Sunday, October 12, 2008

Seeking happens

The Buddhist monk hits the air with his stick, and says, 'You want to know the truth? Here it is!'.

Of course the mind gets puzzled and the seeker gets frustrated. His pursuit of truth is too intense, and his aspiration to be there, too lofty, to be appeased by such apparent whimsy. Yet something about the response must cause the seeker to pause. After all, what does it mean when the sublime search can end in so trivial a matter, as a stick waving in the air!

This pause is really among the first jolts to the identity of the seeker. For it makes him go to what appears like a very scary place -'What if the truth that I am seeking is something I don't like at all?', he asks himself querulously. This is when it starts to get really interesting. What has so far seemed like a long and rewarding journey with more and more beautiful stops along the way, suddenly threatens to reach an arid spot, and maybe even stay there forever!

The thing about truth though is that once you glimpse it, nothing else can satisfy you. So the seeker may try to undo his fearful question, may attempt to shake it off, and get back to where he was - comfortable in his glorious quest, but all in vain. He can no longer convince himself to strive like before. He is now terribly frustrated and try as he might, he simply doesn't know what to do.

Right in this moment, the truth appears again, - as a fleeting intuition, a gentle reminder - most likely ignored. The seeker is in his mind, feeling angry, and hopeless about his situation, when the truth touches him. And when finally the anger is spent and the hopelessness has exhausted itself, that very touch revives him! It comes to him to follow the truth, even to be led by it. With no other choice, he goes. It takes him deeper and deeper in, past the mind, and past every idea of enlightenment ever held. And now he is in so deep, that he is at the root of everything. There is nothing but truth.

His x-ray vision can see through the layers. The lofty, the trivial,the high and low - they are all the same. The truth is life happening in this moment. - No matter what happens, no matter if he likes it or not. The frustration is it, and so is the confusion. The anger is it, as is the peace. No change required to anything, yet it changes all the time. No need for anything to happen, and yet the universe swirls around in the endless dance.

No need to seek and yet seeking happens.


Krishna said...

This is extremely interesting and have I felt the high of feeling proximity to the truth and the lows on not being able to grasp it. The pause you describe is real and is hard to shake off.
I have heard someone I respect describe it as the "viraha tapam", the state of the Gopis when the were separated from Krishna and their intense longing.
I got a lot from your response to Josef and could could use some myself.

Ameeta said...

Hello Krishna,

Thanks for your response.

What a nice and succinct phrase - 'viraha tapam'. I might loosely translate it as 'the fire of separation'. For the benefit of friends who may not be familiar with the context - Lord Krishna ( a Hindu deity) was a cowherd and he has many cowherd friends. The women cowherds are the gopis and they are all in divine love with the Lord, who teases them, and plays his divine flute for them, and shares his lightness of being with them. In his company they experience this lightness of being in themselves.

Then when they are parted from the Lord, and hence from the lightness of being in themselves, they experience deep pain - the pain of separation from the Lord - which is the pain of separation from themselves. And there arises, yet again, the intense longing to be reunited with the light. This really describes the seeker's anguish, as he goes from high to low and back, does it not?

So what to do?

Perhaps we can look at the nature of experience itself. What is experience? Experience is the mind-body's interpretation of reality at a given time. The same reality can be experienced differently by different people - right? Not only that, you yourself can experience the same reality differently at different times - is it not? So where is the power in the experience itself? Does the experience really have the power that we project on to it - the power to make us happy and the power to make us sad? Then if the experience is powerless, is it necessary for the experience to change?

We spend much energy in wanting and trying to change our experience. Yet what we are is not dependent on any experience. So we can notice that we are spending great energy in changing our experience. We can notice that we are suffering from the lows of experience as if they had power over us! We can notice that we are doing this innocently, merely because it is an old human habit - a strongly conditioned habit. But each moment is new. When we see clearly, and when we stay open, even hard old habits can dissolve in the soft power of the awareness.

Then there is a corresponding other side - which can perhaps be a tad bit more difficult. :-) We can also look at the energy we invest in the attachment to the highs! Isn't it true that we are happy to investigate our suffering, but much less eager to look into our pleasure? But as we know, pleasure and suffering, highs and lows are the 2 sides of the same coin, and we cannot get one without automatically getting the other. As long as we enjoy an experience more than we suffer from it, we continue the cycle. This is the state of human addiction - whether it is addiction to substance or to experience. Is it not?

One last suggestion - when we look into our experience - we can enter that discovery simply, with curiosity - so as to find out what is true for you, and not to manoever that discovery towards one or the other outcome. Let it be an open-ended discovery.

Be well, Krishna. Feel free to write in again, if you'd like.

Warm regards