Essentially, life is creative. and what else is creativity but the force of expansion ? Becoming drunk and blinded by every impulse and desire, does that assist one’s expansion or hinder it ? There is a good reason why all sorts of mental and physical disorders happen as a side-effect of suffering, and that is because it disturbs the equilibrium of life and its creative potential. When life itself is working against life, obviously you have moved far astray from yourself.
Q: For the person, who is at work 45 intense hours per week, are there any chances of becoming enlightened ever in this lifetime?
As a general rule, the more active one becomes in the world, the greater the need for balance. To merge action with silence is an art of the highest kind, but the beauty is that this art is available to anybody who is willing to transform their life into a conscious process. After all, whatever obstacles that exist for human well-being, all of them have their origins from within. To believe that one is suffering because of the outside world is falling into the same misunderstanding of being unable to recognize that both your own freedom and misery are entirely your own creations. The environment may provide stimulus, information to the five senses, and your mind may react to this information in a certain way. But besides stimulus and reaction, there is also the possibility of response. Reaction is mechanical, while response is a conscious experience. You can become entangled by your own unconscious habits or you can learn to respond to the present moment, remaining watchful without attachment. It is the psychology of a slave to assume that there is any other cause for suffering than human ignorance. A rare exception to this is if one may have a physiological disorder, such as permanent damage in the brain. Then, the behaviour of the mind will reflect the condition of the brain. Otherwise, most of human suffering is created within the mind. And of course, when inner balance is not firm and established, one will allow external situations simply to rule over you. This is the way of being large numbers of people in the world have accepted, to simply exist as a reaction to the external world. If things in the external are pleasant, one will pleasant within oneself. If they are unpleasant, once again one will turn unpleasant within oneself. When this has become part of the way of life, is not then well-being always very delicate and fragile ?
The pillars of balance can be found by anybody who is willing to invest their time into self-inquiry and observation of oneself. One of the peaks of learning such a way being is to discover an equanimous mind. In face of praise or blame, a yogi remains immovable in restful indifference. Likewise, one approaches everything in life with the same indifference. Indifference here means not the dead, corpse-like alienation that happens from inhuman disconnection from life. It is the ability to experience without attachment and constant interference of the ego. In effect, it is simply not giving far too much importance to things non-essential to one’s well-being, and becoming highly sensitive to that which is essential. So on one hand there is passive indifference. On the other hand, active discrimination. These two hands working together, and you have a living masterpiece which can be called the way of balance. It is the nature of balance that it always leans towards unification, and that is the essence of yoga. The word “yoga” literally means “union”. As a way of being, it is when the observer and the observed merge as one indivisible reality in human perception. And it is also this union which is the cause of an all embracing-love and compassion.
It is just like a short story in Zen. Once, a disciple approached a Zen master and asked, “How can one become free from hot and cold, and all of the dualities of the universe?”
The master said, “When hot, feel thoroughly hot. When cold, feel cold, through and through.”
Q: With all due respect, I think you’re missing the point of this thing called life. We are supposed to face the heat, not walk away. Let your emotions overtake you, travel, learn to sing, dance, enjoy sex and the pleasures of the senses. Walking away is a sign that you are rejecting this life experience because you cannot handle it. I think once your body is gone, then you are feel free be indifferent and merge with your ‘true nature’..
There is nothing that prevents you from wholesome enjoyment of things other than your own insensitivity to life. In Tantra it is said that there is no mukti (liberation) without bukti (enjoyment), and there is also no bukti without mukti. Essentially, life is creative. And what else is creativity but the force of expansion ? Becoming drunk and blinded by every impulse and desire, does that assist one’s expansion or hinder it ? There is a good reason why all sorts of mental and physical disorders happen as a side-effect of suffering, and that is because it disturbs the equilibrium of life and its creative potential. When life itself is working against life, obviously you have moved far astray from yourself.
It is precisely the opposite – if you are to enjoy life, you must learn what it means to be involved without becoming a slave in the process. But there are some who have become so accustomed to their own suffering, it has become so familiar to their experience, that they have equated involvement with suffering. The two are inseparable, they cant even imagine life in any other way. And for these sort of minds, what the Buddhists have said in their First Noble Truth is certainly true, that life is suffering. The real revolution that is needed in the world is not so much a change in the external, but a change of perception, a change in one’s frame of reference. Let all external action have its foundation in the inner life, and allow the inner well-being to determine your external action. To bring even a small drop of this shift is possible if one is willing to work towards it. Enlightenment is also possible. One of the keys here is sadhana (spiritual practice). The other is grace and becoming receptive to a force far greater than yourself, but not much can be done when one is simply not receptive to grace. One becomes receptive to grace only at a time when one is prepared for it. Even if you are working 45 intense hours a week, look at how generous nature is in offering 24 hours each day ! Everybody can set aside even ten minutes for sadhana in those 24 hrs if the willingness to explore is there. One of reasons why these doors of possibility have often been left unexplored is many simply do not have the willingness to work towards their own well-being. As long as one is satisfying immediate desires, one is contented to simply drag oneself through whatever is needed to simply pass through the day, even if it means ruining one’s health in the process. For this reason, I have always said that truth is unpopular in the world, but what is far more unpopular than truth is discipline.