Archives for the month of: May, 2012

In my previous post about Wholeness, I said that recognizing when Wholeness is acting in our life is both tricky and simple. In this post I’ll start with the simple and show how I resolve the tricky.

The key to recognizing Wholeness is in the experience of resonance and dissonance. When we resonate with something there’s a feeling of internal rightness and harmony. When something feels dissonant it feels out of place or somehow wrong. Think about when you hear the wrong note played or when you see a word mispelled. Resonance and dissonance are both intuitive experiences that are mostly felt in the body or in a wordless kind of knowing.  When I notice either of them, I usually know that something is right (or wrong) with my world. Sometimes, however, it’s a little harder for a couple of reasons.

First, the experience of resonance (dissonance) may be subtle and flitting and therefore easy to miss. We may have even trained ourselves to ignore those feelings for various reasons. If that is the case, I believe that practicing and paying more attention when those experiences arise could help.

The second and more pernicious reason starts with the ego’s tendency to interfere. The ego is often driven by desire or fear, giving rise to feelings of craving or aversion accordingly. Craving and aversion are gross sensations and with the support of ego behind them, are much harder to ignore than either resonance or dissonance. As a result I often find myself moved by craving or aversion, completely ignoring my experience of resonance or dissonance.

The tricky part, then, is in telling apart aversion from dissonance and craving from resonance. I’ve noticed a couple of different ways to tell them apart:

  1. Paying attention to the self-contraction. This feeling of tightening in the gut that tells me that fear or desire are involved. The self-contraction is a clear indicator of aversion (desire) at play.
  2. If I notice that I am somehow personally invested in the result of something, this is another clear indicator that I am driven by aversion (craving). Wholeness is already whole and therefore not invested in anything. The ego, on the other hand, is very much invested in things turning one way or the other; for the ego, most anything means life or death.

My ongoing practice of learning the recognize Wholeness includes paying attention to and learning to trust my intuition and conversely, becoming suspicious of my own motives whenever I notice contraction or an investment I things turning out one way or another.

Another practice that supports the dual practice above involves journalling and self-reflection, mostly around the theme of shadow work. I’ll say more about that in a future post.

A couple of months ago I realized that I wasn’t the one running this show:

After struggling to understand and failing, after searching and finding and losing, I feel that I have no choice – I have to admit that I don’t know. I don’t know if anything I do has lasting meaning. I cannot point to any purpose – high or low – that has guided me through life. Yet, I am still here. There is no denying that despite all that I’ve said so far, despite a lack of any convincing reason why, I am still here and I’m still moving. This leads me to one conclusion that appears inescapable – that there is something other than me, something greater than myself that has kept me going so far for reasons that are unknown to me and that possibly will continue to be unknown to me.

Recently I’ve taken to calling this ‘something other’ simply, Wholeness. Wholeness, as far as I can tell, is both the drive and the goal. It is working through me, as me, with me in order to realize more of itself here and everywhere. I sometimes want to lay claim to its works but, if I’m truly honest with myself, I cannot.

My friend Jamison asks “How do you move towards wholeness?” to which I answer: I don’t. Or rather, I just try to let go enough of my egoic motivations, to notice the self-contraction and to act out of Wholeness instead of craving, desiring, wanting… So in a way, it really isn’t me who moves towards Wholeness. To paraphrase C.G. Jung, the relationship between myself and Wholeness is that of a moved to a mover.

I should point out, that I’m not abdicating responsibility for anything I do. I still hold myself responsible, even though I’m not in charge. If anything I hold myself responsible to even more than before or perhaps I should say more responsible than before? There is an element of devotion in this relationship that I do not yet fully grasp but I find intriguing.

I intend to write more about this topic since it is on my mind quite often lately. One thing that I’d like to write about is recognizing Wholeness. It’s simple, unless I make it complicated.

You probably haven’t noticed but starting today the contents (but not the design, since I don’t own that) of this blog are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license. Why am I doing that? Because if what I write here is of benefit to anyone, I would like it to be shared and distributed so that as many people as possible may find some benefit. I’m also doing this as an example, hoping that others, whose work may be of more benefit than mine, will follow suit.

My friend Karen and me, discussed the state of copyright in the world of Dharma after I was surprised to find very little content that I could reuse for a new website I was creating at the time. Karen wrote about this at length on her blog and I wanted to continue the conversation here as well. As a geek who cares about the Dharma I feel that it is my responsibility to educate and support the Dharma community in our use of technology. Sometimes this support is in the form of helping a friend create a website, other times it’s by taking care of my sangha’s technological needs. This time, however, I’m letting people know that we can stay more true to our values and make the teachings available to more people by making it easier to share the content we create.