Gaia is the word for "unity-of-life-processes". The experiment here is to unify the various threads of voice and sense of self together into an undivided unity. Spirituality, economics, politics, science and ordinary life interleaved.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Distressingly, the latest posts refuse to publish.

I'm not so sure what to do.

It's been an interesting night. I woke late feeling charged with phenomenal optimism, did a short meditation, went into town for the training course and found it was Cancelled after a little run around, handled some survival-type affairs, then bought two replacement coffees and came home.

The replacement coffee is because I can sense the impasse in various aspects of my life arising from the adrenalized, coffee-fueled activity I partake in, and the lack of perspective that occurs when coffee is intoxicatingly stimulating, and the downside, of course, of greyness that follows. So it's important for me to have replacement coffees. The word to describe what I am after here happens to be a sanskrit one: dharana.

I LOOOVEEE sanskit. It is precisely intentional but deliberately vague, otherworldly but intensely vivid, colorful and reality-focused. Dharana refers to a developmental quality of the mind where it is able to become focused in abstraction to such an extent that the field of the focus itself can begin to intermingle with the focus. It is also a developmental stage om regards to enlightenment - I meant to say, in regards to enlightenment.

All of which is relevant: cos I went to a Borders bookstore to preview read a bunch of books of mahayana and vajrayana buddhism. I was particularly impressed by the diamond sutra mahamantra, which as I read the explanation made perfect, if absolutely nonrational, sense to me; enough, at least to write it down and consider using it for it's sattvic quality. Sattva, and sattvic things, is another sanskrit word we have no equal for, but I won't explain that. One taste of sanskrit is enough to attract a newbie, if they have the tongue for it!!

Oh fukkit. Here it is:

Through mindfulness we experience Interbeingwhich means everything is in everything else.Therefore, one should know that Perfect Understandingis a great mantra, is the highest mantra,is the unequalled mantra, the destroyer of all suffering,the incorruptible truth. This is the mantra:
"Gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha."

Uh, that's Ohm tayatha gate gate paragate paragamgate bodhi svaha to me.

Translation: "pay attention! this is how it is: you go, go, perfectly go, completely and perfectly go beyond enlightenment to the foundation of devotion."

The dhayana of the mahayana are obscure! no wonder the Dalai Lama emphasizes the unity and simplicity of Tibetan Buddhism! Significant for me as a Westerner too is the rise and fall of sectarian influence in Tibet in the 19 century, as the Rime, or unified, school combined the old and corrupt traditions. My present goal of having an in depth overview of the entire teachings of modern Buddhism is almost at an end; and the search is on for the final quarries that will allow me the sense that, yes, that is the reality of modern Buddhism.

I left Borders very happy, and looked in O Connels second hand books for abridgements of old French novels until the train came in twenty minutes.

The day then shifted gears. My new flatmate watched while I rather self consciously phoned to discover when the new computer will arrive (new everythings at the moment!), and while I made some dahl. I am quite unself-consciously Indian in many ways, simply because it is completely natural to me, but around another European I become quite odd about it, anticipating a critical motive behind their innocent questions. Today he asked what the ghee I was cooking with was, and I told him somewhat more than needed about it, doubtless in a slightly defensive tone. :-)

Then we went up into the hills while I chattered away under the influence of the two coffee replacements and an espresso (another new thing by flatmate has brought with him!). We talked Mazda cars; I like Mazdas inasmuch as I can be said to notice the presence of cars at all. He talked about my getting my license. The conversation shifted to my support systems, or lack thereof; and I found myself getting uncomfortable discussing my procrastication at finding a decent cognitive psychologist to work with an hour a week.

What the hell should be stopping me from just doing it? My frustration seemed evident. Intellectualism is so much safer, like a patch dry land in a flood; but when the flood receeds, do you dare descend to the lowlands again, for fear of the flood coming back? Maybe in this abtruse figure of speech something of my discomfit can be seen. I hate the fucking X that keeps me ineffective in certain areas of my life; it frustrates me so much that I can't hardly think about this without getting irritated and self-critical. So working with a decent cognitive therapist is hardly a waste of time; it's the most sensible approach to a very average and normal problem.

Much of all this I couldn't express that well as we drove up into the hills. O well. We got the trailer and drove in silence to the house he is to housesit. It was nice. The kookaburra sat in the back yard. We climbed redwood steps to a patio and slunk into a dry, musty smelling darkish kitchen. We looked in all the bedrooms and made jokes about the lifestyles of the occupants. He decided and I agree that the guest room looked most comfortable; the other rooms all had Memories.

