Tuesday, August 26, 2008

What is our nature?

I am feeling a bit quiet since I got back from China. Once again, I am contemplating the impermanence of everything, including this enterprise. And there are days, like today, while I am no longer sure of a wish to move this particular aspect of my personal work forward.

Perhaps it is time for a change.

I don't know.

It has struck me quite clearly lately that everything we do in ordinary life is not our nature. We have families, and it is part of what we do, but it is not our nature. We have jobs, but this too is not our nature. Politics? Our obsession, perhaps, but not our nature.

We make things, we buy things; we acquire, we create, we destroy. But this is not our nature. Our nature is completely involved in all of this... yet completely removed from it.

That is to say, there is a separation between our nature and all of the things that we do in life, and what life requires from us. The actual function that we perform on this planet--which I will refrain from describing, lest it prejudice anyone and prevent them from discovering the matter for themselves -- serves a purpose that does not actually relate to the manifestation of cause and effect on this level. It is intertwined with it, and could not take place without its existence, but the ultimate aim of it has little or nothing to do with all of the delusions we fill our life with.

The aim of it is, to put it bluntly, both astonishing and incomprehensible.

So when we encounter all of these questions in Buddhism about discovering our original nature, or original mind, we are encountering a question that points us towards something entirely different from life as we know it. Our mistake is in perpetually "understanding" it from the point of view of life as we know it, and even trying to believe in it from the point of view of life as we know it.

We don't know life. We just think we know it. If we actually knew something real about it, we wouldn't know anything of what we know now. All of that would have to go. To stand on the threshold of this understanding is to have a taste of what Dogen meant when he said that we have to become "leavers of home."

Gurdjieff himself intimated this when he pointed out that the organ kundabuffer was implanted in man specifically to prevent him from seeing why he was here, or what was required of him--lest he kill himself.

Of course, the conditions have changed since then, but man is still here to serve a purpose that is not his own. It is only in the surrender to those conditions and a deeper understanding of them that a man can begin to know anything about what we actually are.

In the end, it is necessary to be stripped of all of the arrogance, the assumptions, the beliefs, and even the questions themselves.

Nakedness alone is suitable for understanding.

May your roots find water, and your leaves know sun.

1 comment:

  1. Yes all things must change. The way I see it, Shiva is the God of creation and destruction -- of dissolution, and he demands that we change but we are frightened and so we resist him. Vishnu is the preserver who wishes to keep things as they are, but when we look ourselves over we find many things that we want to change, and so we resist Vishnu as well. That leaves Brahma, the God of revolution in the sense of turning. There are no devotees of Brahma -- only of Shiva or Vishnu, because Brahma is invisible -- the churning immensity of the entire universe.

    Your blog has been very useful to your self, and to others. Remember what Mr. Gurdjieff said about reading All and Everything; that one should read it like a newspaper or regular novel, then one should read it aloud as if reading it to a child or friend who is sick; and then only finally on the third reading, to try and glean some of the gist and meaning.

    As you have written this blog over the course of years you have been speaking to yourself, more than you have been speaking to others. But you have also been speaking to others -- how many, we cannot say.

    I saw that this blog was nominated for best blog concerning religion some time ago. It is deserving of that appellation. But all things pass. Recently, in reading your blog I have seen and tasted and smelt that you have reached something that you had not reached before. I have been waiting for such a moment as your friend for quite a while. Now I see. What I see is that you finally see how to work. You understand how to work and that understanding can never be removed or taken from you.

    Where before you were groping now you are certain. I feel this in my bone marrow as your essence friend. My only plea would be that if you stop writing the blog, not to take it down but leave it behind as a testimony. Others may find it and find it helpful.

    If you continue writing for the blog, I imagine that it cannot remain the same in any case. Perhaps there is no more reason to write, perhaps a new reason will come. There is no telling, but as for myself, I have been steering new people to this blog, where they will find something honest and real. Not everywhere, and not thoroughly, but there are paradams strewn about. It would be a shame to dismantle the jewelry setting in which the gems are set.

    With love in the Work,
    rlnyc

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