Saturday, February 16, 2013
The unconstructed way
Everything about the way I approach my life in my ordinary state is constructed. It consists of an edifice that was built within me over the course of a lifetime, which is actually quite rigid.
It has the appearance of flexibility, intelligence, and consistency because there are parts within me which reflect different aspects of it; and when any one of them is in charge, it manages to prosecute the egoistic manifestation of that structure in what appears to be an understandable way.
All of this can be compared to a big pile of frozen magma, a basalt flow. It's no longer hot; it has stopped moving, and formed a landscape with impressive features that has little ability to move or change in response to what is actually happening. But organic life demands a different response; Being ought to have a great deal of flexibility, because it will continually encounter conditions that are new and unexpected. I don't have too much real Being... instead, I have this frozen magma which can be used to batter or resist the external conditions, but actually has little ability to come into relationship with them.
The unconstructed way begins with flexibility. It attempts to deftly sidestep the geology of my ego, by discovering a quality that reaches down to a place where the bedrock comes into contact with something warm and living, that allows it to begin to flow again. This is perhaps a peculiar metaphor; although there are inner experiences that may in fact reflect something along these lines, when I speak of the rootedness of breathing, it is not quite there. The warm and living quality is not necessarily an actual heat of some kind, but an attention and a sensation that have a flexible and responsive quality. So let's think of it as a warmth; but a warmth that is created by emanations of Love and Wisdom, not friction.
I chose the picture for this post, a pile of rock being excavated near my house (at great pain, and for over a week now) because it represents the opposite of those qualities: a pile of cold, crystalline material which can only become responsive by breaking it into little pieces.
This isn't a helpful way to approach life. If I try to break what I am into little pieces (which is usually what life itself ultimately ends up doing to my rigid inner structure) it's terrifyingly painful, and it turns out that the little pieces aren't much better at responding to life conditions than the big frozen hunk of basalt was.
If I break down life using psychology, then instead of a big frozen Self, I probably end up with many little frozen Selves. None of them has undergone the kind of transformation that is needed to become flexible, so although these smaller constituents of the frozen Self have more diversity, none of them have a significantly greater degree of responsiveness to the flexibility required by ordinary life.
In point of fact, by the time I am an adult, I probably have dozens of little frozen Selves, each one of which has a specific shape and size that allows it to be deployed in a particular situation to what appears to be good effect, yet often produces bad results. If you spend much time studying yourself or others in life, you'll see this type of action almost constantly; everything is like this, really.
I keep unpacking and using these selves, which are a lot like the rock collection I have (I own piles of fossils and crystals.) Each one looks great, and they all have stories. But they are static entities. Life is a different thing; and it requires a different set of responses, which can only come with an unconstructed way, one which is soft and intelligent. One which has the capacity to take a new thing in and change quickly.
Rocks can't do this.
The unconstructed way is related to the beginning of an intelligence that begins with a relationship to the breathing; and the relationship to the breathing begins at the root of the spine. So there is a foundation, a place that must be sensed intimately; and the intelligence that needs to be brought into my life to establish flexibility requires this relationship.
May your soul be filled with light.