Tag Archives: fear

True Crime and Tetris – by Dave Martin

When I first came across Bob Fergeson’s site and articles a couple years or so ago, two things struck a chord with me – his article on the Puer Aeternus and his description of ‘nostalgia’, the sense that I’d once been someone or had something or been somewhere that I no longer was.

The place or thing or person did not seem to matter as much as the sense of something ‘missing’, the longing of a ‘return’. It did not make immediate sense but I went back to the articles over and over.

There was something there, some truth I sensed but was not quite able to experience or realize. If there is anything different these last few years, it is that – the sense that I am finally on to something, close to something, something I’d given up on ever finding many, many times but never quite been able to get completely out of my system.

My life before that was much like anybody else’s – an attempt to get through life with the least amount of pain and the most amount of pleasure I could, trying to fit in and believe the same things that all the people around me did. The problem was that nobody was ever ‘right’ for very long… The other problem was that none of them seemed able to see that they were wrong, let alone admit it.
Tetris
Everybody around me seemed to be frozen in place, like the colored blocks in the video game ‘Tetris’ that slowly descended down, down and fell into some niche, locked in by other blocks, never to move again.

For some reason that always scared the hell out of me. The only thing that scared me worse was that despite all my flailing around and so-called careful maneuverings to avoid that for myself, I seemed no more happier than they were. I could find no path out, no viable alternatives.

As a teenager I was drawn to true crime books and autobiographies of those that lived outside the rules, so much so that I would later ‘explore’ some of those options but find out they were no more fulfilling than any of the others.

I tried desperately many, many times to call off the search, pretend I didn’t care, lose myself in some other pursuit or endeavor, tried to buy into the bullshit, but eventually, every time, out would come the flashlight or flamethrower and out would go another illusion…

But then, every once in a while, I would catch wind of – something.

According to the Zen Ox Herding pictures, most of my life has been the first one – aimless searching, with the sound of cicadas droning in the background.

But then there was the second picture – the discovery of footprints in the dust and snow every once in a blue moon, just enough to keep me going on…

And then, during the last 4 or 5 years, finally, glimpses of the rear of the bull in the readings of some of the works of Richard Rose and the Tat Foundation, Eckhart Tolle, Byron Katie, Jed McKenna, etc., and the resonances they evoked within me.

But not much more than that until just a couple weeks ago.

Then, finally, I believe, I not only saw the whole animal but actually touched it, briefly – long enough to know it is real. The funniest, oddest, most wonderful thing about it was that suddenly a lot of things I’d read about it – ‘closer than close’, ‘the simplest thing’, ‘something you already are’, suddenly made sense. Laughingly so!

Am I ‘enlightened’? No, but I believe I’ve not only finally had a glimpse through the brick wall of the Secret Garden, but smelled and tasted the fruit.

I find myself now back at the wall, aware of what lies on the ‘other side’ (Ha!), playfully searching for another hole, another glimpse, feeling now as if it’s more of a ‘relaxing into’ that is needed than a ‘search’.

We’ll see!

Dave Martin

 

Ennui

Ennui  by  Ike Harijanto

 

It is not blind

for it has no eyes.

A glob blubbery blob, marshmallowy,

yellow, bloated Ennui

blows thick smoke from a hookah drooping

off its thick puckering lips.

 

For Life and Love it’s an ogre so hungry.

Beware of its smoke for it can swallow

whole and drag low,

then all motions drags a clunky

laborious chain of “Why?”

 

Marshmallow Ennui imperceptibly

turns into sticky molasses Depression quickly.

It’s not a morphing; it’s a giving of way,

for Depression is a desperate try

against falling so deeply asleep that is Ennui.

 

It drags you into a gray-brown bog,

Blowing its drowsy fog.

I fall asleep without knowing it,

thinking I’m awake, thinking I’m aware.

 

553830_439267869427405_548650054_n

Ennui is a know-it-all thinking, “I know too much.”

Ennui is an armchair traveller claiming, “Been there, done that.”

Ennui is jadedness yawning, “Meh,

seen everything already.”

Familiarity turns into a malady.

But don’t waste your life feeling guilty,

For it’s not you

who says, “All is done; nothing to do.”

It’s Ennui!

 

How did I fall asleep? I don’t know;

Didn’t catch myself nodding.

In this thick heavy fog, God of Light, please show

Just a needle of Your Light piercing.

From this aggressive vortex pull of Sleep,

that seducer,

I want out, I want to wake!

 

Henri in ennui, again

What are you, Ennui?

