March 9, 2015

The Enlightened Fish. Humility: the Trademark of Greatness

"What is the use of a well,
 If water is there all the time,
 Having cut craving at the root,

In search of what should one wander?"

(Udapānasutta, 79)

An awakened fish gets up one morning totally transfigured and shows-up with a peacefully and radiant face among his friends and lets them know that he has simply become aware of water.
“Our most intimate aspect, our essential nature is water”, he says.

But when he tries to explain what actually could had happened to him, this awareness of a pre-existent reality becomes a doctrine of some kind. It translates to other fish as a path full of various disciplines, austerities and commandments towards a goal which is the realization of the one water which all the fish are immersed in.

To a thinking fish the enlightenment will only make sense in terms of “goals” and “achievements".
An enlightened fish is a fish aware of the all-pervading water. The nature of fish is water in the same way in which the nature of humans in self-consciousness.

However, there will always be some guru-fish who will write interesting books for water-seeking fish, some books like "How to achieve water in 7 steps". Not all of them are fake. Some of them are just using metaphors as pointers - words that are transparent to transcendence, which, paradoxically, is here and now. There is ,however, a demand on the market of awakening and that demand should be addressed properly, in accordance with the level of understanding of the seeker-fish. The always-seeking minds of fish, asking questions all the time, will get some answers like this:
“you must achieve water",
"you must acquire water",
"you must possess water",
"you must become one with water".
This is how a spiritual teaching would sound like in a language of fish.

We see the waves of the ocean in contradiction with the ocean itself and in the same way, we perceive the colors of the rainbow as contradictory with the white light.

The “fish in water” is a complex, that is, a psychological condition. Although it is just a way of putting it and a figure of speech, a pointer meant to express a common state of “normality” or “comfort”, it’s not a proper attitude in case of human beings.

We are spiritually unconscious or, in Buddhist terms, asleep and this seems to be some kind of normality, but I think the actual normality of humans is to wake up and to be aware of both their environment and the awareness itself. A fish in water is not aware of the water - this is a normal attitude in fish, but not in humans.

Ignoring water can inflict no harm to a fish. Naturally and unconsciously floating underwater is in accord with its’ intimate nature, but a “fish in water” attitude is the real danger of a battlefield of life for a human “warrior”, whose mind gets entangled in the turmoil, unaware of the battle, unaware of the still canvas on which the picture of battle is painted, unaware of the fact that he is the canvas on a deeper level and only on the surface he is the participant in a battle. He is trapped, no longer capable of being aware of his environment and incapable of evaluating the suffering he inflicts on others and on himself. Losing the witness perspective is that what defines all human suffering. 

The “fish in water” perspective prevents you from evolving, spiritually speaking. The “fish in water” perspective belongs, naturally, exclusively to fish.

But, for the sake of this simile, let’s go on supposing that there are enlightened fish and that they can talk… The enlightened fish, while remaining a fish, undergoes only a shift in consciousness. The fish that has “achieved” Enlightenment will regard it so naturally and harmoniously ordinary, that it will barely try to be convincing. In the realm of the spirituality, humility is the trademark of the greatness. When in search for a real master, you should first pay attention to how much he/she struggles to be convincing.

We can recognize an "awakened" fish in the first place by his lack of eagerness and lack of interest in being very convincing, in attracting followers. From the perspective of the awakened fish, the all-pervading water is so normal, that it will not be very eager to argue and to be convincing. An awakened fish would accept to share, somehow, his insights, out of compassion for other fish, but he will never try to thrust the teachings in their throats.

You will recognize an enlightened fish from the very fact that it will be less vocal and militant  in his approach than other “spiritual” fish, because the latter are not very sure if there is still some water left to be achieved or not:) The vocal fish are very eager to convince you that you must acquire water, at any costs and not in your own way, but with their precious help.

January 1, 2015

A Way of Bringing About Change in the World

“Be the change that you want to see in the world” (M.Gandhi) 
While I obviously continue to read and write, I slowly come to a very important conclusion: my spiritual foundation is located on the battlefield of everyday mundane activities.
Therein lies all philosophy, all I can call spirituality and religion or, at least, I can say that only there they are put to the test. Without these tests, „spirituality” will get trapped in the realm of beautiful thoughts and declarations of intent, like in a desert decorated with artificial flowers.

Theoretical science without this kind of attempts inevitably leads to sterilization. When getting in touch, on a daily basis, with people always in a hurry, always nervous and sometimes malicious, becoming able to see them as embodiments, as specific instantiations of the Divine – this, indeed, means to have a life dedicated to the spirit.

Dealing with challenging people and life-situations in a compassionate manner is a way to transform the world, to make it better, even without making it into a purpose. Especially without turning it into a purpose.

By just accepting a world of beauty and horrors and regarding the existence as a whole, as neither bad, nor good, but „just the way it is”, without fighting, without resisting it, one can manage to, somehow, paradoxically, make it better. This is the paradox of the non-action in action. The first prerequisite of any attempt to transform the world is to not persistently and compulsively want IT to be better.
I cannot change the world; all I can do is BE the change that I want to see in the world.
Note should be made that the urge to post this kind of “food for thought” was brought about by two friends sending me their best wishes and a happy new year during the night. I received many other “best wishes” and “happy new year”-s in the meantime, but these two messages echoed like a mysterious transforming tune in my mind. I could feel, somehow, that these two friends actually ARE the change that I want TO SEE in the world.
May they continue to be what they are and may the peace be with you all.