Reconciliation

The wooden statue of Miroku Bosatsu, one of the treasures of Koryu-ji Temple
The wooden statue of Miroku Bosatsu, one of the treasures of Koryu-ji Temple

Reaching an original state of naturalness in meditation, and
Clinging to a mere shell of quietude which mind has enforced,
Even though the two appear alike, beware of misjudgment.

–The Life of Milarepa, Shambhala, 1984. p. 192-3

Sometimes I feel that this search is being done through me by some inexplicable and magnificent force that I don’t understand. I feel that I am lacking a certain something that I would call religiosity. Often I can find myself walking down the street and suddenly the whole world expands. I see myself in this city, on this earth, in this solar system and so on. My perception expands. I suddenly realize that I know nothing; that I am nothing. There is a sense of God’s presence or whatever you want to call it.

On the other hand I also have this feeling that I am achieving something; getting somewhere. There is this ambitiousness that wants to know everything quickly. There is also a part of me that surfaces that is completely indifferent to this inner search, sometimes even hostile.

So I find myself in between these two human situations. On one hand there are manifestations that range from egoistic ambitions to total indifference, and on the other, this intense openness to something higher in me and the wish to serve it. I think the latter example could be just as destructive or deceptive; like my own personal flight of Icarus.

So there is a contradiction. I am a contradiction.

How do I reconcile these two?

Here is an image that comes to mind:

There is a small boat being in-between to large rocky cliffs on a raging sea; the cliffs representing the inner contradictions and the sea is life itself. How does one go about sailing this vessel through? How can one stand inside this contradiction; this paradox?

I was sitting this morning and I noticed a part of me that I would describe as, “grasping.” It was extremely subtle and it seemed to be pulling me away from an acceptance of myself, just how I was, in that moment. It wanted things to be different; a change of state perhaps. I observed this taking place inside along with the incessant chatter of my thoughts and the discomfort of my body. I held all of these happenings within me with a quiet resolve to accept whatever is taking place. Through a constant renewal of effort (or non-effort) I felt a tremendous energy that announced itself. It seemed to be born the witnessing as well as the acceptance of all these opposing sides. At that moment I had a penetrating insight into the purpose of sitting but I found when I tried to explain it to a close friend afterwards it was very difficult to put into words. This insight, that was so clear before, became a much larger question.

So where do I find myself now?
With a renewal of effort, and a deeper question.

2 Comments

Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

Sandeep Bajajreply
February 09, 2008 at 10:02 PM

I love how you have described the contradiction in both its complexity and the questions that lead from it. It has motivated me to ask questions again that I have not asked in years.

The contradiction you describe is unique from what I have read in that you are not lumping everything as subjective or objective. The upanisads (or experiments) have described this duality in great volume, but they themselves confirm that experience is always more important than any system of thought.

madonnatellareply
May 09, 2013 at 10:05 AM

it seems necessary to name the poles of the duality you describe well.
“On one hand there are manifestations that range from egoistic ambitions to total indifference, and on the other, this intense openness to something higher in me and the wish to serve it.”
in my opinion there is no contradiction or duality and there is nothing that needs to be consoled.
of myself i have said “in me are present two extremely distant persons which situation could also be described as ‘polarity’: marilyn monroe on the one hand,a tibetan monk on the other side”.
i have learned there is no contraposition,distinction,polarity,duality. nothing has to be consoled.
rather we have “oneness” here,ready to be fully experienced.

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