Monday, December 15, 2014

Seeking Someone to Cover the Holes

"We find the courage to go on, even if it's only for one more breath."  --At Home in the Muddy Water --by Ezra Bayada

When practicing with relationship issues such as loneliness, Zen author, Ezra Bayada writes in his book, At Home In the Muddy Water, that we find the courage to go on, even if it's only for one more breath. As we stay with the loneliness, that hole of loneliness gradually heals. We learn [by experience] that inviting it in is far less painful than pushing it away.
He notes that for most of us, most of the time, we spend a lot of time thinking about what is happening to us. We just think; intellectual activity may obscure physical experiences such so that then, of course, we believe our thoughts are reality.

To the extent that there is suffering in our relationships, or to the extent that even good in our relationships could become better, we need to work honestly with our blind spots and stuck places. Many experiences in day-to-day living challenge us, pushing us to our edges; it may be difficult to even remember the practice.
A voice in us activates thoughts such as: 'Hey, what about me, not fair, so much drama, tired of this', and so on.
With a spinning mind, separating our experiences from these notions is a tough sell. Learning to practice in the most difficult, the most trapped moment is also the moment we may realize the most, becoming the most joyful, make the most immediate decisions to reap the most benefit. There is joy and tranquility in every moment. Make it yours.

Soren Kierkegaard notes that 'perfect love' loves one intently, despite being very possibly the one, with whom we are mostly unhappy. In other words, working with our own reactions is the most perfect response to a loved one. 
Interactions with others vex us; what we fully want from others, is what they may not be able to give at a particular moment, and what we want most to give may just not be available to others.

It is often so difficult to give. If we [can] see that we're stuck in not wanting to give someone what they want, and if we're willing to work with the layers of emotion like anger and fear around our stuck condition, then in growing awareness it becomes a path to freedom.
Pushing beyond known edges may require intentional giving to increase our known self, and to face our fears. Less and less fears or anxiety comes to dictate our behavior, says Bayada, when we practice like this.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Original Face, Ultimate Reality

This article appeared here previously, on February 15, 2009

The Philosopher Soren Kierkegaard wrote: "...that with such passionate clearness a man sees and knows over what he is in despair, but about what it is, escapes his notice..."

Kierkegaard further wrote on this topic: "For the "immediate" man does not recognize his self, he recognizes himself only by his dress, he recognizes that he has a self only by externals... In possibility, everything is possible, thus a man can go astray in all possible ways. One form is wishful... the other form is melancholy fantastic--on one hand hope, on the other fear or dread... In order to will in despair, to be oneself, there must be consciousness of the infinite self."

The self who one might think of as the 'original face,' the face that existed before you were born. Yet we are all blind by definition. We may see the other clearly, but not ourselves. As Ezra Bayda writes in At Home in the Muddy Waters, 'to the extent that we're not aware...we're bound to follow this predictable path. When two people who don't know themselves reach the point of conflict, the result is a collision... even though it may be easy to see how unaware the other person is, our own blind spots are blind by definition.

Yet these [persistent] conflicts are clues that we're in the dark... believing in our reaction is another tell tale sign of darkness to self. Many power struggles have resulted from a perceived notion of a failing, or loss of a good or promise to us. We then act to recoup what must be ours, partitioned, from our now enemy. But in the exchange, we are mired in both our hopes and our fears; we despair to will to be ourselves, the face that exists now and infinitely.

Failure to work with, and work out our perceived 'need for power, our self centered desires to possess, our fear based need to control results in hatred, intolerance and aggression. The blindness to self first, and towards the other second, is the source of all conflicts...without inner understanding, individuals and societies flounder,' writes Bayda.

Part of the simple mind, joy in relationships, comes not so much from getting what we think we need or from happiness, but from contact with our essential self, our infinite or original self. The expression of this connection is through generosity, a sharing of that self infinite. It is like a well, we drink of its unending source all that is essential.