“When we are caught within our attachments, our fantasies seem to be most interesting. But the more we let go and face the real truth, the less interesting they are. Then, what moves forward into our view is the profoundly interesting matter of life—real life.” The Gift of Life, Dharma Discourse by Geoffrey Shugen Arnold Sensei, Book of Serenity, Case 73 http://dharma.net/mountainrecord/archive/28-3/the-gift-of-life/
I’ve often tried unsuccessfully to let go of something. What generally happens is that, when I resist letting go, life rips the thing out of my hand by force. It is not pleasant.
The fantasy and attachment are suddenly gone and I am left with…reality. Reality does not always meet my needs, but fantasy never does. Something imaginary can never meet real needs.
Letting go of church, people, old dreams, and youth is hard. What do I get in return? Space, freedom, wisdom. Not a bad deal.
“Without opening your door,
you can open your heart to the world.
Without looking out your window,
you can see the essence of the Tao.
The more you know,
the less you understand.
The Master arrives without leaving,
sees the light without looking,
achieves without doing a thing.”
Tao Te Ching, Verse 47, Stephen Mitchell Translation
Sometimes, I think the Tao Te Ching is just describing various ways of accessing one’s right brain or spirit.
Even in Christianity, there is a monastic streak that emphasizes not leaving one’s cell (or residence) to find satisfaction or wisdom. The idea is the same: whatever cannot be found here and now will not likely be found later or elsewhere.
“The more you know, the less you understand” is very true. Intellect is not a substitute for common sense. My theory is that everyone has so many brain cells and the more formal education you have, the fewer cells you have for, say, social skills.
Worse yet, the more educated you get, the more likely your knowledge is to be specialized. You become the world’s foremost expert on some obscure sub-realm of knowledge that most people have never heard of.
Another facet of understanding less with more knowledge comes from an attitude of having “paid one’s dues.” Some of the laziest people I have ever met were PhDs. It is as if they don’t feel any expectations are allowed to be placed upon them.
So we end up with a hurting world. The only people with the knowledge to possibly fix things are simply too lazy to do so. Desperate, uneducated people often come up with the best solutions because they haven’t been educated out of having common sense yet and they are humble enough to learn from their errors. Their efforts could be multiplied exponentially by someone with real technical knowledge, but those people have massive student loans to pay off and literally cannot afford to donate their time to non-profits.
Wisdom and knowledge seem to seldom be found together and the world needs both.
“Ultimately, realizing yourself and taking care of all beings is one and the same reality. Wisdom and compassion are precisely the same thing, but that’s not where we start in practice. The corrective measure is always to let go of yourself, forget yourself. Ultimately, wisdom is compassion, but what keeps you from realizing true wisdom is putting yourself before others. Giving is an expression that heals this tendency and is the very manifestation of the identity of self and other, of wisdom and compassion. Buddha’s accomplishment as a sage, as a spiritual being, is not measured by his solitary sitting. If that’s all he did, we wouldn’t be here. His accomplishment is manifested in his dana, in his giving, his teaching.”
Senior’s Talk by Konrad Ryushin Marchaj Osho Featured in Mountain Record 27.3, Spring 2009
Have you ever thought of wisdom and compassion as being the same thing? Selfishness, ultimately, is unwise. It is simply not bright to treat people badly and then expect them to respect you or vote for you.
It reminds me of Republicans and Hispanics. Republicans still don’t get it. Not offering a path to citizenship is a virtual guarantee of perpetual electoral irrelevance. Imagine you are a Hispanic 18 year old and were born here (the USA). You can vote in the next presidential election. A GOP politician is on TV saying something stupid about self-deportation. Are you going to vote for that moron? You don’t need to be deported because you were born here. And who wants to vote for a politician or party that threatens to deport your recently-arrived relatives? Republicans (and everyone else, including myself) need to stop and think about how their actions and words might come off to others.
The point is this: what goes around comes around. Taking other people’s perspectives into account is the best guarantee that, when you (we white people) become a minority, someone might listen to you and take you seriously. We are all connected. To cut off Hispanics is to cut off one’s foot. Don’t be shocked if it gets infected and angry.
My quote was from a Buddhist. However, Christians have the same concept, the Golden Rule: treat others as you would want to be treated. My mom’s grandfather was from Poland. My mom’s dad took huge offense at Polish jokes.
Healing comes from apologies (words) plus restitution (meaningful action) plus a continued change in behavior. We have a lot of making and waking up to do.