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

A simple little incident

We live everyday without really paying attention to how we operate. Why is this? Because most of the time we work with our thinking without leaving a just a little space for the unconscious to emerge. What is that? What does it mean? I will proceed to explain in my own way  what I do mean with this relating to a small incident that happened the other day.

Well, you might say of course we have to think in order to operate. True, this is normal you might even add. Thinking is how we operate, how we function, how we act and how we lead our life on a day to day basis. A necessary tool of course. So what are we talking about there? If I need thinking to function in our life what wrong with this?

Well, there is nothing wrong indeed. Thoughts, we forget are only a little part of our life, but it plays an enormous role and has taken over in more ways than we can imagine. We are word addicts more than coffee, drugs, nicotine and any other substance you can imagine. My father said that many years ago: ” Words are a drug and we don’t know that we are addicted”. Thoughts have taken over our life and we don’t know how to stop. Stop? how can you do that?  Yes, of course there are countless methods that will tell you how to do just that. You pay for them and follow them: the gurus, the methods, the masters, the newly illuminated that have found peace, the countless men and women that swear that they have discovered THE WAY.

AM I to believe them? AM I to follow them because they are gurus and masters?  Tempting no?  Well, I have decided to look at it all in a different way.

If I follow all these masters and know-it all men and women, where do I stand in all that? I’ll be merely a follower. Nothing wrong of course if that is what you want to do. But why can’t I be my own master and guru? Can I discover by myself what they have discovered? Why can’t I do it? What peace are they all talking about?  If they have done so, it must be in all of us. Therefore what is the obstacle?

So, here is my little incident that helped me see through a few things related to thinking and how AT TIMES it can be a real hindrance.

The other day, a friend of mine was looking for a phone number. Have you seen that phone number? No, I said. Never saw it. So, he went on looking for 10 mns solid searching for this evasive number and could not put his finger on it. I remained silent and did not utter a word. After a while, I said: “did you look in the 3rd file in the filing cabinet”? So, he went there and could not find it either. So, he went on looking for a while longer to no avail. That is when I got up, searched that very file in the filing cabinet  and found it. The 3rd one from the back. Dumbfounded he could not understand why he had not seen it.

How many times this happens to all of us? So, I ponder on it for a short while and suddenly it became clear why he had not seen it and why we are not seeing when the object is there in front of our eyes. My simple explanation is that we are taken so much with our thinking that we do not pay attention to what we are doing. We are not with the ACTUAL process. Our mind is filled with ideas hence cumbersome to see the obvious. Our mind is busy, busy with formulating ideas that represent only the world within our frame. We see what we want to see or not see. Seeing requires an attention to the process (thinking) that guides our activity. When that process is too taken by itself it becomes the obstacle. It becomes a hindrance. We can observe here that thinking is necessary but not the ultimate tool. A tool that it is, and that is what it is. A tool that allows us to go to work, to drive a car, to walk through the door, to build a house, to water our garden to cut down a tree and so on. But I would not go as far as saying to know who we are. Thinking can’t know who we are. It approximates our status and makes us THINK. But when it ventures into the realm of being it has lost its power. It pretends and can’t get a foothold. Hence the justifications and the reiterations of its position.

We see the world according to our perception of it. That perception is molded by our background, upbringing and education. Everything is translated by what we know. Of course that is necessary and I won’t deny it. But it becomes an obstacle when that is the only thing that supposedly exists. We forget this. We forget that they might be some other ways to see the world. Thought has become so dominant( addictive) that it remains the only thing that is viable. Hence our narrow minded views of the world. We can’t extend further than what we have become accustomed to “seeing”. We fight for it, go to war on it, annihilate countries and people, torture, maim, rape and so on.

So, if my friend, could have only extended his vision outside his thinking process he might have been able to see the paper and the phone number that he was looking for. In other words he remained glued within his narrow frame of vision and did not see the obvious. That happens to all of us all the time. It is because we do not leave a little space, we do not pause, we do not arrest ourselves just a few seconds that there might be another way of looking,  another perspective on our pseudo reality that we latched onto  as being the only reality that ever exists. How small that is!

It is therefore important to stop and take a few seconds to envisage another way. To let our unconscious speak. It knows what to do and how to go about it. But that is very hard one might say. Of course it is hard because thinking does leave any gap. It engulfs us and we say that there is no way out. What else should I do? What Can I do? Can you give me a trick or a method? and we do not realise that it is thinking that is speaking. Yes, thinking does not see this realm, can’t fathom it,  can’t hold it, can’t touch it, can’t sustain it, can’t even start to imagine what it could be like or look like. This realm, is not within the grasp of thinking.  It encompasses thinking but not IT!

