“If you pursue an end you enchain yourself. If everything you do is realized as an end in itself you liberate yourself.“
Sometimes meditation requires you sit down and close your eyes — but that’s less than half the story.
You can transform your daily life into a profound meditation, and path of awakening, and liberation.
Here’s somethings to consider this week. Besides the opportunity to participate in the weekly experiences, our next meeting will be a chance for an interchange about your thoughts, insights, examples and questions.
You’ll receive a reminder the day before the meeting. We hope you can join us.
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Principle 7. Immediate Action. Fourth Week
If you pursue an end you enchain yourself. If everything you do is realized as an end in itself you liberate yourself.
Last time: Equilibrium
This Time: Reveries
Last week Chris sent all of us an interesting example of how one might, after meditating on this principle create a new version that illustrates ones personal take on it at this moment. Perhaps you can also give it a name that captures something of that particular focus. Or how about an illustrative very short story, saying, image, or joke.
Previously we concentrated on the general structure and scope of this principle. We then turned to how we applied or could have applied it in the past, and in the present. This week we will focus on its possible impact on future situations and choices.
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.
Sleep and Awakening.
We have been talking about the attitude that arises when I try to do things as ends in themselves. Continuing in that I think that through persistant attempts in that direction (and then only gradually) that this idea expressed in Chapter 6 of the Inner Look really starts to make sense: “Only rarely do I perceive reality in a new way, and it is then that I realize that what I normally see resembles sleep or semi-sleep”.
That verse concludes: “There is a real way of being awake, and it has led me to meditate profoundly on all that has been said so far. It has, moreover, opened the door for me to discover the meaning go all that exists.”
Step 1. The theory of reverie becomes more than a theory.
Have you tried to act from your centre, neither lost outside nor inside yourself, paying attention — without strain but gently focus on what is going on? I think you very quickly discovered that stray images, ideas, internal dialogue, all kinds of “internal contents” bubble up interfering with your . An uninvited thought, or image, initiates a chain of associations that takes my attention, and soon I’m lost in full blown day dreams or totally absorbed in unfolding events . Let us call those images (with the underlying climates and tensions which they translate) “reveries”.
A Quick Review:
In Hot Pursuit of the Veggie Burger
If I study these reveries, as Silo taught us (see Self-liberation by Luis Amman), I discover that some are just passing images. We call these situational, or secondary reveries, because they compensate a temporary situation. For example, I’m hungry and an image arises to compensate the situation — in my case perhaps I find myself thinking of a veggie-burger (à chacun son goût) and jump to my feet to go out and find one. In this way resolving the sensations of hunger.
On the other hand observation and study reveals that there are images that are more persistent and not so easily resolved. These are the primary reveries and they often continue more or less unchanged over years, or even decades. Though unnoticed these images nonetheless drive my behaviour (a function of the image). Like secondary reveries they also attempt to compensate a system of climates and tensions but more complex and permanent ones. Sadly, they often don’t do this successfully. For example, consider a case that is more intriguing than that of my veggie-burger.
Sensations —> Reveries (Images) —> Actions (Behaviours)
A small child for the usual reasons develops a feeling, a mood, or climate, of isolation. The images that arise to compensate that loneliness will certainly change over time. The reveries of a 5 year old are not the same as a 15 year old — even though the climate they compensate might be. In this case the child imagines herself surrounded by friends and putting down the kids that (she feels) make fun of her. As she grows the scenarios become more sophisticated. Trying to move toward those images of being surrounded by many people affirming her — the child now a young adult — finds herself pursuing a career in politics. It’s easy to understand how she becomes enchained to that end. After all, she’s invested a lot of time and energy in this pursuit. If she loses this big election, she’ll be very unhappy. And if she wins? Since what she’s pursuing (political office) is not what she really wants (to feel loved and accepted) even winning will be a hollow victory leaving her disappointed for reasons she doesn’t quite understand.
It’s a sad tale. But somehow it’s the story of all of us. But it’s not totally sad. Not at all. — I got my veggie-burger!
Free Bonus: Some Practical Advice and A Link to an Old Joke.
This is important. When it comes to “attention” you don’t want to try too hard, or not hard enough. It takes experience to develop the adequate “touch”. Hold firmly but not tightly.
As for the old joke mentioned above, you’ll find it at the end of this letter:
But this objectification of others necessarily dehumanizes me as well, and so I justify this situation by claiming that it is the consequence of “Passion,” “God,” “A Cause,” “Natural Inequity,” “Fate,” “Society,” and so forth.
Silo— The Human Landscape
The Principle of Immediate Action reminds us that we should learn to benefit from all the intermediate steps or situations that lead to our goals.
Next week we’ll begin with principle 8, Comprehended Action. It says:
“You Will Make Your Conflicts Disappear When You Understand Them In Their Ultimate Root, Not When You Want To Resolve Them.”
These notes have been posted on Facebook and sent to our email list, and, on my website www.dzuckerbrot.com
Last week I posted this picture. It seemed to fit because I found
myself reflecting about the phrase in the middle part of this principle. I mean the part that says “… is realized as an end in itself…”. As I repeated “end in itself” over and over I no longer recognized the words, I was neither sure what it meant, nor if it was a phrase people used. Thinking about situations were I wasn’t treating things (or sad to admit treating people) as ends in themselves but as means to an end* helped me to dig deeper into the registers.
*A notion that you may know (and may even care) plays a central role in Kant’s ethics.