Principle 7 Immediate Action 5 – 2020

If You Pursue An End You Enchain Yourself. If Everything You Do Is Realized As An End In Itself You Liberate Yourself.

Principle 7. Immediate Action. Week 5
Last time: Attention, The Theory of the Reverie, Sleep and Awakening… and Veggie Burgers.
This time: Liberation and Contradiction.
The Emerald Path:
You can find two very interesting writings by Roberto Verdecchia on the principles in general, and this principle in particular here:
This Week:
The “vagaries” of the calendar mean that not every year has 365 days and not every month has 4 weeks. So this is one of those months when we get an extra week to think about our chosen principle. Previously we concentrated on the general structure and scope of this principle. We then turned to how we applied, or could have applied, this principle in the past, the present, and the future. Now we will briefly change our approach to consider the relation between liberation  and contradiction.
Conflict, Contradiction and Liberation
General Considerations and Personal Reflections:
Here are some personal reflections. I offer them in the spirit of dialogue and exchange, and look forward to hearing your thoughts about, and experiences with, this principle.
We might begin by reminding ourselves that Silo doesn’t speak to us of of liberty but a path of liberation. In the Inner Look in the same chapter (XII) that we find the principles of valid action he states clearly that:
 “I do not speak to you of liberty. I speak to you of liberation, of movement, of process. I do not speak to you of liberty as something static, but of liberating yourself step by step, as those who approach their city become liberated from the road already traveled.”
But what does any of that have to do with contradiction? Silo explicitly and implicitly ties the idea of liberation with the intertwined notions of unity and contradiction. Internal unity, i.e. thinking feeling and acting in the same direction is registered (felt if you prefer) as agreement with oneself. Contradiction, i.e. discord between our thoughts, feelings and actions is registered as internal conflict, as being at war with oneself.  
In that same chapter he speaks about contradiction and the importance of a clear understanding of what it means.
“Learn to distinguish a difficulty, a problem, an obstacle, from a contradiction. While those may move you or spur you on, contradiction traps you in a closed circle with no way out.”
So while all suffering can enchain us, contradiction is a special case enchaining us in what elsewhere he calls it a “lonely labyrinth that has no exit”
Principle 7 which has occupied our thoughts so much in the last weeks can then be understood as describing how we can walk the path of liberating ourselves “step by step”,  that is by treating each of them as an end in itself. Not by ignoring or denigrating goals but by also making each step the into the final goal.
Silo’s book The Internal Landscape begins with a question that in some ways sums up his entire proposal. Writing there he says: “Here is my question: As life goes by, is it happiness or suffering that grows within you? Do not ask that I define these words; answer instead according to what you feel…”
And he immediately continues with a reminder of how central this idea of growing liberty is to his teaching.
“Though you may be wise and powerful, if happiness and liberty do not grow in you and in those around you, I will reject your example.”
We’ve said before that these are the two clear road signs to the direction we seek and that which we wish to avoid. Continuing that analogy the principles are the roadmap, or directions that we use to guides us in our chosen direction. 
Sometimes meditation requires you sit down and close your eyes — but that’s less than half the story. 
“…actions will vary, but what ultimately defines a life are its contradictory and unifying actions. While contradiction inverts life, contaminating the world with the suffering it produces, unitive actions open the future, causing suffering to recede in oneself and in the world.”
Silo, Internal Landscape Chapter 8
Worth Repeating:
Realizing everything as an end in itself you liberate yourself. 
Coming up:
Next week we’ll turn to principle 8 Comprehended Action and how we might be able to make our conflicts disappear.  

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