Friday, September 30, 2016

The isness of IS.

As much as we desire certainty, it doesn’t come about; the ground beneath our feet is different from what it was yesterday, and consequently only new solutions will work today. We don’t re-cycle old solutions, we must create new ones to fit today’s terrain. That makes unquestionable sense so why do we not see the shifting sands? Perhaps we don’t see because we don’t want to. It is easier to shape life as we want it to be, instead of the way it truly is. “Suchness” or “thusness” is the desirable way of the heart: Accepting what is vs. what we wish.

This sage observation is not singularly a matter of psychology or spirituality but is also a reflection of biological necessity and survival. According to Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species, “…it is not the most intellectual of the species that survives; it is not the strongest that survives; but the species that survives is the one that is best able to adapt and adjust to the changing environment in which it finds itself.” Numerous examples of failed societies can be found⎯from the Vikings in Greenland to the Jews in Nazi Germanywhen refusal to adapt and blindness reigned. There is no guilt implied here. Often times circumstances shift suddenly and being creatures of habit we are lulled into states of denial. When people or other species have not adapted, they have perished. This is as much a psychological matter as it is a spiritual one.

We have some psychological blind spots that can be dangerous. Cognitive dissonance is one of these blind spots. So is “herding,” “crowd mentality,” the “boiling frog syndrome,” “denial” and so too bigotry, misogyny, xenophobia and racismbias against accepting what is and desiring what is egocentric, fear induced and self-serving. Learning to accept the essential goodness in all things requires releasing ourselves from fear, and then embracing the unity in all. When we see ourselves in others then we can say as Shantideva, the 8th-century Indian Buddhist scholar, said: “When I act for the sake of others, No amazement or conceit arises. Just like feeding myself, I hope for nothing in return.”
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