Friday, September 12, 2014

The Analogy

In life we have this predicament, this certain view of how things are. Most all of us view reality as us being thrown into the world, and being in it, and having to navigate it, and having things "happen" to you. It's you and the world outside of you, and the world outside of you doesn't always conform to what you want, and the struggle of life is to try to get things the way that you want them to be. You are trying to shape the outside world and force it to comply. It is an other, an opposing force. And all our suffering is a result of the outside world playing out in a way that is contrary to how we wish it to be, as if we had a say! As if the universe, this grand "other" agent that we are just thrown into, should center all its vast workings around meeting the arbitrary standards made up by us, and that you're only truly "living" when that happens. We construct these standards ourselves, and little known to us is that from the outset there is no reason we should expect them to happen at all. It is self-defeating. Why do we get to dictate how things will be? Our view is this: as seats of consciousness in a sea of other unconscious things, we are alone and are separate from the things around us.

But let me give an analogy to try to demonstrate why this is not so. Consider an eddy in an ocean. We've all seen them; the tiny whirlpools that form when water currents brush past each other. Some last for a long time, some only half a second. They are patterns. They are orderly; a spiral that maintains the same form over time, until it dissipates. They are orderly forms amongst a sea of non-orderly water. We too are patterns. Like eddies, living things are patterns that arise just from interactions between matter; life is a necessary consequence of physical laws. Nothing wills an eddy to become an eddy. The eddy simply must occur in certain conditions, otherwise it is not water. Like eddies, humans are a pattern, not a set physical entity. The only thing required for an eddy to be and eddy is the spiral form of water. Its actual substance is constantly in flux. The eddy you see in one second is totally different from the eddy in the next; just like a person on one day is a completely different person the next. Their physical substance isn't the same, they have different moods, they look different from the events that occurred the day before, and think slightly differently due to the prior day's experience. But the pattern is there. It is still recognizably that same person, because the arrangement of the pattern is what's important, not the content.

So, here we are, humans in a universe, eddies in an ocean. But just imagine if an eddy became conscious and developed a "self". It would say "I am an eddy. I am a separate thing. Here is me and here is the ocean. I see this vast, unorganized water around me which is my environment, and it is unconscious and I am placed within it." And eventually it would become attached to its own singular point of view, and assign great importance to it, ascribing all these special values and standards and needs that must be met to please it. And it would fear and hate waves, for if a wave came an eddy would be disturbed, and the standards it had set for its life would not be met. It may even perish. The imagined barrier between it and the ocean would cause it much suffering.

But what is the reality? The reality is that the eddy IS the ocean, and the ocean is the eddy. Even the waves are itself! The eddy is made of ocean, and it had to form. Neither the ocean nor the eddy had a choice in this matter. The initial conditions were the way they were, and the eddy happened. In fact, given those conditions, if the eddy had not come into being, then this would not be an ocean. This ocean could not be at all if this eddy was not in existence right here, right now, and for this certain duration. The eddy is part of the ocean's definition; its very nature. The two are mutually dependent on each other's existence.

The point to be made is that when you look out into the world, the necessary conclusion is that all the things around you (all things) are what you are. This is a literal statement. Just like those of the eddy and the ocean, all the conditions that you encounter are necessary for you to exist at all, and likewise, you are dependent on those conditions to define yourself. So all the things that happen to you must happen in order for you to be. Humans are to the universe what an eddy is to the ocean. We are it.

Our minds are like troubleshooters or filters, paying attention only to things that are a either danger to us or things that we view as beneficial. But to remove that filter is to tough upon our actual nature: entirety, allness, oneness, and with the view that everything is one expression. If an eddy says "I am," we know that that is only true from a single, narrow perspective. So for a human to say "I am" is to subscribe to the smaller mind, the mind of locales and comparisons and separations. The realization is that everything - the color of a flower, the feel of a breeze, the sound of a helicopter, your own thoughts, a car wreck, the death of a friend - they are all you, and you are them. All these things must occur exactly when they do, and exactly in the way that they do, or else the universe could not be.

The benefit of this is that we can view negative events in our lives the same way we view a gust of wind: that it simply occurred. It is all part of this cacophonous pattern that is teeming on the surface of the earth, a pattern whose form must be only as it is, with no other choice. If we can accept our place in this maelstrom of activity, then we can view all events as of equal supreme importance. All things before us become real, and our attention begins to shift. We no longer hold the universe accountable to us, and thus realize that everything we "need" is right here and right now. And we would view our lives as a grand ballet, a brilliant, shifting, shimmering display of energy and color and form, where everything is connected, and all distances and boundaries are imaginary. And be able to relish in the joy that we can move about and create, and touch our universe and feel and see. And we can know that when we experience all these things, we are experiencing our own nature in the deepest and truest sense.

No comments:

Post a Comment