Monday, November 03, 2008

The Darkness that Brims with Light

Life’s like the ocean in a way. The tides bring things in and the tides take things out. There’s a lot more going on below the surface than above the surface. Sometimes it’s stormy and wave-tossed and sometimes it’s calmer but it is never still. You could say that the mind is like the ocean; all those thought fishes swimming in and out. You could say your life is like your mind and reflects the state of it.

The reason I bring this up is because of trends that I see coming in on the tides of life. The trends of the moment aren’t different, essentially from the trends of any time. They’re all made out of the same thing; the same thing that you and I and the Earth and the sky are made out of. The thing that I notice the most about trends and conditions is that they always involve conflict. It could be the simple conflicts of fashion and color; the clash of styles, cultures and climates that always create new weather when they meet. It might be the darker conflicts of stressed economies and war. Wherever people are more concentrated, the conflicts are more dramatic simply from the press of so many individuals with different perspectives and attitudes; different needs, different levels of awareness, different agendas and moral codes.

The conflicts within us have some relationship to the conflicts outside of us. We look at it as something that is explained to us by others or as something we explain to ourselves. These days there is a lot less introspection and a great deal more of getting our world view from larger mediums of information. Since these larger mediums have a significant investment in getting groups of people to believe their version of events and conditions it can be readily assumed that conflicts and conditions are often created for the profit of those creating them.

Our physical bodies are composed of four elements that are at war with one another. There are more subtle elements as well. It shouldn’t take any great leap of thought to see where the actions of the elements of our bodies would affect the state of our minds. Looking at the commercial world, the marketplace, we can see how certain agendas, with an eye for their own profit, work upon the human mind and body in order to motivate them toward an interest in whatever they are selling. It stands to reason that those doing this want to provide the least amount of product for the greatest possible price at the smallest amount of expense. This is a trend we have seen at work for some time as convenience and immediacy win out over craftsmanship and durability. It stands to reason that the longer something functions and lasts, the longer is the time period before you need a replacement.

Over the centuries we have been given a lot of explanations for why the world is the way it is. Many people discount the possibility of a divine being because of things that have happened here. They don’t see how God could allow such things so therefore there must be no God. They’ve also seen how religion has been compromised as just one more commercial enterprise which adds to the idea that there couldn’t be any kind of a God described by the religions who would allow his temporal institutions to be used in such a manner. A study of the life and thought of Martin Luther brings up some interesting considerations.

People who read at this blog, or any of my blogs, know that I like to ramble around through the scenery before I get to my point. Sometimes the point doesn’t appear at all because it’s meant to appear in the mind of the reader and not on the page. I look at the personal mind as a room filled with furniture. Sometimes when you rearrange the furniture and make the room look and feel different there is a possibility that the mind itself can be glimpsed for a moment. Regardless of what many people might think, it’s not as easy to see our minds at we think it is.

Another telling point is that there really isn’t a personal mind in the way we generally understand it and that our biggest problem and the source of all of our personal conflicts is our perception of our minds as something personal. There’s only one mind and our idea of a personal mind is just the point at which we make contact with it. You could think of yourself as a small inlet into which an unfathomable sea flows in and out. Things wash up on our little shore and wash out again too. The impact of the greater sea upon the inlet constantly changes the shape and landscape of the shore so that we are never what we thought we were. This is why introspection and a constant effort to see deeper into the nature of ourselves will eventually lead to an understanding that we are nothing like what we think we are. We are much greater and much smaller than our present perceptions of ourselves which are quite often nothing more than an arrangement of furniture or an amalgam of trends and conditions that came in from the sea until they washed out again.

When you look at any period of time you can see a pervasive similarity in the lives of the people. At the same time you can see marked differences between cultures and countries but that the totality of it all is the image of the day in which they live. No matter what time you choose there is always an identifiable atmosphere of the time in which they lived... like there is now. No matter how many generations come and go. No matter how many lessons are played out on the surface of life... people don’t change all that much. They are still selfish and brutal and behave like malicious children.

Across the surface of the Earth there are ruins beneath the surface and ruins beneath those. The earth beneath the deepest ruins is composed of former ruins that are now just dirt. What does that tell you? It should tell you something about life and the permanence of human industry and all of the things that were made or will be made. The inside of your mind is not dissimilar to this. There are also things forgotten that are buried beneath things forgotten... lifetimes... and deeper still. Few are they who dive into these depths.

The world is a gigantic flashing billboard of products; possibilities, events and coming attractions like movie trailers and its sole job is to distract you from this deep diving. That is the purpose of the world. It is a smorgasbord of food and drink and sexual opportunity. It is the promise of riches and power and fame for the few after which so many hunger and spend their lives in the pursuit of which they will not attain. People don’t get it. It abuses them. It confuses and breaks them and uses them for sport and even consumes them but they line up at the door every day. They get sent on the conveyor belt to the shadow realm where the moon weaves them another body and then they bang on the door to be let in so they can do it all over again. That’s how it goes and it goes and goes and goes... round and round on a wheel of fire inside the belly of Ganesha.

You can’t talk about these things with most people. Men in cassocks and suits with bad hair can talk to them. Men in robes and wearing funny hats can talk to them about punishment and reward but you can’t talk to them about living realities or the deep and luminous places in the mind. There is something in the common mind that does not want to know. It wants to understand other worlds as if it were the same world they were contemplating it in.

You cannot tell them that the flames of desire are the same as the fires of Hell or that the world is a carnival of mirrors in a funhouse where it’s not always fun. You can’t tell them that Love is the purification of desire and an altogether different fire or about thousands of curious things that are all around them and which they cannot see and do not wish to see. You can share what you have as what it is but you cannot share it as something else.

All of this is why I consider mediation and contemplation, self-inquiry and compassion to be of infinitely more value than anything the world will ever provide. People will nod their heads over this and then go right back to what they were doing. This is a mystery that conceals a powerful treasure and there it sits. There is sits, right in the middle of the darkness that conceals it.

Visible sings: Almost A Capella by Les Visible♫ Love is Bound ♫
'Love is Bound' is track no. 12 of 12 on Visible's 2007 album 'Almost A Capella'
Lyrics (pops up)

Almost A Capella by Les Visible


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The 3rd Elf