So, the  pause that is needed to see is gone,  and we remain with the status quo…I can’t find it and start to search around. Stop, and let the mind rest for a second or two. I am not keen on the saying: “search and you will find” it may apply in other occasions but not in that instance. If our mind is perpetually busy,  the standstill, the suspension and the gap  just disappear and we are left with the same old story….the incessant roof brain chatter that hinders us for being present. Being present is  where the thinking does not get involved. It has nowhere to go. In fact it can’t deal with the present since it does not “know” it.

Till next time.

Random talks with my father in 1999 on a trip back from Cambodia

13th April, 2013

Intellectualism is a point of fixation.

Can we really capture our first feelings? Is it really possible? Can we really re- live old feelings? Are we really trying to recreate what we have lost? Feelings change one may say.  They change with life events, as we experience new situations, these move with it. One mixes up changes with disappearance. One has to change. One can’t live with someone without changes that occur on an every day basis.

Imagine, if every time you wanted to make love with your partner you tried to recreate the same feelings that you had for instance 20 years ago. Is that possible? Do you have to make an effort to love something or someone? As soon as there is effort, you only pretend to love. It is not natural at all. If every time to have to search for that first feeling when you are trying to make love then you are making all sorts of efforts to fix that first feeling. As soon as there is effort there is a lack of authenticity.

Thought has taken too much preponderance and has to be put back in its place.

Thought is the choice of the data bank if you like, it draws from memory. When a thought arises it is expressed through language and that is how it expresses itself. Hence it is always the past. It is the expression of memory. It has arisen from it and it becomes conscious. Its function is to fix. 

There are two sides to that. It is lucky and unlucky at the same time. On the one hand it is very adept at functioning in our everyday life…food production, house building, orientation. It evolves. Look at our ancestors and what we are today. It may have taken them ages to light a fire; today it is done with a flick of a switch. It has a practical function. It allows action, it is action.  On the other hand thought by itself is damned. It can never have all the information. Today it is totally overwhelmed with information…data.

We can see how we fix our description of the world in our mind, and take that model into the relational field we live in. The description becomes our reality; a set of labels projected onto the vibrant relational field that is life. One has to be careful of labels. Labels cover the content, so that we see the label rather than the content. One has to discover that, and our attitude to this field is to resist it by all means.

Can we seize our ME? It is impossible. Why is it impossible?  If you point your finger at me and ask:  what is this ME  that you occupy, that you live? What is it?  The question sounds simple, but when I try to look around the mental space that I inhabit, my consciousness you could say, I am stumped when I try to say just what it is. I can’t say what it is, nor can I say what its boundaries are. When I want to seize ME, I don’t realise that I am creating another ME. And if I want to seize the one that I have just created, I again create another one. Because to grab this first one, there must be another one that does it also. Hence you can’t never catch it or grab it… It is almost unconscious. One is not aware of it.

Talking about the boomerang. How was this instrument invented? How did it happen? How did it come into existence? The Aboriginal people of Australia were living with their environment. They lived close to nature and all that it meant for them. A sense of being related with everything that brought them their food for survival. An osmosis with the trees, the earth, the sun, all the elements that surrounded them. Today’s western civilisation has lost this intimacy with all that. Not the idea of a relation with nature, but for them it was living like that on a daily basis. They were not living with the idea of nature, they were nature, they were aware of the common interest that they had with their surroundings. And that their survival depended on these relationships. They were not exploiting nature, no property. We have lost this today. And we try desperately to find it. Hence the idea of devising a boomerang arises from this tight intimacy with nature and their deep relation within it. In this relational movement of interdependence, there is possible emergence of creativity. If this relationship, in this exchange with one’s environment is non-existent, there will be little or no creativity. If I am not integrated and isolated how can I become creative? It is incompatible and impossible. It is in the depth of my relation with all my surroundings….here we can see how it is difficult to transmit through words this feeling of total relationship. “Surroundings” has very little meaning unless it is lived. There is no inside and outside even if the word transmits that.

Now we can understand the duality of language. One can understand how language can seem inadequate to express this feeling of osmosis. This vision is not an image; it is this deep feeling of interdependence…Even the word “vision” is misleading. One can’t exist without the other and this immense interrelationship that created our organism and it is working in total osmosis. An exchange that is beyond what we can see with our naked eyes. Thought cannot even start fathoming what is taking place in this immensity. It is an incredible world in itself.  And we should not forget that our body is made of that world…. continual exchange and relationships and communication with all the molecules and particles. We are not even aware of what is taking place within us. Hence, we are not “surrounded” by our environment; we are an integral part of that. No outside, no inside. No separation.

