realizing, you better give it away, because there’s no way of holding on to it. The meaning of the fact that everything is dissolving constantly, that we’re all falling apart, we’re all in the process of constant death, and that –
“The Worldly Hope men set their Hearts upon / Turns Ashes—or it prospers; and / Like Snow upon the Desert’s dusty Face / Lighting a little Hour or two—is gone” all that Omar Khayyam jazz. You know, “The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, the great globe itself, I, all which it inherit — shall dissolve, and like this insubstantial pageant faded, Leave not a rack behind.”….
All falling apart. Everything is. That’s the great assistance to you. That fact that everything is in decay is your helper. That is allowing you that you don’t have to let go, because there’s nothing to hold on to.
It’s achieved for you, in other words, by the process of nature. So once you see that you just don’t have a prayer, and it’s all washed up, and that you will vanish and “leave not a rack behind”, and you really get with that, suddenly you find that you have the power, this enormous access of energy.
But it’s not power that came to you because you grabbed it; it came in entirely the opposite way. The power that comes to you in that opposite way is power with which you can be trusted.’

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To fill the bucket

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Grasping at sense objects (a match-factory)

When the mind is directed to the illusionary outside world of objects, it is prone to grasp at these objects as it has numberless concepts to distinguish between them. The amount of them is endless. The mind is conditioned by society, personal experience and education to grasp, reject or to be indifferent towards them. The more it is under the influence of desire, the more it grasps. It wants to fulfil this emptiness left behind by the veil that covers our happiness, our true self, with the fleeting happiness created by the objects of desire. As the very nature of the sense objects is impermanent, suffering is inherent. This happiness is never lasting and we will never get the bucket full, no matter how much we grasp at desirable objects. As soon as the object is acquired, the happiness that is obtained by it is already fading away, even though the object might still exist. The magic of the moment when it became “mine” quickly fades and it then turns into a weapon faced towards us. It can now cause innumerable sufferings. It might get stolen, lost, leave us or increase our pride, hence become fruitful soil for hatred, anger, jealousy or suffering of loss. And finally, this whole process leaves permanently new impressions on the veil of our true self, covering it ever more and distancing us ever more from the true happiness we are longing for so hardly… our true self.

The only way to clear that veil, this dust on the mirror, on our true nature, is to let go and to observe… in silence. It is only by discriminative knowledge that we can meet the army of defilements of the mind. Then, through understanding the real nature of those illusionary outside objects, the grasping will naturally take an end. The veil made out of all those impressions covering our true shining self will slowly dissolve and true happiness will naturally be revealed. It might go very quickly for some of us, but I can also take many years. But the very motivation of reading about all this, even if it might be difficult to understand at the beginning, is already the first step into a wonderful story realizable in this lifetime, if you are really decided to do so.

Love,

Shanti

Quote

Jean Klein

It is only through silent awareness that our physical and mental nature can change. This change is completely spontaneous. If we make an effort to change we do no more than shift our attention from one level, from one thing, to another. We remain in a vicious circle. This only transfers energy from one point to another. It still leaves us oscillating between suffering and pleasure, each leading inevitably back to the other. Only living stillness, stillness without someone trying to be still, is capable of undoing the conditioning our biologoical, emotional and psychological nature has undergone. There is no controller, no selector, no personality making choices. In choiceless living the situation is given the freedom to unfold. You do not grasp one aspect over another for there is nobody to grasp. When you understand something and live it without being stuck to the formulation, what you have understood dissolves in your openness. In this silence change takes place of its own accord, the problem is resolved and duality ends. You are left in your glory where no one has understood and nothing has been understood.

— Jean Klein – I Am

(image souce: o-meditation.com)

Living stillness

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The most common ego identifications have to do with possessions, the work you do, social status and recognition, knowledge and education, physical appearance, special abilities, relationships, person and family history, belief systems, and often also political, nationalistic, racial, religious, and other collective identifications.

None of these is you.

— Eckhart Tolle – The Power of Now : A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment (p. 37)

None of these is you

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This time I must confess
i feel a total hate for myself
while crowded and swarmed
my heart wishes to be by single self

seeking that single pearl
i crave to dive deep into this sea
but fear of murderous waves
makes me beg for your help my friends

scattered with so much going on inside
i long for nothing but an inner unity
duality must be abandoned
if you seek to drink the soul of unity

you must bet and lose
everything you’ve ever owned
if you truly desire
to become one with your beloved

listen to the secret sound
of the revelation now
when your quest aspires the skies
fly away from this lowly earth

my heavenly soul
who only nests in the heights
is tired of its house on earth
it wants to abandon the body
it wants to take the final flight

— Jalalud’din Rumi – Ghazal number 3210 (transl. by Nader Khalili)

Confession of a seeker

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We live in a society whose whole policy is to excite every nerve in the human body and keep it at the highest pitch of artificial tension, to strain every human desire to the limit and to create as many new desires and synthetic passions as possible, in order to cater to them with the products of our factories and printing presses and movie studios and all the rest.

 

And yet it is still just as naïve to suppose that members of the same human species, without having changed anything but their minds, should suddenly turn around and produce a perfect society, when they have never been able, in the past, to produce anything but imperfection and, at best, the barest shadow of justice.

 

I had at last become a true child of the modern world, completely tangled up in petty and useless concerns with myself, and almost incapable of even considering or understand anything that was really important to my own true interests.

 

What a strange thing! In filling myself, I had emptied myself. In grasping things, I had lost everything. In devouring pleasures and joys, I had found distress and anguish and fear.

— Thomas Merton – Several Quotes from “The Seven Storey Mountain

Slavery

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Morality as taught by way of rules is extremely powerful and valuable in the development of practice. It must be remembered that it, like all the techniques in meditation, is merely a tool to enable one to eventually get to that place of unselfishness where morality and wisdom flow naturally. In the West, there’s a myth that freedom means free expression–that to follow all desires wherever they take one is true freedom. In fact, as one serves the mind, one sees that following desires, attractions, repulsions is not at all freedom, but is a kind of bondage. A mind filled with desires and grasping inevitably entails great suffering. Freedom is not to be gained through the ability to perform certain external actions. True freedom is an inward state of being. Once it is attained, no situation in the world can bind one or limit one’s freedom. It is in this context that we must understand moral precepts and moral rules.
Normally, we spend our time simply reacting to stimuli in ways in which we have been conditioned. Often this conditioning is quite strong and brings about situations in which we act out our selfishness in ways that hurt or infringe upon those around us. By observing moral precepts we begin to set limits on how much we will follow our conditioned reactions and our desires. We stop identifying so strongly with them and say: “Wait, I’m going to stop a minute and simply watch the nature of this process,” rather than blindly follow all the desires and impulses that come. It is this stopping, observing, and not being caught in the web of reaction that will lead us to freedom.

— Jack Kornfield – Living Buddhist Masters – p. 302

What is the function of restraint in spiritual practice?