Beginning to understand what post-enlightenment means, not in the historical/philosophical sense, but in its contemplative meaning, when masters and poets described not seeking … sting removed, shenpa forgotten to grasping sense as though it had never been, yet seeing all (no seer).
When I was a teenager, it seemed hugely important to be famous someday, and although the desire took many shapes over time, the quest for importance still kept hold. This must be the case for many powerless people bereft of safe place early in life… a drive not just to keep up, but also to make up for losses born into… to be seen by the world they feel abandoned by. It is about dignity, in one way or another, and working out that measurement.
A and I talked about this yesterday, in the context of his developing a general vision and plan for his life. The happiest people I know, I told him, seem those who made a strong hobby of what they enjoy most, shielding that from becoming a main source of income, at which point the income itself becomes more important. There is nothing wrong with anything wanted, but “follow your dreams” is too vague – a bit of a scam and distraction. “Travel light” comes closer.
I couldn’t see this, for a long time… how longing for self-importance weighed around my ankles, that resistance was not motivation. I think he does, although he wrestles with the messages all around him, that he should know what he wants by now, that that wanting is all important. Society seems to be embedded with a script whereupon seeing a teenager, questions about what to do with one’s life pour forth within a wave of anxiety, usually made up of the pourer’s burden of regret. Almost always, there is no tangible help of the sort that might come with true concern. Well how could there be? How could someone come to the aid, who also can’t see out? Well-meaning advice is just a cover.
Found myself listening to a speaker on non-duality, Tony Parsons. It is hard to describe him because what happens in his meetings is more like performance art. Audience members try to pin him down, try to trick him into teaching about the relative world, and he dodges them. Or rather, reminds them that there is no he to dodge them, that there is nothing happening, no person or speaker who knows something and would therefore have something to give to them, even if they or he existed. There is just a situation happening, that from relative view appears to be beings making exchanges with one another.
The message at core is akin to one modern seekers might hear as Eckhart Tolle’s life living itself, but here the aim is not to kowtow to the dream of apparent reality at all.
It is funny to see this play out, but also fascinating because what he is expressing is not dismissable to anyone who has read buddhist texts like the Heart, Diamond, or Vimalakirti sutras. A teacher in this context isn’t imparting data or information in that sense, but sustaining a note that can be experienced. It is more concert than lecture, more transmission and in some sense, undoing, than accomplishment. He isn’t even “interesting.”
Yet, for an “I”, being in such a situation can be surprisingly scary. What one has believed, without knowing as belief, is thrown totally into question, which can be experienced as if seen and felt physically. Meditators face this, but also people in churches forced to look at their hearts, or people in movie theaters taken into their own experiences in a “too real” way.
Sometimes we look to a teacher/guru, wanting them to understand our experience better than we do, which is an exercise in frustration, considering that they are freed from trying to understand even their own experience. Knowing might arise by example.
A worthwhile article re Heart Sutra:
“The basic point is to get to a place where we actually stop searching for and grasping at the next toy. Then we need to see how that state of mind feels. How does our mind feel when we are not grasping at anything, when we are not trying to entertain ourselves, and when our mind is not going outside (or not going anywhere at all), when there is no place left to go?”