Thursday, June 19, 2014

The measurement of desire

Some notes and observations from my walk with the famous dog Isabel this morning. It was spitting down rain, and an impressive dark front formed over Westchester county, across the Hudson river.

Note the first:

I never want to do enough. 

I am always measuring myself by my desire; and my desire is always to somehow allow myself to fall short.

But I try to handle my inner life by asking myself to go one step past what I desire. There is no need for a superhuman effort, even though these are sometimes important; what there is a need for this to go one step past what I want to do, which is almost always selfish in one way or another. This needs to be looked at; it's so habitual, really, that I rarely notice it. I take my selfishness for granted; and that marks the line where hell's property begins.

That last step is a step over the line that separates selfishness from my duty. For some reason I cannot precisely explain, I see that my duty generally lies just one step past my desires; and this is where the whole idea of demand comes in. Outer demands are everywhere, constantly trying to capture my attention; but they don't mean anything, really. It's only the inner demands that account.

In this way, anything that goes past the point of what I like — what I desire — even a small thing, is already a large step. 

I have to take this step with an indifference towards my ordinary self; getting involved with my ordinary self always leads to rationalizations and (in a way that so often secretly motivates me) self-pity. 

This doesn't mean that I am cruel and merciless towards my ordinary self; no, I take this last step over the line into selflessness with love and compassion, knowing that in the end my ordinary self will also benefit, even though it doesn't think so.

This is because there is a satisfaction in the fulfillment of duty. I have been brought to this planet to learn how to take one step past what I want, into what is good for others. It's this service that counts.

Note the second:

I usually speak of desire as though it were good thing; I am supposed to follow my dreams, my bliss, etc. This kind of nonsense prevents me from seeing how urgent it is for me to suffer my desires.

If I want to know who I am, I have to see my desire; and this always involves looking ego straight in the eye, something I almost never do or want to do. 

Why, after all, what I want to be honest with myself and admit how selfish I am? That wouldn't do, not at all. 

Selfishness relies on not being looked at to accomplish its goals.

Note the third:

Be careful not to practice inner work as a solitary vice, something for yourself. Make sure that it is always practiced relationship, with an attention to the other.

I'm tempted to live in a secret, personal space. It has many comforts; and many things that help me are imparted there. But the intention of inner work is to bring me into relationship, first with myself, of course — but then, always, with the outer, into which I ought to bring a little of the light I am sent.

If I keep the light to myself, I am doing what Christ called hiding my light under a bushel. This is signifies a failure to be in proper relationship with the outer; love cannot be expressed unless there is relationship to express it in.

Love, furthermore, is never important when it is expressed in the easy situations, but only in the hard ones. 

When love is easy, there is almost no need for it; it is only when it becomes difficult that it's true value is revealed.


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