There is an underlying need to arrive. To get there. The destination where things are ok. But the urge to arrive is what keeps us from getting there. It’s like the Tantalus. We reach for it and it recedes. So we chase. When we give up we get there. But then we mistakenly assume we did something right so we re-double our efforts. This is a fundamental mistake.
You can’t say anything. If you do you’re wrong. But you have to say something.
The problem arises because we believe there is a someone to whom problems happen. Otherwise it’s just all the passing show. Sensations, emotions, feelings, thoughts. But the story created is that there is a person to whom these things happen. And with that simple twist there is now a problem and a seeker looking for a solution.
As humans we are hard-wired to avoid loss. There have been many experiments that have shown how we would rather avoid loss than try to win with risk.
This tendency seems to get worse with age. It’s possible it’s because life’s vicissitudes have beset us and thwarted our hopes and dreams. But we internalize these as defense mechanisms and rules. Like a rate which gets its hand shocked we seemingly memorize these shortcuts and avoid any exposure to it.
“Once bitten. Twice Shy”
The unfortunate reality is that the thing that we’re guarding against is unlikely to happen to us. It’s something else out of the blue that gets us. But the lesson we seem to miss is that you can’t intercept life getting you. It gets us in ways we don’t expect. We think it’s the company working out and then you find out you have cancer. We think it’s getting this relationship right and then something takes us away.
The lesson that helps us is one that just shows us that life can get us and we’re up to the task. We can face the challenges and get through and that we don’t necessarily have to script it all out.
But yet we go back to the armor. To shield ourselves.
I was listening to someone talk about meditation the other day. There was something they said that made an impression on me. They said that the appreciation for things being special fades. And that they needed to return to the practice to sustain that experience. That enlightenment wasn’t a thing you achieved but something you did again and again.
I reacted to these words because they were things I might have said at one point. But they are also words that tripped me up. Hidden in these words is a logic that makes meditation into a religion. Supplications to a deity are now replaced by hours on a meditation mat. When it doesn’t work it’s not the fault of the practice. It’s just that I haven’t worked harder or I haven’t done something right.
This is my first post on zenist.org. It’s been a while since I posted here.
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