A resistance born of negativity,

a lack of meaning of life, or merely,

a superfluous entity?

What an irritating allergy

sapping energy,

this chronic, addictive serving of me.

Why are you here? What are you trying to tell me?

More importantly, how do I

widely open my eye?

 

Ennui

Thrill is not its remedy,

for Ennui’s not a hole

for the Muse to fill with lively creativity.

Maybe it’s a bothersome additional

to simply shoo, shoo.

 

Can’t reason with that entity.

Need I take it so seriously?

Ennui, ennui, go away

Come back another…

Well actually, don’t bother!

 

– Ike Harijanto

 

* The hookah is a reference to a poem by Charles Baudelaire entitled “To the Reader” in his Flowers of Evil

Henri in ennui
Henri in ennui

The cat is Henri, guru of ennui, found on youtube : http://youtu.be/Q34z5dCmC4M and FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/henrilechatnoir

Summer Love

It’s a blade of grass in the summer moonlight
A sprinkler hisses, then a mist and cold spritz
It’s a pastel sidewalk, the colors the child
A jump, a skip, a call and response

It’s a porch, its swing and lantern, the tree underlit
A mother breaking dusk, calling her son back home
A dog sniffing the ground, you can’t help but laugh
While the grasshoppers chirp and the fireflies flick

It’s the town’s outdoor pool, water twirling up and dropletting down
It’s riding at night on a Schwinn Stingray bike
On the small town streets chasing the smoke fog
of the DDT truck, the smell heaven, better than ant subway’s

It’s Wyoming on the farm, going to the Indian dance
The irrigation canals, the alfalfa and manure
Sleeping on a high bed, on soft flannel sheets
The whooshing of tires down the highway before sleep

It’s the trip down Wind River to Thermopolis Hot Springs
My mother and sister, my virgin aunt who eats her Reeses
My virgin uncle driving, he sings in the fields
My grandparents who only speak German and love

The hot soaking pools, my mother really happy
The high dive off the board, the low dive of my sister
The park with the bridges, the sulfur, the steaming streams
And riding the Screaming Mimi down into the pool

It’s Elitches Gardens, the mecca of all yeows!
The Tilt-a-Whirl, the Calypso, the Wildcat coaster
The Skyride brushing the tree branches, the Tropadero Ballroom,
The ponies, the funhouse mirror, and softie twists

The feel of bare feet on hot asphalt, then on cool grass
The slapping of street in Converse All Stars
Levi jeans, white tee shirt, no wallet
The music box rhapsody of the ice cream truck

Music lifting heavy heads behind window screens
In the parks, in passing cars, on the bed table in the dark,
The handle on the radio and the knobs gleaming fake chrome
A spaceship transporting sounds for dreaming the world

The green glow dashboard of the Plymouth Valiant
Cruising the loop over and over with bench seats filled
The Dairy Queen stop, the lime-aid and Mr. Misty
The young girls untouchable but seeable, giggly and gangly

It’s winding down in the cool basement evening
Watching TV shows before there was irony
Flickering blue plasma lava across whitewashed walls
Shirtless back stuck to the emerald green vinyl sofa

Never end day. Never end night, Never end this.
When sleep finally comes, it comes easy at first graze
Of warm skin on cool cotton, head surrendering to pillow
Dreams no more magical then life, as innocent as mornings

Children of summer, dancing and yard running
We were all awe, we were the sun god revolved ‘round
I could sing you until I couldn’t breathe anymore
Even now, knowing it was never made to last

– by Paul Schmidt

Notes on Nostalgia:

For using nostalgia in meditation in a practical manner, I see it like this: Richard Rose used to say that guilt is a mixture of fear and nostalgia, fear being we’re afraid of being punished for the act that brought on the guilt, and nostalgia being the longing for the relatively innocent state we were in before the act. Think of it in terms of a lifetime. We may feel guilty about having lived what we come to see as a meaningless life, or an unfulfilled one. The fear manifesting as the fear of being punished for our life asleep, of not being awakened, of wasting our chance. We will die, and not know why we lived, perhaps have to pay karma for our mistakes, and just the plain old fear of death, the unknown. The nostalgia would be from the longing for our innocent state before life affected us, such as the innocent state of a baby. We didn’t have problems or even an identity then, and sense it was better. Especially if we have children or have been around babies, we can pick this up.

Road to...
Road to…

Nostalgia is the key to using emotion to find our way back to our original state. If we only use the mind and the imagination in our search, it becomes dry and hollow. The emotional element is brought in by the nostalgic mood; it lends a direction, a practicality, and a motivating factor missing from the head only approach.

