Do you know where the problem starts? The problem starts where we create this image. This imaginary image, a fantasy, a wonderland about life and everything in it including our self. Then we assume that we are the prince or the princess if not the king or the queen of this wonderland, this self-created fantasy. We keep on living and building this illusion every day. Everything that polishes this imaginary image, these glorious stories of the self, this wonderland and the beliefs and dogmas upon which this fantasy is based makes the prince and princess so happy, so joyful. There is such an attachment to this image that we suffer so much when we come across events, acts or speeches that do not serve our fantasy, our belief system. When they do not serve or are not in the favour of our self-centred wonderland or the tradition and cult we have devotion for we become so tense, so agitated! As though they do not bring offerings to the prince or the princess!
But the story does not end here! One does not keep his or her misery limited to oneself. S/he keeps on throwing it on others. Wanting everyone to accept this imaginary image to believe this fantasy and to live according to the rules! One says, “everyone must act in a way that my tradition says so, my belief system says so, my Guru says so! In a way that I want my imaginary image to be, everyone must be in a way that I want my fantasy to be!” And one spends so much time and energy to prove how his or her way of thinking is right and everyone else is wrong, his or her beliefs are right and everyone else is wrong. One keeps on fighting, writing books, giving speeches, debates for life to convert people into his or her religion, cult, tradition, belief system or fan club! Most of the time it is not even enough to agree with an opinion but you must become a member and pay a membership fee! A friend of mine recounted a conversation he had once overheard on a public bus; a young girl sat next to a lady on the bus and asked her if she believes in Jesus, and if she goes to Church. The lady replied, “yes, I go to the church every Sunday”. The young girl then went to trying to convince the lady to go to her church. Having the same religion like her or doing the same ritual was not enough, it had to be her church only! MINE is more important! As if there is a difference between the heaven that has been promised to the people of this church than the heaven that has been promised to others!
There is a seal on the heart, there is a seal on the tongue, there is a seal on the ears. We cannot say, but I wish we could hear!
Some of us are so attached to our image that we become so angry, ready to even harm. And there is no better excuse to harm someone than in the name of serving and protecting a particular sect, a particular belief, particular religion or tradition. Unfortunately, these self-centred stories cannot make a society and a planet better than the chaos we have already created. To be able to live a harmonious life, a liberated life, we must shatter this image! We must understand that we are nothing but the manifestation of the whole, manifestation of the nature in this form that lives 70, 80, 90 or 100 years and then passes away like everything else and becomes part of all things. Stories arise, stories pass away, images arise, images pass away. If existence is merely a vibration arising and passing, then it must be without essence. If all these manifestations are so empty in their nature, then why are we getting so high with the praise and so low with the blame? This is a great battle to win! This is a great realization!
I said all this and now I must address the experience beneath these impermanent manifestations that are not so easy to write about. Truly beyond mind, beyond matter, like the wind in the dawn blows gently, softly, lovingly. Like the sunrise and sunset that is complete in nature and colour. Filling the empty clay jug like the blue of the sky fills the empty space. Seeds of wisdom, insight, love and caring are planted in this fertile soil, in this empty being bound to experience real peace, real harmony, real happiness. We are bound to experience a liberated life, liberation from all the miseries. We are bound to serve each other with loving kindness to come out of pain and suffering.
Inspired by direct experiences of S.N. Goenka's teachings, Vipassana Meditation and Life.