memento mori

4 min read

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C4M30's avatar
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‘That what I want, basically, what I really want, is what you want.
And I don’t know what you want. Surprise me’.

But that’s the kinship between “I” and “thou”. So when I ask, I go right down to the question, which we started with: “What do I want?”

The answer is “I don’t know”.

When Bodhidharma was asked, “Who are you?” which is another form of the same question, he said "I don’t know."
Planting flowers to which the butterflies come, Bodhidharma says "I know not."

I don’t know what I want.

And when you don’t know what you want, you reach the state of desirelessness. When you *really* don’t know…you see, there’s a beginning stage of not knowing, and there’s an ending stage of not knowing.

In the beginning stage, you don’t know what you want because you haven’t thought about it, or you’ve only thought superficially. Then when somebody forces you to think about it and go through it, you say, “Yeah, I think I’d like this, I think I’d like that, I think I’d like the other" ... That’s the middle stage.

Then you get beyond that, and say “Is that what I really want?” In the end you say, “No, I don’t think that’s it…I might be satisfied with it for a while, and I wouldn’t turn my nose up at it, but it’s not really what I want.”

Why don’t you really know what you want?

Two reasons, that you don’t really know what you want:

Number one: You have it.

Number two: You don’t know yourself. Because you never can.

The godhead is never the object of its own knowledge, just as a knife doesn’t cut itself, fire doesn’t burn itself, light doesn’t illumine itself. It’s always an endless mystery to itself. “I don’t know.”

And this “I don’t know,” uttered in the infinite interior of the spirit, this “I don’t know,” is the same thing as “I love,” “I let go,” “I don’t try to force or control.” It’s the same thing as humility.

And so the Upanishads say, “If you think that you understand Brahman, you do not understand. You have yet to be instructed further. If you know that you do not understand, then you truly understand, for the Brahman is unknown to those who know it, and known to those who know it not’.

And the principle is that anytime you, as it were, voluntarily let up control, and in other words, cease to cling to yourself, you have an access of power. Because you're wasting energy all the time in self defense, trying to manage things, trying to force things to conform to your will... The moment you stop doing that, that wasted energy is available. And therefore, in that sense, with having that wasted energy available, you are one with the divine principle. You have the energy.

When you are trying, however, to act as if you are God...that is to say you don't trust anybody and you are the dictator and you have to keep everybody in line, you lose the divine energy. Because what you are doing is simply defending yourself.

So then...the principle is that the more you give it away, the more it comes back.

Now you see, I don't have the courage to give it away; I'm afraid. And you can only overcome that by realizing that you better give it away, because there's no way of holding on to it.

The meaning of the fact that everything is dissolving constantly, that we're all falling apart, that we're all in the process of constant death...that's of greatest assistance to you. The fact that everything is in decay is your helper. That is allowing you so that you don't have to let go, because there's nothing to hold on to. It's achieved for you by the process of nature.

So once you see that you don't have a prayer, that it's all washed up, and that you will banish and 'leave not a wreck behind'...and you *really* get with that, suddenly you find you have the power, this enormous access of energy.

But it's not a power that came to you because you grabbed it, it came in entirely the opposite way.

The power that comes to you in that opposite way, is power with which you can be trusted.

--Alan Watts
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flashphil's avatar
Very well written.  I've found that one of the greatest causes of misery is having expectations of others.  I guess it comes down to:  Don't expect, just accept.  Phil-osophy 101 :giggle: