Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sloughing Skin and Other Heroic Gestures

The thing about losing skin is that it happens mostly unconsciously... In my previous post I included a reference to the process of sloughing skin, and the nature of letting go. However since the letting go of skin happens as we go through life whether we are conscious of it or not, it is essentially different from the kind of letting go that I strive for. I actually want to loose things that I actively perpetuate, because it is the nature of mind to do this.

The food we eat is appealing because we choose it and the poop that comes out is disgusting because its appearance and smell is largely due to unconscious processes. We only seem to want what we can choose. In fact a lot of people have various lower-body disorders because there is so much attention to eating delightful food and so little care for intestinal health.

We need to do a better job of looking at the unconscious effects of our actions. They can wreak havoc on our bodies, relationships, and the planet, but it's hard to look at these effects because they are somewhat repugnant to us.

We choose something and like it, but then we don't choose how it changes and don't like that. I guess it's because we are materialist--even in relationships. Like say you have a beautiful baby daughter, and when she is a baby you love her because she's cute and you can project your dreams onto her. Then she grows up into a very different person than you expected (she's not you), so you don't like her as much. Maybe you even hate her because her life expression is in conflict with your fantasy of her. So when you see her there is a part of you that recoils: that's not my daughter! But of course really it is the daughter, and there is a misunderstanding--it's a mind problem. The mind in this case has perpetuated the notion of the fantasy daughter which gets in the way of a relationship with the alive flesh-and-blood human being daughter.

Or let’s say you marry a beautiful wife or handsome husband that you chose and so you like your mate. Then they change in ways that you didn't choose and so you start to dislike the new aspects. When a person thinks in this way, it's almost as if they believe that the world is theirs alone, and when the world acts in a way that they don't like or didn't choose this person feels like he or she has been betrayed by the world. "It's not fair because it's not what I wanted." The mind makes mischief here, too, because it has held onto the original impression of a person instead of being aware of the active unfolding of life.

A person who thinks like this believes that the world is their fantasy, and when things happen that don't fit into the fantasy there is a rejection of the world. This person is not connecting with life in a full way. The evidence is here. There is a world beyond what a person actively chooses. Do we embrace or reject experience? What do we do with this understanding?

The world is so much bigger than the one we choose, and even the things we choose change in ways we don't choose--from the foods we eat to the ones we love (and things ignored--we don't choose what happens to those things either).

We can add the energy of our care to the world and make a real difference, but we are really powerful when we work together. The shared world with both intended actions and unintended consequences is important.


Bob Weisenberg said...

Good thoughts, Brooks.

Here's a closely related blog about seeing things as they really are in the process of learning to draw:

Living Upside Down

I look forward to all you writing.

Bob Weisenberg

Brooks Hall said...

Thanks for the link, Bob. It's brilliant. I'm familliar with the book and the way you integrate that experience with yoga is awesome!