Lately I’ve been feeling dejected, going through the motions, gloomy. I no longer suffer from these sensations. I’ve come to make peace with my inner landscape, and if I traverse an arid boring bushland, cross a polluted river, or pass a desolate patch of land, I’m not pleased with what I see, but the purpose of this journey is not pleasure, and I know that the landscape will soon pass.
Today I woke up and instead of scrolling through Instagram while my grogginess passed, I thought: I choose to be happy. Where happiness is not that joyful sensation, but that natural background sensation when there is no emotional turmoil. The sensation of inner clear and still water. I sat down on my bed, crossed leg, and the veil of gloom that has been covering my eyes, my heart and my sex simply slid off. I was happy.
Still, I grabbed my phone and scrolled through Twitter, but I read things with new eyes, and it all seemed garbled, mundane, distant. It’s funny how all of us (and I include myself here) struggle with the most petty things, tell others about it, and then ensnare other people with our own struggles, pulling them away from their own liberation in our struggles.
The image that comes to mind is that of a mountain of zombies where, in order to climb, there are only other bodies to hold on to. Our steps and handles are other people’s attention. The higher up we are, the more attention we’ve had. We don’t even know where we are climbing, but everyone is climbing up, everyone and everything is seeking attention.
I think, the only way to escape this mountain is to be aware of the motives why we do things. Would I still write this if I knew for sure nobody would ever read it? Am I writing this to ensnare other people and pull myself out of my own drama?
We require a shift in perspective. When I think of the great souls that have come into this world, the literary, spiritual, scientific and business giants, they all have had plenty of attention, but that attention helped others lift themselves out of their misery. The purpose is not to extricate yourself out of the mountain, it is to top pulling people down in order to raise yourself, and instead to lend a hand helping other people climb up.
Chapter 27 of the Tao Te Ching
A good walker leaves no tracks;
A good speaker makes no slips;
A good reckoner needs no tally.
A good door needs no lock,
Yet no one can open it.
Good binding requires no knots,
Yet no one can loosen it.
Therefore the sage takes care of all men
And abandons no one.
He takes care of all things
And abandons nothing.
This is called “following the light.”
What is a good man?
A teacher of a bad man.
What is a bad man?
A good man’s charge.
If the teacher is not respected,
And the student not cared for,
Confusion will arise, however clever one is.
This is the crux of mystery.