Friday, October 5, 2012

Musings from an Integral novice

Wow I haven't mused since April! Haven't been in the musing sort of mood since then. For me, it's been what they call in certain circles a mini "Dark Night of The Soul" these past few months. That's a term actually coined by St. John of the Cross in the 16th century to talk about a time when you've completely lost touch with the deeper parts of your own divine parts along your way toward self-discovery, almost like a regression, except instead it's a natural part of the cycle of growth. These "dark nights" occur periodically. Luckily, like all other things, they pass, and generally for me it passes when I get fed up with it (and tired of hearing myself) and seek help from people I trust with these sorts of things. So having been through that, I now have cause to muse once more. :)

So here is what I've brought back from that mythic journey this time: Reality has no story.

The mind makes stories and I can prove it to you. Let's say your dog died. You give it a doggie funeral. You cry. You look at pictures. You share memories of poor Lassie. You cry some more. We've all done it with something, probably even a dog. Then maybe that night (or the next) you fall asleep. After sleeping for however many hours it is, could be one, could be twelve, you wake up. Now, think about the FIRST three seconds after you open your eyes, before any thought has come into your head....

You look around the room. The sun might be shining, or not. The clock is ticking, if you still have one of those old things. Maybe you feel the cool air in the room making your nose crinkle, unless you are a freak like me who needs to sleep in a room that's 80 degrees or more. OH but wait! You haven't thought about the dog yet! But then you do. All of a sudden, those emotions you had before you fell asleep come flooding back because of that thought, and that thought brings on more stories about the dog and how you miss it. Well, damn.

Isn't it interesting how right before that happened everything was fine?

It was fine because it WAS. Nothing was actually wrong until you started to think that first thought. Reality was that you were blissfully relaxing in a bed in a room, waking up. Now you're a mess. All because of that thought which you latched onto.

I'm going to make a bold statement: ALL suffering is due to thoughts that we latch onto.

The thing about reality is it's always kind, even when it sucks. When that asshole sideswipes you on an icy road and you are winging all over the place, you aren't suffering or thinking about how much of an asshole that person is. You aren't really thinking. You are trying to get the damned car under control, and there's really nothing behind that except cold hard reality. It's not good. It's not bad. It IS. In that moment when you are swerving on the ice, you are not judging it. You are acting. Judging it may even actually get you killed in that moment because it may cause you to zig when you should have zagged. In truth, while you are swerving, reality may suck, but you haven't suffered because you haven't created a thought about it and latched onto it.

Later, after you pull over, you start cursing and telling a story about it and you feel awful. The incident is done. Reality may show that you are on a beautiful road on a snowy sunny day, but you will miss out on that completely as you shut your eyes, plug your ears and curse.

Wouldn't it be nice to know how to not latch onto thoughts? You can't actively still your mind. It's an impossible task. It can be passively slowed and stopped by some people who meditate for years and years, but you don't have to be a meditator to teach yourself how to not latch onto thoughts that do come. If you can do that, you can enjoy reality for what it is, see the thoughts for the lies that they are, and be happy.

Coming out into this dawn, I still have thoughts, and some still fool me into hurting, but man, just being able to get this far with my efforts on not latching has made me happy lately, and glad to see all the stuff I'd been missing.