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Thursday, September 25, 2003

Just This

I haven't written in quite awhile, mainly because I had had my fill of words and thought a bit of a break might be in order. And then, this morning, as I sat with my second cup of coffee at Cindy's Sunny Day Cafe on Route 32 in Rosendale, I grew enraptured by the beauty of the constant fluttering of the leaves in the Maple across the road.

The question arose in my mind, "Why is it that so many who feel themselves religious or spiritual are so quick to pick up and adhere to an ideology or religious system that seems to either deny such truth or devalue it for some metaphysical order above and apart from just this?" I do not believe we need salvation from a wicked or "unreal" word, but rather what we require for spiritual healing is to realize our complete immersion in this world that is here now. "Dukkha" means a bad place, and it was used at the time of the Buddha to refer to an axle that was not aligned properly in the center of a wheel. To overcome dukkha, it does no good to pull away from the wheel or to deny its reality. Instead, we need to re-position the axle! We need to get ourselves in harmony and proper alignment with the world -- with just this!

Looking to some metaphysical order above and beyond our intimate experience, or to some metaphysical subject (a "self" or "atman") beneath the life of experience is to denigrate and lose what we need pay attention to most -- life. If we can give ourselves wholly to life -- the life that is happening right now and right here -- we will find happiness or "sukkha." That is, we will find that we are right here immersed in the very center, everywhere and anywhere we find ourselves. The old, "a wheel whose circumference is nowhere and whose center is everywhere."

Now, how do we "empty ourselves fully into life?" I am not about to offer any kind of answer, as I strongly suspect that it has something to do with not strictly adhering to a path except as something provisional and shaped by personal experience. If we want to live life fully, we cannot reject offhand those parts of it we don't like. If we are to commit to life we have to come to terms with the reality that we are passing away all the time. We need to find the strength to say, as Thich Nhat Hanh has said, "Long live impermanence!"-- and to really mean it when we say it!

As we empty ourselves into life, we pass away completely, not defending and holding back. Letting go of whatever security we may think we gain by holding on to our metaphyscial "security blanket" of some metaphysical enduring self, and empty the self totally. In Christian theology, there is the idea that God emptied himself in the person of Jesus. Jesus, like other truly great and liberated beings were those who could live life fully, undefensively, freely. The Anglican priest and Christian theologian, Don Cupitt speaks about this in a wonderful interview with Stephen Batchelor in Tricycle. He says something wonderfully provocative with which I would like to end this little offering: "I would like a religion of personal recklessness and generosity."

Amen.

.: posted by Poep Sa Frank Jude 11:31 AM


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