Monday, 11 June 2018

Letting Go of Our Addiction to Hope and Fear

Ever notice that we spend most of our time in a distracted state somewhere between an ever-swinging pendulum of hope and fear?

If we really give it some consideration it does not take much to realise that we keep ourselves away from the happiness which is always available to us in the present moment, by being constantly distracted by the hope of 'getting something' or the fear of losing it.

If we boil it all down, this is how things are for us.

So, while we are all seeking our happiness every moment of every day we are constantly sabotaging our own best efforts. We are our own worst enemy, barking up the wrong tree and generally way off the scent to use a few well-worn cliches.

A mere shift of focus and we could transform our world simply by staying with the dynamic and ever living present moment which is completely free, ever available and the only thing which we really can ever have. Instead, we are like mice on a treadmill, running and running after something that we can never quite catch and no matter how far we run or for how long we just can't get anywhere or achieve the happiness we so desperately long for.

Why do we do this to ourselves? In the first place, we don't actually need to go anywhere and in the second, there is nowhere to go!

 A friend recently told me something which I found very interesting. 

In certain places in India, it is not uncommon to see fortune tellers parked out on the pavements with a pack of cards and one or two green parrots locked up in a tiny cage. Many people believe that these green parrots have clairvoyant powers and can predict a person's future or a future outcome.

In the South of India, where this belief originated, one can find the green parrot honoured among the religious pantheon as a messenger, a harbinger of news and tidings. If we scrape the surface of deeper meanings here we can uncover a very profound truth indeed and one which has nothing to do with clairvoyance.

When a 'parrot astrologer' is approached for a 'reading' the questioner will usually want answers to some issue or problem which is plaguing him/her. With great solemnity, the 'teller' opens a small sliding door in the tiny cage, in which the parrot or parrots are housed.  This gives the bird its queue and he waddles out and picks out a card from a pile which is stacked up in front of him. He may remove many cards before choosing just one that he then grasps in his beak and places in front of the astrologer.

It is believed that the card which the bird has chosen, holds the key to predicting the person's future and the outcome of this or that matter for which he is seeking guidance.

It is one of the many peculiar things that one can see in the great land of India. I have spotted many such people over the years and always wondered how on earth they caught the parrots!

Yes, I know, most people would be puzzled by other more pressing issues such as whether these birds really have psychic powers or not. They certainly have a very odd 'career. 

However, for me, it was not so much the possibility of their psychic capacity, as i believe all sentient life has an instinctive psychic awareness. My curiosity was more to do with the logistics of the parrots confined situation. How did it get caught in the first place and then cope with the very miserable life it had to endure thereafter? One could see, by the bird's condition, that this life as a confined prisoner was unenviable.

According to my friend the method used to capture the parrots is rather ingenious. In fact, it raises more questions than it answers. I had to marvel at the insight and inventiveness of its creator.

The trapper places a thin piece of wire between some branches in a tree or trees where he knows that the parrots like to roost. He then goes away to mind his own business and only returns whenever he is free to take hold of his loot.

You might think that the poor birds get caught up somehow in the wire and become entangled and yet what actually happens is something very different indeed. Unsuspectingly they sit on the wire and then finding it too thin and slippery to clutch hold of they flip over so that they are suddenly clinging to the wire upside down.

What is intriguing here is that they could, at any time, simply loosen their grip and fly away and yet they do not. They hang there
pathetically hour after hour until the trapper returns and pulls them off one by one putting them into a cage.

And that's it!
Isn't that rather tragic?

They could have flown away at any time if they would simply let go of the wire. Nothing at all is preventing it accept their belief that they can not let go...

And, ladies and gentleman, are we too, not rather like this? We believe in our future as vehemently as we cling to our past and yet neither actually exist outside the realm of our imagination!

If we were to examine the present moment we might quickly make an extraordinary discovery.

Self-secret is a Vajrayana Buddhist term that points to a truth which is completely open and obvious and yet which fails to be seen or recognised.

Our addiction to hope and fear can be likened to a 'thin wire' upon which we stake our very lives and existence and yet at any time we are completely free to let go. We are enslaved by our hope and fear, by our unquestioning belief in our past and in our future. 

We believe that we are a 'somebody' who needs 'something and yet we are in fact 'nobody' and we need nothing. Everything that we require is already ours and can never be taken away.

Recognising our true nature means witnessing the truth which exists as the present moment and clinging to that alone.

Happiness is indeed in the very palm of our hands
The present moment is ours.
We have only to believe in it, pay homage to it, and own it. 
It is the only moment we can ever know. 
The rest is a dream...