“In a kind of parable, Nietzsche describes what he calls the three transformations of the spirit. The first is that of the camel, of childhood and youth. The camel gets down on his knees and says, “Put a load on me.” This is the season for obedience, receiving instruction and the information your society requires of you in order to live a responsible life.
But when the camel is well loaded, it struggles to its feet and runs out into the desert, where it is transformed into a lion — the heavier the load that had been carried, the stronger the lion will be. Now, the task of the lion is to kill a dragon, and the name of the dragon is “Thou shalt.” On every scale of this scaly beast, a “thou shalt” is imprinted: some from four thousand years ago; others from this morning’s headlines. Whereas the camel, the child, had to submit to the “thou shalts,” the lion, the youth, is to throw them off and come to his own realization.
And so, when the dragon is thoroughly dead, with all its “thou shalts” overcome, the lion is transformed into a child moving out of its own nature, like a wheel impelled from its own hub. No more rules to obey. No more rules derived from the historical needs and tasks of the local society, but the pure impulse to living of a life in flower.
For the camel, the “thou shalt” is a must, a civilizing force. It converts the human animal into a civilized human being. But the period of youth is the period of self-discovery and transformation into a lion. The rules are now to be used at will for life, not submitted to as compelling “thou shalts.” It comes the time for using the rules in your own way and not being bound by them. That is the time for the lion-deed. You can actually forget the rules because they have been assimilated. You are an artist.”
Excerpt from “Power of Myth” by Joseph Campbell
To be found here.
No talk in the world ever comes close to reality.
The minute the mind tries to capture reality, it becomes an unreal mind-construct.
Reality is what we sense and feel beyond interpretation and categorization. It is that which is (present) when the mind is absent.
Whatever the mind comes up with is devoid of reality, because it creates a representation of reality, but never renders reality itself.
The mind is not a sense-organ that could bring us in touch with reality. It does not receive input. It evaluates input from the senses and interprets it.
Just like a computer picture is a series of 1′s and 0′s interpreted and visualized through an algorithm,
our mind creates mental images out of the sensory information it is fed.
Confusing the minds reality with actual reality is like mistaking the jpeg for the actual data.
The minds interpretation of reality is completely subjective. Every mind uses its personally developped “algorithm” to create its images.
So, there is no objective, universal “Truth”, because every single truth is mind-made. No ideology whether political, moral, nor religious is ultimately “true”. They are completely individual mental constructs.
When I look around, though, I see people thoroughly believing in their mental unrealities. Their images haunt them day and night and make them suffer.
It amazes me to see that even after a lifetime of struggling against these mental fantasms, most people are still under the illusion that their personal thoughts about reality are real.
In India this illusory power is called “Maya”and only a few see behind its curtain.
Even most of those who honestly try, do not succeed. They ultimately fail to realize that as long as we are not meditating all day long, we cannot NOT live in our mental worlds. Transcendence of “Maya” is not getting rid of it (because that’s impossible) but realizing and accepting it as it casts its illusions. Liberation from an illusion lies in the seeing through and embracing it, not in giving it more credit and power by fighting it.
Liberating ourselves, we cease to take ourselves and others too seriously.
And that way we become as light as the angels and we can finally fully enjoy the illusion.
Because ultimately, what would you rather experience, the raw data or the picture?
The mind abstracts.
Abstractions turn into ideas.
Ideas become psychological realities.
We are dreamers in our own dreams.
The quality of our lives depends on the quality of our dreams.
Sweet dreams are made of sweet thoughts.
Sweet thoughts are nourished by the senses.
Sensuality is the realm beyond the mind.
Too much mind leads to sensual starvation.
Too much rationality to superficiality.
We long for depth and sensation,
Yet we are afraid to let go of the mind.
Whatever works to get us excited,
we fiercly guard like treasures.
Whoever opens us up,
we follow like head-less lemmings.
