Sunday, June 3, 2018

Fear and Non-suffering

     “ ‘After thousands of years we’re still strangers to darkness, fearful aliens in an enemy camp with our arms crossed over our chests,’ Dillard writes ...

     When it comes to illness, dying, death – those darknesses – it seems we are still so very much Plymouth Pilgrims – all fear and fretting and fortifications, and a strong sense of our own alienness in a hostile land. We don’t begin to know what to do with ourselves. We cross our arms over our chests and try to look on the bright side as we starve.”
       Nina Riggs. “The Bright Hour. A Memoir of Living and Dying.” Simon & Schuster, 2017. 

     It’s so important to remember, especially for well-educated folks, that while we may consider ourselves highly rational, our thoughts, words & actions are mostly emotion-driven conditioned reactions ie we're sleep-walking through life. Our education allows us to rationalize more elegantly. Can we step back & notice every time we lazily start dumping an old stock opinion on someone? Aren't we all too often as brain-dead & dreary as a person spewing a sales pitch? Do we really want to be like a large ship, with no crew on board, blind momentum taking it to inevitable disaster?
     It's sad & frightening to see folks who seem to exist in a perpetual fog bank. They "try to" clarify things, but find existential & wisdom topics too complicated, too depressing, or they keep falling asleep as soon as they start listening, watching or reading about these. The possibility of avoidance doesn't seem to cross their minds.
     “… the physician’s duty is not to stave off death or return patients to their old lives, but to take into our arms a patient and family whose lives have disintegrated and work until they can stand back up and face, and make sense of, their own existence.”
       Paul Kalanithi. “When Breath Becomes Air.” Random House, 2016.

       “The best way out is always through.”                   Robert Frost 

     “… when my mind was focused on what was in my heart instead of all the fears from my past, I was able to experience myself as an unencumbered non-suffering being.

     In meditation we learn to cultivate and stretch the moments of being unencumbered, those places of non-suffering.

     Only through acknowledging and releasing blind emotions can I experience the inner unencumbered and harmonious being that is always present despite the suffering.

     We cannot fully practice any call for liberation without our lives being fully exposed. There is no hiding.”

"The Eternal Eye" by Alice Mason

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