 

Bob Fergeson

 

Pride and Fear, the Curse of Alienation

       When one begins the process of looking at oneself, many hitherto unknown facets of personality begin to appear. At first we may wish to think the meditative process itself has created these behavior patterns, but soon enough we come to see that our previous state of sleep was greater than we wished to admit.   If we keep at our practice long enough, we will begin to see that certain states of mind are behind the newly discovered patterns, and may be shocked to discover our true motives in day-to-day-life. When these facts come to light, the first reaction may be to sort the behaviors into good and bad categories, and then set ourselves to the grim task of removing the negative while accenting the good.  In other words, the ego will start a campaign of behavior-modification meant to bring us closer to ‘perfection’.  Actually this is nothing new, having been going on since birth, but the new found level of awareness gives the ego a new sense of cleverness.  It’s going to outwit itself this time, for sure.


When we begin to see the underlying motivation for a negative pattern of behavior is, say, pride, we can hardly resist wanting to counter it by creating a projection of humility or altruism.  If we are honest, we may see through this, but be left

Pride and Fear
Pride and Fear

wondering if there is another solution. Renewed effort in the form of continued self-observation may take us to the next step. The pride itself could be just an effect, a compensation for an underlying state of fear. As we continue with our observing, we may come to wonder if there is ever an end to all this, if the root cause of our aberrant behavior can be found.  If we persevere, we eventually come to the root cause of the fear, a feeling of alienation, the battle of the self with the not-self, the mistaken belief that we are a separate thing.  This thing, or body/mind, lives in constant opposition with what it sees as other separate things. The universal has become lost in the particular and forgotten itself. This unnatural situation brings about the sense of anxiety and fear underlying most of our lives.

 


What now? Here we find ourselves head to head with our very sense of survival, where no ego effort can help. By looking within long enough, we may come to the door of awareness, and with grace and luck, find ourselves beyond the mind.  From this new awareness, we come to see the former belief in separateness to be, as John Wren-Lewis puts it, ‘some kind of inflation or hyperactivity of the psychological survival-system’.  We will also come to see the futility in putting new and improved patterns of behavior in compensation for any negative ones.  The old Zen warning against putting a new head on top of the one we already have comes to mind.


All negative patterns of behavior can be traced back to the ‘I am the body’ idea, the feeling of alienation.  Our natural state has no sense of separateness, for it contains all.  Trying to fix an ego problem with an ego effort is doomed to failure, for as Wren-Lewis again states, ‘the underlying universal consciousness, with its every-present-moment happiness, peace and wonder, gets shut out ”.  True peace can only come from our true self, or universal awareness. The body/mind will then continue to function, but in a sane manner, without the inflated ego-sense as master.


The effort of self-observation is the revealing of the false. Our true nature will remain, and as such, needs no modification.  All we can do is to follow the old adage for crossing a busy road: look and listen. If we can see something, anything, it’s not us. In this manner we can come to see we do not exist, yet Are, and Life can become a wonderful thing.


Bob Fergeson

 

 

On Nostalgia and Desire

The cycle of desire and fulfillment may seem a trap of monumental proportions, but as all traps built in the framework of the mind, it has no inherent reality. Let’s take a look at this cycle of desire, fear, and fulfillment, and how an ache of the heart turned within is our release.

We see that if we want something and then get it, we feel better.  After years of this cycle, we fall for the trick of believing that getting what we want is what life is about. And what would make us happy would be getting what we want, when we want it, all the time. We fail to look closer and see what has really taken place.  Fulfilling desire simply puts it to sleep, and leaves us in the state of no-desire. It causes no fundamental change, and sows the seeds for our future discontent. If we saw behind the circumstance, we would see that the state of no desire, or pre-desire, is what we long for, and would no longer move from it out into the dual dimension of pleasure and pain, the so-called reality of life. This state of peace has been there all along as our true nature, lying much closer than any pleasure object of the world. But this peace is not peace of mind. The mind is motion, and does not manifest in stillness. This state of no-desire is stillness itself, beneath and primal to mind, and is our rest.

