Ego, yet Humility
25 mai 2015
Good Day, Everyone …
Let’s take a few moments to settle into ourselves : to meditate, to contemplate, to intro- and/or outro-spect, or to pray – to actualise our connexion to the Force and to come together in the spirit of our unity …
… but let's not stop there, thinking of how appropriately spirtual we are right now. Let's dive into the heart of it :
What did we really do for those three minutes ? Where were our thoughts ? If they wandered, did we bring them back, or were we off chasing our desires, even if they were 'spriritual' ones ?
To be quite frank about it, if they were not spiritual ones …
(thinking about needing to feed the dog, thinking about that bastard that really needs told off, thinking about “how pretty I am” or hoping that this bloody sermon doesn't last too long …)
... all the better, for those can be more easily understood. That is just how our minds function.
But, if they were spiritual – what exactly was happening there ? What exactly are we looking for in what we call 'spiritual' ?
Of course, I certainly do not want to discourage it – since some of the things we do in that particular theme tend to be quite nice – but it merits some consideration.
What exactly do our 'spiritual' inclinations do for us ? What are we hoping for exactly ? We may have refined or re-defined our notions about deities, but have we given up on that of salvation ?
Do we even know ?
We make a lot of fuss about the Ego and our preference for a degree of Humility, unable really to put a firm finger on what one or the other really is.
The Ego, that slippery, elusive non-entity that stares us down contemptuously or adoringly from the looking-glass, casting its critical or approving gaze from the lifeless reflections of our own unaware eyes (being intent on the “seeing” rather than the “looking”), regrets or affirms its place – Humility notwithstanding – and hopes for preservation somehow …
For about 200 or so years now, since such a time as we got tired of being obedient to the Christian cosmology, we've discovered that consumerism, science, art and philosophy don't do so very much to relieve our existential angst :
the absurdity that we are mortal and will indeed die. This is true for us as individuals as well as entire civilisations and perhaps the species as a whole.
That which arises also recedes, this is the way of all things. Yet, though we may have had the insight to do away with the Christian notion of salvation, we haven't quite gotten all the holes filled in from where we dug the roots up.
We've turned to Eastern traditions with colourful simplicity and the notions of dukkha, samsara and nirvana but these seem a little too exotic.
All in all, we tend to still 'hope' for something to save us – to save us from ourselves, from fear and anxiety, from powerlessness, from death, from the scary prospect of non-existence. The Ego just can't get a grip on its own non-continuity ...
This is a delightfully deceitful and dreadful error :
Tao Te Ching 13 :
Success is as dangerous as failure.
Hope is as hollow as fear. What does it mean that success is a dangerous as failure?
Whether you go up the ladder or down it,
you position is shaky.
When you stand with your two feet on the ground,
you will always keep your balance. What does it mean that hope is as hollow as fear?
Hope and fear are both phantoms
that arise from thinking of the self.
When we don't see the self as self,
what do we have to fear? See the world as your self.
Have faith in the way things are.
Love the world as your self;
then you can care for all things.
The return is the way of the Force. There is nothing more eternal to hope for …
When we consider the “World as Self”, sometimes the inclination to grandeur takes over.
The old 'forever and ever' resounds in the conscience … not that we could possibly know what that means, of course. In our collective memory, we can think back perhaps five generations. No one can remember six or seven.
And our “love” for future generations – that the ecologists advocate – can be only an abstraction.
Even the “World” doesn't wish for immortality.
It isn't that we would be so careless as to throw all caution (and morality) to just degenerate into the 21st Century's version of the Hobbsian brutes neither …
… but holding out “Hope” for a better tomorrow takes our attention off of today.
It is a broader version of putting off happiness until one 'has' or 'does' something …
… and those 'having' and 'doing' get interminably postponed.
The phantoms that are hope and fear take us out of the present where we really can do something – and that something we can do here & now can be quite beautiful as long as we're doing it for the present and not for some illustrious tomorrow.
We can, through knowledge and focus, act wisely to not engender future suffering, but our actions have to be now – not “when we discover this”, “get rid of that” or “run out of (whatever we're plundering)”.
The Ego that we so desperately 'hope' for something to come along and save is the same that puts off doing things now and consoles itself in its gratifications until its desires end up doing itself in …
A little humility can ease our tensions over the hope-and-fear phantom haunting.
Should we accept the absurdity of the meaninglessness of our lives – of Life, in general for that matter – and that our precious Selves are not going to be able to stave off death whether we have garages and closets full of crap we don't need, then we may be able to put our awareness to use living better in the present – the future can take care of itself provided today is well spent.
The one thing that is certain of the future is that we will indeed be dead in it. Nothing that we can 'hope' for in spiritual, psychological, scientific or physical sectors is going to alter that destiny. How therefore can we take ourselves so seriously ?
All of our paltry conflicts, our desires, our accusations … in the blink of an eye (relatively speaking), none of it will matter. We are leaving future archeologists a dump to dig up later on.
(It would be sort of fun to see the look on their faces when they find some of our crap, I suppose) LOL