Recieved: 1999/12/16 18:39
Subject: Re: [K-list] no suffering, no sweat
On 1999/12/16 18:39, Ckress posted thus to the K-list:
I know that Wim has been proselytizing his message of "Suffering is an
illusion" and "suffering is a condition, not reality" on list for a long
time. This is part of the Eastern ascetic philosophy which traditionally
counsels denial of every condition/perception/experience until one arrives at
the pure Consciousness level of Self/I-Am. Whether this path will actually
get you to the goal is dependent on many factors. Some austere and devoted
practitioners never have the Self/I-Am experience. And there are people like
me who have had it without undergoing the mental discipline of that path (or
not in this lifetime -- maybe I was a yogi in a past life!).
If this is your path, ok by me. I've been reacting to Wim's latest
pronouncement because he has several times previously attacked me for
expressing a more heart-centered relationship to life, which he has
characterized as a "disease" of "goody goody, I care."
I think this goes again to the difference between the Eastern disdain for the
incarnate condition and the nature-loving shamanic path. While the Eastern
religions see the "wheel" (of multiple incarnations and multiple levels of
reality) as something to be eliminated/transcended, the shamanic sees the
wheel as sacred -- the great Hoop of life. The shamanic loves creation and
the play of creativity. From the shamanic perspective, an incarnation is
valuable here and now, and isn't simply an unfortunate karmic predicament of
an un-Self-realized soul.
The Eastern ascetic path emphasizes the illusory nature of all things
temporal (which are subject to change). On this path, suffering is regarded
as a phantom of the mind... but so also is pleasure and all variety of
earthly happiness. All of it is illusion, all shadows masking the true
essence of the Source/Self. The path consists of practices designed to aid
detachment and say "No" to whatever arises in one's perception. "No, no, no,
no. Not this, not that. None of it is ultimate Truth."
The shamanic says "Yes" to all perception and finds meaning and interrelated
purpose in everything. If carried far enough, this becomes a practice of
complete acceptance which also frees one from suffering. If you can say
"yes" to fear, "yes" to pain, "yes" to sorrow, "yes" to loss -- not in the
sense of obsessing over them or trying to cause them to happen, but through
not pushing them away as something wrong and bad -- then you arrive at the
same place the Buddhists do by dropping all desires. Either way, you are at
peace with what is, moment-by-moment. And then you can also "be with" others
in their fear, sorrow, pain, anger, etc. without being anxious to hurry them
out of it or trying to make them feel wrong for having these experiences.
I haven't reached that level (as a constant) by a long shot, but I keep
getting better at it and discovering it works beautifully. It's not at all
dependent on regarding anything as illusion -- quite the opposite, it is
based on honoring everything as having an integral value and function and
right to exist. On this path, one experiences oneself as part of the mystery
and dynamic of life rather than as a witness standing apart from it (although
sometimes both perspectives are available simultaneously). I experience
myself as a vehicle for the shamanic which is to say, "Live lives me." My
protests against Wim's ironclad decrees are mine in the sense that they have
my personality-flavor, but they are also Life protesting through me. Just as
Wim's responses are Life speaking through him.
Some of the Eastern religions go so far as to advise aspirants to bypass the
heart chakra entirely and concentrate only on opening the 6th and 7th
chakras. The type of compassion experienced from these higher levels is a
remote awareness of another's plight rather than a merging/sharing of it.
Thus, Wim has spoken against an empathy-based compassion, which occurs at the
heart level. From the higher levels, all hurting is illusion (as are the
sentient creatures), but from the heart, it is very real.
Empathy isn't an intellectual or philosophical choice, it's a faculty, like
being able to hear or see. When my kids were little, they derived pleasure
from my natural empathy. It's an indescribably sweet, loved-feeling to have
someone connected to you in that way. Perhaps you have never been on the
receiving end of it, Wim, which may be why you are so rejecting of it. I
experienced it from someone else for the first time in my life from my
children, who picked up on it from me! (Interestingly, my son has retained
it to some degree into adult life, but my daughter has very little capacity
in this direction.)
Anyway, my kids thought it was great fun to run up to me and display their
cuts, scrapes and bruises (the usual childhood array), not because of
anything I would say, but because they could feel my heart-energy pouring out
to them and they'd giggle with wild delight. Not me -- from my end of it,
I'd feel energy rush to them from my heart in a very achy way, though I was
glad that it seemed to have such an instant healing effect on them.
Heart-based compassion isn't primarily interested in philosophical truths; it
simply meets whatever is on its own level of need. If someone is hungry,
feed them. If they're bleeding, bandage the wound. If they're grieving,
comfort them. If they're afraid, help them find safety. And if they're in
need of philosophical/mental guidance (and their natural path is of an
Eastern type) speak to them about the illusory nature of suffering.
In other words, respond appropriately to the actual situation. Of course, to
do this requires a great deal of awareness, sensitivity and experience, and
few of us are fully developed in these ways. On the other hand, if you are
attached to offering help in only one way -- for instance, by repeatedly
giving sermons about the illusory nature of suffering -- you're like a clock
that's stopped at 4:00. Twice a day (i.e., once in awhile), you'll be
dead-on accurate and able to give people what they need at that moment.
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