Turning circles, the tunnels of our mind.
Sky blue, tide turns, mountains stand tall behind.
Stood outside of time we’re all lost souls.
Feel the heart beat, wind blow, ice cold, snowfalls.
Cry out, appease the unrelenting pain.
Warm sunshine, fast river flow, driving rain.
Dwelling on times yet to be and now gone.
Sweet birdsong, crashing waterfall, white swan.
Trapped by how they say life ought to be.
Blossom blooms, bumble bees, green leaf, tall tree.
Release clinging chains of desire that tie.
Flower sweet scent, red deer run, white clouds fly.
Letting go and returning just to be,
Turning circles now still, all calm, set free.
Through difficult times it can be hard to maintain an evenness of mind as disturbing thoughts and emotions pervade our minds. Equanimity is that radiant stillness of mind, an even calm which acts as a reference point for our being, the baseline, if you like, from which our emotional life is grounded. As we go about our lives we are constantly distracted by our conditioning and outside influences creating a tension which pulls us away from this baseline. In each situation we encounter, the way we should act and feel about a situation is subject to a prior codification, the further we are away from the norm the more tension we are subject to and the further we travel from the baseline. So too as we go on filling our minds with memes and code we travel away from our steady state and without awareness and self realisation we seldom return to it. Through mindfulness and awareness we can maintain the equanimous state as each disturbing thought or emotion is received by our minds like the ocean waves crashing on the stillness of the beach, we can observe these and feel the impact but not become disturbed by it through practice. Still further we can become aware of what we are filling our minds with, those influences and bits of information that may only be small but through time the effect is cumulative and our mind fills up. Just like one drop of water in a bucket the effect is insignificant but over time the bucket fills up, we need to pay attention to how we fill our bucket.
I was milling a couple of thoughts around in my head this week after reading a bit of Hegel and of Osho too. At birth we are as a clean palette, uncontaminated by any life experience or influence, then the society and surroundings we are thrust into begin to shape us into the individual that it needs, an individual in the loosest sense of the word required to take their place in the order, adopting the memes passed from generation to generation. We learn to accept the roles and little boxes into which we are placed, we learn to be a son or daughter, to adopt a certain position, follow a certain creed or religion, learning the rules and adapting to become another automaton. In doing so we lose our awareness because society dislikes awareness as this leads to questioning of the rules not going along with them. We are fooled by society into thinking that our happiness is something that we can achieve by following the rules, gaining that successful career, fancy house, flash car etc. Each new must have item is surpassed by the next the advertisers and marketers sucking us in to believe that this is the way to happiness. Happiness is not something that can be bought it doesn’t exist in these items it exists within and it is through maintaining our awareness that we lift ourselves from the society we are locked into and enables us to see behind the mask, behind the games that are constantly being played out to manipulate us into conforming. For instance we may get that uneasy feeling when introduced to a new social group, feeling the need to fit in and so we quickly learn the ways of the new group, the rules of the game and we play. By maintaining awareness we are aware of our feelings, observe them and are able to let them go rather than do societies bidding we go against the grain. However this is difficult and history is littered with those that have questioned the rules, regarded as heretics, persecuted as society does not tolerate heretics. We crucified Jesus, beheaded John the Baptist, poisoned Socrates and we burned Joan of Arc didn’t we?
Heads go up, little squabs sat in the nest,
Stretching themselves, pressing so to be heard.
Look at me and never mind all the rest,
If you could see yourself oh how absurd,
Posturing and preening to catch His gaze.
Hard wired, no choice you are forced to compete,
You should have by now left behind this phase.
To forsake a challenge is not defeat
For the fragile shell you fight to protect
And to stop the sky come falling on down.
You build your defence without neglect,
It’s behind every smile and frown.
Step away from the shore into your boat,
Release yourself from your castle and keep,
Continue on rowing across the moat
As you cast off all your illusions and weep.
All around us we are bombarded with images and suggestions from “The Big Other”, the ineffable force that influences and guides our actions, unseen, unheard but never-the-less omnipresent, the invisible hand of the puppet master pulling our strings. One of the aspects of this is our desire and how western society thrives upon this to create the need for the latest product which if we buy it will give us that happiness we are searching for, that sense of fulfilment. How the marketing people play on this sense of emptiness and inadequacy suggesting that in obtaining this missing item, travelling to exotic places, holidaying in exciting destinations or undertaking some daring expedition etc. will somehow make our happiness complete. Alas these objects of our desire only bring fleeting happiness and leave us chasing just one more purchase or experience. It is very difficult once on the thought train of desire to alight from it, the trick is not to step onto it in the first place and realise that by not doing so brings the real freedom and perhaps the realisation that the journey of life is where the happiness is found and not in reaching the destination. Each one of us has this innate capacity to have this enlightened mind and the capacity for happiness away from the world of desire.