Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Blade of Finest Steel

Iron Ore may think itself senselessly tortured in the furnace
but when the blade of finest steel emerges, it knows better...

If we could see our future; if we could know how things will turn out and
if we could comprehend the greater and wider picture, we might move
through this life very differently. Then again, we might not.

How much of what happens is actually up to us?

We like to believe that we are the master of our own little ship.
That we are standing at the helm, making all the decisions and that we are in control. The whole setup looks and feels so convincing. There we are on the bridge clutching the wheel while all around us is the wide and open sea. Despite the size and the seasons of this vast ocean space, we feel that we are indeed steering our own independent course.

Yet, is this really true?
And how can we know if it is or not?

Recently, I underwent a journey at considerable expense of time, money, energy and effort. It did not turn out the way I had been hoping for or expecting. In fact, it was altogether quite disastrous in terms of those preconceived expectations. 

It seems not to matter how long we live, how much we do or how far we travel, to some degree or other we remain glued to our belief in what we 'think' we know. Very often the results of life experience don't seem to add up to much and certain things may take place for which we can find very little meaning at all and yet at the end of the day, do we need to? Would what we know or think we know really affect the outcome?

Is there anything in what appears to 'happen' to us that we can actually hold onto? If we look back at events they are just memories. If we look forward to future happenings, they are simply fabrications of the mind's hopes and fears.

The mind is brilliant at fabricating, interpreting and judging, but can we really trust it?

The ego can take a certain satisfaction in what we might perceive as 'worthwhile' or positive outcomes but what do we do with the stuff that we just can't make sense of? 

If we are not to become cynical about or jaded by 'life' there remains only one course open to us. But how do we get to the point where we can let go of our preconceptions and assumptions without going through a process which will ultimately leave us no choice. Such a process is likely to be a torrid and long drawn out affair?

As tiny children, we could look out at the world without preconceptions, but then life set in and we were loaded with so much information, imprisoned by so many surrounding thoughtforms and finally so bound up by our own created mental attitudes that now we can no longer remember the simple innocence of just 'being.'

Think of the way each grain of sand on the beach has arisen by the action of endlessly crashing waves and seasons. We can be likened to these grains and our life experiences to all its ups and downs and unexpected twists and turns. 
"If it were not for the stones and boulders on the mountain, we could not catch hold of and move onward and upward to the summit of the peak.

How many of us ever reflect deeply in the midst of happy circumstances. When things are going our way, we relax and tend to let the time fly by. We don't consider the deeper questions surrounding our lives and our existence. We don't question our assumptions about this world. In fact, we take our lives and the extra-ordinary fact of our existence completely for granted.

Only when it is about to be snatched away from us or from someone to whom we are deeply attached, do we stop and give our attention to what is most important.

As babies, we could look out at the world without bias but as we proceed deeper into the maelstrom of life we loose our 'real' selves and become hopelessly entangled and confused.

"Water, water everywhere, yet not a drop to drink." Afloat on the sea of life our very existence arises due to the 'water' of our awareness and yet we often feel ourselves to be alone and abandoned on a vast ocean from which it seems that we cannot drink.

Again and again, life rises up to force us to look more closely at that 'water' of our awareness. The filters created by our mind must be taken away, either one by one or all at once, before we can see it for what it really is. Sooner or later we must acknowledge that nothing could exist without it and that we do not even need to reach out to grasp at what is inherently already there within us.

So next time we feel ourselves to be like helpless iron ore, aflame within the furnace of uncertain life events, we can remember the blade of finest steel. It will flash brightly in the rising sun to remind us of what has always been ours. It is what makes the flashing of recognition possible in the first place.

Ultimately, we have two choices; either to let go and recognise what is already there or to undergo the painful, forging process required to help us let go of the multitude misconceptions that our mind has created.