Certainty versus uncertainty.

Recently, I have been writing about the heat wave and other news from the farm. But today I will try to have a few words about our state of mind and dilemma that we have in life. Why dilemma you might ask? It is very simple. We face times in our lives where we don’t know what to do in a particular situation. Making a decision about a situation in life and when we don’t know how to deal with it. How to make “sure” that we have taken or are making the right one?

I think the first thing that we have to remember is what is the instrument that will hinder you from making a move in either direction. We are going to try to deal with our thinking to try to resolve this issue. Of course you might say. What else is there? That is the only thing that will allow me to see what is going on. That is the only instrument that I have and that I know. Ok. Hence my thought process will permit me to deal with it. Will it?

But, have we ever thought about how skewed that is in the first place? Have we ever ask ourselves what is the make up of these thoughts? How are they moulded, how do we organise them and are they adequate to deal with this issue that I am struggling with. Thought is only a tool. Like I said previously, the menu is not the food. Thought is narrow, restricted, reductionist, bigoted, distorted at the best of time, a definition and representational only. It is never the thing/object itself. With that in mind, how can you be sure of anything?

Let’s take an example of how this works. In life we strife for certainty. Yes, we want to be sure that everything is going to plan, nothing will interfere with this plan. In other words we want certainty. The quest for certainty will stifle creativity, certainty does not leave space in the mind ( it is always busy thinking of ways to be sure), certainty will hinder compassion, love, openness, certainty is tyrannical as it wants to control and impose its ideas on others. Has your boss been recently a little too aggressive? Certainty does not allow uncertainty. It allows no space in the mind because we are too busy filling it up with ideas to define ourselves and struggling to always get it right.

The purpose of thoughts is to control our surroundings, our identities, our position, our image, our standing in the community…To a degree, there is nothing wrong with that. On a functional level that is totally necessary. Necessary to drive a car properly or build a house, one has to know the rules and what instrument to use. But on the psychological level it does not happen like this. Thoughts are really weak. Should I go and meet my friend or should I go to Paris? Should I stay with my husband or take a lover? Should I…should I…should I. All these create confusion. Why does it create confusion? We are torn, not being to jump one way or the other. If I jump this way I lose control, if I jump the other way I will also lose something else also. Lose …lose situation. May be my position at work, my lover, my security. Yes, security. So, here we are, we don’t want to lose anything. We want complete certainty. Yes, the mind, my thoughts do not want to let go of that uncertainty. Why? Because thought is the source of uncertainty and does not want to let go in its desire to get rid of it. You will take away its “raison d’être” …reason for being. So it remains in the state of uncertainty in order to search certainty for ever. Like a dog trying to catch it tail. Not realising that it is running after itself in total unconsciousness of its action.

Yes, we are not aware of the battle that is taking place in our mind. Because it is a battle, a dangerous battle that drags on sometimes for the rest of our life. Trapped in the fight and not knowing how to get out of it. Stuck.

Of course, now one may ask: how do you get out of this trap? Ah ah! here comes the question that might elucidate my dilemma. Ask yourself this: Who want to get out of what? Who asks the question? It is a legitimate question of course. Now, how can the mind who is trapped in a dilemma going to answer how to get out of it? My mind is the problem. My thoughts are the problem. So, we are asking the problem to get out of the problem, no? Is this feasible? No, so what am I to do? I am still in a quandary. Maybe I should go and meditate, go and see a master or a guru. I am sure these people have the answer.

So, off I trot in search of certainty starting of course from a state of uncertainty. What if the master is no good, but he might be. S/he is quite reputable and has skills. So, I am sure, yes, I am sure he might give me the answer. If she does that is great, you are liberated. But if he does not where are you? Back to square one.

It is uncertainty that makes search for a place where I can at last rest in peace. I am obsessed trying to find the right solution. This obsession is blurring my love, my openness, my space. And it is in that space that I can see, yes, see the stupidity of my position not before. But again you may ask, how to you get to this space? How do you sense that openness? Of course these are very good questions and legitimate.

