Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Spontaneous Watcher

Are we raising a generation of men and women who do not aware that the mind has the power to separate from itself and be free of the adictions and the habits and the conditioning and the automatic thinking that goes on in so much of our lives? 

This is a question professor Jacob Needleman raised in one of his presentations of the book Why Can´t We Be Good?, with regard to a very important psychological constatation that we may describe as follows: in a class of philosophy he had given his students the task of trying to constate “I am angry”, without judging, everytime they got angry. The next day he asked for feedback, and only two students had remembered the task. One of them had interpreted it wrongly, while the other, a young Oriental lady, grasped something and described it quite well:
She had gone to a Dry Cleaners shop to pick up some clothes, and asked if these were ready. “No, they are not ready”, replied the clerk angrily. This unkind reply made her react inwardly with anger too, since she had been told the clothes would be ready for that day. But at that moment she “saw herself in that angry state” and thought “oh, this must be what the teacher was talking about”. A closer attention  made her realize that the very act of "seeing herself angry" had “taken some poison out of it”, as she put it; in other words, the anger was no longer controlling her inner world and she left the shop in an unsual state of inner freedom. 
Now, this is surely a state recognized by people who are consciously involved in a process self-discovery. And despite it is quite revealing, showing our "identification with our daily delusions", it also has an elusive quality; the act of consciousness itself is so subtle that it can never become a “ruled practice” or a “habit”, and when we try to make it so, we lose the point and get caught up in a new identification. Why is that? Is it due to believing that the person we believe we are can become conscious just by itself? Is it because we think consciousness is something we can possess in the same way we have shoes? What is that tendency to control even what can make us free? What can make us more spontaneous?
Part of the answer probably lies in all these questions themselves, but the issue seems to go deeper than that. Echoing Empedocles, our being is the seed of a Tree which is meant to grow and extend its roots and branches to depths of reality that embrace everything, and so long as we experience from the level of our foggy mind, no tree will flourish. Water of Awareness is still required to help the seed grow.

Link to the above mentioned presentation of Dr.Needleman:

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