We’ll close this series today with a tale of two conditioned mind projections: one innocent, the other self-deceiving. After which I will tell you a little story to illuminate.
Thank you for your recent blog re: Slavery makes us Predictable, Freedom makes us Immortal (Sept. 26-27, 2009). Though colored with a tinge of impatience for dear Charles, it points in the right direction: we must each take responsibility for the kind of world in which we live. Blaming others is ultimately self-defeating — an abnegation of one’s freedom and responsibility. Best to unshackle oneself from the short leash of fearful, if loving, parents. The old adage contains sage advice: “Physician, heal thyself!” One other point: prayer and meditation suggest kindness and compassion is the best form of embrace. Perhaps Charles would have responded more positively had your approach been a bit more gentle and a tad less scolding. A writer’s style sometimes detracts from the message he or she wishes to convey. Reading between the lines, however, my sense is you only wished to help Charles and others more clearly see a better way. God’s speed!
It is not about “winning” people over, BJ. It is about helping people wake up. Compassion is not always appearing kind. Sometimes compassion must appear harsh to be kind. Most of us need a really good kick in the backside of our illusory state. We need shocks. Few of us will immediately thank existence for the shocks. That understanding and gratitude, on rare occasions, comes later.
I scolded Charles because even though the content of his comments were worthy for sharing my response to all of you, I sensed that there was something insincere and adolescent motivating them requiring a literary “stick” of compassion rather than the caress.
As it turned out, Charles finally tried to come clean after my second response (see it at the end of this blog). He made an effort to apologize for not being authentic even though it was more like another shift into another pretense.
This is what he wrote:
Thanks for your [second] email. As for your predictions blog, it is one of my favorites. I very much admire your unique wisdom and insights. As for my comments on your blog, I was just having some fun at your expense. (Everyone who knows me say what a weird sense of humor I have. Oh well, that’s just me.) So I may drop back in from time to time to “give you the business.”
He then ended his letter with a pitch to visit his web site where he would reveal his true thoughts.
Charles’ shape-shifting episodes remind me of a Gurdjieff story my meditation teacher, Osho, used to tell. Here is a variation of it.
One day I had come to the front door of a great English manor to visit an old friend I hadn’t seen in years. I gave the door a knock.
After awhile I heard heavy footsteps menacing the door. A large man with dirty Wellington boots and a pitchfork answered the door with a surly voice, “Who the hell are you?!”
“Is the master of the house at home?” I asked.
“I’m the master!” Snapped the grounds keeper, “Get lost.”
He slammed the door in my face.
I came back to the manor again late that afternoon hoping to meet my friend and have a word about his grounds keeper. I braced myself anticipating another rude handling. The door opened and a sweet smiling maid in lacy frock confronted me with duster in hand.
“Hello, what can I do for you,” she said kindly.
“I’m looking for the master of this manor. I’m an old friend come to call unannounced. Is he at home? I had a run-in this morning with the help who was certainly not him and very nasty too.”
She rolled her eyes and sighed.
“Oh! That is Francis the grounds keeper. I’m sorry, sir,” said the housemaid sweetly. “He’s a little eccentric and abrupt with strangers. I do apologize. He doesn’t understand that kindness and compassion are the best form of introduction to strangers.
“You know, as mistress of this house, I have to constantly remind the servants to be a bit more gentle and a tad less scolding to strangers. Because being abrupt sometimes detracts from the message he or she wishes to convey. I’m sure if you could read his heart you would sense that he only wished to help protect my manor from unannounced strangers. Thank you for the visit. Good by…”
The door closed on my face again, albeit quietly this time.
The following morning I marched up to the door intent on finding the underlying cause of this. I was concerned my friend might be a hostage in a madhouse of servants gone bonkers.
I rapped the doorknocker furiously ready to jam my foot in the door and pass the threshold beyond whomever the next idiot was who answered and see to my friend’s whereabouts in person.
A finely groomed butler in morning coat with pinstripe slacks, white tie and tails opened the door. In his hand was a tray with a carafe of brandy and classes.
“Can I be of service to you?” the Butler coolly asked, looking down his monocled nose at me with mildly upturned brow.
“Every time I come to the door, seeking the master of this house, who is my very old friend, I am manipulated or outright accosted by different members of the help who then close the door in my face.”
The butler brooded over this and my mention of my friend’s name and his current whereabouts, looking off, framing his thoughts in some corner of the porch ceiling.
“Hmmm, hmmm… I see,” remarked the butler. “Well then, it is very simple, the answer, that is. Any child could understand what is happening in this manor. The man you speak of is away. He hasn’t been present for years.”
The butler took on an urgent look, then leaned forward conspiratorially looking askance, not wanting to be overheard as if he knew he was being watched. I leaned in too. Perhaps something frightful was happening in this mansion. Perhaps they were all hostages and were made to send strangers off with their eccentric behavior. I anticipated the butler would whisper the real circumstances to a stranger who might then run off and get help.
“You know,” said the butler, “This is a madhouse, really. The maid, the groundskeeper, even the chef, the limousine driver…They all think that once your friend had left this house they each had become master of this manor. Quite daft, the lot of them.”
He then stiffened and stepped back from me adding imperiously, “Of course you and I know they are wrong. We both know that ‘I’ am the master of this manor. Good day to you, sir, please do not come again…”
The door closed a third time in my face.
This is our state, each one of us. The master is not home so our servant personalities run the manor. Don’t judge Charles too harshly if he shows more than one false face during this three part series: existential philosopher, then hurt replier, and at last sucking up to me and playing merry prankster, peddling his web site.
He is us. He is you. A collection of false personalities burying the eternal being. The master has fallen asleep inside the mansion of body-mind. The “manor” is therefore left to the chattering, competing help. Once meditation awakens Him, the servants resume their proper places as the master’s help.
I yet again offer Charles, and all of you, the invitation to try out the meditation techniques that have helped me begin to put my house in order. Many of you have already asked during the publication of this series. I will come back with a personal response to each one of you when work on Predictions for 2010 allows.
(Nietzsche’s Birthday — my initiation into Meditation 29 years ago today — 15 October 2009)