The previous article, the third in the category of ‘Being Human – The Way We Are,’ Whatever Goes Around, Most DEFINITELY Comes Around – concludes leaving the reader with a question:
“Why the hell would I in effect, turn the other cheek?” Well, if it was only to take care of your own karma wouldn’t that be motivation enough? However this article takes it further suggesting that to resist self-control in his way, is the root of our suffering and so on this basis, isn’t it worth some serious consideration?
This fourth article, Surpassing Our Natural State Or Weakness, delves into some of the problems that can be encountered once we have chosen to resist ‘chucking stones’ and once we have declined to continue to create, diseased karma.
Surpassing Our Natural State Or Weakness.
The Domino Effect.
At some point in our lives and for some people, many moments of their lives, we yearn to be the best of ourselves, to love unconditionally, to be someone who can give to others without feeling owed something back. Then shortly afterwards we realise that all sorts of obstacles can and do get in the way and therefore just how hard it is to even change one little thing about ourselves, let alone many things. Worse still, we see that everything about ourselves, our thoughts, feelings and natural instincts is interconnected just like dominoes in a row, all leaning on the one before – and just a little movement, a little change for one domino, can lead them all to fall down. So we see to change one habit, really involves a whole lot more than we at first calculated.
Often we hear from someone who wishes to quit smoking that they can’t until they have no stress in their life. Then we witness them having a cigarette in response to their perceived stress. How can this be changed? Some people will try to quit smoking by going cold turkey – in other words without any preparation or any support – but then often, when the usual stresses arise and call for their nicotine escape-route, the draw to smoke may feel even stronger than before, because they haven’t created new ideas and momentums to take the place of the addiction they wish to lose. An example of a new idea might be, “I feel stressed. I have researched the effects of smoking and now know that opposed to the stereotypical idea that smoking relaxes me, it actually makes my heart-beat double in speed, creates tension in my muscles etc. Am I simply creating greater tension to disguise the real tension?” This is an interesting concept, it’s like smashing yourself in the face to take the attention off a sore hand, or cutting your arms in a bid to free yourself of emotions that you can’t handle…hence the birth of self-harm/self-calming.
Do you know, that most legal narcotics/medications work on this basis? Check it out – the side effects of most medication, include the symptoms which the patient is taking the medication to relieve! The side effects of Venlafaxine for example, used for depression (being stuck-more about this later), include increased aggression and suicidal tendencies. These medications create a need for a fix much like a drug addict relies on each fix but all in the name of mental health support. The truth is this method of progress is often-times illusory and certainly not reliable, as it simply dampens down parts of us which need attention and whilst maintaining a vicious circle of addiction, rather than there being any useful development.
The Brains Of Evolution.
We all have a propensity to imitate here and there and certainly as children this is a chief function and very necessary for many years. The evolution of life uses imitation within the repeated cycles that turn the cogs of the natural world, perfectly, year after year. If nature demanded that every single thing be reasoned through at length before it came into being, it would be a very different reality. No, there is already a framework in place that works and we have been equipped to exist here, even to thrive here and to procreate here. To survive and to prosper. There are many habits and momentums that do not call for our attention, that do not demand that we remember to maintain them and these are taken for granted until they fail; the beating of our hearts and breathing being just two of many, many processes that unfold without the need for our attention. We live in the womb of the Universe and just like babies, we are fed all that we need to exist.
This natural state is so powerful, that to supersede it takes very special efforts. All the mental, emotional, and sensual momentums that we experience simultaneously, are towards the survival and proliferation of our race as it is with other animals, so there is much sensory distraction for those who commit to go against the grain. Also by their very nature, habits are comfortable whether good, bad or middling and therefore to change them, can feel like a very unfriendly idea indeed and this along with consistent distractions, can and often is enough to keep us where we are.
It is interesting to observe not just ourselves but also other people and to note where imitation arises. Many people will attempt to imitate the qualities in others that they like and superficially this can work; we can wear the same clothes as someone else, walk the same way, adopt a persona displaying certain apparent attitudes and such like but imitation cannot replace in depth study, learning and development, so unless you are content with only making connections based on transient and relatively vague ideas, imitation is not useful enough on its own.