Better to realize its all a dream,
and open the tap to our own inexhaustible source of bliss.
The sweetness of the dreams has no limit.
Ritualize your life!
How hard is it to understand that spirituality is about completely accepting where you are at?
If you want to get rid of desire, you fail to see that the very striving is still a desire.
Trying to abandon all seeking for power, is a power game.
Only the fearful wish to transcend their fears.
As long as you are on the path of spiritual development, you deny your very self.
Any attempt to trying to get ahead of yourself is based on insecurity.
Attainment is a self-protection mechanism.
The way out of striving and suffering is self-acceptance.
What is accepted does not need defending. Only doubts do.
Make conscious your deep-rooted objections about yourself.
And realize that variation is the spice of life.
The cowards try to please their reference group and become rigid.
The liberated celebrate their uniqueness and dance.
We were not created to hide parts of our selves.
We were created to contribute our unique tone in the great song.
We do not need improvement.
Not even our thinking that we need improvement does.
All is well with the way we are and think.
Such is total self-acceptance.
All other thinking leads to mental slavery.
And to unnecessary struggling and striving to become somebody we are not.
I wish you the courage to stand there stripped and naked.
Representing nothing but yourself.
Vulnerable but beautifully human.
Accepting even the fact that you can’t accept.
Always, always acknowledging exactly where you are at.
I will wait for you.
I have been asked how I dared to avocate accepting everything exactly as it happens to be while children are starving, women are mistreated, men are losing their lives in wars and mother nature is being polluted.
Let me get this straight first: I am as moved as you are about these matters.
Accepting does not mean doing nothing about the state of affairs in the world or being in complete agreement with what is happening. It simply is the starting point from where to depart in our efforts to alleviate the situation. If we say “no” right from the beginning we hang ourselves up psychologically and never truly depart. An outright “no” is often a form of denial of “what is”. It then gets us to resignate or revolt and can cause depression or aggression.
What I am saying is that it requires a wholehearted “yes” to the situation at hand to say “no” without getting hung up. Why? As we accept everything as it is, we even accept our objection to what is. Any cycle of suffering starts with a “no” that stipulates further “no’s”. Hence, saying “yes” (even to the “no’s”) empowers us to disagree without losing our (or other peoples!) heads.
Think about it.
Or about the following quote:
“Just as there is no time but the present, there is never anything to be gained – though the zest of the game is to pretend there is.”
Wise words from the German-born, Swiss poet and novelist (“Steppenwolf”, “Siddhartha”):
“Everything is impermanent”, says the fool,
while looking for permanent enlightenment.
“Everything is interdependent”, says the fool,
wishing there would be good without bad.
“All is One”, says the fool,
while trying to go beyond duality.
“The Truth is here now”, says the fool,
while doing everything possible to get there.
“There is no self”, says the fool,
while struggling to get rid of it.
“We are all enlightened”, says the fool,
while setting out to heal himself and others.
“The finger is not the moon”, says the fool,
while sanctifying words and mantras.
“We should not be aggressive”, says the fool,
while engaging in asceticism.
“We should be more natural and spontaneous”, says the fool,
while the very trying to be prevents it.
The fools are many. They cry loudest for change and achieve nothing.
When will they wake up from the illusion that there is something wrong with what is?
If we call the experience of the only thing there is, “oneness”
We create a distinction between one and many.
“Oneness” is a subtle trap.
It does not liberate.
It keeps one tightly bound to duality.
One and many are non-dual.
They are fundamentally the same.
So if you were to say “one” and “many” are one,
you haven’t understood a single thing.
The many and the one are not different,
but they are not one.
Duality and unity are dualistic concepts.
To transcend the duality, think:
Neither one, nor many, but both.
Such realization is called “non-duality”.
How many retreats do we need to attend, and
How many healing ceremonies does it take, and
How many awakenings do we have to go through,
To understand their message?
So long as trust in the universe is lacking,
we keep dialing God’s number like fools.