Softly the sunk sank over the tree-obscured horizon, city and sea. Adelaide is so beautiful.

The kookaburra came to watch us. We toyed with various permutations of relationship as flatmates, various jobs and rights, approaches to living together. We talked dispassionately and with care. Sometimes I observe myself being reasonable and wonder if it will last; I wonder if I will one day not be able to maintain the semblance and lapse into primitive unreasoning; then I remember that I am not instinct any more than reason.

It does not frighten me to identify with logic, reason, clarity, as the I. What discourages me is the human legacy of obvious distortions of legitimate truths, animal appetites that require caring management, and the more subtle discriminations of judgementalism and prejudice that give rise to limited perspective. I seem to clearly see that the invention of psychoanalysis allowed a considerably greater number of humans to cast off this legacy to some degree; but I see then how these same intellectual systems, including religion and metaphysics, become the limitations on vitality and compassion. So I identify with logic, reason, clarity, as it were, provisionally.

Being able to think clearly has been a trigger for a profound sense of peace, happiness, gratitude and wonder. At the same time there seems to be fundamental difficulties that arise in consciousness as I practice this clarity every day, states that had been unconscious but now seem to intrude on consciousness. I sense fears and doubts which in all honesty I would only want to welcome compassionately, but for simple human fallibility have not been able to welcome into consciousness. So the arena of the mind is not that peaceful, nor comforting as it might have been imagined only some short few months ago when the locus of 'I' seemed powerless and destructive, and all it seemed the I could do was hold on for a miracle.

The miracle came and went. I wept with surprise to find myself transformed, and not overnight but simply through the practice of spiritual principles that are clear and obvious parts of the public consciousness, principles there for the taking and which I was so blessed to discover and be open for. And now I find the struggle and challenge periodically increases, then decreases, as the next opportunity or window for growth comes around.

The practice of spiritual principles - in the absolute essence only honesty, willingness, open-mindedness; the acknowledgement of the need for support; the sense of responsibility, positivity and purpose - these things do make life different for me, completely so.

But does the outside world change as well? Crucially for me, can I expect that people who appear trustworthy and test strong will actually be reliable? The corollary holds true as well: in order to attract integrous people into my life, I expect myself to be honest, willing and open-minded. Even life-long friends require a dedication to the excellence of the friendship, a committment and perseverance that I can find myself doubting exists. And yet these same few integrous folk have seemed to be such a strength and a joy to me, that I can hardly doubt that because it feels good it must be.

The challenge of growth, of being willing to face the truth and push through into new territory, and to be open-minded with who and what I find there, is very attractive to me. So in fact it is these friends who will applaud efforts to grow and empower the self; the sense of limitation arises from me, not the external world, and these doubts I feel are simply the harbingers of evolution.

One thing is certain; a new open-mindedness towards feelings can only help this process in me.

We came home and ate toast and drank coffee and had a loooong conversation about sexuality, parents, adoption, siblings, and our adolescence. We listened to Wayne Dyer, which got my mate pretty stoked up and I fiddled with chapter 6 and 7 of the Gaia book until I got frustrated. I surfed Amazon and the web looking for writers who could give me the vital hints on the challenges I was facing. I think I found em too:

The range of styles and approaches are almost decadent; three things seemed to increase the probability of movie options, which is a synctium of the promise this Gaia book has: first, the Herbert Dune-type novels take a vast world into a simple arena and express it in popular terms; second, the more surreal Phillip K. Dick and Michael Marshall Smith novels, featuring tropes from pop culture, tend to also slip into populist terms; finally, the writers I have read most are generally the fairly negative-feeling print run types. That is not the type of book I'm after. The third approach, one which Kevin Anderson has taken with the latest (7th) Dune book, is to hitch the bandwagon to the Star Wars marketing shibboleth for a gopful of cash and hope the wave of consumer pluralism carries you to a half-decent commercial shore. I am aware that was a crap sentence too but I'm on a role today so don't stop me; already I have managed to butcher, counter-butcher, and re-butcher chapters 6 and 7. I think I need a rest from it for a few minutes..

There. If this post refuses to publish, it's a Sign. A Sign that I am not getting published. And I will probably complain. Then I will go and open a new blog cause this it's simpler than dealing with the irritation. Sigh.

Most of my entries won't be this long, but I seem to be full of reflections today so there it is.

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