Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Old Roses of the Unborn

I have just returned from two weeks of teachings, discussions and meditations in the East. That is my East, so the very un-eastern coast of Australia. I took the time to take a break from my studies and work. I took the time to take a break from myself.

You might try this sometime. To take a break from oneself. To sit with the anxiety of not doing anything, nothing that you should do, you want to do, or ought to do. That defines you. It is profoundly difficult.

I realized in this practice that mostly what we create in creating a series of life challenges is a way of escaping anxiety. The subtle difference between fear and anxiety is written about by neurologist Kurt Goldstein in the now classic The Organism. Fear is that which we can name and face and anxiety is the unease for the sense of that which exists outside our consciousness.

Sociologist Niklas Luhmann also writes about this for social (rather than psychic) holons in Ecological Communication as the environment that exists beyond our language for the environment, which we cannot perceive and bring into form in language.

I realised in the teachings on Nagarjuna's commentary Awakening the Mind by HH the 14th Dalai Lama the previous week how it is we seek solace from the anxiety of ignorance in the creation of problems and their solutions. This is the nature of our avoidance. The problem is a named thing. Non-doing is the antidote to this busi-ness.

For my non-doing I had to be very clever. I had to avoid the doing of sitting meditation, experiencing, even zazen or practices of contemplation and writing. Instead I simply surrendered and succumbed to the inspiration of nature around me and the brushes in front of me. Art resulted.

The experience was .... in the words from a similar escape to Big Sur by Jack Kerouac, as if:

"I go walking towards Mien Mo mountain in the moon illuminated August night, see gorgeous misty mountains rising the horizon and like saying to me 'You don't have to torture your consciousness with endless thinking' so I sit in the sand and look inward and see those old roses of the unborn again - Amazing ..."

In this was the recognition of that which comes before thought, being the impressions of thought that precedes me and you and our doing together, prior to any action, which holds meekly at bay the anxiety from which we try to escape fruitlessly, what lies before being found only in the mundane and beautiful which quietly speaks of this ... comfortingly, enduringly and expressively.

How amusingly forgetful we are ...

... and I am.

1 comment:

  1. mmm, the anxiety of ignorance. . .remedy: tolerance of ambiguity. but in saying that, am i just relieving my anxiety by framing ignorance with a problem to which I then find a solution? gosh this dualistic world of language and thought can be so sticky!