And as the medicine becomes our diet,
We won’t dare to hang up the phone.
But has our head ever disappeared,
As we lost sight of it?
Do we need to keep repeating our names,
To know what we are called?
A spiritual junkie lives from rush to rush,
And neglects many everyday concerns.
Not knowing that that way,
He hurries right past most gems of life.
He wants the high’s without the low’s,
But nothing exists independent of its opposite.
By continuously seeking spiritual bliss,
He walks the path of the eternal sucker.
The Truth is never hidden from anybody.
The sacred time and space is right here now.
Seek no further, get on with life.
In the love, in the light, in the glory and in the darkness.
I have lived with a depressed person for a while. And although I have only personally experienced mild forms of depression, my friends illness clarified a few things for me about the nature of suffering which I would like to share with you out there.
First of all, what is a depression? For me, it is the painful sensation of life’s “pressure” due to a person’s inability or incapacity to flow with it. Life happens but the person resists, tries to desperately hold on as (s)he does not accept the impermanent nature of life. And this resistance to life is what manifests as suffering as it creates contraction in the body-mind, shuts the depressed person off sensually from experiencing the wonders of being alive and sucks him or her out energetically.
If you read my blog you know that my mantra is to say “yes” to life, to first understand it and then accept it. The reason for resisting (saying “no”) is always rooted in fear and fear is rooted in misunderstanding life. We usually find it easy to understand the “positive” aspects of life but we completely misunderstand the “negative” and so our fears and our resistance arises (I call our tendency to resist and clutch “ego”).
So what is it we do not understand?
We think the “positive” is independent of the “negative”. As we take a stroll in the woods we may be enchanted by the beauty of nature ignoring the fact that “behind the scenes” organisms are continuously fighting for survival. But the beauty of nature precisely hinges on the principle of the survival of the fittest. If you say “yes” to nature but “no” to the darwinistic principle you are being contradictory and will be hopelessly confused about life. Same applies to human qualities. If human beings had no means of being aggressive, we would not be here now capable of enjoying the world. Let’s face it: whatever exists has its place and makes sense in the grand scheme of things. Everything (including the “positive”) is the way it is, because everything (including the “negative”) is exactly the way it is. Or “this is this, because that is that”, as the Buddhists say.
Because we fail to see this interdependence we think that the “positive” and the “negative” are engaged in an epic battle against each other and that the “positive” can (and must!) win. This is the oldest story ever told. The quest to get to this place where the “good” will permanently prevail within (e.g. new-age “enlightenment”) and without (e.g. “heaven”). But that’s an impossibility because the “positive” can never take over the “negative” as they depend on each other. Like one side of a coin can never take over the other. Hence, trying to win this battle will forever frustrate us. It can’t be done. Life is the whole works, it includes light and darkness. For how would we define “good” if we could not contrast it with “bad”? The sense of darkness gives rise to the sense of light and vice versa. Eradicating something must ultimately eradicate its opposite as well. Take away one side of a coin and you don’t have a coin anymore. So, as we go on tackling this futile task of seeking “heaven” while rejecting “hell” we roam in the cycle of suffering that the Buddhists call Samsara (consequently, thus from a Buddhist standpoint even the angels have not transcended Samsara but are only temporarily in heaven). Hence, depression is another word for being very tightly stuck in Samsara.
Sometimes, though, being stuck is part of the way forward. The spiritual literature abounds with people having awakened in midst of a depression as they got so exhausted that the tendency to reject the flow of life (“ego”) just stopped. In these situations the biblical statement “thy will, not mine” reveals its deeper meaning.
To conclude, some wise words from the Buddha, the first systematic psychologist in history. His whole teaching can be summed up as follows: as long as we are too ignorant to notice that everything continuously arises and passes away in mutual interdependence, we are caught in grasping and rejection which leads to endless frustration and suffering.
Let things be and you have arrived.