Mediation In Action
The point is that whatever one is trying to learn, it is necessary to have firsthand experience, rather than learning from books or from teachers or by merely conforming to an already established pattern.
In this sense, the Buddha was a great revolutionary in his way of thinking. He even denied the existence of Brahma, or God, the Creator the World. He determined to accept nothing which he had not had first discovered for himself. Though he still had respect for the traditions of India; his was not an anerchistic attitude in any negative sense, nor was it revolutionary in the way Communists are. His was a real, positive revolution. He developed a creative side of revolution, which is not trying to get help from anyone else, but finding out for oneself. The Buddha never argued theological or philosophical doctrines at all. He went straight to the heart of the matter, namely how to see the truth. He never wasted time on vain speculation.
The Buddha discovered that all these concepts, ideas, hopes, fears, emotions, conclusions, are created out of one’s speculative thoughts & one’s psychological inheritance from from parents & upbringing & so on.
By developing such a revolutionary attitude one learns a great deal. For example, suppose one misses lunch one day. One may not be hungry, one may have had a large breakfast, but the idea of missing lunch affects one. Certain patterns are formed within the framework of society & one tends to accept them without questioning. Are we really hungry, or do we just want to fill up that particular midday time? That is a very simple & straightforward example. But much the same applies to when we came to the question of ego.
There is always great uncertainty when you don’t know how to begin & you seem to be perpetually caught up in the stream of life. A constant pressure of thoughts, of wandering thoughts& confusion & all kinds of desires, continually arises.
A person may be habitually drunk, or impulsively violent, but that character is his personality. In dealing with that type of persopn, one must first of all respect that peson’s character & open one’s heart to the violence in him. Then one must go to him fully respect him so that the energetic, the dynamic aspect of violence can be made to serve as the energy aspect of the spiritual life. The violent character is good. It is a wonderful thing, it is something positive. And then he begins to realize this, though at first he may be perplexed & wonder what is good in it, he at least begins to feel good; and he begins to realize he is not just a “sinner” but that there is something very positive in him. A person may detect ones own weaknesses. His character is not just one thing. There is active behavior, then passive, then active, continuously changing, and the first moment producing & giving birth to the next moment.
The very idea that concepts are bad, or such-and-such a thing is bad, divides the whole thing, with the result that you are not left with anything at all to deal with. And in that case you either have to be completely perfect, or else battle though all these things and try to knock them all out. But when you havethis hostile attitude & try to suppress things, then each time you knock one thing out another springs up in its place, & when you attack that one, another comes up somewhere elese. There is this continual trick of the ego, so that when you try to disentangle one part of the knot, you pull on the string & only make it tighter somewhere else, so you are continually trapped in it. Therefore the thing is not to battle any more at all, not to try to sort out the bad things from the good, or to only acheive good, but respect & acknowledge them all. Dismissing the negative aspects of life rather than accepting them will only make you overly sensitive to them. Often good things are disguised as bad & bad things come disguised in good. Only by accepting them all can one even begin to discover their true nature.