Re: Re to RJI - Fraud vs the Magical Imagination
Nov 08, 1995 03:46 PM
You bring up an important point which I've also addressed in
Buddhist terms from Naropa's philosophy.
>Virtually everyone holds some form of self-image within
>themselves and it greatly conditions the world they apparently live in
This image is the activity of mind in creating a notion of
>.. it functions almost as a filter that determines what few aspects of
>the totality of the actual world will become apparent to waking
It acts as a filter in accepting some perceptions unaltered
and in rejecting or altering others. But besides that aspect
of filtering it further creates the illusion or false sense
of an external objective world a world that exists apart
from oneself. It is possible to achieve a pure state of
awareness in which this activity ceases and we gaze upon
the actual nature of life.
>And it is usually almost completely unconscious ... and
>formed from a random and motley collection of inborn predilections
>childhood environment and chance events.
Yes our self-image or personality is a fairly makeshift
construct mostly build in response to external events in
>The apparent solidity of the "objective" world is somewhat of
>an effect of the solidity of this underlying image.
Instead of saying that it comes from the solidity of this
images I'd say that it comes from our functioning in a mode
of consciousness where we see the world in its terms. We can
experience life as a distinct personal self or without that
notion. In either case we have a personality and personal
attributes; the difference is that we can function oblivious
to it where it is transparent or we can function subject to
it where it is translucent or opaque getting in the way of
>I believe what self-imaging magic attempts to do is to first
>elevate this image from the unconscious up to the light of day that is
>to take conscious control of what is generally an unconscious assemblege.
We do need to take responsibility for what our personalities
have become. We start off growing and changing only in response
to external stimuli. With foresight planning and self-direction
we can enact changes in our lives that are not subject to external
events but are directed from within. This is a higher form of
taking charge of our lives.
There's a still higher form of self-direction one which retains
control but yet takes others into account. This is the same
initiative to grow and evolve unburdended with the notion of
having a personal self. In this mode there's never the thought
of "what's in it for me" but always of "what's best here" even
if we personally do not end up better off.
>Then even further to glorify that image expand it attempt to live up
>to that expansion ... which actually begins transforming awareness itself
One technique for developing certain qualities is to picture
oneself already having them then acting as those they were
present in one's life and persisting until seeing them actually
arise as living qualities. This applies to one's self-image as
well and to the process of self-transformation.
>.. but ultimately to the point where the transformation itself shatters
>even the glorified image - hence using an image to finally shatter Image
The sense of "shattering" is a Western experience equalivent
to the dark night of the soul. An Eastern approach has no such
experience but rather as Naropa would describe it experiences
a sense of "eternal delight". The shattering is the experience
of the destruction of the apparently objective world that we
thought we know. An Easterner would not have build into his
psyche a strong dependence upon this illusory objectivity and
not miss it when it vanishes before our eyes.
You make the whole thing sound quite dramatic! But it does not
have to be dramatic but can be as easy a thing as smiling back
in response to a baby's smile.
We go back and forth between the notion of a personal self
and a transcendent awareness. Both modes of viewing life are
useful in their own respects. The Vajrayana school teaches that
the two modes need to be balanced in our lives and I've also
read the Dalai Lama writing to the same effect.
>Sorta like Narcissus redeeming himself by delibrately making an
>equal but opposite mistake: He was bending over a pool fell in love
>with his image reflected on top of the surface and fell in.
I'd say that when the activity of the mind in creating the
objective world ceases we still love and respect everything
before ourselves both on the inside and on the outside.
>Magic is Narcissus standing on the bottom of the pond underwater
>gazing *up* at his reflection reflected off the bottom of the
?surface of the pond ... a reflection that appears to be almost
>transfigured because the sun is shining through it ... and in
>seeking and falling in love with *that* image ultimately again
>bursting through the image - to surface again into the real world
>outside of the pond.
The sense of "surfacing" is the experience of nondualistic
consciousness the experience of sunyata or emptiness the
transcending for the moment of the sense of personal self.
A "shattering" or "dark night" may be gone through if we're
heavily attached to our ego our personality the activity of
manas in creating a sense of self. It does not have to be
that way thought.
The idea that the Western and Eastern psyches are different
and therefore Eastern approaches won't work in the west is
-- I think -- "sour grapes".
There have been gaps in access to the spiritual path in the
West. The initial object of the T.S. was to bring Eastern
ideas to the West. We also have certain biases that prevent
us from flowering spiritually. These biases must be taken
into account when working to bring others to the Path.
But when's someone's "inner light" is awakened the biases
lose their importance and Eastern practices are just as
open to us and they are to Easterners. The only limitations
that we'd face I think are due to heredity cultural
influences and the ill effects perhaps of city life.
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