In previous monologues I’ve suggested that real spiritual development has nothing to do developing super powers or transcending the body and everything to do cultivating awareness of mind and body and living fully within the body. In today’s walk and talk, I explore some of the same ground I explored in TSM 108 – suggesting how we might move through our senses deep into the body and integrate all that arises into our awareness and in so doing, deepen the well of experience.
For those who are interested in learning ET contact, might I suggest you begin by learning how to deepen the well of experience. Begin with the body and the body will grow !
Enjoy ! 😉
The human condition is a strange beast and one that we all try to understand at some point in our life. The human condition is a condition of existence that is constantly in flux, where one thing always leads to another. Sometimes we experience things that we see as good (positive) and sometimes we experience things that we see as bad (negative). If we had perfect awareness we would probably only choose good things and omit bad things. But that isn’t reality ! (As Buddha said we are all addicted to like and dislike). How boring life would be if everything unfolded exactly as we wanted it to ! So what then are the implications of experiencing bad things and what does it mean when we experience ‘the left hand path’ (the path less desired) ?
Enjoy ! 😉
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I’ve known a few rock climbers and mountain climbers in my time and I really don’t like them very much at all. Most people I know who want to climb, have little respect for the places they climb and a constant desire to go up, up and up. One lady I know has climbed the highest mountain on every continent and when she can’t climb, she goes into a dark depression and doesn’t understand why. The hard core rock climbers I know, they look at every mountain range as a potential climbing target. They’ve stopped seeing the mountain and can only see the climb. I’ve tried to tell some climbers that they’re destroying sacred places – places of great value to Aboriginal people but they don’;t care and can’t see it anyway.
All through the mountains here there are high peaks, where people can visit and gaze upon the vistas below. People go up to these places and yell into the valleys below. One of my favourite phrases to detest is CooooooWeeeee. Or Cooooofuckingweeee, as I prefer to say. It seems to be the favourite catch cry of Australians everywhere. Most weeks in summer and Spring, we are assaulted with this noisy phrase several time s day. So when I’be had enough, I promptly yell back “Faaaaarrrrkkkkk Offfffffff” and they shut up real quick. I detest peoples lack of awareness about teh peace and quiet of others.
So it seems to me that humans have this obsession with high places. I myself used to sit on my roof every few days, when I lived on a farm. I loved it up there ! But I also love low places. And for all the time I spend hiking up rugged ridges and peaks and sitting on my roof, I spend an equal amount of time exploring valleys, creek lines and caves. I want to see the view from below, as much as I want to see the view from above. But there are no special low places earmarked for human visitation and you don’t hear Coooofuckingweee from the places down below. Because fopr teh most part, people don’t want to know that they exist. But I think a harmonious view of Earth, is one that includes views and experiences that are inclusive of all points of view – above and below.
The same thing can be said for peoples inner experiences. For the most part, people want peak experiences and not low experiences. They want to experience positive emotions and not negative emotions, they want to experience radiance and not the deep dark abyss of uncertainty and suffering. But it’s the valleys and the creeks and the caves within – the truly great abysses within, that can yield the greatest gifts of our human experience. Sure, we need both types of experiences to grow as human beings and to understand each of our experiences. You can’t have a good inner or outer experience, without knowing a bad inner or outer experience. But it’s the darkness that holds what we seek, the things we cannot find. And it’s peoples lack of willingness t o explore the darkness within, that keep them from finding the answers that have always been within them. One set of answers that live in the darkness and a deeper set of answers that live beyond any duality.
I suspect that th ereason the lady I know has to climb mountains, is because she has a deep pain that she has been ignoring most of her life and every time she climbs a mountain, she creates the illusion of getting further away from the pain. But when she rests and does nothing, she remembers the pain. And so she deals with this by getting busy helping people. She runs back to her beloved Himalayas and helps the needy, who desperately need her – so she believes her. She never sits with her pain, her darkness, her suffering. She runs away from it and elevates herself by being needed and by climbing mountains.
Another young lady I know, does everything she can to support Tibet and Nepal. She organizes marches and fund raising events and talks to anyone who’ll listen. But she doesn’t know the first thing about self awareness. She always so busy saving everyone else, she ignores herself and those closest to her, who really need help.
Both she and the mountain climber, could be helping local Aboriginal people – who suffer from poverty, a lack of educational and employment opportunities and a host of transgenrational issues. But Aboriginal people are yucky. They sometimes have hostility and don’t always appreciate everything that’s done for them/with them. They don’t always say thank you. They don’t make special helpers feel good about themselves and give them lots of pats on eh back. And they’re hard work. No, Aboriginal people are not mountains – they’re dried up creeks and relentless gushing volcanoes and dark caves – that require a leap in human compassion from a place of comfort, to a place of deep discomfort.
I like the view from below. Everything above is built on everything that is below. There is no Everest without the mudflats of Bangladesh. No Bahamas without the Marianas Trench. And no Cooooweeeee without Faaaarrrrrkkkk OFFFFF ! I wish I could teach people to value the view below. It’s often very unspectacular when you’re looking for something to excite you. But when you spend enough time moving through and looking into the the places that no one else thinks are interesting, you see things you didn’t know existed and you learn things that you hadn’t known before. No one should be afraid of walking through a thick jungle valley or squeezing themselves into a tight dark cave. Just as no one should be afraid of looking into their own pain and suffering and looking into the pain and suffering of others.
In every single indigenous tradition on the planet, future Shaman are identified by their ability to move into the darkness and by their ability to withstand discomfort. They are often given tests by the living and the dead and dreams and visions and the most excruciating experiences, to weed out those who fear to move through the darkness. How can you help someone else to find a way out of their own muck, when you can’t even help yourself ? A Shamans life is hard, because it demands truthfulness and a willingness to embrace things you prefer not to see or experience. How we could all learn from the traditional Shaman about how to embrace the view from below !
What I think we lack is a sense of harmony. Not balance. Balance is about equal proportions. Harmony is about the right proportions for healthy functioning. When we walk along a street in the city – do we look at the view below and see the homeless and look into the eyes of the people that pass us and feel their suffering and look above at the glory and splendor of human creation and natural world ? Or do we just focus on one level and screen out everything that makes us uncomfortable. Freedom lay in every footstep. But how many people walk freely, fearing nothing, embracing everything ? I often think the homeless have the most interesting view of all. But how few of us get down there with them and let it into our perception of the world ?
Life is a series of perpetual choices. Every moment we are making choices. But most people don’t want to see the choices they are making.
Sometimes we should go against the grain and choose the view from below. The valleys, the creeks, the caves, the sidewalk and the darkness within. You never know what grace will ascend from the places we least expect !