The Void

Whenever you think “such is THIS” or “such is THAT”,
You are leaving the middle way.

All conceptual thoughts are intimately connected to their opposite,
And so all thinking is biased by default.

To get attached to thought is to lose the balance;
And to lose the balance is to disalign with Tao, the way of nature.

To remain in thought is to be caught in the dualistic web of the mind;
Forever Yin is emphasized over Yang, and Yang is emphasized over Yin.

There is no way out of this, for “out” is just another thought;
To transcend thought simply cease to take sides.

We cannot help but to think,
But believing one’s thoughts to the point of attachment is a choice.

By dropping out of “this” or “that” we gain our liberty;
By letting go of all fixed ideas about self and other we fall into grace.

Are you ready to pass through this “void”?
The promise is that it is filled with abundance.

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Nietzsche’s “Three Transformations”

“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.

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Mental World

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?


Love and Clinging

Since one of the most popular posts on this blog has been about relationships and because I am not going to be able to post much new content regularly during the next two months, I decided to pick up the topic of romantic love again.

From what I can tell, what people seem to be most interested in when it comes to romantic love is to understand why some relationships don’t work and how to commit to a partner without compromising oneself. I think that the ‘problem’ of most romantic relationships is always the same: clinging.

Clinging is an expression of insecurity of one’s lovability and, ultimately, of the fear of losing the partner. One of the fundamental laws of nature is that acting from a place of fear never prevents what is feared. It actually makes it more likely to happen. Because our freedom is what we treasure most, the more we cling to our beloved, the more we will estrange him or her from us or from him- or herself. Alan Watts used to have a story to tell to emphasize this fact. There was a little girl who longed to get a bunny so bad that once she got it, she hugged and squeezed it until it suffocated in her arms. Her fear of ever having to be without the bunny again killed it.

If the tendency to cling is stronger in one partner than in the other, love relationships are dysfunctional and usually do not last long. But even most so-called ‘functional’ relationships are based on clinging. They are mutual clinging agreements based on a balance of fear of the partners losing each other. The more fear and insecurity the partners bring into the agreement, the tighter, more restrictive it will be. Thus, in most relationships lovers become each others impediments of expressing their uniqueness, of finding their own (fulfilling) life. Because of that, sooner or later, their relationships dry out and become stale, dead.

Why are we afraid to lose the partner? What’s the big deal?

When we are in love with somebody, we channel most of our love to one person. So, love ‘flows’ in the presence of the partner and it doesn’t when (s)he is not around. We then associate the overwhelming feeling of love (and being loved) with a particular person. This ‘exclusiveness’ of love can be the source of great joy and meaning but also of great heartache and grief.

When we awaken, though, our love expands from exclusive love relationships to objects or people to the whole universe. As we become intimate with everything, clinging to one aspect or manifestation of the universe vanishes. A simple stroll in the woods can be as fulfilling as an afternoon with the lover. The more we fall in love with what ‘is’ the less we are inclined to seek and cling to love. It will flow naturally wherever we are.

So, what does and ‘enlightened’ relationship look like?

Both partners know that the highest gift in life is to be free to be who they are, so they grant each other this privilege. They understand love as sharing freedom with each other. As long as the partners are true to themselves, all actions and decisions are deeply respected. They know that this is the surest way that their bond of love, in the long term, will weather all storms of life.