I have witnessed people trying to imitate the un-imitatable and then finding they aren’t able to, falling into depression. In my view, depression, regardless of the cause, is essentially being stuck. Consider this if you will; if you are trying to copy people to feel connected here and to experience a sense of safety and belonging, you may well become depressed as you realise that yes you can copy others, but you cannot yourself feel the peace of the guru that you have chosen to imitate. You can sit like him and hold your head like him, you can smile like him and repeat chants like him, you can speak gently to other people in the manner that he does and you can leave them with a soft hand on their shoulder, again, just like he does. However, does this mean that you also are free of negativity and of judgement against your fellow man? Do you feel free, pure and at peace? These attributes cannot be imitated.
Some times people try to bridge the gap between their truthful perception of themselves and the way that they wish to be perceived by others – by using marijuana, narcotics, alcohol, medication and/or other addictions and distractions. They may avoid spending time alone, taking stimulants to push the otherwise constant nagging thought away, “This isn’t the real deal!” and all the time maintaining connections with other people who are also avoiding the same truth and who therefore present little challenge.
However, you may be one of those people who are hanging off the edge of your seat for real food now? Perhaps you have spent many years fashioning illusions of grandeur about yourself, based on parts of you that have been closer to reality at different times in your life or simply through your recognisable worldly achievements; whilst simultaneously building a safety network of people around you, for the sole purpose of supporting and nourishing these grand attributes you have fostered. You may have done all tis and more and yet still arrived at the same aforementioned thought, “This isn’t the real deal.”
There Is Nothing Valuable Without Effort.
This looks like a hard-truth and it is until it is properly understood and it cannot be understood by words alone. Western living in all its glory, teaches the less effort the better which on the surface may look really appealing – why make effort if we can just flick a switch? Why make effort if we can just lie? What make effort without knowing exactly what we can get out of it and when?
WE are largely autonomous beings and the state that is naturally ours does not afford us to see ourselves as we truly are. Even if we examine our inner worlds from our usual state, it is really just one character within us, judging another. There are different states available to us but, and it is a BIG BUT, these other states cannot be reliably experienced without making regular and very specific efforts. So here we see a problem right away – as the rewards of such efforts cannot be properly understood or appreciated UNTIL WE HAVE ALREADY MADE THE EFFORTS. The rewards are unimaginable and life-changing but the laziness of our pre-formed personality has to be confronted and diminished before the small voice of our essential selves can be followed with suitable conviction. The truth is that the majority of people will not opt for this opt for this – why would they when they can almost effortlessly simply pull the wool over their own and other people’s eyes? However, there are those who sincerely wish to be free of western world conditioning – and who have already experienced the joy of paying first… and for these people who wish to surpass their natural state of weakness, there is a very real way ahead.
The path of the truth-seeker utilises imitation as a means to adopt certain methods and principles, rather than as an end, to maintain a state of image and ignorance. It is the seeker’s responsibility to make enough effort and to choose whether or not to risk the safety of the conditioned life they are already accustomed to. Some seekers who opt to risk wobbling their current life circumstances (often because on balance they feel their life isn’t quite doing it for them anyway), live outside of the box but only until they have fashioned a new and more comfortable box. Whereas others, seekers may have a curiosity for all that lies under the surface of the things that we take for granted, such as artists flowing with creative thoughts challenging the usual views of life or perhaps people who have endured trauma and been left with deep grooves of discomfort and splayed out boundaries.
Please bear in mind that there really is such a thing as lost opportunity. There are many papers and books highlighting a variety of dual nature’s of man but for the purpose of this article, I will not be discussing these. Suffice to say, the duality that I am referring to, I am calling the face which we show to the world and the way that we know ourselves. If we are being driven by the face which we show to the world, then we are experiencing ourselves through other people’s opinions and interactions and not through our own peaceful reflection. If we are experiencing ourselves through other people’s opinions and interactions and not through our own peaceful reflection, life passes by extremely quickly. Without certain efforts the other part of our duality cannot do much, cannot impact much and cannot even be felt very much and opportunities, some of them one in a million, can easily be missed or even lost altogether.
As much as we know we have just one life of around seventy-eighty years – it isn’t a long time. There are many chances to grab the golden hoop and as many to miss it. It is every individual’s right to choose their own path. We can chuck stones, spreading and inciting misery. We can live by unmoderated imitation. We can operate as lazily as possible, quickly pasting the cracks where effort may be called for or we can choose to nurture the other part of our nature, the side that wants to take responsibility and find out more. We can develop the side of our natures that really doesn’t want to create negative karma but sees that there are habits to break to be free of their weakness and therefore efforts to make.
We cannot change in one step but we can choose and then forge ourselves a new path if we have a heartfelt wish to change – can’t we?
Thank you for reading. Comments welcome.
© 2015 Sarita Perrott. All Rights Reserved.