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Re: theos-l digest: September 30, 1999

Oct 03, 1999 03:57 PM
by Hazarapet

In a message dated 10/3/99 2:32:57 PM Central Daylight Time, writes:

> The very quote itself endorses a dissatisfaction, a violence, within the
>  marriage relationship.  It implicitly suggests that to be married is to
>  expect suffering and physical/mental abuse.

No, it only presupposes that all humans are violence prone, anger prone,
greed prone, or assholes in their undeveloped state.  To discover one is such
or has such tendencies even in the deepest and most intimate relations of
love provides a deeper shock that leads to a critical transformative mass.
Otherwise one is just evasively playing the spiritual masterbation game.  No,
the entire import of the quote is that one does not grow up until one does
not have the freedom to sow wild oats or skip out or otherwise be
non-commital to people and situations in ones life that come with choices you
made but which you did not yourself choose with those choices.  I choose a
wife, not her parents or siblings.  I choose to have children but not the
children I have.  I choose to be a parent but that does not make me instantly
know how to be one perfectly.  I choose a long-time commitment to these
individuals but that does not mean it is bed of roses.  I choose a life but
that does not mean I choose all the hard knocks that come with any life
chosen.  The issue is what do you do with those hard knocks, shocks, fights,
arguments, sad times, deaths, illnesses, grief, and all the accompanying
pains that come with any life with anyone.
Do you skip out and run away from circumstances and self or stay and learn
what they have to teach you about yourself that you didn't want to know?
Committed life is a moral boot-camp where the first step is to honestly
confront your own malevolent dispositions (to put it in polished terms that
many pseudo-theosophists never come to terms with, get to know who you are as
defined by one's past bad karma).  To act out beating wife is to flunk (to
see that disposition, be shocked by it, to be changed by it, to be
transformed by it into one who will never do such thing and who eventually
dissolves that inner temptation/disposition is step to a higher state of
being).  To become angry is to flunk (to see that disposition, be shocked by
it, to be changed by it, to be transformed by it into one who will never do
such thing and who eventually dissolves that inner temptation/disposition is
step to a higher state of being).  To become irritated at the a--hole that
cut you off on freeway is to flunk (to see that disposition, be shocked by
it, to be changed by it, to be transformed by it into one who will never do
such thing and who eventually dissolves that inner temptation/disposition is
step to a higher state of being).  To not know how to be good parent, good
wife, good husband, good teacher, or whatever and not study that question is
to flunk (to see that disposition, be shocked by it, to be changed by it, to
be transformed by it into one who will never do such thing and who eventually
dissolves that inner temptation/disposition is step to a higher state of
being if one now studies how to be parent and let children have role in
teaching you how).  These forms of failure are of more or less gravity.  But
that is not the point.  The point is none of us is perfect, our imperfections
are truly brought out when we are non-optionally with others, and to counter
our inflated positive idealizations we have of ourselves, we need to see
ourselves in the negative situations and moods we find ourselves in.  If we
don't see the negativity, we can't learn how to change it, prevent it, and
eventually not be it.  The idea is partly conveyed in western saying you can
choose your friends but not your family.  One who evasively is always running
away from commitments over the hill to the next broad horizon and who doesn't
get involved-stuck in the limits, failures, and frustrations of a committed
life will always be running away from self, from the very conditions that
make for self-knowledge.  I once had interview with Sufi shaikh about
self-knowledge.  He said most people don't want it because the initial
picture it presents is not pretty picture.  To begin to get it, he said, one
doesn't chant om over incense and have positive thoughts.  Rather, it is
catching oneself in the act in what seem to be the unimportant and trivial
and habitual moments when we "have nothing important to do."  So, he said,
catch a glimpse of self waiting in line at bank.  Is mood negative (even if
mild irritation or impatience) or positive?  Or driving in rush hour traffic,
is mood that of road-rager or positive?  At party, is mood fear, timidness,
resentment, or genuine good to see ya'll?  Who are you routinely and
habitually?  Do you like gossip (which is usually something negative about
someone)?  Who you are in those moments is who you are most of the time.  And
unless one is involved over the long-haul with other persons at some degree
of depth of involvement, the deeper stuff about you won't emerge in the
inevitable joys, but also, pains, griefs, and frictions that arise.  To the
extent knowledge of others remains on surface and casual, to just that extent
one's knowledge of self remains on surface and casual.  Who you really are is
what, how, and who you are with others.  if you keep them are superficial
arms distance, you will be a superficial person in turn.  If you realize this
life is not forever, and that no real life is free of negativity, and one
becomes one defined by commitments and the burdens they bring, then one
becomes a person of "substance" that has strengths and weaknesses, flaws and
good things, that emerge in interaction with these others who sometimes you
hate and sometimes you love and sometimes who just boggle your mind and
sometimes need help you can give and other times need help you can't give.
This substantiality is the real grist for the mill of self-knowledge or our
leaden selves to transmute.  It is the bardo of earthly life.  If one is to
learn from this life and not waste it, one will have to confront this grist.
And what comes up first is what vicious and irritable bitches and assholes we
all are under our hypocritical fascade of civility.  That is the creature on
the threshold.  The first step in self-knowledge is knowledge of the
uncomplimentary things about oneself that one has been trying to hide from or
evasively defend with a long line of self-justifications and
rationalizations.  And having a family one deeply loves and who loves you to
be the arena where you see, honestly (here, sitting meditation is to
intensify awareness but mindfulness is the exercise to extent that into
movement, and finally, into one's life so that when you see you are being an
irritable crank with wife, son, stranger, it is a stronger shock to one's ego
than just noticing it without the inner opening and intensification provided
by meditation), that you, in relation to them (whether they provoked you or
not, whether they started it or not, that is an inner bullshit evasion of
seeing yourself), become impatient, angry, irritable, cold, spiteful, and
sometimes, downright mean is one of the very best means of practicing
karmayoga (not identifying with negativity or reactions interaction and
especially deep interaction with others gives rise to - so that practice of
kindness for insult can be practiced at later stage) and jnanayoga
(self-knowledge, first phase, seeing one's own potrait of Dorion Gray, later,
knowing the complexities involved in changing that potrait, changing one's
karma).  That is why these two forms of yoga were first called the
householder yoga.  Deep commitments is the boot camp of self-knowledge and it
is at first not a pretty sight for anyone.

