Saturday, December 03, 2011

You need to read this!

I tried to cut it down and make it shorter, but there were so few words that felt gratuitous.  :)

"There you are, and you suddenly realize that you are spending your whole life just barely getting by.  You keep up a good front.  You manage to make ends meet somehow and look okay from the outside.  But those periods of desperation, those times when you feel everything caving in on you- you keep those to yourself.  You are a mess, and you know it.  But you hide it beautifully.  Meanwhile, way down under all of that, you just know that there has to be some other way to live, a better way to look at the world, a way to touch life more fully.  You click into it by chance now and then: you get a good job.  You fall in love.  Life takes on a richness and clarity that makes all the bad times and humdrum fade away.  The whole texture of your experience changes and you say to yourself, "Okay, now I've made it; now I will be happy."  But then that fades too, like smoke in the wind.  You are left with just a memory- that, and the vague awareness that something is wrong. 

You feel that there really is a whole other realm of depth and sensitivity available in life; somehow, you are just not seeing it.  You wind up feeling cut off.  You feel insulated from the sweetness of experience by some sort of sensory cotton.  You are not really touching life.  You are not "making it" again.  Then even that vague awareness fades away, and you are back to the same old reality.  The world looks like the usual foul place.  It is an emotional roller coaster, and you spend a lot of your time down at the bottom of the ramp, yearning for the heights. 

So what is wrong with you? Are you a freak? No. You are just human.  And you suffer from the same malady that infects every human being.  It is a monster inside all of us, and it has many arms: chronic tension, lack of genuine compassion for others, including the people closest to you, blocked up feelings and emotional deadness- many, many arms.  None of us is entirely free from it.  We may deny it.  We try to suppress it. We build a whole culture around hiding from it, pretending it is not there, and distracting ourselves with goals, projects, and concerns about status.  But it never goes away.  It is a constant undercurrent in every thought and every perception, a little voice in the back of the mind that keeps saying, "Not good enough yet.  Need to have more.  Have to make it better.  Have to be better.  It is a monster, a monster that manifests everywhere in subtle forms.  
The direct result of all this lunacy is a perpetual treadmill race to nowhere, endlessly ignoring 90 percent of our experience.  Then we wonder why life tastes so flat.  In the final analysis this system does not work. 
Sounds pretty bleak, doesn't it?  Luckily, it's not- not at all.  It only sounds bleak when you view it from the ordinary mental perspective, the very perspective at which the treadmill mechanism operates.  Underneath lies another perspective, a completely different way to look at the universe.  It is a level of function in which the mind does not try to freeze time, does not grasp onto our experience as it flows by, and does not try to block things out and ignore them.  It is a level of experience beyond good and bad, beyond pleasure and pain.  It is a lovely way to perceive the world, and it is a learn-able skill.  It is not easy, but it can be learned." 

Mindfulness in Plain English: 20th Anniversary Edition 


I'm Too Young For This!