Monday, September 26, 2011

Meditation 25 - Be violent with your attachments

And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off, it is better to enter life maimed than with two hands to go to hell - And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell. (Mk 9:43)

When you deal with blind people it dawns on you that they are attuned to realities that you have no idea of. Their sensitivity to the world of touch and smell and taste and sound is such, as to make the rest of us seem like dull clods. We pity persons who have lost their sight but rarely take into account the enrichment that their other sense offer them. It is a pity that those riches are bought at the heavy price of blindness and it is quite conceivable that we could be as alive and finely attuned to the world as blind people are without the loss of our eyes.

It is not possible, not even conceivable, that you would ever awaken to the world of love unless you pluck out, chop off, those parts of your psychological being that are called Attachments.

If you refuse to do this, you will miss the experience of Love, you miss the only thing that gives meaning to human existence. For love is the passport to abiding joy and peace and freedom. There is only one thing that blocks out entry into that world and the name of that thing is Attachment.

It is produced by the lusting eye that excites craving within the heart and by the grasping hand that reaches out to hold, possess and make one's own, and refuses to let go. It is this eye that must be gouged out, this hand that must be cut off if Love is to be born. With those mutilated stumps for hands you can grasp nothing any more. With those empty sockets for eyes you suddenly become sensitive to realities whose existence you have never suspected.

Now at last you can love. Till now all you had was certain good heartedness and benevolence, a sympathy and concern for others, which you mistakenly took for Love but has as little in common with Love, as a flickering candle flame has with the light of the sun.

What is Love? It is a sensitivity to every portion of reality within you and without, together with a whole-hearted response to that reality.

Sometimes you will embrace that reality, sometimes you will attack it, sometimes you will ignore it, and at others you will give it your fullest attention, but always you will respond not from need but from sensitivity.

And what is an attachment? A need, a clinging that blunts your sensitivity, a drug that clouds your perception. That is why as long as you have the slightest attachment for anything or any person Love cannot be born.

For Love is sensitivity, and sensitivity that is impaired even in the slightest degree is sensitivity destroyed.

Just as the malfunctioning of one essential piece of a radar set distorts reception, an attachment distorts your response to what you perceive.

There is no such thing as defective love, or deficient love, or partial love. Love like sensitivity either is in all its fullness or it simply is not. You either have it whole, or you have it not.

So it is only when attachments disappear that one enters the boundless realm of spiritual freedom called  Love. One is now released to see and to respond. But you must not confound this freedom with the indifference of those who have never passed through the stage of attachment.

How could you pluck out an eye or amputate a hand that you do not have? This indifference that so many people mistake for love (because they are attached to no one, they think that they love everyone) is not sensitivity, but a hardening of the heart that has come about from rejection or disillusionment or the practice of renunciation.

No, one must brave the stormy seas of attachments if one has to arrive at the land of love.

Some people, never having set sail have convinced themselves that they have arrived. One must be able-bodied and clear-sighted before the sword can do its work and the world of love can arise in one's awareness; and make no mistake, this is only achieved through violence. It is only the violent who carry off the kingdom.

Why the violence? Because left to its own devices life would never produce love, it would only lead you to attraction, from attraction to pleasure, then to attachment, to satisfaction, which finally leads to wearisomeness and boredom. Then comes a plateau. Then once again the weary cycle: attraction, pleasure, attachment, fulfillment, satisfaction, boredom. All of this mixed with the sorrow, the pain, that makes the cycle a roller coaster.

When you have gone repeatedly round and round the cycle, a time finally comes when you have had enough and want to call a halt to the whole process. And if you are lucky enough not to run into something or someone else that catches your eye, you will have at least attained a fragile peace. That is the most that life can give you; and you can mistakenly equate this state with freedom and you die without ever having known what it means to be really free and to love.

No, if you wish to break out of the cycle and into the world of love, you must strike while the attachment is alive and raw, not when you have outgrown it. And you must strike not with the sword of renunciation, for that kind of mutilation only harden, but with the sword of awareness.

What must you be aware of? Three things;

I. First you must see the suffering that this drug is causing you, the ups and downs, the thrills, the anxieties and disappointments, the boredom to which it must inevitably lead.

II. Second, you must realize what this drug is cheating you out of, namely, the freedom to love and to enjoy every minute and every thing in life.

III. Third, you must understand how, because of your addiction and your programming, you have invested the object of your attachment with a beauty and a value it simply does not have; what you are so enamored of is in your head, not in your beloved person or thing. See this and the sword of awareness breaks the spell.

It is commonly held that it is only when you feel deeply loved yourself, that you are able to go out in love to others. This is not true. A man in love, does indeed go out into the world not in love but in euphoria. For him the world takes on an unreal, rose hue, which it loses the moment the euphoria dies. His so called love is generated not by his clear perception of reality but by the conviction, true or false, that he is loved by someone - a conviction that is dangerously fragile, because it is founded on the unreliable, changeable people, who he believes love him. And who can at any moment pull the switch and turn off his euphoria. No wonder those who walk this path never really lose their insecurity.

(When you go out to the world because of the love that someone else has for you, you are all aglow not with your perception of reality but with the love that you have received from someone else, someone else controls the switch and when it is switched off the glow fades away.)

As you use the sword of awareness to move from attachment into love, there is one thing you must keep in mind; Don't be harsh or impatient, or hating of yourself. How can love grow out of such attitudes? But rather hold on to the compassion and the matter-of-factness with which the surgeon plies his knife. Then you may find yourself in the marvelous condition of loving the object of your attachment and enjoying it even more than before, but simultaneously enjoying every other thing, and every other person just as much.

That is the litmus test for finding out if what you have is love. Far from becoming indifferent, you now enjoy everything, and everyone just as much as you did the object of your attachment. Only now there are no more thrills and therefore no more suffering and suspense. In fact you could be said to be enjoying everything and enjoying nothing. Because you have made the great discovery that what you are enjoying on the occasion of each thing and person is something within yourself.

The orchestra is within you and you carry it with you wherever you go. The things and people outside you merely determine what particular melody the orchestra will play. And when there is no one or noting that has your attention, the orchestra will play a music of its own; it needs no outside stimulation. You now carry in your heart a happiness that nothing outside of you can put there, and nothing can take away.

Here then is the other test of love.

You are happy for no reason that you know.

Does this love last? There is no guarantee that it does. For while love cannot be partial it can be of temporary duration. It comes and goes in the measure that your mind is awake and aware or has gone off to sleep again. But this much is certain, once you have had even a fleeting taste of this thing called Love, you will know that no price is too high, no sacrifice too great, not even the loss of one's eyes, nor the amputations of one's hand, if you can have in exchange the only thing in the world that makes your life worthwhile.



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