 When we separate, we only have an idea of that separation. And it is this idea that separates…but even that is not correct because, thought is totally part of that also. It is a continuation of these exchanges. For humankind this is a very difficult passage, to see this separation, which is not a separation. It is only created by thought. The multitude of differences that thoughts creates, the profusion of characteristics, and it is all these processes that we are entirely part of. Thoughts, words are only a frame that is useful.  And it is this totality that allows every one of us to be what we are. Each one of us has his own distinction and beauty …without being separated.

 Thought has created marvellous things, but by the same token has also created immense problems that we are facing without any decent solutions for today.

This photo bellow is where we used to sit down and have our talks. Image

Till next time …and thank you Peter for your editing and your support.

Being here!

Like the far away friend that writes to her blog about “the moment”, I decided to add a few things to her marvellous text.

Yes, it is true, we miss a lot …our roof brain chatter is non -stop. The stream of thoughts that come and go have nothing to do with the present. There are remnants of the past. These thoughts are a long stream of ideas that have shaped us.  Through our teachers, parents, friends, media, environment, and our experiences that we had. We churn them out day in day out. But this is the process that we are made of. They have moulded us into what we are today. Then, we say, “this is me”. We have acquired all of them and selected a few to make them our reality,  are they really?

In my view that are not the reality at all, only a representation through old …very old ideas. An idea is never present. An idea is a reflection of the past. Show me a present idea? They don’t exist. Why?  the answer is very simple and you know it already, they simply don’t function in the now as they are build up of the past and will always be generated by the past. They come after the events as a description of what is….or try to describe what is. They could never succeed because they recall. The present has no words to describe itself. If it had it would not be PRESENT. The present can’t be described. The thought is always after the event. It recalls. It is a normal process. The magic is that NOW is only to be lived. Trying to describe is futile.

If I am cooking which I really like, I am with the cooking. The process knows what to do. If I start thinking, or just come at the time of my doing something we can quickly witness it and go back to what we are doing. If I give vent to that thought: how horrible is my dog, or the problems that I encounter with m y neighbour, or thinking about my next week end, or whatever goes in at the time, then I quickly lose track of the present task. I get confused, lose the thread, or just give that thought full rein and I am lost. Then we go back and they ” what was I doing? what did I forget to add? what should do next? all these question are a sign that we are not with what we are doing. Of course, one has to stop and see what is needed to complete the task, but that is being with what is.

My father used to say it the simplest thing in the world. is to BE. How easy are the words? How easy it is to UNDERSTAND? Yes, dad, to understand is easy, to do or not do,  is harder. Intellectuel understanding is the half way measure. Catching yourself in the act is the hardest thing because thought comes back to justify its position and attitude. Simple but not easy!

What does it mean to catch yourself in the act? My neighbour insults me, is angry with me, treats me like I was a fool. What should I do? Attempt to convince him/her that I am not. If he has decried that I am, what and whom am I fighting. Oh! wait a minute, I am seeing that I am trying to protect my little ego or my big one. The more I try to convince him, the more indignant I become and the more I will boast my self righteousness. I feel hurt to be treated in such fashion. But on the other hand if I see right away his anger, his arrogance, his hatred, his frustration….which I am also made of but not aware of, then my response will  be different. Why should I feed him more of the same that he is already fighting to achieve? What he is achieving? He also wants to be right. Both can’t be right, one has to give in or give up. The stillness inside me will point the way and see all that. If I REACT, I won’t be in the position to see anything and be caught up in the same game. What to do,  you may ask?  Simple but easy again. The space, the calm, the stillness, the vision whatever you may want to call it has the answer. But watch the mind and see how it wants to defend itself against all that. That seeing is the freedom from the known. One may not see it right away (for me that is). But on the other hand, Krisnamurti would say the seeing is the liberation and it is instantaneous.

Being here is the only answer to the myriad of problems and issues that are eating us and causing us ill-ease.   As we are always caught to remedy situations and issues,  it appears unsurmountable. Again my father would say in that vein, that “the solutions of today are the problems of tomorrow” simply because we are always dealing with half concocted solutions. They are never whole, but partial. But that could be the subject of another topic and exchange.




Sunset in Nimbin