Can you see the obsession? Can you see the turmoil? Can you see the battle? Can you see the dilemma? Can you see how run down you are? Can see you how tired you are? Yes, you can see all that. These are all the result of your thought process going in circle and trying to resolve the impossible. That is why maybe people are taking so many prescription drugs to calm them down. They have trouble dealing with all this burden. I make it sound so simple. The mind never rest, never stops, never have a moment of silence. When you realise that you will never know, when you stop controlling, when you stop giving way to your thought and roof brain chatter, there is a moment of uncertainty. Are you going to fill it again? or are you going to let it be. Letting it be is the opening that you want. Yes, again how to make the decision? Well, let it go first. Then you will see.

Catch yourself in the act of trying to control an event. Catch yourself yelling at the dog. Catch yourself imposing your opinions on others. Catch yourself obsessed with tiny little things that don’t matter. Catch yourself ever furtively trying to profit from a situation. Catch yourself with your friend competing for a place on the tennis court or in a race. Catch yourself trying to get the best bit in a restaurant . Catch yourself talking…moving… see if these actions arise from a sense of wanting to secure a place or a position. Are you a winner? Are you a great person? All these arise from a sense of wanting to be sure….hence uncertain of yourself. And we do that day in day out.

In life one is never certain of anything. But the struggle is the fight for certainty. When one knows that we can’t be certain of anything then, something happens. That something else is the opening that you are REALLY looking for. Stop wanting to control!

What happens when you become aware of hurt and the dilemma inside you?

These problems are a direct result of thinking trying to achieve certainty …a hopeless battle. Given the premise that it can never be reached, what am I left with…being tyrannical with my partner, abusing other, being obsessed with cleanliness or looks maybe, imposing stiffer rules and regulations on others, beating someone, killing another human being maybe. All these actions are the result of not knowing what to do. Never being able to achieve something in life. Sure, I can be perfect in my job, super organised, super conscientious, being promoted to new heights, but has that resolved my issues?

Also remember one thing, the more you talk about your issue to other people the less you become apt at resolving them. What I am saying is you are leaning on others to find a solution for you because you are not able to do so. Normal you might say, but this will take any initiative that you may have. “Polling” as Brene Brown would say takes away your ability to see through your issues. Of course that is assuming on my part that you are still in good health and do not have any serious mental problems. I am not advocating by any means not to see a counselor or someone who at time might be extremely beneficial in trying to elucidate a few important points that one may have. But that is not polling it is taking steps to understand where you are at.

I am sure there is plenty more to add, I could go on and on but that is all for today.

Till next time

Hot, Hot Hot

It hot,  excruciatingly hot. The aircon is blasting away at full strength.The hot wind feels as if you are in a fan forced oven,unfortunately not baking any cookies nor bread or any other goodies that could be slowly spreading their welcoming aromas throughout the house. Not worth venturing outside under any circumstances. The wind is swaying the bamboos ferociously almost touching the ground, not a breath of cool air could be felt under this torrid heat, with the thermometer reaching the 40 degrees the plants are suffering badly. Hot…Hot …Hot. Climate change? A passing phase? who knows? But one thing is certain, it has never been so torrid since we’ve been here.

This morning I woke up relatively early to give a good watering to the vegetable garden. All of them had a good soaking preparing for the blasting sun of the day. I recycle all laundry water to sprinkle the pots plants on the veranda and the shower water to flush the toilets. rationing water is of the utmost importance and the rain has not made any strong appearances for quite a few weeks now. After such heat one would expect some sort of mighty relief from mother nature with water bucketing down soon. But no, nothing on the horizon for sometime. The water are getting slowly depleted and the day might come where we might have to get some water from the  local contractor pumped into the tanks.

The tweeters of the birds can be heard in the distance…food, water, but everything is in short supply. I make sure that the bird baths are full and I can see the occasional one coming for a dip and a drink. Their wings are spread and not close to their chest so to let the breeze flow through. The chickens have adopted also the same little trick, well, it seems that all birds are doing it in that heat.

The cows across the paddock are resting in the shade of the big bamboos. Quite a few of them are expecting a calf shortly. Bluey, is the largest of them all and I am sure the little one will be there in the next few days. The others have still a couple of months to go. The grass is not growing that much in this weather and some supplementary feed does not go astray at all from time to time.

The dog Elsie, is just resting on the wooden floor spread eagle enjoying the coolness of the room under the air-conditioning. Lucky dog hey! She has managed to lose quite a fair bit a weight over the last few months and I can at least see her waist being defined quite nicely.

