The real goal of a therapy is not a “cure”, for the human condition is not a disease. Yes, real, resistant problems of daily life can and must be addressed and the resources of consciousness brought fully to bear on their resolution. But the real gift of a therapy, or of any truly considered life, is that one achieves a deepened conversation around the meaning of one’s journey – a conversation without which one lives a received life, not one’s own, a superficial life, or a life in service to complexes or ideologies.
James Hollis, What Matter most: Living a more considered Life
photo alexei kuprianov
It’s true that different people have different mind stuff to work with, but essentially there comes about a realization that the core of the feeling of suffering comes from something we all do: we take things personally. And you can’t stop doing this simply as an idea. The practice involves cessation – letting go of “self” through directly knowing “self”. This must occur by feeling out and examining some pretty well-known positions ….”I cant do it” is one of them, and the list goes on through every kind of self-view about “I’m not worthy/good enough”, “It’s not good enough for me” ” I have a lot of karma to work out”…In the course of practice, all of these self-views come and go continually until gradually the realization of their impermanence begins to sink in.
Ajahn Sucitto, The Dawn of the Dhamma
More wisdom, this time from the Taoism tradition, on keeping our sense of self fluid:
Can you call your mind back from its wandering
and keep to its original oneness?
Can you concentrate the energy of life
and keep it supple like a newborn child?
Can you deal with the most vital matters
by letting events take their course?
Can you step back from your own mind
and in this way understand all things?
Giving birth and nourishing,
having without possessing,
acting with no expectations,
leading and not trying to control:
this is the supreme virtue.
Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, 10
Some of the early Christian Desert Fathers saying are almost Zen-like in their simplicity. In this example we find echoes of yesterdays post. It contains an instruction on what leads to us being content – finding rest from our inner agitations: Turn the mind away from judgments, either about ourselves or others, keep the self fluid and in this way stop sticking labels on what is happening. Good advice for today.
Abba Poeman said to Abba Joseph, “Tell me how to become a monk”
He said, “If you want to find rest here below…in all circumstances say ‘who am I’ and do not judge anyone”
The mind never stops looking for identity and this identity always defines itself through attributes: “the beautiful one”, “the smart one”, “the creative one”, “the successful one”… We are always searching for something to be.
Dzigar Kongtrul, Light Comes Through
Keep your feet on the top of the mountain
and sound deep to that
of God in everyone
George Fox, 1624 – 1691, founder of the Society of Friends (Quakers)
With thanks to Cilla at http://www.weaversjournal.wordpress.com for the thought