Ms. Smith seems to have mistaken view that we practice perfection in
isolation from others or that violence, greed, anger, or lust (others as mere
object whether sexual or social or political raw material for my ego project
of self-glorification) are somehow exceptional in this world or something
only "they" (not me, for heaven's sake!) are infected with as the bad karmic
threads that make up that fabric of our ordinary psyche.  My family suffered
through three genocides, war, near starvation, forced re-locations, and so, I
am well acquainted with the underbelly of this world.  But instead of playing
the whining game of I'm more a victim than you or demonizing the one's who
victimized us (such games whither the soul and waste time and keep the cycle
of samsara going), I sought how to transcend it inwardly, and the first very
unpleasant step is in seeing how one is inwardly the same as this world of
mutual destruction, and that true change is first change of oneself.  We are
all the strangely anonymous "they did it" who is responsible for the evil in
this world.  "They" is the evasion of "we" and specially "me."

Contrary to what Ms Smith seems to believe, to become better parent, husband,
or person in relation to others, I can't go off and be hermit practicing my
people skills anymore than I can become a concert pianoist by staying away
from pianos until I am expert pianoist. Youth and immaturity, whether natural
or artificially prolonged, is
the time of envisioned forevers, envisioned possibilities, no past, no
mistakes, no disappearance of options, no rootedness, no being stuck with
one's past choices, no grist for one's moral mill of self-knowledge, and no

Grigor Ananikian

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