Delicate Arch Lovers - by Bob Fergeson
Delicate Arch Lovers

This trap of desire and its fulfillment also involves forgetting. We forget we are fulfilled as we really are, within, and thus move away through temptation and trickery. Not from being pushed, but from being fooled. We have become mesmerized by the world and its sensations, and have forgotten the peace that lies within. A potent cocktail, equal parts faulty memory and a profound propensity towards fantasy and projection, mixed with fear of unfulfilled desire and death, topped off with a passion for grabbing onto everything that feels good, keeps us on the endless loop of turning our attention out into the world for fulfillment, coming back into ourselves to rest, and then going back out again. We have become identified with the world and it’s dual nature, and have forgotten we are complete and forever in the state of fulfillment within, our true home. We are not an animal at heart, though we have come to believe this.

This leads to the longing of nostalgia and how we confuse the circumstances of our childhood events with a purer state within that was also present at the time. It is innocence and lack of guilt that we truly long for, a state before temptation and the chasms of the mind led us out into duality. We long for our childhood or nostalgic scenes, not because these props and times can provide peace, but because our inner state at the time was one of peace. We paint this inner state onto the scenery and confuse the two, fooled again. We mistake the event for the feeling, much as we do the act of fulfillment of desire with the state of no-desire. Nostalgia in its pure spiritual state is not the desire to live in a root-beer commercial, which might be nice, but the longing of our heart for its true state of oneness. Our inherent inner peace passeth all understanding, for to ego and mind, it’s completely unbelievable.

Bob Fergeson

 

The Interior Garden

Our garden can become infested with bugs and weeds if we have copped out of all responsibility towards it through a belief that everything is fine, simply because we don’t want to put the time and effort needed to actually do a bit of gardening.  This applies also to our inner world, the garden of the mind. We can believe that every thought that happens along in our heads is our thought, so it must be okay: we thought it.  This combination of laziness and pride is trouble. We tend to unquestionably believe our own thought, but if we did a little unbiased observation of the inside of our heads, we may see that these thoughts are not only not ours, but some do not even have our best interest at heart.

In our garden, we would never assume that every bug and pest that comes through is a good thing, or us. That would lead to a sad state of affairs: no more garden. If we never question our own thinking, never look at our own motivations, desires, and actions, if there’s nothing to control these through a system of honest intelligence, then any mental ‘bug’ can come through and take up residence, and since we have denied all responsibility for the inner domicile through our assuming that we’re perfect, these bugs can make themselves at home.  This infestation could be likened to a disease, not only harmful but infectious. It can spread from one to another, and much like a politically correct special interest or fad of the time, become accepted and even encouraged.

Much talk has been heard through the ages about ‘changing the world’, usually declared by the young or ambitious. The starting point for this change is never in the advocate, but always in the other guy. In order to change the world, each person must weed and debug their own garden by taking responsibility for their own thinking. The thinking can’t be allowed to go unquestioned, and assumed to be always right just because it’s us, our beloved specialness, the ego.  We may be obsessed, fanatical, unhealthy, detached, and aggressive to the point of ruining our lives and those of others, but since it’s us, we assume that it’s all okay. We don’t take responsibility for our own thinking/feeling processes and their resulting actions.  Hypocrisy may be the order of the day with politicians, professional athletes, and movie stars, but those professing change for the better had best start closer to home and make their own bed first.

Tension can be a good thing, it keeps us from getting too lazy and helps to revitalize. But tension should be used so that it maintains balance, holds a middle road rather than the extremes of the right or left. If people insist they’re ‘better than’ or ‘special’ and their particular vested interests are better than or special than anyone else’s, this tends to remove them from the domain of nature and her guiding force, as well as from common sense. If removed from tension or swung too far to one side or the other by getting their way too often, they can be rendered unhealthy and unfit, leading to even more misery for the human race, the planet, and themselves.

Some environmentalists have advocated a complete hands-off policy towards the environment by mankind, as if we as humans were not a part of nature. This ‘special’ thinking, that we as humans are somehow better, or much worse, than the rest of nature encourages pride and the thinking we’re above it all. It’s twin is the apathetic’s

Garden Rose
Garden Rose

‘why bother’, a  form of laziness.  A hands-off policy of pride that we’re above nature or a ‘why bother it doesn’t matter’ lethargy hands the bugs and weeds free rein; the garden falls into disarray and disease.  Our personal mind functions in the same manner as that of society’s. By believing in a hands off policy towards our own thinking just because it’s us or from sheer mental laziness, encourages de-evolution and decay. The ego cops out in either scenario, playing the role of God or lackey.

The dawning in the mind of the truth of our nature, the beginning glimmers of seeing things as they really are within, cannot take root in a barren or weed-choked mind. The first step to mental and emotional freedom lies in clearing the field, not declaring anything and everything there either holy, ‘special’, or not worth the bother.