Friday, July 21, 2006

"Paradise" is a State of Mind

The problem with being Paradise is that people assume that nothing could be better -- which is the familiar Island mentality of complacency and indifference -- that because things have always been done that way, they must go on that way forever, even if it makes no sense at all, and eventually, gives no meaning to anything we do. We simply go through the motions, repeating every day like every other before it, and the editors of the newspapers, and other transmitters of conventional wisdom, will knowingly proclaim as though upholding the gods, “History always, and only repeats itself” -- as the self-fulfilling prophecy.

When every appeal to truth and justice is met with that unfailing “wisdom,” it can drive many people crazy -- and particularly those most steadfast in maintaining their own sanity. The cultural institutions will embody denial -- “No, everything your senses tell you is wrong; you must believe us.” In an earlier time, these were called shamans, but these days, are likely to be called “experts” -- the many priests of secret knowledge, the general public was forbidden to. But such ignorance was bliss, and why this place was paradise. The people were all freed from having to think for themselves. They only need follow the directives of the self-appointed royalty, to ensure their good standing.

Then came the age of awakening -- in which many more people decided they wanted to think for themselves, but they were beaten down mercilessly -- by the powers-that-be, who always wished to remain so. And so there came the Great Directive, “Everybody stay in their place! When we die, you can have it all.” But until then, they will have it all -- in custodianship for all the others who would not know what to do with the power of freedom and choice. They, God forbid, might make a mistake -- and then, this would not be paradise anymore. Anything could happen. So the world of possibilities had to be sacrificed to the certainty that things could never change -- even if it were for the better, because we didn’t know for sure if they really might be better, because it was not guaranteed, like trusting the experts.

A certain fate was to be preferred -- over that of any uncertainty, no matter how great. Finding out anything that was not officially certified and taught, was the Great Prohibition; all other intoxicants were tolerable, as long as in their inebriation, they did not upset any apple carts.

People were warned that even if this was not paradise, there was no other place to go; at the horizon, people who ventured beyond, simply dropped off the face of the earth -- never to be heard from again. They were convinced that anywhere else in the world was worse, if not unlivable -- and never the possibility, that life elsewhere might actually be better, beyond one’s wildest imagination.

Paradise is knowing that there are unlimited choices that haven’t been considered beyond the few choices that have been imposed upon us -- as the only possibilities of what life must be.


At July 21, 2006 8:21 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

Most problems in the world have already been solved -- but we still have to find the right person with the right solution -- and not just the person who claims that they have the solution for everything -- the panacea promoters of every field. They will promise that if all the money goes to education (transportation, homelessness, healthcare, space exploration, etc.), all the world’s problems will be solved -- instead of just the salesman’s. The lure of panaceas is ageless. One is only one provocative but usually very expensive solution away from life happily forever after. The longer the timeline of the projects, the more all the catastrophes of current daily operations can be overlooked -- because included in the future panacea, is the proper management of all we cannot manage presently.

At July 23, 2006 7:21 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

“Our problems - social, environmental, political, religious - are so complex that we can solve them only by being simple, not by becoming extraordinarily erudite and clever. A simple person sees much more directly, has a more direct experience, than the complex person. Our minds are so crowded with an infinite knowledge of facts, of what others have said, that we have become incapable of being simple and having direct experience ourselves. These problems demand a new approach; and they can be so approached only when we are simple, inwardly really simple. That simplicity comes only through self-knowledge, through understanding ourselves; the ways of our thinking and feeling; the movements of our thoughts; our responses; how we conform, through fear, to public opinion, to what others say, what the Buddha, the Christ, the great saints have said - all of which indicates our nature to conform, to be safe, to be secure. When one is seeking security, one is obviously in a state of fear and therefore there is no simplicity.

One must have the capacity to investigate all these things anew; because it is only through direct experience that our problems are solved, and to have direct experience there must be simplicity, which means there must be sensitivity. A mind is made dull by the weight of knowledge. A mind is made dull by the past, by the future. Only a mind that is capable of adjusting itself to the present, continually, from moment to moment, can meet the powerful influences and pressures constantly put upon us by our environment.

Such a mind is capable of extraordinary receptivity, because there is no barrier, there is no fear, there is no going towards something; therefore it is capable of receiving grace, God, truth, or what you will. But a mind that is pursuing reality is not a simple mind. A mind that is seeking out, searching, groping, agitated, is not a simple mind. A mind that conforms to any pattern of authority, inward or outward, cannot be sensitive. And it is only when a mind is really sensitive, alert, aware of all its own happenings, responses, thoughts, when it is no longer becoming, is no longer shaping itself to be something - only then is it capable of receiving that which is truth. It is only then that there can be happiness, for happiness is not an end - it is the result of reality. When the mind and the heart have become simple and therefore sensitive - not through any form of compulsion, direction, or imposition - then we shall see that our problems can be tackled very simply. However complex our problems, we shall be able to approach them freshly and see them differently. That is what is wanted at the present time: people who are capable of meeting this outward confusion, turmoil, antagonism anew, creatively, simply - not with theories nor formulas, either of the left or of the right. You cannot meet it anew if you are not simple.

A problem can be solved only when we approach it thus. We cannot approach it anew if we are thinking in terms of certain patterns of thought, religious, political or otherwise. So we must be free of all these things, to be simple. That is why it is so important to be aware, to have the capacity to understand the process of our own thinking, to be cognizant of ourselves totally; from that there comes a simplicity, there comes a humility which is not a virtue or a practice. Humility that is gained ceases to be humility. A mind that makes itself humble is no longer a humble mind. It is only when one has humility, not a cultivated humility, that one is able to meet the things of life that are so pressing, because then one is not important, one doesn't look through one's own pressures and sense of importance; one looks at the problem for itself and then one is able to solve it.“

First and Last Freedom


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