Who do you think it helps when you are emotionally suffering about the emotional suffering of others?
Does the hand that animates a puppet have any real personality? Now: How could a nervous system have one that animates a body? Ponder this: Who/Where/What exactly are you?
Are you still intellectualizing away or worse spiritualizing the fact that you are holding back?—I certainly do. That’s what I’s supposed to do.
Do I still wish to deny the truth in favor of the ideas I entertain in my mind; does it still feel more reasonable to keep shadow-boxing with the phantoms that I project than to rest in the openness of no struggle; does it still feel more convenient to take things personally and feel continually frustrated over circumstances than to rest in the openness of no reason; does it still feel easier to strain and to strive and struggle than to rest in the openness of no progress; etc—you bet it does, and of course it does, for I just cannot help it, that’s in the nature of ’me’—the truth of the matter is: I [as an I] can’t and I won’t ever stop. But then, no matter what I do to counter it: stopping happens to ’me’ anyway. And it feels confusing for ’me’ even when I know that feeling puzzled is totally unnecessary and that tensing up about it ain’t necessary either. It’s all cool, though—I gets it now.
Here’s another installment of a dramatized internal conflict in the form of a dialogue. I’ll cut to the chase right away and keep it pretty succinct—to reproduce it [the tempo of my mind] as realistically as possible. Admittedly, it may feel pretty fast-paced and somewhat illogical & disjointed at places as a result:
M: Let’s be honest: I still choose contraction over relaxation. I still choose to delay a projected prospect of gratification. I still choose to work on the project of self-actualization, and therefore I still choose to hold back and keep my gut tense. I still choose constipation over free flow. I still choose the illusion of separateness and the illusion of agency & control. I still go with the flow of the ego & dismiss the flow of the truth. Etc.
Q: Ok, now that you profess to be honest, let’s get clear too. First off, why do you think you choose holding back?
M: … Because I want to prove. I want to prove that what I do works. I want to prove ’’them’’ wrong. I want to prove myself to them. I want to prove, to be approved. If I gave up now decades of effort would go down the drain.
Q: [I, I, I, I, I, lololol] What is it that You want to prove to ’’them’’?
M: … I want them to finally see that I’m fascinating. I want them to be humbled by how right and how cool I am, by how good of a taste and style and blowing mind I have. I want them to become silent but raving fans of me.
Q: [And You, You, You, You, You attempt to do that (i.e. proving your truth) by holding back…WTF?] Why do you want ’’them’’ to be fascinated?
M: … So that I can finally relax knowing that they finally see & appreciate me and I don’t have to prove anything anymore.
Q: [Keep pushing to get to rest?—Hmm.] What exactly do you want them to ’’see’’?
M: I want them to see how amazing I am.
M: Again, so that I can relax.
Q: Right. So, what happens when you relax?
M: It means (feeds back as the sense) that I succeeded in proving my point. I’ll be seen & appreciated at long last.
Q: So you feel ’’they’’ don’t appreciate you now. Do you appreciate ’’them’’ by the way?
M: … Only those who are real.
Q: Right. So, who is ’’real’’ for you? [Are you?]
M: … Someone who totally lets go and speaks & lives the(ir) truth without fear. Someone who feels no need to take things personally and engages life & others with absolutely no strings attached. Someone who has transcended the bounds of their petty self-concern and shines without any sense of shame or guilt or anxiety.
Q: Do you see the paradox here?
M: … Yes, I guess, I do—Admittedly, I always feel at my best when I allow a selfless flow determine they way I engage. I feel in the zone when I’m in the zone. It’s a paradox indeed, in that: Basically, I want others to acknowledge me for something I don’t actually do but RELAX into at times, that is: I want to take credit for what comes through me DESPITE of me.
Q: Do you feel the absurdity of this paradox?
M: … Well, let me sort this out: I want them to see (amazing) me so that I can relax. And yet, I feel amazing precisely when I’m simply relaxed into my actions and I don’t even care whether I’m seen or not since there is not much of an I there to begin with. I is only an after-thought which then all of a sudden takes over and demands to reproduce the sensation after the fact and feels frustrated by failing at [reclaiming] it. Or something like that, I guess.
Q: Or something like that, yes. Now, where do we go from here?
M: I know. I know. I gotta go with the truth. And drop all defense and speak the truth and live the truth and be the truth. And I must align because I want to align and to align I can’t wobble too much so I must keep an even keel & follow the lead of the truth, all the way.
Q: Or else?
M: Or else it’s a waste of a lifetime spent in endless yo-yoing between, say, supper & next day struggle.
Q: Well, I would tone the melodramatic vibe down a bit but I say: Right on Márk. [Sort of.]
/Reading back this dialogue a few days later: I cannot help but feel amused how the ego [M] proceeds to give foolproof, well-rehearsed advice on how to transcend itself at the end. The only parts worth paying any sincere attention to are the bracketed comments. The rest is [smart-ass] nonsense./
Are you still convinced that you can resolve your disagreeable issues? Are you still relating from the illusion of agency? Do you still dismiss the truth of this moment [the real essence of your being]? Do you still prefer to argue with it? Is it still the exhausting spin of your wheels that brings you peace of mind? Do you still need to (repeatedly) crash instead to relax and have a rest?
Don’t look at that little ticker-tape thing in your head and continue to try to get it to be totally unconditioned. Forget it. The problem isn’t that that little thing in your head is conditioned. That’s not the problem. The problem is that you believe it, that you think it’s true, and worst of all, you may think it’s you. That’s the only problem at all. Once you wake up from that dream, it no longer has hold of you. You’re no longer looking through that conditioned mind, you’re not perceiving through its delusions. It’s something that exists within you, you no longer exist within it.
The truth of our being has no center. The truth of us isn’t the center. It isn’t that place that’s interpreting each and every moment, each and every experience. That’s the false self. That’s what we think we are.
Does it feel good to have the center fall apart? Of course, it does. Until the center tries to put itself back together. Then it doesn’t feel so good. But then the center puts itself back together only to say:
—Jeez, that was really nice when I wasn’t here.
It’s a catch 22, isn’t it. The wheel of samsara.
—I like it but I want to be here to reflect upon how good it is. What good is happiness to me if I am not here to reflect on how happy I am.
Happiness happens but it’s not relevant. But to the center it’s always relevant. The center is always reflecting: How do I feel? What do I know? How do I do it? Am I getting there? Am I not getting there? Where am I in all this?
The center is always trying to locate itself.
Instead of feeling we’re simply hearing (in our mind) what others are saying.
Reality doesn’t ’’care’’ about your belief structure.
We think that freedom is the fulfillment of our belief structure, but true freedom is the freedom from our belief structure.
We suffer under this horrendous dream that: My experience of things is how they are. That’s probably one of the greatest trance state of human beings. The way I see things is the way they actually are. It’s one of the most difficult things for a human being to break out of.
The worst thing that can possibly happen to anybody is that they believe a thought. It’s as bad as it gets.