Searching, fear, and reality

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Searching, fear, and reality

Post by zoofence »

The other day, Open Forum member Zayus and I exchanged the messages which, with permission, I have posted here because I expect that the issues raised by Zayus are of interest to seekers everywhere.

First, Zayus wrote:

I was asking myself about the effort involved in searching for God or seeking enlightenment, and investigating what these concepts might be, the reasons why I might be searching, and whether the fact that I am searching for these things will undermine the possibility of finding them.

If I'm looking for my car keys, I know what they look like and can recall where I put them last, and start from there. But if I don't know what god, enlightenment, truth, reality, the absolute look like, or how they might be experienced emotionally, psychologically, physically, etc., how am I to understand what they might be.

If I have an idea of what these are, and how they might affect me, how do I know the idea is the appropriate one and not one that blinds or confuses me or stops me perceiving or realizing what I am searching for, or investigating?

I can read about others' searches and stories of finding these things, but how do I know they are appropriate, truthful. How do I interpret their interpretations of their experiences? Why did they search? What does it mean for them?

I thought that investing effort would possibly get in the way of seeing God, enlightenment, truth or reality, because I seem to want to find a beneficial, positive truth that enhances me in some way, so I am not open to and do not see the TRUTH which may not provide me with anything.

I don't think many people go to great lengths to find out things they don't want to find or dislike and don't endeavor to find facts that deny what they think or hope might be true.

Having a healthy disinterest would be the best way forward, but a healthy disinterest in what I look for would mean I probably would not want to or have the motivation to look.

Unbiased scientists etc. may have an open mind to discover which theories hold and which ones don't, but when looking for the mysterious there's nothing to hang on to so to speak, no solid ground to walk on.

I came to the conclusion that to have an idea of truth or enlightenment or god that I am searching for, undermines the search because I want that idea or a near approximation of it to be true.

My interest in searching/seeking is motivated by the desire to be supported, helped and by the hope that my fears will disappear when I have realized the absolute.

This wanting to find what is perhaps not true, blinkers me from seeing what is true, and keeps me stuck, unable to be content in what is, while I search for my ideas.

I don't go searching (investing effort) to look for satan or the devil to find truth or enlightenment, and I would not want to find a truth that would undermine my security/insecurity and enhance my fears, so my idea of truth, God, reality is only all of the good and none of the bad (simplistic but true).

So I come to the conclusion that I search out of fear and concern for myself (and others?) , fear of war, environmental destruction, globalization and poverty, and the consequences of what these ideas mean -- suffering and death to myself (and for others).

I am holding on to and clinging to an idea (god, enlightenment) that compels me to search for the contentment that I presume this idea will offer me, making my life fearless and courageous, hoping that enlightenment will save me from worry and concern and wanting things to be different.

Because if I want anything to be different from what is, then I am not content with what is, and therefore discontent, unhappy, fearful for what is and what may occur, but if I am content, happy with what is, then I am happy with all the suffering and needless death and destruction that occur in reality.

I have never found a solution to this other than to let it be, I vacillate between, on the one hand, thinking I can't save anyone from themselves or from what may happen to them, and, on the other hand, to thinking I must do something, but can't think what. How do you stop war, climate change, etc.? I live my life in a way that minimizes harm to the environment and others but what else?

To which I replied, in part:

You have asked excellent questions, questions that I expect have been asked and continue to be asked by seekers worldwide.

I am happy to respond, but please understand I can speak only from my own experience. My answer may or may not apply to you and your passage along the path.

As I read it, the question in your first paragraph pretty much includes the essence of all the others. There you asked whether "the reasons why I might be searching and whether the fact that I am searching for these things (God and enlightenment) will undermine the possibility of finding them".

The short answer is probably "yes", by which I mean, as long as we continue the search for God, enlightenment, realization, and so on, we are in effect acknowledging that they are beyond ourselves, which reinforces the egoic separative environment in which we seem to live ("I am me, God is God"), and distances us from our goal ("There is no God but God, and God is all there is").

Thus, in order to find what we are looking for, we have to stop looking for it. We have to surrender to being just what we are ("it is enough to be human"). We have to recognize that by searching for it, we are in effect re-affirming our sense of having lost it, and the fact is, we have not lost it.

Unfortunately, such surrender is often much easier to say than to do.

Happily, it probably doesn't matter.

No matter where or when or how I search for God, it seems that God reveals Himself to me in ways and at times and in circumstances of His own choosing. I am increasingly convinced that nothing I have ever done or said or read or searched for or vowed or whatever has accelerated or in any other way affected God's revealing Herself to me. It seems simply to happen when and how it happens.

Does that mean that I regret all the work (practices, postures, prayers, meditations, diets, reading, studying, listening, etc.) which I have done along the path? Absolutely not. They have been, and they continue to be, wondrous. Looking back, I would not change a thing.

And in fact, I do think that some of that, perhaps even all of that, has made me a better person: more patient, more understanding, gentler, easier to get along with, happier, healthier, and so on. But I am increasingly certain that whatever I may have accomplished of a "spiritual" nature has been the Work of God irrespective of anything I might do. And it figures. It is probably unreasonable, even illogical, to expect the separative ego to discover or experience anything that transcends it, that is beyond its separative environment. And certainly, the ego is not likely to look for anything that erases it! Like everything else, the ego's "prime directive" is survival.

