“All mis-directed mass psychology leads to the destruction of the individual and the decay of society.” ~ Carl Jung
When we see into the nature of reality clearly, we see that nothing is really solid or permanent, that there is no independent self, and there doesn’t seem to be an Archimedean point from which reality can be seen.
Sound like bullsh*t?
Think about this: where is there a separate, permanent, and fixed point of measurement in a river or ocean?
When it comes things of the spiritual realm, the more we take them literally at face value, the more likely we are to completely miss the point. Like the quantum sub-atomic realm, the closer we approach reality and truth, often the less sense it makes and the more it shatters our existing belief system.
Turning Religion and Spirituality Upside Down
Have you ever considered that perhaps commandments are written down to prove that they can’t be followed or fulfilled?
Have you ever considered that perhaps a doctrine is presented simply to balance out one extreme with another?
Or perhaps that many of the spiritual rules and regulations function more like a joke in that the point isn’t actually the thing but instead the spontaneous reaction that it can lead to.
The philosopher Jiddhu Krishnamurti famously said:
“There is nothing you can do to be liberated, because all of your efforts in the direction of liberation are phoney. They are based on your desire to boost and continue your ego and that will never lead to liberation. All you can do is to be aware of yourself as you are without judgement. See what is.”
But, then, if you can do that, you have no further problem.
Cultivating What Is
So then maybe what we can do is to try to cultivate wisdom, understanding, and compassion for the way things are. The key word there is cultivate, which is very different than forcing, contriving, or controlling.
Cultivating is like tending to a garden, which is ultimately a situation where you do your best to understand, support and facilitate the intelligence of nature.
We could also look at the work as being very similar to when we tend to something that needs maintenance and upkeep. Thus our intention could more easily manifest through tending or in-tending the health of our garden.
As a mature and observant gardener you understand and accept:
- what likes to grow where, when, and how
- the pathogens that may attack
- when to step back and let nature do its thing
You may also understand that it would be a waste of time to:
- yell at your garden for growing too slowly
- be angry at weeds for growing
- be angry at your plants for dying due to over or under watering
- grow mangos in antarctica
- pick fruits before they are ripe and ready to be picked
With these basic understandings you may develop what is called wisdom—meaning the basic binary knowledge of when to act or to move, and when to remain still.
You might work really hard on the garden but then a deer comes and eats your plants or a rainstorm comes and washes away all of your hard work. You could then do the inhumane and unnatural thing of being non-attached—ahem, I mean repress your feelings of sadness and disappointment.
On the flip side, you could have one of those magical years where everything grows and fruits so perfectly, just as you intended. You could then do the inhumane and unnatural thing of being non-attached—ahem, I mean repress your feelings of happiness and pleasure.
Hold on: What do I mean?
What I mean by inhumane and unnatural is that both sides of the coin are predicated on imposing an ego-ic and ultimately ineffective illusion of control over your feelings. What I mean by ego-ic is the underlying belief that “Well, if I feel this, then it’s bad, but if I feel that then it’s good and then I’ll be a better person, more spiritual, and more evolved.”
It’s also quite inhumane to believe that we shouldn’t have emotions or that it is some kind of sign of evolution to have none. I would recommend looking up the definitions of a sociopath and psychopath to more deeply understand the potential consequences of following that belief system.
Lastly, there is such a state as equanimity—being centered—and not being so dominated and controlled by emotions. This kind of awareness tends to be more inclusive and accepting, which is largely the direction this article is leading to.
Thus, it is kind of beyond repressing and indulging.
Back to the Garden
In both of the situations mentioned above, we can easily observe that neither outcome was really up to you the gardener and that there is really only so much a person can do since nature has its own course. We could also observe the potential benefit of observing, studying, and understanding the nature of things so that we may be able to ride the wave more efficiently and effectively.
What is more natural and makes the most sense, to try to be something other than what you are or to accept what is and focus on cultivating wisdom?
Which is more sustainable, effort or intelligence?
Does it make more sense to see things are they are or as we wish they would be?
We can all understand that jokes really aren’t funny if someone has to explain them to us and that when this happens, we usually offer up a kind of fake half laugh. This article is also kind of like a joke in that what Im talking about here can’t really be so easily ironed out and defined, since it’s a living breathing dynamic process. Really what Im attempting to do is paint a picture and foster a space where a spontaneous insight may be generated.
Check out more from Brandon:
Why Spiritualizing Our Problems Can Make them Worse.
Why we Shouldn’t Try to Wake People Up.
Author: Brandon Gilbert
Editor: Renée Picard
Photo: Wiki Commons
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