Beyond Dukkha

Compassionately Call a Demon by its Name; Transcend

musings by Staff Writer

Look at the sky. You see clouds against a backdrop of blue. You may see forms in the clouds, they may remind you of a face, an object, a time long ago. They’re constantly shifting, continuing to bring you images. You can get lost in these images on a mimsy day.

But even when clouds have completely occluded your vision, when they are dark and pelting the earth with rain or hail, you know that beyond them is the blue. How do you know it? Is it because you have a history of seeing blue emerge from behind the clouds? Or could something else be going on, like invisible beings painting blue spots over the clouds? At some point, you just trust yourself, the interpretive ability of your mind within the paradigm you have decided is your reality, and you know the sky is just beyond the clouds.

As above, so below.

Your mind is like the sky.

Images, instead of being in clouds, drift in your mind…changing shifting, vanishing without your control.

Gurdjieffians, Buddhists, even Scientologists practice detachment from emotion and images that trigger reactive emotional states.

How do they do this?

There appear to be at least two ways. One is to look with internal acceptance at the image, feel the pain you’re experiencing to the core (consciously feeling pain), until you see its origin, true meaning, and it dissolves into an ineffectual wisp of nothingness, loose cloud matter, that drifts away unseen and unfettered. The second way is to lift yourself above the fray, past your mental clouds which are prodding you to react, to the clear sky mind beyond. From here you can see the clouds at play and recognize the emotion they harbor and are projecting onto your body; the threats, darkness, and significances; the conclusions that tightly bind them into screaming I am the truth. You must react to me! From here you can let them go. Sometimes with laughter.

This suffering of yourself, the world, is known in Pali as Dukkha. You see a bird gleefully flying and enjoying himself. I see a bird struggling to survive and beat the wind with his wings. You see joy. I see Dukkha. But both are just the bird.

So next time someone comes at you, or says something unkind, lift yourself into the blue. Recognize the person may be trapped in Dukkha, captured in a whirlwind of mental suffering, and is not really seeing you. It’s an amazing thing, calling a demon by its name. Inwardly, call the display before you Dukkha, and lift yourself to a better world, from which you may be able to help your fellows.

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