All that said, I urge you to continue to search. In any case, having started to do so, you will likely find you cannot stop doing so, at least not until the surrender I mentioned earlier comes to you. And do it with enthusiasm, consistency, devotion, and joyful expectation of success. But in your heart always remember that whatever you find of the Divine will almost certainly not be discovered by you but rather revealed to you.

To which Zayus responded, in part:

These issues are ones that seem unsolvable by any ordinary language or science and yet I continue to go round in circles looking for a loophole somewhere.

After writing you, I went home and read various chapters from books by Anthony De Mello: The way to Love and Awareness.

I seem to be consoled by what I read, and can then continue contentedly for some time afterwards, but I seem to be on a circular path, perhaps dictated by a lifescript (a pattern of living that continuously reasserts itself via my unconscious needs and drives when I begin to doubt how I should live).

I have understood that for some time I can continue to understand the world through various viewpoints, vedantic, non dual, suchness, and that concepts do not exist, and that most people live their lives as though they do, free will, cause, responsibility, Independence, good, bad, etc..
Then for whatever reason doubts will arise as to how to act appropriately, and awareness of spiritual greed (I will only be happy if I'm enlightened or have insight into the absolute etc).

No one I know is interested in the mysterious, the nature of light, does it exist anywhere?, why do we only see reflected light? Or sound -- do we each create sound from vibrations of molecules in the air or is sound (like the dictionary definition) the vibrations of molecules in the air?

What is gravity? What is it about space/time that enable objects of great mass to affect phenomena thousands, millions of miles and lightyears away?

Science and scientists often answers these questions with strict dictionary terms of what a thing is with another word used to describe that thing, so that the answers given are no answers at all.

I often think that science will never find God for much the same reason I explain my own searching -- that if science did find God it would merely call it a name, classify it as a unified field theory and explain it away as a process of organization of matter/energy.

Most people are happy with the answers that don't answer their questions but I wonder at, and am amazed by what occurs around me and enjoy trying to explain what I experience to myself while acknowledging that what I do say probably is not the way that it appears -- and so the doubt begins.

To which I observed:

Once again, your first paragraph says it all: "These issues are ones that seem unsolvable by any ordinary language or science and yet I continue to go round in circles looking for a loophole somewhere".

I don't know any seeker, and neither have I come across any Teacher, who does not in effect say the same thing.

Ordinary language, or the language of the egoic mind, is the tool we bring to the spiritual process because it is only tool we know. Even when the Teachers tell us, even when we discover for ourselves, as you clearly have done, that the ego's means of perception are no use to a spiritual seeker, we continue to use them and to rely on them because, again, what else have we.

Then, something happens. We have an experience, call it a transcendental experience, which changes everything. It may occur on meeting a Teacher, while reading a book, sitting in meditation, walking in the woods, or standing in line at the check-out counter in a grocery store. We don't make it happen, it just happens. It may last only a second, even no more than a microsecond, but it will be enough to show us, to reveal to us, the realization that the Teachers are right: There is another way of seeing, another way of knowing, a way that is not of this world, not egoic, not separative.

From then on, all we want is more of that, and nothing can stop us from seeking it. Even the very same Teachers telling us that our seeking it only pushes it further away. Until fully exhausted, we stop looking, we release the grasp, and just plain give up. We surrender to the reality and the beauty and the miracle of what is, of what we are right here, right now.

As I wrote earlier, I do not believe that there is a way to make that surrender happen. It just happens when and how it happens.

Like a plum on a tree branch, we simply have to hang there in the sun and rain doing our thing until we are ripe, and fall off.

From The Hidden Jesus by Donald Spoto: One can say very little certain about the ways of God, other than that they usually overturn every human perspective and prediction, which are severely limited in any case. We think we know what is best for us, but God in His mercy knows better.

Thank God!
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questions that make more questione

Post by Christine »

Marvelous. isn't it , how well we can learn the dance, when we learn we don't need to lead.

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Joined: May 9th, 2006, 11:24 am

don' quit

Post by Christine »

First to Zayus
Your letter has much courage in your words. And I am thankful to have
been allowed to read it. To look for God is a fearsome to do. And to find some of what is being looked for is more so. For a time. Then there is an AH HA experience. And we are content for a time. I would underline for a time,but I don't know how on this keyboard.
I didn't mean for my first responce to seem flip. I was my way of saying, "let go, let God." But please don't quit.
Second to The Zoo Fence
The things I see in the Forum are so well spoken. I am reluctant to put my thoughts in print. But what brought me here was that same sense of being
overwhelmed by that fear. And yes, to find some like-thinking people.
Persons who would listen without condeming my thoughts. And nor do
I wish to do that to another.
I live in Michigan in the States. It is a little after 5:00 in the morning. Thinking
about Zayus' letter made me get up to respond. None of us can possibly understand where another is at on this path to what we are seeking. But
we can keep each other company, and offer encouragement when necessary. Help another up when they have taken a tumble. And to be able
to reach out to another for a hand up when we are down.
Our mind and it's perceptions are our interface with God.

Someone, somewhere said this: a new baby is God's opinion that the
world should go on.
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Post by zoofence »

Today, we posted a new item at Open Space called Letter To God. The following excerpt from that seems relevant to this discussion, and in any case very nice!

My first experience of meditation was at a Zen monastery. The monks there did not teach me Buddhist scripture, only insisted that I meditate, and practice silence most of the day, and because of that simple practice, my whole life was turned upside down with no teachings whatsoever. I was very surprised!