It has been a long time since I wrote a few lines. I am not sure what to make of it, but I guess my muse was not around. Alone, while Peter is volunteering at the Gallery this afternoon gave me the opportunity to put my fingers on the keyboard and type away.

Christmas came and went like every year. So did new year. Days like any other days. I am not a great follower of these follies of shopping till I drop in the big mall for some useless bit of pseudo presents. I’d rather give when I don’t have to do so. I do not like to give out of obligation.  Why wait for Christmas, birthdays, anniversary and so on?  In fact I do not even remember how long I have been married, who cares really? Everyday is a special day, every day brings about its joy and sorrow. Every day is a miracle and I give when I feel like it, not when I have too. Of course, family  reunions are a special treat along with having friends. That is always a special moment. A moment of joy that we have to cherish, exchanging ideas, what we have been up to, how we feel, heated debate with friends and family, good food, good wines and maybe lots of laughters and sometimes tears. These are the times that I love most.

The other day we had some friends that came for lunch and we had a great talk about a book that Peter and and I are reading at the moment. We share the book together. I read a loud and we comment on it. The book is called “Dying to be me” by Anita Moorjani. A fascinating account of her Near Death Experience and complete healing from her cancer. Not mind over matter at all, but an experience, her experience on how she touched on another dimension of our being. Though at times it could be repetitive in some parts, the intrinsic message is to discover our potentiality as human beings. To find out what we really are. A complete let go of our ego, to discover this “other” part of ourselves which is deeply buried in our conditioning, our make up, what we inherited from our upbringing, how we are moulded, our prejudices, our value judgements. All of these hinder us from our “true self”. We are so vaguely aware of that other dimension, that the ego does not comprehend it. Beyond words, beyond knowledge, beyond everything that we can ever imagine. Away from methods, gurus, organised religions, or any other forms that could pertain to understand “it”. It can’t be comprehended with thoughts, because thoughts or ideas are only a pointer not ‘IT”. If I gave a menu you would have only a description of the food. You would not eat the menu to find out. You would imagine what it could be like, you could be tempted, but you will never know until you actually tasted what was brought in front of you. Hence the thought process is only a description of what might come and you will wait in excitement at the food put in front of you. Disaster! Surprise! Delight! All of these are a reflection of what you might have imagined.

For Anita Moorjani, her touching this ‘other” was very real. The only reality. The other that we live everyday routinely are only a description of what we want our lives to be like. Full of judgments, values, ups and downs, good, bad, right, wrong. And  of course, most of the time it does not work.  We are in a perpetual dilemma. For her the present is what matters. But I am not going to spoil it for you, go on read the book and discover by yourself this other side of human potential.

Of course you might think it is a lot of rubbish, that’s ok too. But something in you will stir and the inevitable question will come up to the surface: what is this? Is this real? Is this true? Can this really happen? It might provide you with questions that you might want answered about our existence and we way we live. Of course, only if you are interested in finding out. We are so caught up with our survival nowadays that we have very little time left to stop and reflect. Work, work, work. Gee! I am glad I was given this immense opportunity to have left work early and enjoy the space, the serenity, the beauty and above all time for exploring who and what we are. Whoever, whatever is there, I thank profusely for that.

It is really funny, in spite of all the material wealth that we have, we can’t find the time to reflect, we can’t find the time to stop. We are perpetually searching for the next thing that will finally maybe make us ‘Happy”. But it never comes. Because soon after we acquire it we’ll want the next thing. We have in the West a very easy existence, we need very little and yet our home is full of stuff, clutter, knick knacks, objects, comfort. Sometimes I look at all these things in my house and ponder as to their necessity. The drawers, the cupboards, the shelves, the space in between objects are full of “THINGS”. What for? One thing is sure I will not need any of it when my body decides to give up its earthly existence. Yet, we cling to them, the attachments to all this is alarming at times.

Would I have the the “courage”  to get rid of it all? Would I happily give it all away? They are all so part of my comfort zone. Would I do away with my mother’s bracelet? Would I get rid of my mother in law”s little hippos or her rings and necklaces?  Would I do away with any of it? AT this stage I can’t answer these questions as I am not sure at all. Obviously to be pondered upon.

Time is marching on and dinner has to be prepared. Go and pick up Peter at the gallery and finish up bits and pieces.

As I finished writing this Bluey has just given birth to her calf

Till next time.